Minutes of the Lamoine Budget Committee

January 23, 2003

 Vice Chairman Joe Young called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM

Present were:  Budget Committee members Reggie McDevitt, Joe Young, Robin Veysey, Hubene Brodie; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, School Committee member Faith Perkins, and Selectmen Tom Spruce and Josephine Cooper.

 Minutes – Reggie moved to accept the minutes of January 13, 2003 as presented.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

School Budget Revisited – Faith Perkins said the school committee would go over the budget once again next week.  Hubene reported that the home-schooled special education student is a senior this year, so $10,500 could come out of special education. 

Joe asked about the portable classrooms, and the possible 5-year lease/purchase arrangement.  Ms. Perkins said it’s basically a wash, as the rental payment is an income to the town.  She said if the town enters into a lease/purchase arrangement, there is a very small amount of state reimbursement. 

Hubene asked about the storage shed.  Stu reported that he and principal Val Perkins looked over the shed, and Mr. Perkins would like to have it for the school.  Hubene said that’s another $1,200 that could come out. 

Joe said there is about $50,000 earmarked that could reduce the balance forward.  Robin said the building study money appropriated for the current year apparently is proposed to be set aside in its own fund.  Ms. Perkins said it would be the $20,000 less whatever is spent, and she’s a little fuzzy.  Joe said it looks like the $500 for the building study might not be needed.  Robin said we would probably need a separate article to carry forward and spend that money.

Joe said he’s still not clear on food services, and if the budget or school committee is asked, a better explanation is needed.  Ms. Perkins agreed.  She said when broken down, the difference between 1998 and 2003 is not as extreme as it seems.  She said of the $19,900 in the budget for the food service transfer, $4,900 is for a refrigeration unit.

Jo said the school nurse issue is still not determined.  Ms. Perkins said it was put in the budget as part of the principal’s wish list. Hubene asked if the French teacher is in the budget.  Ms. Perkins said yes.  Hubene said she has a problem with teaching French when children have a hard enough time learning English.  Ms. Perkins said French or another world language enhances grammar in other parts of the language program.  She said it’s a very small exposure for the students and will take a while to build.  Discussion followed on the language program proposal. 

Jo asked if a $15,000 increase is proposed for the nurse.  Ms. Perkins said yes.  Discussion followed on splitting the nurse with another school.  Ms. Perkins said Lamoine presently shares a nurse with four other schools, and has the nurse 1-day per week.  Joe said it’s a nice wish list, but perhaps we shouldn’t go for all of it in one year.  He asked if there is someplace that can wait until next year.  He said other expenses appear to be way up.  The other budget committee members agreed, and discussion followed on the nurse issue.

Joe suggested increasing the nurse’s time more slowly.  Hubene said she’s looking at the library for savings.  Robin said she would put the nurse ahead of a French teacher in priority.  Jo said we could cut $3,500 if the nurse went to 2-days per week instead of 2.5.  Robin said that could work out to four half-days.  

Joe asked about purchased instruction services (the French teacher) and how many grades that would cover.  Ms. Perkins said the present proposal is grades 2-to-5.  She said the school committee really wants to start that program.  There was discussion on how effective it might be.

Joe asked if it would be possible to hold book purchases for the library at $6,000.  Ms. Perkins said speaking for herself, she thinks yes.  Joe said there was a sizeable increase last year, and this would save $1,000.  Hubene asked how much the reference books cost.  Ms. Perkins said the encyclopedia would cost $3,500, and $2,000 is included for language, science, health and career texts.  The rest is set aside for children’s books.  Hubene said that’s $5,500 for reference books.

Joe asked about the contracted labor for the ballfield, and it seems to have increased rapidly.  Ms. Perkins agreed.  Hubene asked if that would slow down.  There was a lengthy discussion about the maintenance costs of the ballfield.  Jo said that might be trimmed back to $4,000.  A brief discussion followed about supplies.

Joe suggested dropping minor capital expenses back to $2,200 to cover paving, and moving the shed.  A short discussion followed.

Joe asked about benefits in the special education section.  Ms. Perkins said that’s where the benefits to the Ed techs show up, and it’s about $1,000 a person.  Hubene asked about the gifted and talented program.  Ms. Perkins said the teacher is there 2-days a week and doing a super job.  Hubene asked about the increase in the cost.  Ms. Perkins said the G&T teacher last year was non-certified, and this year, they are serving more students with a certified teacher. 

There was a brief discussion about the summer special Ed program and transportation.

The committee outlined the following areas for potential savings:

Budget Area

Potential Savings

Secondary Special Education

$10,500

Storage Shed (minor capital)

$1,000

Building Study

$500

Nurse

$4,000

Library

$1,000

Ballfield Maintenance

$4,000

Total

$21,000

Ms. Perkins said she would try to get clarification on the special education summer program.

Budget Revisions – Stu pointed out an updated budget with proposed revisions that the Selectmen have seen and endorsed.  The committee reviewed the memo, and Stu said the changes proposed are reflected in the latest budget printout.

Recommendations

Administration – The committee reviewed the administration budget.  Hubene said she would abstain from voting because of a conflict of interest.  There was a discussion about records preservation, and all seemed to favor it.  Robin moved to recommend $113,582.68.  Reggie said it’s time for the budget committee to keep taxes down, and it needs to start at the very beginning.  He said he would have his own motion.  Joe 2nd Robin’s motion.  Vote in favor was 2-1, McDevitt opposed.

Social Services – Hubene asked about overlapping agencies, and a short discussion followed.  It was believed the food stamp program overlaps with WIC, and none of the agencies that seek funding administer food stamps.  Reggie moved to reduce the proposed figures by 2-percent, which would be a total of $3,430 or a reduction of the printed figure by $70.  Jo Cooper said the requests already seem pretty reasonable and there are better ways.  She recommended funding for the Ellsworth library stay the same.  There was no 2nd to Reggie’s motion.  Hubene said if we’re going to reduce the social services, it ought to be more than what was proposed.  She moved to reduce each individual proposal in the January 7th printout by 10-percent, or a recommendation of funding at $3,150.  Reggie 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

Library – Hubene moved to recommend $3,500.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 3-0, McDevitt abstained.

Public Safety – Reggie asked if a new fire truck is included anywhere in the budget.  Stu said no.  He said the fire department intends to seek private funding for that.  Reggie asked about the ventilation system.  Stu explained that town meeting raised half the funding in March 2002 for the system, but it was more cost effective to install the entire system, so the fire department supplied the rest of the money with the promise from the Selectmen that an article for the 2nd half would appear on the March 2003 warrant.

Reggie moved to recommend $43,850 for Public Safety.  Robin 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

Fire Truck Reserve – Reggie moved to recommend $5,000.   Robin asked how much a new truck will cost and when a purchase is contemplated.  Stu said probably between $150,000 and $200,000, and possibly in the next 10-to-12 years.  There was a lengthy discussion on truck funding, and using the money in the past to purchase used fire trucks.  No one 2nd Reggie’s motion.  Robin moved to recommend $10,000 for the reserve addition.  Hubene 2nd.  Vote in favor was 3-1 (McDevitt opposed).

Ventilation/Painting – Hubene moved to recommend $19,250.  Robin 2nd.  Reggie said we should wrap up the meeting because two of the budget committee members are missing, and three members present are involved with the fire department.  He said he didn’t think the game is being played fairly.  Joe said he does not wish to be perceived as doing this incorrectly, and Hubene agreed.  There was further discussion on the fire truck reserve recommendation.  Joe said it might be more comfortable to rescind the vote on the reserve and the ventilation system until the next meeting. 

Robin said in the interest of good public relations, she would move to rescind the recommendation on addition of $10,000 to the fire truck reserve.  Hubene 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

Hubene said she is withdrawing her motion on the ventilation system/painting recommendation.  Robin withdrew her 2nd.

Solid Waste – Reggie moved to recommend $73,585.  Hubene 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

Planning – Reggie moved to recommend $1,075.  Hubene 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.

Code Enforcement – There was a brief discussion about the CEO and deputy salary.  Reggie moved to recommend $11,995.  Hubene 2nd.  Vote in favor was 4-0.  Stu suggested afterwards that perhaps planning and code enforcement could be moved into the administration budget, and asked why the Code Enforcement account was segregated years ago.  Reggie said it had to do with politics.

The hour being late, the committee decided to stop at this point, and hold another meeting.  The committee set that next meeting for Friday, February 7, 2003 at 7:00 PM.

Robin moved to adjourn at 9:38 PM.  Joe 2nd.  There was no objection.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.