Dispatches from the Deliberative – Part 2

by Skip

Town MeetingLike I said earlier, my intent in going to our town’s Municipal Deliberative Session was all about Article 21 that was sponsored, in part, by former BudCom members Allen Voivod and Fred Butler (both who have tried to kill the BudCom in the past). Instead of going after it all like last time, they went after a single point person – the Chair Norm Silber (just wanted to point that out again).

However, during the discussion of another Article that I called our Selectmen on what one of them said:

Article 11:   Shall the Town vote to raise and appropriate the sum of four hundred fifty thousand ($450,000) for phase 2 of the Town Hall improvement project,

to include new heating and cooling fixtures, water system upgrades, hallway flooring, sidewalks and ADA compliant entry doors? The sum to come from fund balance and no amount to be raised from taxation.
(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen by a vote of 3 to 0)
(Not recommended by the Budget Committee by a vote of 8 to 2)

Now I was a bit ticked at the cost – it seems like right from the start this building was a complete horror show.  We spent a tidy sum to build it and have been pouring more and more into it ever since.  I hate to spend money but a general principle is that if the Town bought it, it’s gotta take care of it.  That said, the ole’ blood pressure goes up a couple points every time I think of how we got hornswoggled. But it wasn’t the written purpose that got me going but what the two Selectmen started to say about an “impound lot” for cars they have to keep on-site because of (or the possibility of) criminal concerns.

They talked about prepping the lot that would be at a cost of $23,000.  It would then be finished by getting a loan from Homeland Security (really, they’re in the car lot business?  Whattacountry!). Now most of you loyal readers ALREADY know how I feel about Federal money – it is never free money and it ALWAYS comes with strings attached which make you spend even more money.  I HATE the idea that towns, cities, counties, and States go money-grubbing to the Feds with the false premise back to taxpayers that “it won’t cost YOU anything”.

OK, everyone join in for a group scream: “YES, IT DOES!!!!!!”  Where do you think that Federal money comes from in the first place, eh?

But I’ll tell you what – that isn’t what torqued me off.  In fact, I don’t know anything more about what is needed or what is involved other than 1) $23 grand and 2) DHS had better be in a giving mood. And I didn’t even realize it at first – someone else pointed it out.

Go read the warrant Article again.  And again.  What are the Selectmen asking for?  What are the actual enumerated items to be addressed??

Yeah.  That “impound” lot is not a listed item on that list.  So do you know what that makes it?

Yeah.  I told the selectmen that they were pulling a “bait and switch” – telling us that the money was going to be used for one thing…

…and using it for something else.  You and I’d be thrown in jail if you did that in the private sector and led investors and stockholders astray by doing that.  I told them that they’d best rethinking that notion right quick or there’ll be a price to be paid for real.

Good government is based on openness, transparency, and an adherence to The Rule of Law.  Good Government is when everyone knows what is going on, how it is being done, and how it is being paid for.

This ain’t it.  DON’T tell me your doing one thing – and then sneak something else in on me and everyone else in town.  That’s being a sneak.

And people wonder why people don’t Trust government, even when it is your friends and neighbors that are running it?  Yet again, we see that Eternal Vigilance is necessary at all levels of Government.  Lesson learned – I took a “vacation” when I was out of office.  No more vacations.

And Voivod and Butler don’t believe that the BudComm is necessary for oversight?  Methinks that they love Government way too much.

Leave a Comment

  • OldNHMan

    You are absolutely correct that two of the items brought forth during deliberations were not listed in the warrant article. Therefore it is my belief that the two ‘additional’ items would not authorized and it would be a solid argument that the town would not be able expend any of the authorized funds for those items. Whether it was an oversight on the part of the town administrator (who generates the warrant articles except for the petition articles) or an ingenious means of eliminating those two items, an “Oops, I guess we can’t do those projects because they weren’t listed in the warrant article” type of ‘oversight’.

    • granitegrok

      Hey, since it seems obvious you live, if not in town at least nearby, who do you think is going to be the Selectmen’s rep to the BudCom this year: Rags, Chan, or Gus? Ditto the School Board?

      • OldNHMan

        Me, that’s who…kinda like I am now.

  • Bryan W

    I *hate* it when they write “The sum to come from fund balance and no amount to be raised from taxation.” That is a total scam. In my experience, we always raise lots of money above what is appropriated, so it is ALL taxation.

    But this is pretty egregious.

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