Or perhaps to LOAN SOME MONEY to a business who wants to move here, and can't afford to otherwise. That was the other tidbit they mentioned.
If the EDC gets their way on this one, the town will not only be a landlord, but a lending institution. Plus they wanted (eventually) a full or part-time director for the corporation.
The first time this came up, they got lots of hard questions from several selectmen, and seemed somewhat at a loss for answers. Let's see if they've done their homework this time.
TOWN OF KENNEBUNK
BOARD OF SELECTMEN
MARCH 29, 2006 - *6:30 P.M.*
TOWN HALL ROOM 301
The Board of Selectmen of the Town of Kennebunk will hold a Special Meeting on Wednesday, March 29, 2006 at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Hall in Room 301 to act on the following:
Article 1. To Discuss Legal Issues Concerning School Funding (executive session, Title 1, Â§405, 6.E ).
Article 2. To Discuss any other business that may legally come before the Board of Selectmen.
An editorial in the Journal Tribune. Not online, sorry. Please see my response below it.
(Scott, thank you so much for providing the image link! Much appreciated).
To the Editor:
In response to your school funding editorial questioning whether the Kennebunk Taxpayer's Association sees the state's last-ditch $287K bailout for SAD 71 as consistent with other state taxpayer policies:
I can't speak for the remainder of the KTA. Speaking for myself, however, I see it as completely consistent, and just the latest in the spectacular series of Baldacci-driven blunders; the combination of which have put Maine on the edge of fiscal ruin.
LD1, Baldacci's creation, is the reason our school funding formula was destroyed. LD1 has been a disaster for SAD 71, despite all the promises from our local Democratic legislators and senator who voted for it, endorsed it, and said that it would solve everything.
Add to that mix Dirigo Health, a never-ending state money sump in return for very questionable results. Then we have the catastrophic state health provider payment debacle, in which the state underpaid, then overpaid them by millions of dollars. Latest news? The state will likely owe our hospitals and doctors some $300M in 2007/2008.
Baldacci's administation raided the Department of Transportation for $72M to pay for other kinds of projects. Suddenly we get the news that the DOT is short $130M, and Baldacci wants to borrow more money, because there's no funds left in the DOT kitty to repair Maine's roads and bridges. What a surprise.
The state's decision to send another $287K to SAD 71 (which may end up shared between the two towns, not just given to the Kennebunk budget portion) is just another attempted clean-up of another fiscal disaster. It's another product of the supremely bad management presently occupying the Blaine House.
Belfast reportedly got extra money in state school funding last year, which they promptly spent. Whoops! Now the DOE says it was a mistake, and gee, they'd like it back.
My advice to SAD 71? Bank the $287K, and before you spend it, make sure it isn't another mistake from the Department of Democratic Blunders.
Anyone who wants my vote this year needs to do two things - you need to support the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, and you need to be a true fiscal conservative. Someone who truly wants to get Maine back on the road to fiscal sanity and health, on all levels - local, county, and most importantly, in Augusta.
Naran Row Spaulding
Update on the petition request to move our town spending budget to a referendum vote instead of the present town meeting vote:
Thanks to all who attended in support of our initiative, your presence this evening was much appreciated!
It was quite the meeting, since the town attorney did his usual pontificating (on our nickel, meanwhile) and re-stated his position that our petition constitutes a revision, which would necessitate the reconvening of a Charter Commission.
Our attorney (an expert in municipal law) who drafted the petition, says our request is an amendment, which does not need a Charter Commission, but rather a straight up or down vote on the town meeting warrant.
We forced the town attorney to admit there is no case law in Maine, and no Maine court precedent. And that state law is in fact not clear on the issue.
Several of the selectmen went to bat for us, which was good to see. However, the issue was eventually tabled until the next public hearing on April 11th, when they want to see a written opinion from our attorney, who couldn't be present this evening.
So, after worthy battle with hired legal guns, I thank all involved, and hope we eventually see a good outcome.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Petition: Change budget process
By JEN FISH, Portland Press Herald Writer
Copyright Â© 2006 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.
KENNEBUNK â€” Three years after rejecting revisions to the town charter, voters may be asked again to consider changing the way their town is governed. A group of residents who hope to change the way voters decide on the town's budget are on the verge of collecting enough signatures to start the process of changing the charter.
The petition asks the town to amend its charter so that residents can make municipal spending decisions through a secret-ballot referendum rather than in public at town meeting.
On Tuesday, Town Clerk Ethelyn Marthia told the Board of Selectmen that she has validated 849 signatures on the petition, which is just shy of the 990 required to put it before voters.
Organizers of the petition drive are confident that they will be able to collect the remaining signatures in time to put the issue to voters in June.
Does the Kennebunk Reporter Do an Accurate Job?
In an article in today's York County Coast Star, the Kennebunk reporter totally misrepresented my comments at Monday's SAD 71 school board meeting.
At the meeting, which discussed next year's budget, I stated that since my son graduated last year, I knew how much work the guidance department had done with the seniors - 743 college applications.
I stated that the high school should implement a new $10 per college application fee, and that if they had, it would have meant another $7400 for the high school to spend this year. I stated that as a parent of a graduating senior, I would gladly have paid $10 per college application in return for all the work involved.
I then questioned a school board member on some totally unrelated comments he made the week before, in which he stated this was the last year he wanted to formulate the budget based on what the taxpayers will support. Instead, he stated that from now on, he wanted to see the budgets based on what the kids need.
I pointed out that 11 years ago, our school budget was $13 Million dollars. Next year it will be just over $28 Million dollars, which according to anyone's calculator, means an increase of well over 100%. I stated that unfortunately, due to the severe increases, there is never going to be a time they will be able to "just think about what the kids need."
In his article on the budget deliberations, the Kennebunk Star reporter combined my two statements, to make it look as if I was saying that since my son is graduated, now I don't care about what the kids need, just what the taxpayers need.
Read the article for yourself, and see what you think. You will find it on the York County Coast Star home page, under the title "MSAD 71 OK's 2.9% Increase."
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time the Star has (deliberately or not) misrepresented or repositioned certain quotes from residents in an incorrect manner. We tape every single one of the school board and town hall meetings, for this exact reason.
For anyone who wishes to verify that what I'm saying is true, there are also tapes at town hall. You can simply request the town clerk's office for the tape - it was Monday, March 27th, and they will let you watch it right there.
I have requested a retraction and a correction. Let's see if they are willing to do the right thing.
Here's what he wrote in the article:
After explaining that her son had just graduated from KHS, Kennebunk resident Naran Row Spaulding said she had a problem with board member Jonathan Kilbournâ€™s idea that the â€™07-â€™08 school budget be based on the needs of the school children and not just whatâ€™s available in the coffer.
In response, Kilbourn told Spaulding, â€œWeâ€™ve reached the end of the cuts we can make without feeling a serious hurt.â€
Certainly no shortage of CREATIVE WRITING around that news room, is there????
just because it's factually accurate but conveys something utterly different than what happened is no reason to go asking for retraction....think of all the wasted ink that could have been used on an article supporting TABOR! :lol:
Indeed - and if they'd quit editorializing in articles, and misrepresenting what people say, I'd be happy to! 8)
In the meantime, it will be amusing to see how fast they remove my thread from their online forum. ha ha.
The reporter's reply:
Ms. Row Spaulding,
I cannot tell you whether or not a "Correction" or "Retraction" will run in our paper. Such matters are decided upon by others.
What I can tell you is that it appears to me that items that get "retracted" or "corrected" tend to be items that are incorrect in the first place.
So...I don't know where that leaves your somewhat "gray" "complaint."
(i.e.,) Did you say that your son had just graduated? Did you say that you disagreed with Mr. Kilbourn's thoughts? Did you talk about those two items in that order? A review of the tape will show just that, I believe. Actually, you do not deny saying any of it in your email. So. Correction of what? Were the two comments disparate, or just seemingly disparate? Do I directly say that they are connected?
I can see how you're making some assumptions here about my phrasing...but I assure you, Ms. Row Spaulding, they're just that: assumptions. And you know what they about those old assumptions.....
My very Best,
YORK COUNTY COAST STAR
Post Office Box 979
39 Main Street
Kennebunk, ME 04043
Phone: 207-985-2961, x. 28
Josh - I think you know very well why I'm asking for a retraction, and if you don't - well, simply put - there isn't much left we can do for you, is there?
However, I shall endeavor to explain one more time:
When you combine two entirely separate issues to make it seem as if one is entirely dependent upon, and related to the other, that, my pen-loving friend, is plainly misrepresentation.
Worse - it borders on the sort of writing generally reserved for the new works of fiction displayed in their lurid glory at the local library.
Joe Piscoponi states to the judge that he and his roommate Bruno Biscotti were roaming through the city late one evening, in search of female companionship and a few drinks along with it.
They stopped in for a six-pack at the local Suds n' Stuff. They went into the store, bought their brewskis, paid the bill, and departed back to their vehicle in the parking lot, where they sampled their purchase and listened to a re-broadcast of Lone Star Country Hits.
While sitting there, a dark, tinted-window SUV pulled in alongside them, but engrossed in music, beer and conversation, they thought no more about it.
The next day, both of them get a call from the local PD, who ran Joe's plate from the surveillance tape at the mini-mart, and asked them to come in for questioning.
When they get to the station, they find out that the SUV contained four dubious characters who subsequently robbed the Suds 'n Stuff, and in the process, duct-taped the unfortunate clerk to the walk-in freezer by his hair, before making off with the evening's proceeds, consisting of $5,600.00.
Naturally, the gendarmes wanted to know if Joe and Bruno were involved, since both of them had, shall we say, interesting, although minor, criminal records.
They both protest their innocence, and the tapes show no contact between them and the perps with the duct tape, so they are finally allowed to leave.
However, in the process of visiting the police station, someone on the force notices that Joe's registration is 8 months out of date, and he is promptly issued a citation and fined.
You, as the reporter covering the events for the Daily Riverdale Bugler, write a story that says the following:
"Joe Piscoponi, 36, of Riverdale City, was cited and fined for an unregistered vehicle, after Piscoponi admitted he was present during the Suds 'n Stuff robbery of Tuesday night."
Do you think this is an accurate representation of the above events?
If his defense is he was just stating the facts then his work must include all facts; otherwise his work is biased based on the lie of ommission.
His reporting would be like stating that we dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan because we didn't want to sell them our scrap steel. Those are the facts but it certainly is not an accurate statement.
Naran, well done. I would love to hear what he has to say....
Wow, I'm truly jealous of how much time you appear to have on your hands! Good for you!
Uh..... yeah, sure, O-kay. No defense, no apology, just a sarcastic "deflect and evade."
No wonder he's stuck in the backwater of journalistic swampland, rather than writing for the NYT or the Boston Globe, or somewhere you need actual talent to get hired.
Yep, he did nothing to answer the question. That is a poor response...you should see if they except letters to the editor...write your own...
They print some of our letters, when they have to. Usually buried in the farthest-back, dampest corner of the second news section.
You know - kind of like where they live - in the darkest, mushroom-ridden corner.
Most of the time, however, they conveniently "have no room" to print letters they don't like, especially ours. That's why I posted my response on their very own, brand-new online forum.
Ain't I awful?
heheheh, nothing like a woman scorned...lmao.
They still haven't removed the thread from their forum. What a riot.
As for another newspaper that is behaving badly (seems to be a theme this week), several of the KTA and other residents have cancelled their subscriptions to the Biddeford Journal Tribune. The Journal printed a totally misleading article headline and editorial this week on our efforts to get the town budget on a referendum vote.
Despite receiving a copy of the petition language, and speaking to one of the authors of the petition in person, the Journal persists in saying that our intent is to get rid of town meeting altogether. Nothing could be further from the truth. We merely wish to give ALL town residents the right to vote on how their money is spent, whether they work second shift, are ill, disabled, or serving in the military and can't make it to town meeting in person.
For our efforts to increase the rights of Democracy for ALL Kennebunk residents, not just the young and able-bodied, the Journal has chosen to vilify us.
Amazing, isn't it?
Updated List of Reasons Babbidge does not deserve re-election in 2006:
* Voted for, and has continually endorsed LD1. Which destroyed our traditional school funding formula between Kennebunk and the Port. LD1 has also proven to be a specious piece of legislation, which has done nothing to create tax reform in Maine. The town and school district are routinely proposing overrides to the LD1/EPS recommendations, and the LD1 "caps" are nothing more than suggestions to be ignored by officials.
* Mr. Babbidge lobbied for, and obtained paid teaching leave worth approx. $35K in 2004/2005, in addition to his legislative salary and per diems, unlike every one of our former legislators, who paid their own way without complaining. This arrangement was later deemed illegal by the school board, and despite vigorous attempts to renew the agreement by Mr. Babbidge, was rightfully denied by the school board in 2006.
* Mr. Babbidge opposes TABOR, the best hope Maine has for a slow, reasonable return to spending sanity, on state, county, and local levels.
* He never met a town or school spending initiative he didn't support.
* During the recent SAD 71 school funding debacle, Mr. Babbidge created a further divide between the Port and Kennebunk by proposing a permanent 50-50% EPS funding split to the state, without obtaining the Port's endorsement first.
Further, he misrepresented this 50-50%"cure" to the public and school board as being "permanent," and said "it would fix everything, forever." When in fact, as I made him admit at the meeting, it could instantly be negated by any future Augusta legislature if they so chose.
* By his own admission, he participated in a questionable secret meeting with other Kennebunk town officials, which resulted in a potentially improper secret offer of new school endorsements for the Port, if Kennebunkport would give $300K of their state tax education relief to Kennebunk. This offer was soundly and promptly refused by the Port selectmen, who acted entirely properly in this matter. Mr. Babbidge has no business or authority participating in such offers, which should be left up to the voters of both towns.
* He also repeatedly voted against Jessica's Law and the related amendment.
For all the above reasons, I hope that the Kennebunk voters in House District 141 will send Mr. Babbidge back to the SAD 71 classroom fulltime in 2006, by voting for Kevin Rheaume, the GOP candidate.
* Voted to Indefinitely Postpone LD 1866, An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicle Laws. This would have required people applying for a Maine Drivers licence for the first time to prove they are here legally. So - illegal immigration seems to be just fine with Mr. Babbidge.
Group looks to redo KHS arts theater
By Molly Lovell
Over the last year, the Kennebunk High School Theater Renovation Committee has been raising money to hire an architectural firm to look at renovations to the Alexander Economos Auditorium. (at Kennebunk High School - NRS).
Drummey Rosane Anderson, Inc. (D.R.A.) out of Springfield, Mass., will facilitate up-coming community workshops to provide interested parties with information about the project.
Money the committee has raised will allow the firm to perform a feasibility study in order to arrive at a concept design to renovate or replace the existing roughly 25-year-old theater and band room.
Committee member Marc Feldman, who is married to school board chair Maureen King, said the committee has privately raised the $31,500 it will cost to hire the firm.
â€œWe didnâ€™t want to ask for the districtâ€™s help. We felt that at these times, the district did not need to extend any money,â€ Feldman said.
Feldman said he doesnâ€™t want to predict where money for the renovation could come from, especially not during budget season, he said. (kinda self-explanatory??)
â€œOur goal right now is to do the best job we can to do a study and concept design to fit the towns and their needs,â€ he said.
The committee will hold a workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. on April 4 in the high school cafeteria. D.R.A will be there to solicit feedback and gather information from interested parties on how to improve the theater.
Story on Home Page
Since the town budget hearings are this evening, the KTA has sent comments to the committee, but likely won't be in attendance. It took them a solid year to collect the $31K needed just for the study - how do they plan to pay for the actual work?
Anyone attending the theater renovation meeting tonight is invited to snap some photos of the full-colored building REPLACEMENT mockups sure to be on hand and report back. :)
They will come up with some silly scheme and the taxpayers will end up paying the majority if not all of the bill. The answer will be NO!
Interesting town budget hearing this evening. Our numbers guy says the net increase on the town portion of the mill rate is going to be about 6.1% with the budget as proposed.
Town officials? 2.93% - they never give us the whole story.
Leftout - ask Ed to explain it to you if this differs from what you've been told.
I am on the budget committee in Bowdoinham. We are facing a 60% increase in county taxes due to the new jail. Yes, sixty percent. That alone works out to a 78 cent increase in the mill rate. Add in the 4% increase in the school assessment and we have a $1.10 increase in the mill rate (8.9%) even before we get to the town budget. The first cut of the town budget would result in a 14% tax increase. That's not going to happen. We'll come up with a town budget that has no impact on the mill rate, one way or another.
Town officials have a lot of flexibility in how they project other revenues like excise taxes. That could be the difference.
Or, it could just be the usual around here - they never include the amount of surplus they spend in calculating what they tell the residents as to the overall budget increases.
According to them, the budget has only gone up 10 or 12% over the last couple years. However, when you include the surplus, it's more like 40%, if not higher. Fun with numbers.
Our town budget proposal started out at a 15% increase, too, but no way will we ever see one flat funded from last year.
You're doing a much better job overall in Bowdoinham, notwithstanding county jails and such.
Our budget is not going to be flat funded. We will just be able to keep the impact on the tax rate to a flat amount due to the use of reserves and some changes in other reveues.
And, somehow I bet your town will accurately inform the residents as to the total budgetary increase, surplus and all.
Astonishing - what does the TABOR certification issue have to do with our petition? More editorializing from the Star? :roll:
Kennebunk could see town charter changes
By Joshua Bodwell
KENNEBUNK â€” Since Kennebunk was incorporated in 1820, its Town Meetings have been run as they are run today. The traditional, decidedly New England meetings (an outgrowth of early church meetings) allow participants a high level of involvement in the spending and law-making of their community.
Recently, the Kennebunk Taxpayers Association has gathered 841 of the 990 signatures needed for a proposed change to how Kennebunkâ€™s Town Meeting is run onto the next Town Meeting warrant. The KTA has proposed that the municipal budget be voted on by a referendum style secret ballot, such as the school budget is.
As the Maine Superior Court decides that the signatures delivered late on the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) petition will not be accepted, properly implementing the KTAâ€™s proposal (should it gather the remaining 149 signatures needed) is at the core of the heated discussion.
PS - we already have the other signatures, but we aren't turning them in just yet. :wink:
From the Star article:
The traditional, decidedly New England meetings (an outgrowth of early church meetings) allow participants a high level of involvement in the spending and law-making of their community.
Another Town Meeting aspect the proposed shift to referendum-style voting would alter is the ability to debate. Currently, as articles arrive on the floor, Town Meeting participants can discuss and modify the article. With residents going into voting booths, the discussion aspect would disappear.
Really? What about the "high level of involvement" provided by the umpteen public hearings the school district holds prior to their own referendum vote? Plenty of chances there for discussion, which hasn't "disappeared" - far from it. Another piece of disingenuous reporting.
And guess what? A referendum vote gives far more residents the right to vote than the 50-100 people (95% town employees) who show up for town meeting these days.
It enfranchises the ill, the disabled, those who can't sit in a hard chair for eleven hours to vote on warrant articles. Those who can't drive at night, or work second shift, or are away in the military on active duty, and are denied an absentee ballot by our present form of meeting.
Even the ADA rules say that towns must make reasonable provision to provide votes for the disabled. But under town meeting, they are denied the absentee ballots that would comply with the regulations.
A vote in favor of a referendum is a vote in favor of Democracy. It will be very interesting to see which of our selectmen will vote in favor of giving all Kennebunk residents the right to vote on how their money is spent.