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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Budget Committee refuses to back added spending

From the Eagle Tribune;

January 18, 2012
Budget Committee refuses to back added spending
By Cara Hogan

ATKINSON — A personal appeal from selectmen didn't change the Budget Committee's decision on spending at last night's public hearing.

Selectman Craig Schuster asked the committee to change their votes and recommend several more of the warrant articles he said were necessary for the town. But the Budget Committee members were not swayed.

"We appreciate the input from Mr. Schuster, but hold to our votes," Budget Committee Chairman Todd Barbera said.

The board recommended 10 of 19 warrant articles — representing a total of $599,000 less than the $703,000 recommended by selectmen. The board did not recommend $5,000 to increase security at Town Hall and did not recommend $20,000 to renovate the Town Clerk's and Tax Collector's offices to limit direct public access.

Both articles specifically address issues from a 10-page audit that selectmen received in December from the New Hampshire Labor Department. The audit detailed several ways the town must improve the safety and health conditions for town workers in the next year. Schuster asked why the committee did not support warrant articles the Board of Selectmen drafted which were mandated by the audit.

"We need safety precautions inside the town offices to satisfy those audits," he said. "When it comes to public safety, we could open ourselves up to liability. There's some security that we need to improve. Too many people have keys to this building."

But Budget Committee Chairman Todd Barbera said the committee did not feel they knew what the safety improvements entailed.

"On both of those warrants, we felt there was a lack of information," he said.

Schuster also asked why the Budget Committee chose not to support the repair of cracked sidewalks at the Fire Station and Town Hall, at a cost of $11,000 each.

"Why wouldn't you recommend the sidewalks? It's also a public safety issue," he said.

Barbera said the sidewalks are constantly replaced and have become a waste of money.

"There are some cheaper and safer solutions than concrete, which keeps getting eroded by salt and has to be constantly replaced," he said. "We need to look into that first."

But resident William Innes, who arrived at the meeting on crutches, also spoke in favor of the sidewalk repairs.

"It is an Americans with Disabilities Act violation," he said. "I'm worried about tripping and falling this winter."

Barbera said the board's recommendations were simply a matter of keeping costs down and taxes low in town. He went over the town's total proposed budget of $4 million, which is up about $34,000 or less than 1 percent, from last year.

Barbera said he did listen to a request for selectmen for a big increase in the legal department's budget, up 103 percent to $78,000.

"There were some lawsuits as well as some contracts being negotiated," Barbera said. "We granted selectmen their wish to increase this line."

Schuster said unfortunately, there were a number of lawsuits against the town recently.

"This is a different age where people like to sue towns and we need to protect ourselves," he said.

But after the meeting, Schuster said the vote by the Budget Committee and even town residents on the safety issues almost don't matter.

"If the town doesn't vote for it, we still have to do it," he said.

He said because the state has ordered the town to improve safety standards, the town has to comply.

Selectmen Fred Childs said if the items aren't approved, town officials will appropriate money from elsewhere.

"We can take money out of any other town budget for this, fire, highway, whatever," he said. "It has to be done."


Atkinson Reporter said...

Comments posted on ET;


My question for Todd, and the Budcom is: regarding the OPS legal line. This line was inserted by special request of the selectmen last year, funded at $10,000 to cover the wrap up expenses in the Artus suit. This was because Primex had dropped the town's coverage, and the selectmen knew that a new insurer would not take on responsibility to ongoing issues.
The Artus suit is now gone.

The town has a new insurer.

Surely the town's new insurance also provides legal coverage. If true, then any new lawsuits would be covered under the town insurance. Any local stuff should be handled by Sumner.

Why does the town NEED an additional $78,000?


"Selectmen Fred Childs said if the items aren't approved, town officials will appropriate money from elsewhere."

To Fred Childs;

If you put an expense to the voters, and they tell you NOT to spend taxpayer money on it. THEN YOU CAN NOT SPEND TAXPAYER MONEY ON IT! Didn't you learn ANYTHING from the Vietnam Memorial debacle?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Captain Franchesco Schettino abandoned his post on the Cruise ship. He couldn't "see" the elderly in the dark! Word around town...our selectmen and budget committee "protect" our elderly much the same way. ABANDON SHIP...EVERY THUG FOR HIMSELF!!!


Anonymous said...

The BOS are the ones doing a disservice to the elderly. Many can't get services, they know it and do nothing about it. We have no PD. How can they sleep at night? It's not fair or safe, what a mess.

Anonymous said...

Atkinson is officially the biggest problem town in the state of New Hampshire. Due to taking advantage of and manipulating elderly voters, routine violation of The Right To Know law, gross illegal acts at Deliberative Sessions by a moderator ignorant of basic RSA laws, a cowardly Board of Selectmen,, and now a morally derelict Budget Committee run amok. SUMMATION: GROSS INCOMPETENCE AND VIOLATION OF OATH OF OFFICE.

Todd Barbera said...

"and now a morally derelict Budget Committee run amok. SUMMATION: GROSS INCOMPETENCE AND VIOLATION OF OATH OF OFFICE."

That's a serious charge and one that should not be thrown around lightly. Do you care elaborate on just how we are "morally derelict"?

Our committee produced an operating budget with less than a 1% increase. We set clear rules and expectations for department heads and we kept the lines of communication open. Our minutes have been posted online in a timely manner and the full budget has also been posted online. Finally, we reviewed the proposed warrants and voted our recommendations based upon the information that was provided to us.

I can tell you that it was surprising to me that only one person showed up in support of their warrants and with many of them a case was not built for us to provide our recommendation. Would you prefer us to be a rubber stamp for the Selectmen?

My number is in the phone book. If anyone cares to inquire as to how I came to my decisions as I will only speak for myself and not the other members, I would be happy to answer any questions. I reject your charge that we as a committee were somehow "morally derelict".

Macciard said...

To 5:33;

For all of the questions which I have raised about specific line items, I can not reconcile the statement with which you closed your comment.

If you were discussing the Budcom of a couple of years ago. maybe, but this is the first Budcom in 4 years to ask any serious questions about the larger budgets. Regardless of what you may think of the outcome, they did their job.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Mark. Recent newpaper article was typical Tribune, they never let truth get in the way of a good story. Led us to believe the Budcom made decisions they can't make. Tribune causes as much damage in Atkinson as PD. Wait, the Tribune is here. Time to change the birdcage.

Anonymous said...

$78,000 more in legal. Make the decision BOS. Get rid of him.

Anonymous said...

Some Sound Off comments from the Trib today:

Ax grinding

In regards to our police Chief Consentino in Atkinson, I say leave this man alone. Someone on the board of selectmen has an ax to grind against the chief and until this board member steps up and tells us what he has against the chief he should keep his personal vendetta to himself. The police chief is the best thing since sliced bread and we need him to keep running the elderly services.


I've lived in, and paid real estate taxes in Atkinson since 1971. And I've appreciated police Chief Philip Consentino over all those years. There aren't any other folks in Atkinson who have contributed as much as Phil Consentino. If the selectmen have a problem with Chief Consentino, let them all leave. We can find others who will get along.

...sorry, but ths sound to me like himself.

Anonymous said...

If they are doing such a great job, why did they vote to hire another FT person and why did they vote to buy another new car?

There is nothing to substantiate these increases. Don't tell me MRI suggested it because they've suggested other changes that would have reduced the budget, but these were not considered. For example, getting rid of PTers and dispatchers and using Plaistow Dispatch FT, separating departments - something BudCom is AGAINST.

Anonymous said...

We are the only town that relies on 14 part time officer slots.

Most depts. have fully trained full time officers, to man their police dept in a professional manner.

Atkinson doesn't even have a police chief that is trained, or educated.

Anonymous said...

This affects safety and how well any problems will be handled. If they don't know how to solve crimes, they won't be solved. Forget about getting your jewelry back, you won't. This has to have an effect on our insurance premiums. No, I don't just mean what the town pays, but what WE pay personally.

I recently heard a news report that discussed metrics kept on solving crimes. We have to have a very low rating. This data is tracked and I will try to find out more.

Anonymous said...

Atkinson isn't even listed. Are they not reporting crime? Oh, ya, the missing logs....

Anonymous said...

more likely that the crime rate is so low as to not even register.

We typically have 1 dispatch per shift, and 50% of these are well being checks, alarm checks, paper serve, in other words not crime.

Anonymous said...

Uhh. Recommending a $78,000 increase of the legal line when we have an insurance company to pay town officials legal expenses and a town attorney over paid to the tune of $40,000? What??? Looks like a slush fund to pay for more town officials private legal expenses yet again or whatever other nonsense legal adventures that the voters and homeowners have totally no responsibility to pay for.

What do you call this? Sad? Abomination? Morally bankrupt?

The Selectmen have voted to pay for private legal expenses before using MY MONEY and they will do it again. Every time they do it they violate us taxpayers up, down, and sideways.

Recommending a larger legal slush fund? What do you call this? "Move me up to Selectman, ya all asleep taxpayers?"

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha. No. Thats not it. logjammin separation of Elderly Affairs got Budget Boy his fucha Selectman,s seat. Good move, little one! Now ya gets to climb on board proper and EA donates a prize canari yella leather chair just fer ya. Ha ha.

Anonymous said...

We all know that the logs are fake so you can't claim there's no crime. They leave out whateva they want. You don't know who you live near or what they're up to.

Anonymous said...

Why does Atkinson have more thugs in our town than other towns do?


Taxpaying voters are snoring in their beds or don't insist on or vote into office..... plain honest folks.

Anonymous said...

Would someone tell me please just what has Chief Consentino done that is so wonderful? Yes, he heads up the elderly affairs, but the taxpayers pay for it - don't people realize this? I just can't figure it out!

Anonymous said...

He is a one man show. It's all about him. He keeps all the facts confidential, reports whatever he wants and threatens people who challenge him. It's a complete farce if you ask me. We have no real Chief and many elderly are doing without rather than to speak up. When he is gone, it will all come out. He keeps writing articles praising in the newspaper. All fluff, no substance.

Anonymous said...

Atkinson exploits its elderly

How sad

Anonymous said...

"We can take money out of any other town budget for this, fire, highway, whatever," he said. "It has to be done.""

Take it from the $78,000 legal line slush fund? Anyone? Anyone?

Why not? Sidewalk "crack" contractor payoff? Take it from the all purpose Atkinshame $78,000 slush fund. It makes sense? What about the 20K to restrict voter acess to town offices? Now we REALLY need that but we Selectmen refuse to detail it. Hmmmmm. Follow the bouncing money balls.

Slush fund to slush fund slushing!

This reminds muuaaah of the 5 illegal "charities" we had in Atkinshame that got shut down by the State Attorney General. My, my. The donation cans at Hanniford just went bye bye never to be seen again. Thank Gawd we have new and improved slush funds in this hear town!

Anonymous said...

Ya know, it only makes sense! Some old Vietnam Vet trips on the multimillion dollar town hall sidewalk and there is a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the town and our Town Insurance, we know that's no good, this is a legal line item emergency! Whew, BudCom and other sheep in wolfs clothing confused the voters about the $78,000 slush fund. Or is it wolves in sheeps clothing? The cowards and preditors are pretty much the same here in this sleeply little town.

Anyways, OMG we also need cement barriors and speed bumps outside town hall. They got to get the money from somewhere to stop all these lawsuits!

Anonymous said...

Wow, It's great to see the PD is getting whatever they ask for now that Baldwin is gone. Hey AR I'd love to hear more about the new cop they hired last night that won't be working shifts. (I know you havent woken up yet because I'm sure this will take off like a snowball).

Anonymous said...

Don't watch the meetings. Did we hire someone new? For what post?

Anonymous said...

They hired a fully
qua qua qualified police chief?

Anonymous said...

Bloggers (Leon, Mark, Joyce etal), are you not watching Monday night madness? Well actually Mark you are excused derry doesnt have actv.

Anonymous said...

And I always thought one has to be retired or FIRED from the position they have or had before hiring another to take the place of the person FIRED or retired. I guess I'm wrong but that is the way the town has done things is it not? Could be wrong though.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, no one watches these meetings.

Anonymous said...

Not if one is not elected, hired or appointed.

Anonymous said...

Let us see what the ET has to say about the hiring of a new chief enough though they do seem to lean towards the Conmans side with their publications. Slanted or not they have to publish the latest non fictional truth at their expense of being held to the laws locally and FEDERALLY to operate as an newspaper.

Anonymous said...

If this were true, it would have been in the paper today.

Anonymous said...

1:4 @2:45 , I do thank you for the response that I do think is the truth. Be it as so I will wait until tomorrows E.T. publishing to see if there is a response to this to make sure that it may be true or not . Thanks again.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I am not a diplomat, and, as such, I am not fully conversant with the elegant and rarefied language of the diplomatic trade. I have a reputation for saying what I mean and meaning what I say. So I trust that you'll forgive me if I come across as a bit blunt when I state that whenever Eagle Tribune claims that people prefer "cultural integrity" and "multicultural sensitivity" to health, food, safety, and the opportunity to choose their own course through life, I can't help but think that it has just subtracted from the sum of human knowledge. Before I get moving here, let me point out that if you intend to challenge someone's assertions, you need to present a counterargument. It provides none. Let me end by appealing to our collective sense of humanity: Eagle Tribune's hallucinations about the benefits of absolutism are so deep and inveterate that they can be broken, if at all, only if we reinforce the contentions of all reasonable people and confute those of the most picayunish popinjays you'll ever see.

Anonymous said...

Actually Phil does not have to be fired. He doesn't have an appointment. He can simply be returned to part time officer at any time.

Anonymous said...

So I have a problem with having untrained officers on duty. It's dangerous to them and to those they cannot protect.

Anonymous said...

My goal for this letter is to tackle the multinational death machine that the untrained police officer is currently constructing. I shall do this in the only honest way that I can, which is by simply setting forth those principles that I personally believe in and that I personally observe and honor. To begin at the beginning, every so often, the untrained police officers tries jumping on everything that is written, said, or even implied and label it as either unimaginative or profligate. Whenever it gets caught doing so it raises a terrific hullabaloo calculated to recruit and encourage young people to let merciless goof-offs serve as our overlords, just as older drug dealers use young kids to push drugs. The untrained police officer likes to argue that governments should have the right to lie to their own subjects or to other governments. Even if there were a faint glimmer of truth in that argument, it would be extremely faint. The truth is that the untrained police officer can't attack my ideas, so it attacks me. It could be worse, I suppose. It could operate in the gray area between legitimate activity and noisome, obstinate charlatanism. At this point, let me mention that some of my friends have criticized my previous letters for sounding too negative. They suggested that I adopt a more positive tone in the future. Well, as I've reached the end of this letter, I guess I can try ending on a positive note: I'm positive that a number of otiose, blowsy dweebs have succumbed to excessive drug use, alcoholism, and other addictive behavior indicating maladaptive mechanisms.

Anonymous said...

The guy who's taken over the blog recently sounds just like Spiro Agnew. Here's a friendly reminder. The biggest narcicist in Atkinson is Chief Phil Consentino.

Anonymous said...

January 24, 2012 7:20 PM: There is a wonderful feature in writing English to make the text easier to follow. It is called a "paragraph". Its lack of use makes it appear you are rambling.

But then again, you were rambling.