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Lamoine Town Report 2005

Selectmen's Report

To say 2005 has been a challenging year for Lamoine is an understatement, but we're pleased to report Town Government has met the challenges head on and continues to function effectively.  More challenges lay ahead, and we believe our processes and personnel will continue to succeed.

 

One of the biggest challenges came from the Maine Legislature with the passage of the legislation known as LD-1. This legislation placed stringent limits on the amount municipalities could raise in property taxes.  Because Lamoine used a large amount of surplus to fund the 2004/05 budget, thus keeping property taxes low, the town meeting was barred from using property taxes to fund the 2005/06 budget.  After asking town meeting to increase the property tax limit from zero and having that request denied, voters approved about $58,000 in cuts to the budget approved last March.  That means your property tax for the municipal portion of government remains at zero.  While no member of the Board of Selectmen is a fan of taxes, it's not clear how long the town will be able to function effectively without being able to raise property taxes for the municipal budget, which is a relatively small portion of the overall town budget. 

 

Our Board increased in size by two members as of the Town Meeting in March 2005.  While the members of the board represent diverse points of view, we all believe in the Town of Lamoine and its residents.  Accordingly, most of the board votes have been unanimous.  The meetings are cordial and input from the public is always welcomed. There was disagreement and some controversy over the purchase of a new fire truck in 2005, but the Board continued to function well and did its best to maintain civility in its meetings.

 

Lamoine has accomplished a lot this year.  Seven people came forward to serve on the newly formed Parks Committee and we commend them for their hard work which has resulted in some proposed ordinance revisions and plans for park improvements.  Our Long Range Planning Committee conducted a survey of Lamoiners which produced some interesting results.  Our Planning Board did a good job of explaining ordinance changes at the 2005 town meeting, which passed.  That Board has dealt effectively with business at hand and will be proposing revisions to our Shoreland Zoning Ordinance.  The Board of Appeals wrapped up a particularly contentious matter involving the Seal Point Lobster Pound.  The Cable TV Committee has successfully put our government station on the air and recruited volunteers to air various meetings.  The Conservation Commission presented a number of very interesting public forums and facilitated completion of a groundwater study.  The Budget Committee functions well and made recommendations for cuts when the LD-1 vote was necessary.  Lamoine is fortunate to have good citizens willing to serve their town.

 

Our paid staff has another year of experience and we're proud of their work.  Only one key position turned over this year – Stu Marckoon resigned as Road Commissioner and Dennis Ford has agreed to fill that job.  Dennis is also our Code Enforcement Officer, receiving his certification during 2005.  Stu remains our Administrative Assistant and was awarded the Leadership Award by the Maine Town and City Management Association during the summer.  He also received certification as a Municipal Manager. Allen Sternfield completed his 12 th year as Transfer Station Manager, Kathy DeFusco is now in her 4 th year as our Assistant Town Clerk/Tax Collector, and Jennifer Kovacs has finished up her 2 nd year as Town Clerk/Tax Collector. 

 

We also want to recognize the members of the Lamoine Volunteer Fire Department this year.  These dedicated men and women have endured a particularly challenging year.  In February they performed a dramatic rescue of two women who fell through the ice in Raccoon Cove, saving their lives.  In May our firefighters used their rescue skills and tools to cut a teen-aged boy out of a wrecked vehicle, getting him to the LifeFlight helicopter just in time, probably saving his life.  In June, members of the Fire Department responded quickly to the fatal accident that claimed the life of Jina Haslam.   The Department went “all out” in October when 10-inches of rain fell in one weekend and flooded several roads.  Firefighters set up road barricades and dealt with numerous calls.  And in November, the fire department helped at the scene of another fatal accident on Mud Creek Road .  We wish to thank the Department members for a job well done.

 

The town faces challenges ahead.  Town Meeting rejected a land purchase behind the school, twice.  We still have an aging school facility and a gymnasium that is too small to hold a basketball game, let alone adequately house town meetings of any size.  We continue to grow with an aging population, wearing roads, and pressure on our town office staff which continues to handle a growing number of transactions.  The Town Office itself is too small and has very limited parking and often is inadequate for the meeting space needed to operate successfully.  We have addressed some accessibility issues identified by the Secretary of State's office at no small expense. 

 

The board asked the staff and boards to put together a listing of expected longer term capital expense needs in order to help prepare for the future.  The list has many worthy needs at a challenging cost.  This planning tool will help us formulate the proper funding plans for the future. 

 

Finally, we hope that we have kept you well informed during the year.  Between our Cable TV channel, the town's website ( www.lamoine-me.gov ) and the Lamoine Quarterly newspaper, we think that Lamoine residents have the opportunity to be well-informed about what is happening with their local government.  Please continue to contact us with comments, questions, and your ideas about making our town government better.

S. Josephine Cooper, Chair

Richard Fennelly Jr.

Cynthia Donaldson

Brett Jones

Perry Fowler