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Sally Bouchard

Budget Accountability Workshop
By Sally Bouchard
Mar 31, 2006 - 8:22:00 PM

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It is again budget time in Millinocket and all the department heads are going over their budgets line by line, but not MAGIC.

As the director of MAGIC is now a council member, he is asking others about their budgets and how they are spending money but he has never come before the council and explained his own organization's expenses.

We are told that the town got back the fifty thousand it gave to MAGIC to fix the elevator in the BRIC Building, but we are not told that they took their time in giving that check back to the town. Nor are we told that a lot of the citizens didnít think fixing an elevator in a building that was leased was a good idea to begin with.

Nor are the citizens told that the eighty thousand dollars that MAGIC took last year, which the "negative" citizens held up, was demanded by MAGIC long before they had any right to that money.

When MAGIC wants our money, they want it right away, but when it comes time to return money falsely appropriated, they take their time.

I assume that money was earning interest somewhere. Who kept the interest?

It is way past time that MAGIC came before the council and the public to give a true accounting of just where the money is going - line by line. If the director of MAGIC can ask others how they are spending taxpayer funds, then he also should be held accountable to the citizens that are giving him that money.

In our museum is a picture of the Katahdin Avenue School. That school was torn down as the town did not have the money to keep it up. Why didnít the town have the money is a question that could be asked.

We have lost money through big spending. Corruption cost the town money, while our town council didnít take the time to look at the warrants to see how the money was being spent.

We have lost money due to a citizenry that didnít care, or weren't interested in how their money was being spent; nor did they want to know about the corruption.

Due to all of the above, Millinocket has lost a beautiful building. We have lost a large part of our history and all we have left is a picture and our memories.

Last year, MAGIC's supporters on the council gave the organization eighty thousand dollars, with no accountability. They gave thirty thousand dollars to build a cultural center that was never build, and again, with no accountability. The council gave fifty thousand dollars to fix an elevator in a leased building, with no accountability. Yet the Katahdin Avenue School couldnít be saved because our town didn't have the money to save it.

Millinocket has done well with the heads of its departments. We have good people who are doing the best they can do, and they are responsible as to how the money is being spent. They also are accountable to the council, as well as to any citizen who is interested in how their town is being run.

This isn't so with MAGIC.

The Iron Bridge Road has come before the council. Like too many projects that Millinocket has needed, nothing was done until the money was no longer there and, by waiting so long to fix this problem, it has gotten worse. Now the time has run out for this area to be fixed. It should have been done years ago, just like our swimming pool.

We're spending money, but in the wrong places. This has always been a problem in Millinocket. We now have a surplus after years of living on the edge. Twice in the last ten years, Millinocket almost didnít have enough money to keep the town going.

Accountability is not an issue in anything our government does; so long as neither the citizens or our elected leaders care.

Edmund Burke, a Philosopher and English politician who lived in the 1700s said it very well: ďAll that is necessary for the triumph of evil is; that good men do nothing.Ē

For far too long, the good people of Millinocket did nothing about the fraud and abuse, or the issues of conflict of interest which have plagued our town, resulting in high taxes; nor are they doing anything about the fraud and abuse that continues to this day.

Accountability is the key for the citizens to know where their money is going, and it is past time that the citizens of Millinocket to hold all public servants accountable.

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