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Sunday, February 6, 2011

39 people effectively add over $250,000 in fluff to the Town budget.

If we let it pass the ballot!

From the Eagle Tribune;

February 6, 2011
Voters approve article calling for land purchase

By Jillian Jorgensen The Eagle Tribune Sun Feb 06, 2011, 12:03 AM EST

ATKINSON — Residents will have a chance to vote on purchasing land in the town center at the polls this March.

The proposal to buy less than an acre of open space for $161,000 was moved on to the ballot at the town's deliberative session yesterday, along with everything from an amended operating budget, to new generators, to a new roof at the fire station.

The article asking voters to purchase the .83 acres of land across from the library was amended yesterday. The land was originally slated to be used only for open-air activities, with "all future construction limited to a gazebo or bandstand and restroom facilities."

But Selectman William Bennett suggested an amendment that added "until 2021" to the end of the article, restricting the use for just 10 years. Several people had expressed reservations about buying the land and using it only as open space, saying future needs for the property could change.

Resident Carol Grant spoke about past land purchases in town where property went unused for years, but later became town recreation areas, the Fire Department and the current Town Hall.

"I would just ask that the townspeople look to the future," she said.

But others took issue with the cost, which they said was above market value. An amendment would have lowered the amount raised by the warrant article to $130,000, but it failed.

Bennett said he had spoken to the landowner, and said he might be willing to sell for $160,000, but not $130,000.

Residents also moved forward an article asking voters to spend $12,500 to irrigate baseball fields at Woodlock Park. An amendment proposing to ask for donations for the sprinkler system, rather than raising money for it, failed.

Other items moved to the ballot included a new $50,000 generator for the library, half funded by a donation and half by money in the library trust fund, which voters will be asked to dissolve; a new fire vehicle for $40,000; and road improvements on Hovey Meadow Road, Hoyt Circle and Merrill Drive


Anonymous said...

Other than the upward amended budget, what the hell are you talking about AR2?

Anonymous said...

More unsubstantiated AR2 hyperbole!

Anonymous said...

The recreation cap reserve was amended down by 10K. Did AR2 forget to take their meds?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that on March 8 you will have a chance to vote no/or yes on each of the warrant articles. There were no great changes at the Delib. Session yesterday. I personally dread to see what the Timberlane school district will try to take from us. Keep your hand on you wallet real tight!

MAcciard said...

I would guess they are talking about the additional spending warrant articles;library generator, town hall sprinkling, field sprinkling, town hall generator, merit pay raises, various cap reserves, etc.

And it WAS the smallest town meeting I can remember.

MAcciard said...

No one has yet been able to tell me why we NEED, a Town hall generator, Library generator, THIS YEAR. Among other things.

Anonymous said...

The warrants articles can just as easily be voted down and bud com has not recommended many of them including the generators so they'll probably fail. Merit raises? 2% raise over 3 years is hardly "fluff" Mark. There were only two warrants for cap reserves and one was for fire which hits every year. The other wasn't recommended by bud com. The overall operating budget was down until the amendments went through. So where is the "fluff" in the "town budget"?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:25AM,

Didn't you know it's Hyperbole Sunday?

Macciard said...

I don't think the author is speaking about the budget, ut about the warrant articles. My only problem with the new line item for merit raises at the selectmens discretion, is that they detailed no objective criteria for which these raises will be issued. This means that this amounts to a fund for the selectmens disposal. I much prefer to have spending be necessary, rather than subjective.

Anonymous said...

There was an amendment on the raises. I forget the exact wording but I think it gave the selectmen the ability to give cola raises. Bill Friel said they didn't have a mechanism for merits and if it was just a merit it most likely wouldn't be spent. It appears that it will probably be treated as a cola raise if that alieviates your concern.

The warrants are the warrants. Plenty get put forth and the bud com decides which ones are worthy. Several were not recommended and when bud com doesn't recommend something it usually doesn't pass.

Then we have a third layer with the voter. The voter gets to decide how much they want to spend and on what.

So this whole "39 people effectively add over $250,000 in fluff to the Town budget" is nothing more than hyperbole as another poster suggested. If it was added to the operating budget, then it might be accurate.

Macciard said...

I think the very first sentence is; "if it passes the ballot"

Anonymous said...

Okay Mark. The title shows no agenda. Got it. Fabricate headlines to try to make yourself appear relevant. Yawn...

Anonymous said...

Technology ruled the day when youth baseball got organized and used technology to get needed voters at deliberative at the right time slot to ensure their article went through without changes. Emails, cell phones, reverse 911 aren't going away. The ways of doing business in the past are over. Busy parents CAN find a way to get there much to the chagrine of the long standing majority who go for the free food and spend the whole day there under obligation/control of Phil.

It wasn't just talk. It was done, proven. Now that people see it and get it, it will spread like wildfire. IT IS OVER.

Anonymous said...

My opinion watching deliberative there was very little concern for people who are struggling or about to lose their homes. Only on guy told it like it is. State and local governments are broke and desperate but Atk is somehow imune from financial distress? How can that be true? I know people out of work or cut back I never thout it could happen to them. Never. People at delib think every one is flush and all their pet projects can be shoved through & fully funded. I saw a spening spree of Biblical proportion and only hope the voters have the common sense to vote down unnecessary generators, didn't ever need them before, and things like money to water grass at the DIRECTION of the selectmen and road agent? Quite the slush fund. When people are out of work losing their homes they lobby for 2 hours to water grass? Where was the article to help people who need REAL help losing their homes. In this economy all this excessive spendinging should be voted down by anyone with common sense. Wake up everyone. If we don't watch our wallets now we will sorely regret it later!!!! The reckless spending of our town officials must be curbed.

Anonymous said...

Reckless spending by town officials? You do realize that warrant article spending is at the discretion of the VOTERS right? We do live in a democracy after all. As far as having a warrant to help people out, you don't need it. The town is already obligated to help people when they show up and can't pay their rent, etc. It's right in the operating budget and there are other organizations that are more than willing to step in and help the needy.

Anonymous said...

They went on a spending spree at deliberative session and it is people like YOU defending reckless spending that are the problem. Hope the majority of voters have more common sense than you.

The whole country is in trouble and you can't think of enough ways to promote reckless spending and try to justify it.

Your whole tone is nasty and you show no real compassion for people, only bile. Ego is the enemy of concern for others. You must have a big one. Even you may lose your job or be cut back this year. I was. Even you may come to need help.

Sit by the fire and smoke that in your pipe and think about your neighbors and all the ways you can help them instead of burrying them in piles of useless debt.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you go back and reread what I wrote. Your assumptions are incorrect. There was no spending spree at deliberative. All that happened was the warrant articles were either advanced as is or advanced as amended. Did you happen to notice that your 2010 tax rate was exactly the same as your 2009 tax rate? The school rate went up, but those "reckless spenders" were able to drop the town rate offsetting the school increase.

If you need help you can go to town hall and request direct welfare assistance. There are two or three local food pantries that will help you with groceries. Rockingham Community Action can help with heating fuel. There's the United Way, Good Will, and the Salvation Army. You could even ask the Lions club for help.

I understand that anyone could lose their job or end up in a financial mess. That can happen even in a robust economy. However, you're anger (bile) is misplaced because your assumptions are incorrect. If you don't like the various warrant articles that will be on the ballot, then petition your neighbors to vote against them.

Anonymous said...

From: Robert Collins []
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2011 9:10 PM
To: Robert Collins
Subject: Thursday night 2/10 7 PM Timberlane Deliberative Session at the PAC

Hi Everyone,

This Thursday evening at 7PM the Timberlane Deliberative Session will be held at the PAC.

I believe there will be an attempt to remove at least a couple of million dollars from the proposed operating budget. This would have a significant impact on the schools and might force the School Board to make difficult decisions we shouldn't have to make. The Superintendent and the Budget Committee have worked hard to cut the budget significantly already, any more will really stress our schools beyond what I feel is appropriate and necessary.

Please take the time to show up at this meeting. There are only 3 warrant Articles to be discussed on the ballot so the meeting shouldn't be more than an hour.

Please send this on to your friends and neighbors.

Thank you!

Rob Collins
Timberlane School Board - Danville

Anonymous said... board making difficult decisions...heh...heh...

MAcciard said...

Ah, Mr. Collins, so good to have Mr. LaSalle's right hand on the SB rallying the troops, but as you saw last year, Mr. Collins, the general public evidently does not care how much the SB spends, nor how little educational achievement they get in return.

But Mr. Collins, neither the budget committee, nor the Superintendent have "cut" the budget at all. Mr. LaSalle has merely reduced the original rate of increase. The budget still has such gems as double step raises for teachers, and raises for administrators.

It really is laughable for Mr. Collins to laud the budget committee for their budget cutting prowess, when the Budcom Chair has no idea what is in the biggest line items in the budget. They do not cut, they do not research, they do NO due diligence, in short they do not do their job, they do not prepare the budget, hell they don't even bother to discuss it much.

Anonymous said...

It's twisted.

Anonymous said...

The teacher raises are contractual. Nothing you can do about that until contract negotiations come up. You should know that Mark.

Anonymous said...

the double step is contractual and people were warned not to support that contract. The lump sums pumped the final year salary so that many could retire with inflated pensions and the double step hid some of the cost of the contract (the cost goes up higher than calculated due to early retirements and more people collecting the double step than budgeted for).

The second straight year of across the board increases for administration is not contractual. Neither are the across the board raises for nonrepresented staff. Neither of these should be in the default budget.

Anonymous said...

Yes the raises are contractual but not the administrators raises.

Anonymous said...

They win by default.


Any chance we can pass some legislation to prevent this type of abuse?

tim dziechowski said...

"They win by default."

There seems to be a paranoid assumption here that the school budget committee is in collusion with the school board to grab more of our tax dollars by changing the default budget to be greater than the operating budget. The budget committee can't make changes to the default's determined by a formula prescribed by law in RSA 40:13.

The only way an operating budget can be smaller than a default budget in this state is if the budget committee is trying to spend less money than they did the year before.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with encouraging them to spend even less money than that. If you want to vote your wallet the best place to do it is school board deliberative session, where 80% of your tax dollars get spent.

Anonymous said...

it's true that the governing body (school board) sets the default budget. It's also a fact that la salle prepares it for them (ie., they rubber stanp it).

The LGC told me that absent a law suit against the school board, they can put anything they want into the default budget. Obviously, La Salle is also aware of this.

We need to amend the budget to less than the default budget so the voters will have a real choice.

Then we need to elect a new school board and fire La Salle.

MAcciard said...

You are right, Tim, there is no paranoid conspiracy, just a budget committee that refuses to do their job and accepts whatever the superintendent puts in front of them.

In addition to this he also prepares the default budget. The problem with his default budgets are that he doesn't follow the formula laid out in the RSA's, instead he includes the admins raises as if they were items agreed at town meeting the year before, as well as other items he deems too important to be left out should the voters ever vote down the operating budget.

Anonymous said...

So Tim, I am correct. They win by default. I learned last year how they manipulate the default budget.

I was at last years meeting and it was a disgrace. People in the back who were not supposed to speak participated in the oral vote.

There were two teachers behind me that were heckling me as I voted against some of the things were for. I had to move because the dirty looks and snide remarks were disturbing my concentration. These people are teaching the kids and they are not role models.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else think the Deliberative Sessions are and antiquated joke? Less than 40 people show up and decide to increase what elected committees have worked months to present. Let's skip this and let the officials we elect put their recommendations on the ballot and let the town vote. Stop the influence peddlers fromm spending our money. There is no law that I am aware of that says you can't overpay your town taxes if you choose. Just stay out of my and the the other hard working townspeople's pockets

Anonymous said...

Anyone else think the Deliberative Sessions are and antiquated joke? Less than 40 people show up and decide to increase what elected committees have worked months to present. Let's skip this and let the officials we elect put their recommendations on the ballot and let the town vote. Stop the influence peddlers fromm spending our money. There is no law that I am aware of that says you can't overpay your town taxes if you choose. Just stay out of my and the the other hard working townspeople's pockets

tim dziechowski said...

I had not read the school budget posts on danvilledelivery (linked from the blog main page) until just now. It does look like the budgetary process is being abused. One problem with the RSA formula is that if you ever managed to get three million dollars in smoke and mirrors into a budget, a bucket like that could carry forward in the default budget forevermore.

Anonymous said...

BOYCOTT THE BLOG, take the power away!