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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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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fiscal Responsibility For These Difficult Times


Fiscal Responsibility For These Difficult Times

Atkinson is now entering the budget season when department heads will either come in with budgets that (1) show their solidarity with our hard-pressed
taxpayers; or else (2)they will selfishly ’thumb their nose’ at our townspeople.

So many Atkinson households are struggling to make ends meet. The number of our townspeople
who have lost their jobs due to lay-offs, down-sizing or business failures is unbelievable. Many homes have gone on the market because financially-pressed owners can not meet their mortgage obligations.

These are very tough and difficult financial times for so many. Our town officials and department
heads have got to respect that when they submit their budgets for 2010.

Some department heads consistently act responsibly and come in with low budgets or at least, hold the line while other department heads regularly selfishly act like pigs at a trough, demanding more and more every year. Each year’s budget is an increase over the previous year’s.

Please REFUSE to accept ANY AND ALL budget increases from dept. heads. Please hold the line
for the struggling tax payers you
are supposed to represent. Announce and then enforce a ZER0
TOLERANCE LEVEL for those giving taxpayers the bird.


Anonymous said...

There should be no increases, all budgets should be cut back, position eliminated. The property values have suffered greatly in Atkinson due to foreclosures.

Sorry guys, I know you do not want to hear this but the library in out of control. Bill, Fred, Bennett do something all ready!

Anonymous said...

What about the police budget? They are losing an employe whho costs the town $85,000/yr. but their budget is going UP $8000? WTF?

That means their budget would be going up $93,000 if Billy were still here!

Anonymous said...

I agree anon @ 3:06. They're expanding the librarians hours by 20 hours a week! The BOS just nodded and said okay. WTF!

MAcciard said...

That's because the Selectmen have NO AUTHORITY in the running of the Library. The Trustees do. If that money is in their budget they can do it.

It is the budget committee's responsibility to look at their reasoning and decide if they are going to give them the money to do that in this years budget.

MAcciard said...

In reality the selectmen's wishes pertaining to next years budget are immaterial beyond the weight the budget committee lends them.

It is the budget committee's job to prepare the budget. The selectmen and dept. heads must submit to the budget committee, by law, ANY information they seek to, to inform themselves in preparing the budget. And it is the budget committee's budget that goes to town meeting, not the selectmen's. The selectmen only have authority over spending the budget after the voters have approved it.

Anonymous said...

If that's the case, why are the selectmen spending so much of their time holding meetings with dept. heads? They trying to influence the budget committee?

Anonymous said...

I think there are areas for BIG savings, such as Solid Waste Management and Many, Many areas where fiscal dilagence would save us lots of money. We have the administrator now and he can work more on control recommendations to control expense through the year. we also have given the BoS permission to apply for, accept and expend grants. More efforts are required for our fiscal management.

Anonymous said...


While I understand that once the library has their budget from the town the BOS does not have any control over them, explain why, then, there was a vote by the BOS to accept their budget numbers if they have no authority over the budget.

MAcciard said...

The BOS votes to accept ALL budget numbers. It is tradition, and formality, but in terms of the budget that gets passed, and the town works from, it means nothing.

For example; The Salem selectmen 3 years ago decided that the Town needed a new deputy police chief, I think it was, if memory serves( you can look it up, it was reported in the papers) The budget committee decided that the position was not needed as someone in the dept. could fill that role. They defunded the position.

Or, LEGALLY, you could have a situation where the voters pass a normal budget, and lets say a dept. had a $400,000 budget... the selectmen could decide to spend $800,000 on that budget if they wanted to, and it would be legal as long as they didn't overspend the bottom line of the total budget.

So the budget committee has TOTAL authority within their realm, and the Selectmen have TOTAL authority within their realm.

Hope that helps.

MAcciard said...

By the way, Waste Mgmnt is a three year contract, at roughly $600k per yr. Very little you can do there, other than take a page out of surrounding towns budgets and discontinue service. Sandown, Salem, Derry, and I think Danville, do not have curbside pickup.

Anonymous said...

I think it's horrible that the PD is looking for an extra $93k+ this year. Smaller staff, more money? No way.

He wants TWO new cars too. Well, so do I. Why doesn't the BOS reign this guy in or better yet, fire him. There are plenty of reasons to do so.

I am so sick and tired of funding this bloated incompetent dept.

I am voting against all of it.

Anonymous said...

You can save the town money by recycling. Only one family on my street recycles, mine, the smallest.

Anonymous said...

The real problem is that the Dept. heads can ask for ANYTHING they want. They should have to justify each and every items, each and every year.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Waste Mgmnt is a three year contract, at roughly $600k per yr. Very little you can do there, other than take a page out of surrounding towns budgets and discontinue service. Sandown, Salem, Derry, and I think Danville, do not have curbside pickup.

Teddy suggested having 2 95 gallon barrells per household. One for recycle and one for trash. That is ALL that would be picked up and it would save about 100K annually. I think it's a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Maybe people would put some thought into what they are buying and throwing out.

The house next door has two people and 3 cans a week, no recycling.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to Mark's comments....yes, the Selectmen have no authority when it comes to budget preparation...that's the responsibility of the Budget Committee. HOWEVER! Please don't forget that it's the people who approve the budget that goes on the ballot. You have the right to make amendments on town meeting floor. You can do that to any budget you want to. The one big caveat is that you need the people to attend the deliberative session to vote with you. And that's the hard part.

Anonymous said...

Do the farms in town get tax breaks?

I was wondering because, yes, the Chief has a farm and I haven't seen a single horse there for a very long time.

He should be forced to remove the sign too if he no longer qualifies as a farm.

Oh, yeah and up his taxes.

MAcciard said...

To Anon@ 12:40pm;

The Town actually Does NOT save money by recycling. That is how it was sold to us when I was on the budget committee, Recycling would reduce the waste stream resulting in less tipping fees(tonnage). But the truth is that when you balance out the minute reduction in the waste steam, against the increased costs of manpower at recycling center, and the management costs, savings are minimal if at all.

Common misnomer

Anonymous said...

I think Teddy's idea saved money because by using the barrells, the trucks have a lifter that picks them up and dump them so there are savings because less trash collectors are needed. Bill Bennett was against it.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday NJ turned out the Governor because the property tax is "insane" there. Well, the average NJ property tax is 1.78% and the average NH property tax is 2.21%, Second only to Tx. in the USA. No need to say more, is there?

Anonymous said...

Well, the average NJ property tax is 1.78% and the average NH property tax is 2.21%, Second only to Tx. in the USA. No need to say more, is there?

Yes, there is. What's NH income tax vs NJ? How about the sales tax? How about the overall tax burden between the two states? Your "analysis" is a bit simplistic don't you think?

Anonymous said...

"The Town actually Does NOT save money by recycling."

I recycle because it's better for the earth, which I live on.

I also don't believe this simplistic statement and I know it varies by geographic area, by the type of material recycled and alot of other variables.

Anonymous said...

Recycling is an attitude! Just like a lemming has!

Anonymous said...

Let see how long it takes to get that Quonset hut at 9 emery removed.
They have a zoning board hearing next Tuesday to get a variance for the cement pad that has already been poured. What a joke this "hut" is about 15' from the swamp and the set back is 100'. I guess the owner figured he would have a better chance of leaving it if it was poured before it was rejected. What a scam artist, we do have our share of them.

MAcciard said...

To Anon @ 1:28;

Teddy's idea saved money because of th barrels allowing automatic collection, AND the one barrel limit reducing the waste stream resulting in reduced tipping fees.

Anonymous said...

It is funny that everybody has ideas to save money in all the budgets EXCEPT th most bloated budget in town. The PD!

a $90,000/yr. lt.

8 cars for 5 FT officers ad only one patrolling each shift.

Detective has his own car.

Police employees working for Phil's private charity.

New cars every yr.

18 PT cops that need uniforms, guns, body armor.

$60,000 to dispatch 8-4, m-f. and only $32,000 to dispatch EVERTHING ELSE INCLUDING FIRE AND HIGHWAY!

MAcciard said...

We actually ran the numbers on recycling in the 2 yrs. after it was adopted, costs increased by $30k.yr.

Anonymous said...

The lead article references some selfish dept. heads acting like pigs at a trough.

Very appropriate symbolism when you
consider that the head porker is our police chief with his bloated, unjustifiably high budged.

We're a small bedroom community with with no big crimes(disregarding occasional speeders or teens having a noisey party). So why do we have to have a police dept with a higher budget than surrounding larger towns.

Since we only have one police officer patrolling at a time, why do we have to support a fleet of
police cars which just sit in the APD parking lot.

Consentino, as chief porker at the public trough, needs to be sharply reined in. Mr. Big-spender with his expensive ego needs to be stopped from whacking the taxpayers year after year.

Anonymous said...

Since when does billy baldwin make 90k a year? Someome else said 85k...someone else said 70k...someone else said on and so forth.

Stop with the PD bashing. The rank in file officers are good men who do a good job in a politically toxic environment...they get no support from the citizenry and they get no support from their chief or from the BoS. They are not incompetent. The full time officers are professionals. Too man part timers? I agree...but remember...out of the 18 or 20 on the roster only about 6 actually work and do a damn good job, too.

Don't blame the PD for every fiscal problem the comes did it in the good times, too. People throwing nickels around like manhole covers.

Want to save money? Shouldn't have hired a TA for 76k and should not have given a 5k "bonus" to an employee for doing her job and all because the Town can't keep a TA employed. First guy dies. Second guy would rather work in Iraq than deal with the clowns at Clown Hall. Third guy...he got arrested for domestic violence and for resisting arrest...great background check BoS!...then they decide to offer him the full time position; but the wife beating and cop fighting candidate goes to Plaistow where he is no longer employed. Fourth guy leaves - not for reasons reported in the paper - but because he couldn't with or for the BoS. Fifth amazed if he stays longer than six months.

All that cost YOU money...all that money wasted on salary, benefits, cost for back ground checks and searches by LGA...but the owners and team members of this blog will use slight of hand to distract you from bigger issues while focusing all of their rancor on the PD and two people in it...the chief...and the lieutenant.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the alleged $8,000 increase in the PD budget is for?

Could it be for increases in the cost of gas? Or, energy costs such as oil and electricity?

Notice the blog does not post what it is for. What I can tell you - if you have been paying attention - is that the $8,000 is NOT for salary increases. The union contract got voted down. The officers are working under the expired contract. This means that all salary and benefit levels are at 2008 levels.

Also, the PD is not getting new cars. Also, they do not get new cars every year...they lease every two years. And stop bitching about how many vehicles the PD has. What about FD? Have you seen how many engines they have? If there is such little crime as some of you claim...then there is even less fire.

Stop it. Get facts. Ask questions. Know what the hell you are talking and / or bitiching about.

Anonymous said...

The central points being: We need to control our spending. The budget, if nothing more, is conceptual spending practice. The citizens and tax payers are not well represented by the process. Times are difficult for the average family. We pay a lot of $$ to obtain a few services that need better review and constant control

MAcciard said...

To Anon @ 11:44;

You are right $76,000 is a shitload of money for the job. And the $5,000 bonus was outrageous in a time when other town employees are not getting raises.

I have not seen PD bashing, but that is always the charge when their budget is examined as thoroughly as Highway, Fire, or Library.

The fact is that Lt. Baldwin in his last full yr. was paid approximately $66,000 directly, add in the cost of Medicare, NH Retirement, and his car, gas, insurance and maintenance, and his job costs the town of Atkinson between $85-90,000/yr.

Sometime when I have time I will run the exact numbers for you.

MAcciard said...

You are also right that the hiring practices of the BOS with regards to the TA position have been abominable.

The fact that only 6 or 7 of the par-timers work regularly is the point, get rid of the others, save the cost of equipping and training them every yr.

I have always found the rank and file officers to be professional, and in general great guys. Sgt. Kinney, and Cpl. Lapham will be sorely missed for years to come. The problem is with leadership, not the people doing the job.

The reason the PD's budget is an issue, is because the Chief came in and asked for an INCREASE of $8,000 when he is losing his most expensive employee for at least 9 months. That should have produced a cost savings of about $60,000.

The other reason is that in 2008, the PD performed admirably, doing their job, making arrests, giving out tickets, patrolling the town, and they spent only $634,000 to accomplish all of that.

If they could do the job for $634,000 why did it take $771,00 in 2009, and $779,000 in 2010?

Anonymous said...


I thought this BOS would be different, rein them all in, reduce the pork, reduce the watse, remove the corruption.

Is this too much to ask?.

Anonymous said...

We must use a better process to budget. First, look to every dollar spent in previous year(s) and do a cost/benefit analysis. Do a performance review of the departments. Mission, mission critical aanalysis. Spending against cost and performance. The is the detail needed. You seem to do budgeting against a "wish list" and that leads to continuous and unreasonable growth with NO performance improvement or benefit increasees.

Anonymous said...

And, may I add. This needs to be a very public process. The taxpayers need total information on cost/benefit and performance as related to mission.

MAcciard said...

The budget process IS a public process. The meetings are public meetings, that anyone can attend, and comment or question. When I was on the budget committee, we used to start at the previous years spending, look at the necessity of it, see if there were ways to reduce it, then move on to the changes for the current yr. The 4 major depts; Police, Fire, Highway, and Library, were compared to surrounding towns, and broken down to a cost per unit basis for comparison.

When I raised the issue at town meeting of 2008 spending only $634,000 for the PD, and the budget request for 2009 of $771,000 Jim Blackadar, the Budget committee chair stated that the committee now starts with last yrs. "budget".

This practice is called "baseline budgeting" and is used by the Federal Government. It ensures that once something is in the budget it is there permanently, and allows the budget to grow astronomically.

I prefer a $0.00 baseline, and make the dept. heads justify their previous yrs. spending, then justify their increases for the current yr.

Anonymous said...

Atkinson budget could be reduced 75% before the average citizen felt real pain, and likely 50% before we felt real inconvenience, and 25%-35% without noticable effect to the average citize. This requires good management as a baseline. Good management knows how to handle tight budgets and downsizing requirements and if the don't they are "asked" to move on. Do we have good management? When have we asked management to move on?

Anonymous said...

Why do we need 2 new cruisers? We have 8 police vehicles. The police dept. does 100,000 patrol miles peer yr. That's 12,000 / vehicle if they were rotated. Those vehicles should last 15 yrs. at that rate!

But they are not rotated. Chief has his clown car plus the Merc., Billy has his personal car, det. has his personal car, the SUV, 3 patrol cars.

All for ONE patrol officer per shift. Chief said they get oil changes every 2 weeks? WHY? They shouldn't be doing enough miles in 2 weeks to need one.

If they used synthetic oil they could go 5000 between oil changes.

If they used Amsoil they could go 18,000 between oil changes.

This would save 60% of maintenance costs.

Anonymous said...

Why the hell are police employees working for Phils private business? What are the selectmen doing about this?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous - November 5, 2009 9:41 AM

You said,"Atkinson budget could be reduced 75% before the average citizen felt real pain, and likely 50% before we felt real inconvenience, and 25%-35% without noticable effect to the average citizen."

It is easy to make this kind of broad statement with no facts or analysis. Take a few minutes and take a look to see if you could make these kind of cuts to your personal bugdet "without pain or inconvenience," and then get back to us. I bet you won't, and I bet Mark would not agree with you anyway.

If the "alert town waste watchers" on this blog were really as concerned as their bluster suggests, they would be closely watching the "open" budget process and we would already be achieving the unfounded savings that they ridiculously claim are possible.

It is one thing to bitch about something--it is entirely another to do something about it.

With one or two notable exceptions, it appears that the town government bashers on this blog are willing to complain continuously, usually without any solid facts, than they are to actually get involved--and make the town better.

--One that is involved

P.S. Until the remaining important volunteer vacancies in town government are filled (such as on the Conflict of Interest Committee) I will not take the bashers seriously. I will have to be content with finding their bitching: occasionally humorous, often puzzling, incredulous, and paranoid--and, unfortunately, only occasionally--on the mark.

Anonymous said...

To anon 5:42 "--One that is involved"

That is the problem - You are the problem. All I hear is your "I CAN'T, I CAN'T, I CAN'T ....etc."
If we had more "CAN DO" involvement we would be much better off and well served.

Anonymous said...

To last poster, from previous poster: I did not say, "I CAN'T" once. I "CAN" and "DO."

Did you misread my post, or were you referring to a previous post?

I completely agree with your "If we had more "CAN DO" involvement we would be much better off and well served." That was my point!


Anonymous said...

Enough with the new cars. The PD is NOT getting new cars this year. You're beating a dead horse.Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Yes the selectmen know about Phil;s misuse of police personell working for his private company. They were notified by the AG's office. They aren't doing anything about it.

As usual.

Anonymous said...

Another case or torqing the usual!

Anonymous said...

What torquing of facts? It has been reported to the selectmen and the AG's office that dispatchers routinely send out donation letters and thank you letters to Phil's private business while on PD time, from the PD computers.

Phil's response????

He had mirrored film installed on the window for the dispatch center so that nobody can see his misuse of town assets again.

These are all facts! Where is the torque?

Anonymous said...

"It is one thing to bitch about something--it is entirely another to do something about it."
Now there is a "new idea". How many can we count on to get involved? The best time is at deliberative session. Make a commitment to attend, listen, participate and vote. Can the town count on you?

Anonymous said...

Deliberative session is not the answer. Those who run it have corrupted democracy and frightened away the average citizen by means of intimidation.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I will go to deliberative session to stand up in the open and speak my mind so that our police chief will now know who I am.

So he can stand up and yell at me to get my facts straight! Then I can spend the next year being followed through town by him, getting stupid tickets, That's exactly how I want to roll!

Anonymous said...

It does help when you get your facts straight!

Not surprised that you are afraid of the Deliberative Session, where the public might see and hear you for what you really are!

Your kind tend to shun the sunlight and an open public forum, when they can hide in a blog and color every half-truth with a biased adjective!

If you are so convinced of your self-rightous certitude, and pompous indignation, have the guts to stand up in public and say what you think. Hiding in this little dusty blog is not going to change anything.

If you are really right let's see if you have the guts, balls, and brains to convince the public and actually fill a town government vacancy and attempt to really have an impact.

My guess you will continue to hide here...

Being afraid of the chief is an excuse--not a reason--and you seem to be full of excuses

Anonymous said...

Deliberative session is not the answer. Those who run it have corrupted democracy and frightened away the average citizen by means of intimidation.

Good. Stay home cowards. Much better to bitch on the blog anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Deliberative Session is a corruption of democracy.

Anonymous said...

Your comment is offensive and dismissive of those of us that take it seriously and participate.

What qualifies you to pass judgement? Nothing!

You will not be missed...

Anonymous said...

Why do some people on this blog assume that those comlaining here are not involved and are not vounteering?

Not true. I got involved and they make you sorry you did. I have complaints and suggestions and they are ignored by the BOS and others running this twon. I have seen first hand the corruption and secrecy and I don't like it.

Anonymous said...

I have my facts straight! What I don't want is to end up like all those others who had their facts straight, and STILL got harrassed by our police chief.

Acard had his facts straight, the Court even ordered our chief to stop his bullying. They even found him in contempt. Didn't do shit!

Grant had her facts straight, the selectmen were ignoring the towns vote on the vietnam memorial, our chief had her, hr husband and their wheelchair bound sone evicted from a public meeting by his gestapo officers into the cold winter night, without even a stop to put coats on, and why, because she was filing a complaint about his abuses.
Mr. Kaye had to move out of town because he questioned our chief and got threatened in return.
And what about the vandalism to acards house?

I AM sure of my facts, but I won't put my wife and kids in harms way, by standing up in a public meeting and saying these things, because the selectmen have shown that they wont do their job and fire this bully.

I will not make my family a target. So yes, call me a coward if you want, but he has the badge and the gun, and the selectmen in his pocket, I have none of that.

Anonymous said...

You will not be missed...

Anonymous said...

Do not let the bullies and liars intimidate you. Failure to stand up make us no better than those treated the same by Stalin. We may still be a free people but not if we do not participate. History has taught us well

Anonymous said...

"Treated the same by Stalin..."

We like to exagerate alittle bit, don't we?

I would not compare the "Atkinson whiners" suffering with the Soviet "pogroms." You embarrass yourself and cheapen the memory of those who have really suffered...

You take yourself and your issues way too seriously!

Anonymous said...

OK, the conduct on the part of our police chief, detailed on this blog are documented facts.

Do YOU believe this behavior should be tolerated by any town employee, let alone the towns chief law enforcement officer?

If yes, then you are justified in your criticisms of the cowards like myself, who are afraid to step into the open for fear of ending up like Mr. Acciard, our homes and cars vandalized, our families terrorized.

If no, then explain why it has been allowed to continue for over 30 years.

Anonymous said...

Bullies kiss more ass than the average folk. The answer is in balance. No one complains about or even talks about special favors. And the ass kisses greatly overshadow the complaints. That is the why and the way things realy happen.

Anonymous said...

I saw the budget committee meeting for the library. they asked for 12% increase for extra hours. Whats up with that?

Anonymous said...

How many hours for a 12% decrease?

The New Guy said...

Library increase:

Let's "assume" again.

The building is larger and needs more staff to cover a bigger building and maybe more hours. OK

Any chance of asking the Elderly Affairs Division if any seniors want to volunteer at the library?
We can transport them to and from. They can help for a few hours. It will give some elders a purpose, a reason to get up and go. I'm sure they would do it for free.

Maybe try the same thing at Town Hall and even the Police Station.

Just don't tell the union, they won't like it too much.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. Why has the library director been on "vacation" all month and put in for a raise this year that the Trustees have approved?

I thought there were no raises allowed? So - They approve giving her MORE money, reducing libraries budget so that they buy-less and pay HER MORE? Doesnt make sense people..

Anonymous said...

This is when you see the persons true character. Times are tough and they are being selfish.