Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette
Waldoboro budget cuts
At the July 18 joint meeting of the Waldoboro Select Board and the Waldoboro Budget Committee there was little to cheer about. The two entities could not agree on how to cut $106,000 from Waldoboro’s fiscal year 2013-2014 budget.
The cuts are necessary because of reductions in state revenue sharing.
The Waldoboro Select Board, by a vote of three to two, proposed the following schedule of adjustments to the budget: Cut Police budget by $60,000, Cut Public Works budget by $35,000, Cut the Finance Department budget by $2,710, appropriate from Undesignated Funds $8,290
The Budget Committee voted against the Select Board’s plan by a margin of five to three.
The proposed cuts are contained in Article 4 of the Special Town Meeting Warrant dated Sept. 10, 2013. It’s available on the town’s website.
The Select Board majority did not examine the impact of their proposed cuts on the ability of the police and the public works departments to serve the public interest.
As well, there was no meaningful discussion of possible alternatives to the Select Board majority’s direction. Thankfully, the Select Board majority did back away from its July 9 decision to reduce the police department budget by $110,000. Regretfully, however, the Select Board majority ignored the budget proposal the town manager had put together almost three weeks prior to the July 9 Select Board meeting. Attempts to put his proposals on the table for discussion were voted down by the same three who voted in favor of the plan that will be put before the voters on Sept. 10.
The Select Board majority could have adopted a more balanced approach to reducing the FY 2013-2014 budget. The town’s leaders have a moral, if not a legal, obligation to foster, at least, the perception that they have carefully deliberated over the issues before them. In effect, the three Select Board members who voted in favor of the cuts passed the buck. They declined to direct how the cuts were to be made. The message they gave was, “Here’s the amounts you have to cut; you figure out how to do it.”
It’s difficult if not impossible to schedule for 24/7 coverage with one-and-a-half fewer police officers. And it is imprudent to think that Waldoboro can rely on the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office during the times when Waldoboro cannot provide police coverage.
Providing back-up coverage for sick or vacationing Public Works employees with one less employee is also a daunting task. And how is the Public Works Department going to complete the critically important bulky waste transfer pads for the Transfer Station if they’re down one man? Where were the discussions of the consequences of the proposed cuts and the ways to implement them?
I’m not writing this letter to be critical of the efforts of the Select Board majority. I do not envy the situation in which they find themselves. Cutting budgets is never easy. Suggesting that steps thus far proposed fall short without proposing an alternative would be irresponsible and disrespectful of the proposals that are currently on the table for voters’ consideration.
Below is a suggested, more balanced approach to cutting the budget to make up for the shortfall in state revenue sharing. It is based upon the town manager’s June 20 proposal to the Select Board, a proposal the Select Board majority decided not to engage. That proposal is a public document and is available on Waldoboro’s website. I’ve included some additional suggested adjustments (**) in order to reduce appropriations needed from the undesignated fund balance:
1. Reduce budgeted hours for the town office by 1,924 hours per year — $19,427
2. Reduce benefits for the finance director (from her recent retirement and rehiring.) — $2,710
3. Eliminate one full-time police officer with effect from Aug.1 — $42,267
4. Use already-realized savings from the unfilled position of the town planner** — $7,500
5. Reduce by 50 percent the amount budgeted for social services** — $8,668
6. Appropriate from the undesignated funds — $25,428
**Denotes item that the town manager did not suggest.
The alternative suggested above ensures 24/7 police coverage albeit at
less-than-optimal levels. It permits the Department of Public Works to provide coverage for employees side-lined from sickness and vacation; and it ensures the Public Works Department will complete its work on constructing the bulky waste transfer area at the transfer station in order to minimize the possibility of Department of Environmental Protection fines (which can be very substantial and even exceed the reduction in state revenue sharing!). Finally, the alternative reduces town office hours without severely impeding levels of service.
The suggested use of the undesignated fund balance is fully justified. The town is well ahead of its timetable to rebuild the balance.
I urge Waldoboro’s voters first, to vote on Sept. 10 and second to agree with the majority of Waldoboro’s Budget Committee and the minority of Waldoboro’s Select Board by defeating the proposed cuts proposed in Article 4 of the warrant. If defeated, the matter should then go to an open town meeting, which can be called with 7 days’ notice.
Friendly Garden Visits
Those of us who ventured out to the nearby fishing village of Friendship on Saturday, Aug. 10, enjoyed the Friendly Garden Visits organized by members of the Friendship Museum. Fifteen village homeowners opened their yards and gardens, free of charge, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and shared their gardening expertise as well as the history of their homes and grounds, some of which had been in their families for generations.
Then from 2 to 4 p.m. that same day, a colorful bazaar was held in the Community Center, where "gently used garden items" and plants from local gardens were offered for sale. An original work of art by a local artist, and two garden hods filled with thoughtfully chosen garden items were raffled, the proceeds of the sale and the raffle to benefit the museum.
A warm "thank you" to Liga Janke and her indefatigable museum volunteers, and to the gardeners, for affording attendees such a pleasurable day.
The visiting day was part of a series of events the museum is sponsoring this year with the focus being on the garden. This past July, food historian Sandy Oliver gave a talk about her own cooking entitled: From the Garden to the Table. Coming on Oct. 5, noted pomologist John Bunker will speak of his long-time interest in Heritage Apples. And on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 11 a.m., an auction of apple-related foods will be held. Further information on these appealing up-coming events can be found on the museum's website: friendshipmuseum.org.
Friendship is worth a visit!
Danger of replacement
In totalitarian societies and in like ideologies we find a mind-set that may put definition to what may be called societies within societies to control, whether control is needed or not.
There must be a balance in issues of government. This is what makes America great. The Executive, the Congressional and Judicial, etc.
Now lets get to the point....when a person or person or persons feel they are given the ol' heave ho or the bums rush there must be a way to present their grievances to someone that will consider their plight.
In the Knox County Jail this control maybe out of control.
The four kitchen employees are in danger of being replaced by a food canteen company out of town.
Under the guise of state government "cut backs" for 9 months they have been held in financial limbo. Imagine the stress. But is it truly going to save money? The $8k estimate given to the Bangor Daily News on July 9 is probably as phony as the people skills and concern of the leadership of Knox County Jail.
If those in leadership want an objective evaluation there should be an independent culinary expert probe of the company Aramark to find out why they would want to put four people with exemplary records out of work.
Oh and by the way, Aramark has a marginal nutritional value and sub par food standards, according to online critics.
I do question the leadership of the Knox County Jail, I question their moral commitment of the kitchen workers and their seeming lack of conscience in their judgement.
I appeal to reason, to fair play and finally I question not only the judgement of this leadership, but the validity of their evaluation and qualifications to come to this conclusion.
Lobster boat race thanks
The Friendship Lobster Boat Races were held Saturday, July 20, in Friendship Harbor.
On behalf of the town of Friendship, we would like to publicly thank all the people that volunteered their time, and to all the businesses for their generous donations to the Friendship Lobster Boat Races.
Thanks to your support, we had another successful event and were able to provide the town ambulance service with all the proceeds generated that day.
Again, many thanks go out to local business donors who include: All Play Family Entertainment, Andes Variety, Barnes Garage, Benner's Marine Transport, Beth's Farm Market, Billings & Cole, Billy's Tavern, Brazier Trap, Brooks Trap Mill, Camden National Bank, Clark Auto Parts, Cummins, Cushing Diesel Services, Delano Seafood, Don Foshay's Discount Tire, Eastern Tire & Auto Service, EBS Building Supplies, Flipper's, Friendship Lobster Co-op, Friendship Trap Company, Glen Brown, Hamilton Marine, Hammond Lumber, Hannaford — Rockland andWaldoboro, Hillside Collision Center, Hyliner Rope, Jeff's Marine, Jess's Market, Journey's End Marina, Knapp Propeller Service, Marine Hydraulic Engineering Co., Mark's Appliance & Heating, Medomak Veterinary Service, Midcoast Marine, Mike's Auto, Moose Crossing Garden Center, Milton Cat, Moody's Diner, Movie/Pizza Shoppe, On the Road, Oyster River Trap, Paul Samuels, Prior Brothers Auto Repair, Purse Line Bait, RC Moore Transportation, Rockland Ford, SeaSide Inc., Shepard Motors Inc., Simmons Lobster Wharf, Steve Ralph, Storer Lumber, The First, The Slipway, Thomaston Grocery, Waldoboro Fitness, Viking Lumber, Wallace's Market, Warren True Value, American Awards, Maine Printing & Embroidery, and lastly the United States Coast Guard and the Maine Marine Patrol.
This years races were dedicated to Wesley A. Lash, of Friendship, in which his family was presented with the plaque.
The winner of the 2.5HP Yamaha outboard, donated by Jeff's Marine of Thomaston, was Ed King of Jefferson.
Thanks again to all the race competitors and spectators who came out with this years spectacular weather, and we all hope to see you the 2014 race season at Friendship Harbor.
Friendship Boat Race Committee — 2013
Summer Simmer sizzled
I would like to thank the people who made the Coastal Children’s Museum’s Summer Simmer Fundraiser a success. Held at Rock City Café last Saturday, Aug. 17, Summer Simmer was a dance party fundraiser held to raise funds and awareness for the museum. I want to first thank Erica Sanchez from Rock City Café for her collaboration, ideas and expertise and for allowing us to use the café’s space for the evening. Our sponsor Tea Printers and Publishing in Rockland printed our donation envelopes and were a dream to work with and we thank them tremendously for their support. Thank you to Hot Pink Flannel members Sarah Woodman, Teisha and Casey Hufnagel, Jared Paradee and Erica Sanchez for creating and putting up such fantastic decorations, without you it wouldn’t have been the underwater/floral vision it was. I also want to thank Starcia Willey who made a fantastic playlist on short notice after our DJ’s left us in a bit of a lurch and Jesse Stuart who donated his time and talent to take photos of party goers for the entertainment of all.
We would not have made a cent if it wasn’t for the kindness and generosity of our vendors who donated to our pick a prize raffle. Thank you to Bottega Photography, Dena's Barefoot Book Nook, Hello Hello Books, justkim Accessories , RHEAL day spa, Thomas Woodman at Maine Coast Hypnotherapy, and artists Elizabeth O'Haverty, Marianne Swittlinger, and Cindy Gregory. We were blessed with all your fantastic wares.
I also want to thank the board of the Coastal Children’s Museum who sold tickets for the raffle, helped decorate and enjoyed the night with us. We ended up raising just over 500 dollars and making memories and connections that will last a long time to come.
The Coastal Children’s Museum
Clean up after your pet
Hello again. We are still hanging in! This has become a journey and a half. It is all coming together with time and patience.
The mayor, Linda and I have been passing out fliers regarding the dog laws as they are written for the city of Rockland.
Modification of the signs will take some time but it is in the works. We citizens are not where we want to be yet regarding this issue, however it may never be 100 percent. If the handful of dog owners wish to ignore this law, we welcome the revenue the fines will produce for our city. There are many more eyes out there now. Other citizens are assisting in this endeavor.
We cannot say this enough; we sincerely appreciate your support. So many more citizens are setting the example for others to follow. Some are even carrying extra bags to give to someone who may have forgotten their own. Tourists and residents are commenting about the dogs on leashes, cleanliness of Main Street, beaches and walking areas compared to just a few weeks ago.
Dogs have rights too and we are responsible for making sure they are safe, fed, kept clean and medically sound. Please be a good "mom or dad" and obey the law.
We invite anyone, whether you live here in Rockland or not, whether you own a dog or not, to feel free to respond to this issue.
Our sincere thanks,
The family of Donna Thurlow would like to express our thanks and appreciation to everyone for the cards, prayers and support throughout this difficult time in the loss of our loved one. Also to all the doctors, nurses and CNA's at Pen Bay Medical Center, Knox nursing home and Kno-Wal-Lin, who had a part in her care during her many hospital stays.
Special thanks to Stacy, Mary and Brandie for your special care and to Burpee funeral home staff for all their help and compassion.
Also, Rhonda thank you for the nice memorial service with many fond memories.
Most of all thank you to Minnie for all your love, prayers and concern for Donna over the years. Everything was greatly appreciated.
Mom, Richard, Beth and family, Chanda, Tristo and family, Tom, Polly and family.