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Budget Committee

Minutes - November 28, 2018


Chair Robin Veysey called the meeting to order at 6:33 PM.


Present were: Budget Committee members Merle Bragdon, Tiffany McMullen, Connie Bender, Robin Veysey; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, Selectmen Robert Christie, Jo Cooper and Kathleen Rybarz.  Budget Committee member Marion McDevitt had informed the town office that she was unable to attend.


Minutes – November 7, 2018 – Merle moved to approve the minutes as presented.  Connie 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.


Stu noted that several members of the Board of Selectmen were present as the budgets before the committee tonight had not yet been presented to them.


Budget Reviews – Code Enforcement - Merle noted that the Board of Selectmen increased the hours for the Code Enforcement Office because of need.  He asked if the permit fees generated for the Code Enforcement Fund have been visited recently to reflect the increased cost.  Stu reported that is on the agenda for the Selectmen’s meeting tomorrow evening.  Kathleen Rybarz offered to provide fees from other communities to see how Lamoine stacks up.


Road Budget – Stu reported the overall road budget is down as the only section of road being proposed for paving is the Buttermilk Road from Jordan River Road toward Ellsworth. 


Solid Waste – Merle remarked that sticking with PERC has turned out to be a good thing for the town. 


Stu explained how he derived the recycling budget which is up significantly.  He said it costs about $2,200/month to ship recycling from Lamoine to EcoMaine through DM&J Waste.  Merle asked whether the cost per ton is less than $75.00.  Stu said no, it’s more like $400/ton.  There was a discussion about possibly compacting the recycling to reduce transportation costs, and modifications to the transfer station.   Jo Cooper asked if a compactor could be adapted to municipal solid waste in case the recycling compaction doesn’t work out.  Stu said that should be easily done. 


Bob Christie said he checked out the Blue Hill/Surry Transfer Facility and costs of remaining with the Municipal Review Committee.  He said solid waste costs are rising everywhere.  Merle asked about design changes for the transfer station and about well monitoring around the closed landfill.  There was discussion about the transfer station design which is addressed in the capital projects line.


Capital Projects – Stu reported this will be the final year to pay off the rescue boat loan.  Merle suggested keeping the $1,000/year addition to the land conservation fund without waiting for a request from the Conservation Commission.  Stu said he’d pretty much done that.


There was a discussion about the town hall foundation/steps fund addition.  Stu reported that the Selectmen have started to form a committee to address the desire for a community center.  He said the foundation/steps fund is a little higher than $80,000 at the moment, and that should be enough to accomplish a foundation and entrance for the town hall, but wondered whether to proceed any time soon given the potential for a community center.  There was discussion about the stability of the town hall building, and whether the need was urgent.  Stu urged the committee to continue adding to the fund in the event the town might opt to shift its purpose toward a different town hall/community center option.


As noted in the solid waste budget, there was extensive discussion about possibly changing the layout at the transfer station which has been in operation for 25 years.  After the discussion, it was agreed to hold off on a compactor being budgeted, and instead budget $15,000 in the capital projects line to hire an engineer to come up with a layout plan.  The revenue budget would also be adjusted to utilize that lower amount from the transfer station capital fund.


The Budget Committee expressed interest in the addition of a piece of playground equipment at Lamoine Beach.  Stu reported that Marion McDevitt had asked whether supervision would be needed for young children using the equipment. He said she noted that Knowlton Park in Ellsworth does not provide supervision.   Robin said there were some plans to raise funds for the equipment.  Stu said the Hodgkins Fund which is for municipal buildings and parks has enough in it to fund the project and he had proposed that in the revenue budget.


Merle said the Technology Committee has been discussing how to get high speed internet to the last mile of homes that do not have cable or other service available and suggested adding funds to figure out how to move forward with getting that accomplished.  After discussion, it was agreed to add $5,000 to the capital projects fund for that purpose.  There was a discussion about the future of Cable TV Franchise Fees and converting the town hall TV channel to High Definition. 


Revenues Budget – Stu outlined the proposed revenues use budget, and noting that with the overall reduction in expenditures expected, a lower use of “surplus” would still reduce the amount of property taxes needed to fund the municipal portion of the budget.


Future Meetings – The committee agreed that it might be able to finish up work on the non-education budget by December 17th.  Meetings are scheduled for 7:00 PM on December 10th and 17th.  Stu asked if Robin could open up the building as he will likely be a few minutes late both evenings.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:30 PM.


Respectfully submitted,  Stu Marckoon, Secretary.