We write in response to the comments Livermore Falls Selectman Ronald Chadwick made in a story about the proposed Livermore Falls budget and other issues (Sun Journal, May 3).

Most small towns are facing poverty and fixed income issues; however, the outlook for our town is positive. The town has a very adequate amount in our fund balance and our auditors say we are in good standing. The town had maintained a mill rate of $20.80 for four consecutive years due to the diligence of the town manager and employees.

Chadwick spoke of the benefits for town employees and would like “to see the selectmen negotiate harder with the employees’ union.” He was one of three individuals who worked on the union contract and signed the contract, so he had ample opportunity to make changes. In the coming year, the town will save $25,085 by changing the formula of what the town pays. Additional savings to the town in health insurance is $23,205 due to changing the treasurer/clerk’s position to a part-time with no benefits. Total savings in health care costs to the town is $48,290.

Efforts were made for engineering and repair costs for the known deficiencies of the fire station. The treasurer’s job is now a part-time position, saving $32,022 in salary and benefits. Town office employees have taken on additional responsibilities due to the change with the treasurer’s position, along with performing janitorial duties in the town office.

There are differences between the Budget Committee and the Selectmen, mostly due to the new three-year union contract — a binding legal document. The Budget Committee did not recognize the new wages and chose to go with last year’s budget numbers. Their statement: “They wanted to make a point.”

Other differences included a $20,000 reduction in salt and sand. Members of the Budget Committee did a “ride by” and concluded that the salt shed was full. The salt shed holds 90 tons and we use 600 tons per year.

The increase in the insurance line is the town’s share of the employees’ retirement fund due to changes in how Maine State Retirement funds are handled.

It should be noted that the Budget Committee was invited to the Board of Selectmen’s budget meetings held after the regular board meetings. The Budget Committee had ample time to discuss any issues with the selectmen and/or town manager to gain clarification on matters at hand.

The selectmen are also residents of Livermore Falls and are cognizant of the budget constraints, as well as the mill rate. Decisions are not made hastily or without listening to the people of the town.

Louise Chabot, Board chairman, and James Collins, Jeffrey Bryant and Mary Young


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