Regionalization in Belknap County – a bad idea

by Skip

Belknap CountyWell, it would be one way to not have to go begging for money again, right?  A while ago, we heard that the Belknap County Sheriff’s office was begging additional monies from the towns that it was serving for dispatch services (emphasis mine, reformatted):

TOWNS PROTEST BELKNAP COUNTY IDEA TO ASSESS FEES FOR DISPATCH SERVICE

As Belknap County considers assessing a fee to the towns for which it provides police dispatch services, the towns are pushing back, particularly when it comes to calls for a total elimination of the service. Belknap County Sheriff Michael Moyer said there’s “no fact to the rumor that it’ll be shut down completely,” but he said he is looking into charging a fee to the towns that rely on county dispatch. “A lot of counties do charge,” he said.
The sheriff was quick to add that he believes the best option is the status quo, where county taxes pay for the dispatch service.

Ayup.  If you can’t get it one way (taxes), then charge it. The problem is that the former is a demand (here in NH, the counties get a portion from local property taxes) while the latter is only a request (e.g., the towns can say no).  So, here’s the money line to make their financial problem go away:

“People are in favor of regionalization, which this is because it saves everybody money, rather than having each town set up its own dispatch service,” Moyer said.

My beef with that line isn’t just financial (although “follow the money” is now in play), though

…The sheriff said the idea of charging the towns is not something he came up with, but he is following up on Howard’s suggestion as a way to meet his budget shortfall. Although his department spent $2,069,385 in 2016 and requested $2,198,973 for 2017, the delegation-passed budget provided only $2,037,092, more than $30,000 less than the sheriff’s department spent in 2016. “I’m still looking to fund my budget,” Moyer said.

As the song goes “Money, money, moneey. Money!”.  Power and money – that’s what Government is about.  And if you can’t get it one way (even for a “goodness” problem), try another.  Like this gambit alluded to in the above article. But instead of “follow the money”, try this one: “where does the Power go?”. The prelude for the snatch:

COUNTY TO PUSH FOR REGIONAL POLICE/FIRE SERVICES

Belknap County Commissioners agreed that regionalization of fire and police departments within the county has the potential to save taxpayers money and say that it will be one of the issues they hope to explore further during the budget discussions in the months ahead.

Money.  Always about the money. This next part,however, starts to answer my above question AND really concerns me about Dave DeVoy – he ran as a Libertarian, held events for Rand Paul, and has always had me think of him in that political vein:

Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton), who chaired a study committee in Sanbornton which earlier this examined the possible regionalization of fire services, said that he saw a lot of support for the regionalization of fire and police services in meetings the committee had with surrounding communities.

He said that Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid has already regionalized fire services from an operational standpoint but not from an organizational standpoint. “We need to bring everyone interested in regionalization together to make it happen,” said DeVoy, who asked why there should be 10 police chiefs and 10 fire chiefs in a county with a population of about 60,000.

Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) supported DeVoy’s suggestion, which came at the opening of a budget review session by commissioners Wednesday afternoon. “It’s an important issue. You can make the argument that the failure to regionalize services has already cost taxpayers a lot of money,” said Taylor.

The report issued by the Sanbornton committee which DeVoy chaired said that towns in the county are being placed in an unsustainable position due to the lack of progress on the issue and that someone like the County Commissioners needs to take a leadership role in pushing for regionalization.

How about this take on this – let’s “regionalize” the counties instead and totally remove this middle level of government altogether. State Police can the Sheriffs law enforcement responsibilities (if not their Constitutional Offices) and provide security at local court houses and the now “new” state prisons. Fold the nursing homes into the State hospital system.  Presto!  As my now 2 year old Grandson now says, “ALL done”.

I guess being in office has changed DeVoy and not for the better – really, a Libertarian desiring to further centralize Power away from local communities (Taylor is, well, Rule #1 prevents me from using the language I’d really prefer to use)?  That’s the hallmark of Progressive Socialists, Davey boy. Certainly Democrats at the least.  After all, if you remove Police and Fire from the local communities, all that’s left of “local control” is a mere hollow shell of the “NH Advantage”.  Is that really what you want?

Again, my beef is the almost total loss of budget control and political control at the local level.  If I have a beef with the “Chiefs”, I can go to them (heck, I can walk to them).  Or I can hassle their bosses, the selectmen (as I did tonite but on a completely different matter).  If I don’t like what is going on, I can use both my voice AND my vote – and those can make a difference! And both DeVoy and Taylor would take that away.

No, sirs, it ISN’T about the money but you ARE using that as the ball you see in that game that street hustlers ply on unsuspecting tourists.  Anyone would answer that having just one Chief instead of ten is a no brainer.

And we’d lose every time if we let you play that hand.  Your real prize is that once you have that “regionalization”, you will be demanding the payment for it – and we citizens will be the poorer for it even as you say you are “saving” us money.  Once entrenched, like all other government bureaucracies that successfully isolate themselves from voters and taxpayers, it will grow and grow and grow.  That’s what bureaucracies do.

And they won’t have to listen, either.  And that’s when DeVoy and Taylor will be able to back-slap each other and say “Hey, we just grew the Administrative State in our own backyards!”.

 

 

 

 

http://www.laconiadailysun.com/community/community-announcements/109067-110617-belknapgopmtg-200

BELKNAP GOP TO LOOK AT REGIONALIZATION OF POLICE, FIRE DEPARTMENTS NOV. 8

The Belknap County Republican Committee’s next monthly meeting will take place Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Top of the Town Restaurant, 88 Ladd Hill Road, Belmont.

This month’s guest speaker, Belknap County Chief Deputy Sheriff David Perkins, will discuss regionalization of police and fire departments. Dave’s talk will center on reducing duplication of staff, facilities, and equipment in an effort to help rein in spending. He will also discuss the hurdles to regionalization, and what can be done to address them.

Chief Deputy Perkins began his career in law enforcement in 1996 with the Gilford Police Department, and continued his career with a move to the Belknap County Sheriff’s Department in December of 2001. He has a degree from Franklin Pierce in Criminal Justice and a Master’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice Leadership from New England College.

Belknap County GOP meetings are open to all Republicans and like-minded Independents. Per their usual meeting format, if you’re interested in having dinner (at your option) and/or wish to socialize before the meeting, plan to arrive as early as 5 p.m.

The committee again encourages its members to continue to bring nonperishable food items which will be donated to local food pantries.

For more information, check the committee’s website at www.BelknapCountyGOP.org or send an email to alan.glassman@gmail.com.

 

Leave a Comment

  • mer

    “…Belknap County Commissioners agreed that regionalization of fire and police departments within the county has the potential to save taxpayers money and say that it will be one of the issues they hope to explore further during the budget discussions in the months ahead….”

    You missed bolding what I believe to be the key word in this paragraph:
    potential

    Doesn’t mean it will, just “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” promise.

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