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Welcome to the NEW Atkinson Reporter! Under new management, with new resolve.

The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Warrant is posted on the town website, and there is a lot to yell about!

Town of Atkinson Website

You can read the Warrant there. I guess the selectmen couldn't get it done in time to mail this year. I wonder why it keeps getting later every year?

The Law states that Warrants, and budget "shall be posted, and copies available to the general public, on or before the last Monday in January! They are pushing the wire on this one, but we will let that slide, although it is not fair that most people will walk into deliberative session having never SEEN the warrant!

Article 2009-7 Multiple-Year Collective Bargaining Agreement

To see if the Town of Atkinson will vote to approve the cost item included in the collective bargaining agreement reached between the Board of Selectmen and the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local #563 which calls for the following increases in salaries and benefits at the current staffing level:

Year Est. Increase Year Est. Increase Year Est. Increase

2009 $6,978 2010 $15,679 2011 $18,993

and further, to raise and appropriate the sum of Six Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-eight Dollars ($6,978) for the current fiscal year, such sum representing the additional costs attributable to the increase in salaries and benefits over those of the appropriation at the current staffing level paid in the prior fiscal year?

Not Recommended by the Budget Committee

Recommended by the Board of Selectmen

Once again the numbers here are wrong. These only account for the officers ACTUALLY in the union, but by selectmen vote, ALL officer get the same pay and benefits that the union officers get. So while the selectmen are telling you, the cost for the 5 union officers, while leaving out the other 3 Ft, and 12 PT officers.

Article 2009-8 Authorization for Special Meeting on Defeated Collective Bargaining Agreement

If Article 2009-7 is defeated, shall the Town of Atkinson authorize the governing body to call one Special Meeting, at its option, to address article 2009-7 cost items only?’ (Majority vote)

Recommended by the Board of Selectmen

This is rich! They want another bite at the apple! They are saying that they expect the union article to fail, and if it does they want your permission to spend $3,000 dollars to have a SPECIAL town meeting to pass it during the summer and most are on vacation. Bullshit! If we vote it down, or up, IT STAYS THAT WAY UNTIL NEXT YEAR! You people screamed at us for holding a special town meeting for the Vietnam Honor rolls. and now you want to do the same!

Article 2009-12 Recreation Capital Reserve Fund

Shall the Town vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000) to be added to the Recreation Capital Reserve Fund? The purpose of this fund is the acquisition, design, renovation, and development of recreation areas, to include but not limited to fields and playgrounds. This article is in addition to Article 2009-9, the Operating Budget.

Not Recommended by the Budget Committee

Recommended by the Board of Selectmen

Hey, Patti, these are tight times! You dont need to bank any more money this year! Give us a break. And of course our selectmen recommended it, they have never seen a spending article they did not like.

Article 2009-13 East Road Recreation Area

Shall the Town vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Forty Thousand Dollars ($40,000) to continue construction of the new East Road Recreation Area (Map 15 Lot 27), and to authorize the withdrawal of Forty Thousand Dollars ($40,000) from the Recreation Capital Reserve Fund created for this purpose? No additional tax dollars need to be raised for this Warrant Article. This article is in addition to Article 2009-9, the Operating Budget.

Recommended by the Budget Committee

Recommended by the Board of Selectmen

Again, Patti, tight economic times, do we really need to spend this this year? Cant it wait?

Article 2009-16 Police Station Generator

Shall the Town vote to raise and appropriate up to the sum of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000) to purchase and install a stand-by, self-starting, propane electric generator which will provide enough electricity to power the Police Station in an emergency situation, thus allowing the Police Department to remain operational during a power outage? The installation of said generator will be under the supervision of the Town’s Building Maintenance Supervisor. This article is in addition to Article 2009-9, the Operating Budget.

Recommended by the Budget Committee

Recommended by the Board of Selectmen

$25,000 that is an incredible amount for a generator! And of course nobody has any numbers. Nobody has gotten any estimates! But this is much better than the pie in the sky $56,000 that the chief asked for! Phil you gotta be kidding! Do you even TRY to get a hard number, or do you just try to see how gullible we can be? And thanks, budget committee for doing NOTHING on this one either! Where are the budget committee of old?

Article 2009-30 Petition: Restricting Legal Fees

By Petition: "To see if the voters will vote to prohibit the selectmen from spending taxpayer money on the personal legal fees of public officials personal legal fees for which the taxpayers have no direct liability for and to prohibit the unwarranted payments for legal advice not pertaining to town business When passed, this warrant article will become effective immediately."

Article 2009-31 Petition: Improve Elderly Services

By Petition: "To see if the voters of Atkinson will vote to expand Elderly Services to provide services to all residents at least 60 years of age; and to all residents with disabilities with no age restriction. To restrict the spending of the Elderly Services budget and Town managed donations, to services directed at the improvement of the health, well being and protection of the qualified residents. Services are to include rides to medical appointments, and medical devices not already available through insurance or other welfare organizations. To further direct the Elderly Affairs Director to seek out other available State and Federal assistance, such as, but not limited to, NH Fuel Assistance and Meals on Wheels and to post such information at the Town Hall in a conspicuous location. To further direct the Director of Elderly Affairs to post instructions to qualified residents as to how to request and schedule services, in a conspicuous location at Town Hall. To further direct the Elderly Affairs Director to seek out and manage a staff of volunteers to assist the elderly with non-funded assistance such as, but not limited to, shoveling snow and well-being checks. When passed, this warrant article will become effective immediately."

Article 2009-32 Petition: Full Time Police Chief

By Petition: "To See if the voters will direct the selectmen to Advertise; direct; screen and interview candidates using the State Police interview unit, to conduct the screening process, and hire the MOST QUALIFIED by objective standards of; education, and time in service (minimum qualifications are; a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice, and at least 15 years of certified service on a civil police force) candidate for the position of full time police chief. Said position to encompass the duties of the current part-time chief, and the current full time administrative Lieutenant, with salary commensurate with experience and having benefits the same as the current Atkinson Police Lieutenant and will have a starting salary in the range of $60,000, plus the commensurate benefits. The selectmen are to begin this process within 14 days of this article being passed by the voters, and this process MUST be completed within 60 days of the passage of this article. Advertisements for this position are to run in at least 3 newspapers of general circulation in the Town, for at least 14 days."

We wont discuss these here as they have been discussed in previous articles.

Article 2009-34 New Powers

Shall the Town vote to adopt the provisions of RSA 36-A: 4-a, I(a) to authorize the Conservation Commission to expend funds to purchase interests in land outside the boundaries of our municipality, subject to the approval of the local governing body?

Recommended by the Board of Selectmen

HELL NO!!! Why do they need to buy land OUTSIDE OF ATKINSON? WITH OUR MONEY?


Anonymous said...

What about all the ones the Planning Board put on the agenda? Considering the board's makeup, I'm real suspicious that they are trying to pull one on us. Anyone in the know have an assessment on what they want?

As for all the money warrants - They may, or may not make it through the session. But I'm willing to bet every one that does, will lose at the polls.

Hey BOS, Hey Budget Committee, and especially you chief - Have you been following the news lately? People are getting laid off in droves. People are losing their homes. Now you want to increase our property taxes, again, for this stuff. Make harder on those who are already suffering. What are you THINKING? Is that that your goal?

I simply cannot believe what I'm seeing here. Inconceivable. Have you people lost all touch with the outside world?

Anonymous said...

Actually, it makes me ill. $25,000 for a generator. Buying land OUTSIDE of Atkinson. $65,000 for recreation. And I'm sure the budget is going to have some real surprises.

Until the economy is back on its feet, it's budget cuts and no to all money articles. Time for the town to exercise, or rather, be forced to exercise some fiscal restraint. A good many of us have to do it in our personal lives, time for the town to do its part.

Anonymous said...

$771,000 for police.

Hampstead's police budget is only $809.000, and they are 40% bigger!

Anonymous said...

So they waited till just before the meetin. Is that transparency and good government? What arethey scared of? The honest hardworking citizen? Can't you guys read a newspaper? Talk about being out of touch!

Anonymous said...

I say Bull Taco on all of this. There are many of us that are on the brink of finical disaster and they are spending upon stupid stuff?

I too thought about a generator for home ever since we had that massive power outage. But in all the years I have been here, when did we have a major one like that? It was in 1998. So is that money going to be used on something that will be exercised regularly or is it for something that is nice to have?

Anonymous said...

No to mention that if power is out, phones are out too. So how much power do they need? Once every 10 years we have a lengthy outage.

Anonymous said...

$25,000 for a generator? The PD operates out of a small building that only needs a generator that costs maybe $5,000. Phil started with the budget committee at $56,000! You could power half he town with that sized generator. Talk about irrational. Doesn't he realize everyone in town just bought a generator and we all know you don't need a $25,000 generator? Duh. During emergencies like this, our Fire Dept is where emergency operations occur. Not the PD. There is no justification for a $25,000 generator. Talk about padding the numbers. Put in a little extra in there for retirement.
If a reasonable request of $5,000 was made, I would have voted yes. Now I vote no for the PD generator. Good way to get the voters PO'd.

Anonymous said...

I agree. This is the absolute last straw. Many families will be having a difficult time in the coming months putting food on the table and yet we want a $25k generator?

It certainly appears that there will be and has been much padding in this budget perhaps to over compensate for the elderly fund that is now still twisted and tied to the police budget.

Maybe we should reduce the perks that have been given out in the past such as a free all expense paid car.

Many of us will be loosing our job or perhaps taking a pay cut. I think the budget should be doing the same thing.

Those looking to ask for stupid stuff like this have gonads of brass!

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should also ask why Phil has TWO PERSONAL CARS?

He drives the Durango, and usually keeps it at his house.

And he drives the Green Mercury "surveillance vehicle, with the ghost plates on it" and usually keeps it at his house?

and when did the selectmen authorize him TWO personal vehicles?

Hell, the selectmen never authorized him to buy the SUV!

He just went out and spent $30,000!

Anonymous said...

I say no new generator for the Police Dept. They worked out of the Fire Dept. this year and can do it again should a storm be as bad as the ice storm. They have a very expensise generator at the FD, so set up an emergency response team there. In fact, Move ALL THE PD there, and sell off the current police station.

Ever go upstairs in the Fire Dept? So many empty rooms not being used at taxpayer expense. Move the PD there this year.

tim dziechowski said...

Here is the deal with the warrant article on conservation land outside of town. We currently have several parcels of town forest which span the Plaistow town line. The legislature just changed the law such that we could not purchase a parcel like that without adopting this warrant article.

This does not affect just land purchases, it's also easements..._any_ interest in land.

We have a 140 acre town forest on the Haverhill boundary. The SW corner of the trail system goes through a swamp for several hundred feet. Might be nice to be able to buy an easement to go over dry land.

There is also the McPherson conservation land on Main Street, with no parking so no easy access by townspeople. It would be cheaper to buy an easement over Haverhill back land from the Sawyer field to the McPherson land than it would cost to put in a parking area.

Anonymous said...

Let's us don't complain about the Monday night posting of the warrant, okay? It's been going on for years and yars, and this is the first year I can recall that anybody noticed.

Anonymous said...

Planning Board proposed warrant articles are given a public hearing in maybe early December, duly posted. If you were interested, you should have paid attention and attended.

Anonymous said...

Far from voting to spend money. I want my money back that this town over assess my property for. I am over taxed and over assessed. I guarantee I will vote down any spending article that looks like pork. NO MORE PORK! Wake up and smell the sewage. People are in trouble and you don't get it. It is no longer business as usual. PAY ATTENTION.

Anonymous said...

"Why would the conservation committee need to buy land outside of town?"

I would imagine that would be handy if they had a chance to buy a piece of land that was partially in another town.

Considering the fact that Tim (Chairman of the Conservation Commission) is one of the few people in town willing to stand up to the business interests on the planning board, and that he's never been less than honest, I don't have a problem giving them the power to get a good deal on a piece of land.

Anonymous said...

"Planning Board proposed warrant articles are given a public hearing in maybe early December, duly posted. If you were interested, you should have paid attention and attended."

Given that they haven't published minutes since November, I sorry, I must have missed the notice.

I'm paying attention now. So are many others. I'm simply asking for a layman's interpretation of these articles. No need to get snippy.

MAcciard said...


I now understand your committee's purpose in proposing this article.

Hopefully you can explain it as well on town floor, because when you read it, it doesn't come across that way.

Good Luck!

tim dziechowski said...

Mark -

Thanks. Unfortunately the new legislation dictates the specific language that must be used in a warrant article to adopt the "new" optional power to buy land outside of town.

The really tough thing is that a lot of the best remaining land for conservation is on the Plaistow, Hampstead, Haverhill, and Salem town lines.

Anonymous said...

Is the proposed budget available for review?

Anonymous said...

How about the rest of the Planning Board warrants? Who wrote those?

MAcciard said...

My advice would be to include an advisory paragraph, if the law will allow it, such as often appears in warrant articles, that would explain why that power is needed.

Anonymous said...

i paid 5,000 for my generator had it wired for 100 $ i have a 5 room house and 2 bath,s so 25,000should cover the cost plus pay the maintanist man for one year vote this down ther stealing your money

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't the new driveway at the community center been plowed. I thought a 2nd exit was paramount to safety over there. Wasn't that why we prostituted the deed for the ugly sign that sits on town land?

Anonymous said...

$20k surplus is certainly a lot of fluff for maintenance. I doubt that we will have this sort of thing happen again for a while. Unitil is taking a whooping for not being prepared as well as the handling of this.

If it is just for a few lights and heat, a 5k watt generator will do the trick.

But remember, the generator is for short term use. Therefore don't plan on the same lap of luxury that you have when you have full power. There is something called roughing it and that is what we all do when there is a power failure.

It is also called roughing it when you want certain things approved in the budget and they don't happen. The town officials in Atkinson better get use to roughing it because the townspeople are fed up!

Anonymous said...

Folks, as I read it the $40K for recreation is coming out of the capital reserve fund set up for that purpose and not new taxes. I would assume that this is a continuation of the work being done on the East Road land that was talked about last year. I'm sure someone on recreation like probably Patty will speak on this like they usually do. The other $25K is the usual deposit to the capital reserve that they've done for a few years now, and it seems that the budget committee agrees and recommended no to that this year. So maybe they do realize that times are tough and some things have to wait. Also on the generator, I wonder if the cost is what it is because it is one of those automatic set-ups that will kick on when power is lost and power quite a lot of the usual things. I would think for that amount it would have to be something more significant than the typical household use generator.

Anonymous said...

This year is different. No new spending, and cut what is being spent. There seems to be no effort at all to reduce costs at a time when so many are suffering.

The Budget Committee, the BOS, and the PD seem to think the taxpayers are a bottomless money pit ripe for the pickings.

What I see is absolutely no sensitivity or awareness of what is happening to economy of this nation, and the world. Just business as usual.

Until the situation turns around, NO NEW SPENDING and try some budget cuts for a change.

And BTW, I'm familiar with self starting, propane fuel generators. $25K is a very large number for a building that size. I say, until we see some evidence of competitive bidding, NO, NO, NO.

Anonymous said...

Do they really need a self starting one or can they get off their duff just like all the rest of us, hook it up and away you go? Gosh, the self starting one, the propane hookup and all the rest, its a luxury!

And as for any proposal that claims that it is coming out of a fund such as what was mentioned about the recreational stuff, at some point it will come from our taxes. Whenever you add on to something such as the kindergarten (which they said would be paid by the state), over time you have maintenance, more busses, materials etc. Those come from our tax dollars. So to say that this is coming from a fund means we don't pay for it now but we will in a short while.

You have to look at the big picture and what it is going to cost over time and not the up front cost.

Anonymous said...

Here are some prices for you; Remember that you have to add $1,300 for a transfer box, and $1,300 to wire it all up;

LP 20kw generator- $3,999.00

LP 22kw generator- $7,999.00

The chief could have gotten these soft numbers before he asked for $56,000! and had it knocked down to $25,000 by the selectmen!

And where the hell is the budget committee? They used to get these numbers, so they could discuss them at the public hearing.

God, I long for the days of Acciard, Cole, Boyle, and Sawyer- Standley on the budget committee! The only two worth a damn on that committee now is Princota, and Paquette.

Anonymous said...

You know the FT Police chief position will cost us an additional $70K PER YEAR with benefits. Over ten years, thats $700K. If enacted as written, you do not get rid of the LT, he simply gets demoted to Sargent and still gets paid in full. So there is no cost savings, just a big cost increase and I have not heard much discussion on this issue because all people want is a new guy in the chief seat.

While I like the idea of a new chief, I do not like the idea of funding a FT chief position. This is going to be expensive and in the end we will bite off our noses just to be rid of Phil.

The additional cost is not worth it in my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

If you demote the Lt, take away the car and other sweet incentives!

Anonymous said...

How about this. We amend the warrant to allow Mr. Baldwin to qualify for the job.

We then save the Chief's salary, cost of at least two cars, and his benefits.

BINGO. A total over all savings of 50,000 Plus? Results: Police Dept. moves into the 21st Century from the 14th century with less expense.

ADDITIONAL BENEFIT: No more stupid lawsuits caused by the Chief. Heaven only knows how much that would save us. Could be in the hundred of thousands of dollars.

Want to chime in on this Budget Committee?

Anonymous said...

The LT, in my opinion, is not qualified for a FT chief position and unfortunately for him his teacher and mentor was the worst. We need a new fresh face from outside this area to come in and clean up this big stinking mess.

Just get a new PT chief. Leave the LT where he is since he seems to be trying to do a good job so I hear. But he is stuck with the legacy of Phil so he has an uphill battle.

MAcciard said...

Although I have always found the Lt. to be professional in any dealings I have had with him. I believe it only fair, and in the best interests of Atkinson, that he has to apply and take his chances against the other applicants.

Atkinson should have the MOST QUALIFIED chief it can find, and that means not tailoring a job for a specific individual, but throwing the doors wide to all comers, and taking the best, without regard for name.

If Billy is the best than FANTASTIC, Atkinson has lucked out to get a townsperson to do the job. If someone is more qualified, we should not settle for second, or third best just because we like the guy.

Just my humble opinion!

Anonymous said...

We don't need a F.T. chief. I'm fine with the chief moving on. I feel it is way past time. However,
why waste our money on a F.T. chief when it clearly needs not be?
Come on bloggers, quit the pork barrel mentality and do whats right for us taxpayers. Get rid of the chief but continue with a P.T.
chief and the LT will never be able to afford the P.T. rate! Hence, achieving both goals and saving lots of $$$$ at the same time.

Anonymous said...

The author of this article should be ashamed. Why do you think that you need to put your spin on every article. We do not need the thinking done for us, we are not stupid. Let the people make their own minds up for themselves.