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Budget Committee

Minutes - December 14, 2015

Chair Robin Veysey called the meeting to order at 6:32 PM

Present were:  Budget Committee members Robin Veysey, Merle Bragdon, Cece Ohmart, Connie Bender, Marion McDevitt; Secretary Stu Marckoon, Selectmen Jo Cooper, Gary McFarland, Bernie Johnson, Nathan Mason, Heather Fowler; Ronald Fortier (Ellsworth Public Library) and Peter Farragher (Downeast Family YMCA).

Minutes – November 30, 2015 – Merle moved to approve the minutes as distributed.  Marion 2nd. Vote in favor was 3-0 (Bender, Ohmart abstained).

Library Budget – Ronald Fortier of the Library Board of Trustees said the request for $7,300 is based on 292 card holders at $25/card.  He said that is down $68 from the current fiscal year.  Mr. Fortier gave the numbers about users from Lamoine and how many items they checked out.   He said the overall library budget is $720,000, and most is funded by the City of Ellsworth. 

Stu asked about the building project that failed to win voter support in November.  Mr. Fortier said they are working with an architect to see what work could be deferred.  He said they are seeking private funding and possibly another bond issue.

YMCA Budget (recreation) – Peter Farragher handed out the annual report to the committee.  He said the request is the same as the past several years.  He said there are 185 “Y” members from Lamoine and the letter that was submitted outlines the savings and scholarship generated by the payment.  He said Lamoine is a supporting community of “Y” youth sports.

Mr. Farragher said the Lamoine Recreation Committee is “rocking it” with the programming being offered.  He said the Lamoine teams are participating in the “Y” leagues and it seems to be really growing.  He said the idea was to have surrounding towns build teams, and it’s working in Lamoine.  He noted the facility is open for free use on Saturday and Sunday for all Lamoine residents as a supporting community.

Social Service Requests – Robin noted that all those agencies who’ve requested funding have received funding from the town in the past.  Stu noted the WIC request is higher than the Budget Committee is allowed to recommend.  He said the request from Maine Coast Memorial Hospital is $600, but last year the town meeting voted to raise the allocation to the hospital to $1,200. 

Selectman Bernard Johnson asked about funding for the Emmaus Center.  Stu said there was no specific request received this year from the shelter.  Selectman Jo Cooper, who runs Friends in Action, said the town sends out a reminder letter, and that’s a bit unusual. 

Merle said the Selectmen might want to consider an ordinance change to allow recommendations for a higher amount.  A brief discussion followed.

Merle moved to recommend to the Board of Selectmen to offer an amendment to the Donation Review Ordinance, increasing the maximum per agency recommended amount to $700.  Cece 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-1 (McDevitt).

Shellfishing – Stu reported that the Regional Shellfishing Board has been exploring some enforcement matters and seems to be ironing things out.  He said representative Richard Fennelly let him know that $3,000 should be budgeted again.  He said license fees for recreational diggers may be rising in the next year.

Revaluation – Stu reported that the Board of Assessors is not recommending a full revaluation in the next fiscal year.  He said the Assessors have instead recommended a $500/member salary increase in order to analyze if and when a revaluation should be done, and that total $1,500 increase would come from the revaluation fund.

Foundation – Stu reported that the Selectmen came up with an alternative foundation plan for the not too distant future that involves acquiring land behind the town hall, constructing a foundation, and then moving the building onto the new foundation.  He said that would give the lot a significant increase in parking, the “down time” for the town hall would be far less.  The group discussed the benefits of the plan.  Selectman Heather Fowler said the landowners behind the current town hall seem willing to donate the land.

Fire Chief Salary – Stu said the Selectmen are recommending an increase in the fire chief’s salary to $3,000.  Robin said it’s about time.  Selectman Gary McFarland said the board looked at what other towns in Hancock County and similar sized towns in Maine are paying their fire chief, and Lamoine fell way below that.  Selectman Bernie Johnson said it was unlikely that the fire chief would make that request himself. 

Overall Budget – Stu said with the removal of the revaluation expense and revenues, the overall municipal budget impact is about the same as the current fiscal year.  Marion suggested it’s time for a raise for the ballot clerks. 

Other Matters – Marion requested that if the Donation Review Ordinance is to be amended, she would like to see that offered to the town meeting as a referendum question as opposed to a change at open town meeting.

Next Meeting – The final budget committee recommendations on the municipal budget will be made at the next meeting on January 5, 2016. 

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:07 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stu Marckoon, Secretary