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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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Monday, November 23, 2009

Towns, Schools face crippling State Retirement contributions

From the Eagle Tribune;

Towns, schools to face pension increases
By Doug Ireland

Town and school officials in Southern New Hampshire can only hope the economy continues to improve since in a year and a half, they could face what one local leader calls "crippling" budget hikes.

That's because the latest rate increases proposed by the state Retirement System call for employer pension contributions of up to 31 percent for police officers and 30.3 percent for teachers starting July 1, 2011.

For firefighters, the increase would be 25.1 percent and 21 percent for other municipal employees. Meanwhile, the rate for state employees only rises 11.4 percent.

"That's quite a crippling blow, quite frankly," said Derry Town Administrator Gary Stenhouse, noting taxpayers in his town will have to dig down for an additional $540,000 if the rate increases for police, firefighters and other workers are approved by system trustees in September.

And the more than $500,000 won't even cover the pension contributions required for Derry's teachers since town government and the school district operate independently from each other, Stenhouse said.

"The money still comes from the same poor people's pockets," he said of taxpayers. "It just tells me there is something dramatically and drastically wrong with the state pension system."

When the current rates were approved, the town was forced up to come up with an additional $200,000, Stenhouse said. Now, the projected increase is close to triple that amount.

Stenhouse blames the rate hikes on what he calls the Retirement System's "overly optimistic" projections.

The system's increases, he said, have taken a toll on communities and school districts over the years, forcing taxpayers to pony up more money with no one being held accountable.

He compares the situation to the dilemma some towns face when they do not budget enough money for winter road maintenance and then run out of money for snowplowing and salting long before the last snowflake has melted.

At that point, a lot of finger-pointing takes place and the weather is blamed for causing too many snowstorms. However, proper planning would have avoided such problems, he said.

"It didn't snow any less in Derry than anywhere else," Stenhouse added.


Anonymous said...

30%!!!!! You Gotta be kidding me! And I get 12.5% Social security, if Congress doesn't spend it all?

Anonymous said...

So your average Ft cop in Atkinson makes $50,000/yr. plus 2.9% medicare ads $1,400.00, plus 30% Retirement makes $15,000.00, plus benes like vacations days, sick days, insurance, etc.

This means that a $50,000/yr. cop really costs the town $72,000.00

And a $65,000 Lt. with a car actually costs the town.$106,000.00

That's nice work if you can get it!

Anonymous said...

Time to start looking at taxing the utility poles again. Just because Rochester, NH can't seem to get it right doesn't mean we all have to suffer. Wasn't the State Legislature, the Public Utilities Commission or the Courts going to study this until 2010 and come out with a final ruling on whether it's constitutional?

And how about having towns, schools and cities buy their power wholesale just like businesses do. Please tell me they're already doing this. PSNH and Unitil will still deliver it, as long as there aren't any ice storms. Now I know taking 1% or 2%off the utilities' top doesn't sound like much, but it adds up over time. Besides, do you really think the NH Retirement System is going to change their ways. I'm sure they claim their actions are all in the "public interest". Indeed! They're even worse than the Public Utilities Commission. We have to look everywhere for savings big and small and how 'bout a few long term cuts for a change.


Anonymous said...

How about having the Legislature STOP SPENDING MORE AND MORE MONEY!!!

How about saying, Hey these are tight times, there will be no increase this yr.

30%!!! WTF?

Anonymous said...

We, the people (taxpayers) COULD and CAN make a significant change IF we were a cohesive group and did a "little" more than complain. Where is our group, our cohesion, our willingness to at the least vote? How do we organize? Or are we all just sheep? Baaahh!

Anonymous said...

Only the government would have the balls to demand a 30-35% retirement contribution from taxpayers in tight economic times.

Anonymous said...

Apparently,my earlier post wasn't put up by the Moderator. I wonder why?

People forget that the Town of Atkinson only has five full time police officers in Group 2 retirement. Its not breaking the bank.

Also, people forget...or it is not reported that the police officers have been paying at the maximum rate since basically forever; while the Towns have had a history of not paying their fair share and letting the State pick up the rest of the tab.

Another major issue that would go a long way to solving this problem is to pass legislation that makes it illegal for TEACHERS to strike. Cops and firefighters cannot strike. But everytime the teachers don;t get their way at the negotiating table, they either strike or threaten one.

Also, maybe it is time for each individual town to vote on their particular Atkinson folks would vote on Atkinson school matters. The only exception would be the high school because it is reasonable.

Another point, if people in this Town are looking to save money in the long run, then stop relying on predominately part time employees to staff the majority of jobs at every town department.

The more part time employees you have...the HIGHER the Town's insurance rate is...which is passed on to you.

Stop making numbers up...and stop going after the visible and easy to attack targets like the cops. There is more than enough blame on behalf of the Towns not paying what they should have been all along; and for the greedy teachers unions who take and take and take and who threaten us with strikes when they dont get their way...all the while screaming, "Won't somebody think of the children!"

Anonymous said...

Too many police cruisers, too many paid too much to do too little. Too big bloated budgets, too many elderly forced out of their homes.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if any elderly are forced out the Chief will take care of them.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is goign after the cops we are complaining that the retirement for public employees is RIDICULOUS!!!