Present were: Budget Committee members Reggie McDevitt, Henry Ashmore, Hubene Brodie, Robin Veysey, Joe Young, Linda Feury; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, Scott Snowman and Timothy King representing Washington/Hancock Community Agency, Carroll Austin representing Ellsworth Public Library, Jessica Hutchins representing Child and Family Opportunities, Trudy Lunt and Gary Taylor representing WIC, Richard Sprague representing Downeast Horizons, Mildred Jordan representing Loaves & Fishes, Peter Farragher representing Down East Family YMCA, Donald Baril representing Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, and Ursula Heiniger representing Eastern Area Agency on Aging.
Minutes – Reggie moved to approve the minutes of November 17, 2003 as presented. Hubene 2nd. Vote in favor was unanimous.
Review of Outside Agency Funding Requests
Washington/Hancock Community Agency – Scott Snowman of WHCA said the figure proposed for this year was similar to last year’s. He said expenses in Lamoine for WHCA were just over $47,000. He said the $600 request is the limit imposed by the town. He said in towns without such restrictions, they generally request two percent of expenditures. He said in Lamoine that would work out to $940. Henry asked about the expenditures. Mr. Snowman said it includes $9,700 for transportation, $23,000 for community services, mostly the HEAP program, $2,400 for rental assistance, $1,150 for child protection and $10,500 for business startup and maintenance. Henry asked if the businesses were in Lamoine. Mr. Snowman said they are. Hubene asked if any of that business money is paid back. Mr. Snowman said no.
Mr. Snowman said the money from local government is used as leverage to gain state and federal funding, as part of required matching funds. He said without the local funding, the federal and state grants would be less. Joe asked about the fuel assistance money. Mr. Snowman said it’s under the community service program. He said 58-people were involved, and that works out to about $400 per family. Henry asked if they have to meet financial guidelines. Mr. Snowman said they do.
Downeast Horizons – Richard Sprague, the executive director, said they’ve been in Hancock County for 28-years. He said they provide services to adults with developmental disabilities and severe mental retardation. He said they run 8-group homes and several apartments in the county, mostly within a 10-mile radius of Ellsworth and MDI. He said the application had a mistake on it – Downeast Horizons actually serves two people from Lamoine, not the one indicated. He explained both situations.
Mr. Sprague said they’re asking for the maximum $600. He said the value of service provided to Lamoine residents is $82,000. He said they missed the application deadline last year. He said Lamoine has been a loyal supporter for many years.
Henry asked if they still operated the store on Route 3. Mr. Sprague said the headquarters is still three, but the services have evolved over the years. He said most of the work training is now in other businesses and Downeast Horizons supplies job coaches. He said they’ve found folks with Down Syndrome had lived shorter lives while in institutions, and now they’re living a longer, happy life, so they’ve created an aging program. He said they’ve shut down the workshop, as no one wanted to work there. Hubene asked when clients are in other businesses, where does their paycheck go. Mr. Sprague said the client gets the pay. He said most of the workers could work about 15 to 20 hours per week. Henry asked if it was for minimum wage. Mr. Sprague said yes, or better. He said there are some state guidelines for paying less than minimum wage.
Maine Coast Memorial Hospital – Donald Baril of MCMH said they’re asking for support for the Health Link program which is the outreach service for preventative medicine. He said it’s not a profitable part of the hospital operation. He said they’re trying to deal with obesity issues, and encourage lifestyle changes including having people become more active and to quit smoking. He said the hospital puts $230,000 to $250,000 a year into the program, and could spend a lot more on prevention. He said they’re working with employers in the workplace. He said the hospital sees its role as becoming more integrated into the community.
Mr. Baril said the hospital made a small profit last year. He said it’s now a $90 million dollar corporation, and that’s a sign of the change in health care. He said volume has increased, and the Dirigo Health Plan will change how hospitals get reimbursed. He said it’s very difficult to attract physicians to the area because of the pay scales. Henry noted the request was specifically for Health Link, which is not a profit center. Mr. Baril said the hospital could save money if people don’t become ill.
Eastern Area Agency on Aging – Ursula Heiniger, a board member and volunteer for EAAA thanked the town for its past support. She said in the past year EAAA assisted 12 citizens with community services. She said the agency offers a large array of services, including housing, help with Medicare and Social Security and Food Stamps, cutting through government red tape. She said there were some home visits, and quite a few meals on wheels deliveries, along with some Alzheimer’s care. She said the services totaled $1,315, and they’re requesting $250 this year. She said the state requires a 20 to 50 percent match, and they use municipal funding for that match. Henry asked where the nearest of the 30-dining rooms EAAA operates is located. Ms. Heiniger said at Meadowview in Ellsworth. She said home delivery is based from that location. Linda asked about the value of services, and whether a formula is used for volunteers. Ms. Heiniger said they generally value the cost of a meal at $5.00, and the volunteer delivery people can be reimbursed for mileage, but most waive it.
Loaves & Fishes – Mildred Jordan, a board member said from January 1st until November 30th, the food pantry served 60 families from Lamoine. She said they could come once a month, or more if it’s an emergency. She said they served 221 people, plus four Thanksgiving baskets. She said 4 families from Lamoine have used the pantry so far in December. Hubene asked if the pantry coordinates with the American Legion on food baskets. Mrs. Jordan said they use their existing client list for the baskets. Henry asked about the primary source of funding. Mrs. Jordan said they get most of their money from the Maine Ending Hunger Month in November. Henry said it appears they generally use community donations. Mrs. Jordan said they get an additional 10-percent match in November, and received about $19,000. She said towns also donate, including Hancock, Ellsworth and Lamoine. She said there is only one paid employee and they work 3 days a week. Henry said they’re certainly not overpaying their manager.
Hancock County Home Care – Stu said no one was present from that organization. He said he got mixed up, thinking this organization was Hancock County Hospice. He said the letter came in November, but there was no application. Henry noted they provided 110-home visits in Lamoine.
Red Cross – No one representing Red Cross was present. Henry said they’re requesting $600, and suggested local donations stay with the local organization. Linda said that’s not her understanding. Joe asked if they’d moved the offices to Rockland. Linda said the Red Cross leases space from the City of Ellsworth on Bridge Hill for $1. There was a brief discussion on the shortage of volunteers. Henry said the application had plenty of information.
WIC Program – Trudy Lunt said her program got a state service award this year, helping migrant workers and people on offshore islands. She said they picked up an additional 125 clients with outreach work. She said WIC served 29-clients from Lamoine last year, down from 33 the year before. She said they could get matching funds from community donations of up to $4,000. She said they appreciate the past help. Henry asked if Lamoine gave $4,000 and Surry did the same, would they get an additional $4,000 in matching funds. Ms. Lunt said no, the $4,000 is capped. Henry noted that a majority of WIC funding is from the federal government. Ms. Lunt said there is no state funding; it simply is Department of Human Services administering USDA funding. She said WIC is now in its 30th year.
Community Health & Counseling Services – No one from CHCS was present at the meeting.
Child & Family Opportunities – Jessica Hutchins, a teacher at CFO was present. She said they’re requesting $800 for the head start program, which represents $200 per child served from Lamoine. She said that’s about half of the actual cost. Henry asked if she was aware of the limits of the appropriation, which is $600. He asked if there were four kids in the program. Ms. Hutchins said yes. She explained about early and regular head start programs. She said the program is based in Ellsworth.
Henry asked what the matching fund source was. Ms Hutchins said state and federal funding covers about 70-pecent of their costs. She said 30-percent comes from other sources. Henry said Head Start is only one part of the program. Ms. Hutchins said Head Start and childcare services are in the same building and share the same administration. Linda asked how many employees CFO has. Ms. Hutchins said she would estimate 30 to 40. She said there were 18 teachers. Henry asked if the budget was for the Ellsworth operation. Ms. Hutchins said yes, it’s on the Beechland Road. Joe asked it the program is federally funded. Ms. Hutchins said yes, and state funded too. Henry asked how many students are in a room. Ms. Hutchins said 15 to 20, but toddlers have only 8 per room, which is the mandated ratio. Henry asked if people had to qualify financially to get into head start. Ms. Hutchins said no, some pay privately, others get vouchers. Hubene asked about the transportation budget. Ms. Hutchins said she wasn’t sure what that was for, but the older children do take field trips from time to time. Hubene asked about the mandated children/teacher ratio. Ms. Hutchins said if a child is less than a year old, it’s a 2 child to one teacher ratio, as required by the federal government.
Downeast Family YMCA – Peter Farragher, the executive director of the “Y” handed out their latest brochure and thanked the town for its past support. He said they’re asking for $2,500, the same as past years. He said since Lamoine funds the “Y”, membership fees for residents are reduced, and that saves citizens money. He said they offer a scholarship program for low-income residents, and granted $845 in scholarships last year. He said it’s a confidential, easy program. Mr. Farragher said there were 264 members from Lamoine. He explained a new community recreation program offering. He said the new skate park has been positive for the community, and the ice rink will go in there soon. He said such things couldn’t happen without community support. Stu asked how the “Y” was doing financially. Mr. Farragher said they’re running at about a $13,000 deficit this year, but they’ve had some large expenditures for the skate park and the after school center. He praised the staff for its efforts.
Ellsworth Public Library – Carroll Austin, the treasurer of the library, thanked the town for its past support. He said the request is the same as in the past. Henry said the proposal is for $15 per cardholder. He asked how many other communities come up with the full amount of the library request. Mr. Austin said he couldn’t say that any made 100% of the request. He said if they divide the operating expense by the number of cards, it would work out to $50/card. Henry asked if the City of Ellsworth makes up the difference. Mr. Austin said it does, as the library is an agency of the city. He said in the past the state has made contributions, but that has gone. Linda asked if the number of cardholders is active. Mr. Austin said they reduce the list by 10-percent to account for attrition, but that’s an arbitrary figure. Henry asked if all the students at the school who go to the library hold cards. Discussion followed on expiration dates on cards.
Mr. Austin said the request is based on 531 cardholders. Henry asked if the Ellsworth City Council plans to suggest that people in outlying communities pay for cards. Mr. Austin said there has been pressure to start charging for non-resident cards, but they’ve tried to resist that.
Revisiting Previous Budget Items – Stu reported that he has finished the narrative on the budgets. He said he’s a little uncomfortable with the lack of input from the Selectmen, but feels the Selectmen show a great deal of faith in the Budget Committee and the review process.
Reggie asked why the library can come in and ask for $7,000+ when others are limited to $600. Henry explained that library and parks & recreation (YMCA) are exempted by the policy. There was some discussion on overlapping social services provided by various agencies.
There was a brief discussion on the recent lawsuit filed by the school board against the state and a hearing officer’s decision regarding payment for an educational program out of state.
Next Meetings – The committee will meet on January 5th to meet with Hancock County Home Care after discovering they did not receive notification of this meeting. The committee will also receive the preliminary budget from the school department.
Other Discussions – Henry noted that after the November 5th vote on tax reform towns wouldn’t know the education revenue amounts, so the committee will have to focus on expenditures only. He noted that the school department has been asked to supply the information on grant programs for the next town report.
Budget Review Corrections – The committee asked to have one reference to quarter review removed from the Administration Budget, remove the requests from Combat and Yesterday’s Children, add a new line for Hancock County Home Care, and to reduce the Child and Family Opportunities request to $600.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:05 PM
Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.