We had a Special Meeting of the BudComm tonite to rectify a huge problem that I found this year by reading through the NH RSAs that govern the budgetary process that must be followed by towns that have adopted SB2 and implemented official Budget Committees. Since the beginning of our town using SB2, the BudComm was only active during the budget season in crafting the Town and the School Board budgets to be presented to the townfolk for explanation, modification, and finally, approval.
But that was all. Never had the BudComm carried out its other responsibility – continual budget oversight. So tonite, we passed a resolution, 8 to 1, to start doing it so as to be in compliance with the RSAs. Simple housekeeping, you might think? Not so much but here’s the resolution – the authorizing Statutes first and then the actual resolution:
[Emphasis added in Bold]
WHEREAS New Hampshire RSA 32:4 provides, in part, that “All municipal officers, administrative officials and department heads, including officers of such self-sustaining departments as water, sewer, and electric departments, shall prepare statements of estimated expenditures and revenues for the ensuing fiscal year, and shall submit such statements to their respective governing bodies, at such times and in such detail as the governing body may require.”
WHEREAS New Hampshire RSA 32:10 provides, in part, that “ (b) Records shall be kept by the governing body, such that the budget committee, if any, or any citizen requesting such records pursuant to RSA 91-A:4, may ascertain the purposes of appropriations to which, and from which, amounts have been transferred; provided, however, that neither the budget committee nor other citizens shall have any authority to dispute or challenge the discretion of the governing body in making such transfers. “
WHEREAS New Hampshire RSA 32:16 provides, in part, that “In any town which has adopted the provisions of this subdivision, the budget committee shall have the following duties and responsibilities:…To confer with the governing body or bodies and with other officers, department heads and other officials, relative to estimated costs, revenues anticipated, and services performed to the extent deemed necessary by the budget committee. It shall be the duty of all such officers and other persons to furnish such pertinent information to the budget committee.
WHEREAS, New Hampshire RSA 32:22 provides, in part, that “Upon request by the budget committee, the governing body of the town or district, or the town manager or other administrative official, shall forthwith submit to the budget committee a comparative statement of all appropriations and all expenditures by them made in such detail as the budget committee may require. The budget committee shall meet periodically to review such statements.”
WHEREAS THE Town of Gilford Budget Committee endeavors to comply with all applicable state laws governing its functions;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE TOWN OF GILFORD BUDGET COMMITTEE AS FOLLOWS:
1. That the budget committee shall request, from time to time at reasonable intervals, from the governing body of the town or district, or the town manager or other administrative official, comparative statements or structured data records, as defined by the Gilford Budget Committee, of all revenues, appropriations, transfers, and expenditures by them made in such detail and in such electronic formats as the budget committee may require; and
2. That the budget committee shall meet periodically, from time to time, to review such statements, and to take such actions with respect thereto as the committee deems appropriate.
ADOPTED BY THE TOWN OF GILFORD BUDGET COMMITTEE
ON MARCH 12, 2018 BY A VOTE OF ____8_____ TO _____1______
It also caused a ruckus among, shall we say, as the election is tomorrow; the representative to the BudComm from the School Board was the vote by the Vice-Chair of the School Board.
In fact, Joe Wernig (who has blocked me on Facebook; we’ve butted heads before where I handed him his head in most of time in those few debates), who is running for the BudComm (along with the other named extremist Democrats) went on a rant befitting a Collectivist who can’t stand the idea that people may just have other priorities than “community”. For him, if you cut one CENT from the school or town budget, if you disagree with a given policy, you are to be banished. You are (well, we are) automatically branded as not “caring about the town” and “selfish”.
I will tell you that NOTHING happened tonight to evoke this, IMHO. Go ahead, Joe, tell us know!
- A resolution to do what we should have been doing all these years
- I would need certain transactional data records (revenue, expenditure, appropriation, and transfers at the GL Account level) from both the Town and the School District to build an automated budget tracker – think of it as a Budget Committee Dashboard (a data analytics platform that I will give to the BudComm once I build it).
The idea behind that Dashboard is to automate a lot of the analysis above and beyond the snapshot “comparative statements” can give. Hey, the Selectmen Chair “got it” and if it was put up on the town website, well, that’s fine by me. Reading GraniteGrok, you all know that open and transparent government is the LOW bar for me – the more the better.
That made a few people rather upset – who are YOU to be doing this? Well, someone that has the conceptual skills to do it, for one. Being Vice-Chair of the BudComm for another. And the data is public – there is nothing that is “trade secrets” level and anyone in town could ask for that data and get it. But the ideological gets in the way of that open, transparent, and analysis part. Go figure.
It’s a flap that, if you reread Joe’s FB rant “After hearing what happened at the Special Budget Committee meeting, it justifies…”, you’d be shaking your head as well. Fortunately, all of the BudComm meetings are recorded – y’all can tell for yourselves. But “FEELZ”, people, “FEELZ”!
And former NH State Rep Lisa DiMartino (D) also had a rant but that will have to wait for later. In fact, I may well go hunting for more!
Just wish I hadn’t deleted GilfordGrok….