"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Town Budget Part 2: Capital Spending

As many of you are aware, Moultonboro has a Capital Improvements Program Committee. ( Charge and Composition can be found here.)
Per the CIPC 2015 Annual Report to the BoS:
"Annually, the Capital Improvements Program Committee (CIPC) is to review capital requests and recommend a program of capital improvement projects to address the needs of the Town over at least a six year period, with the first year being the capital year or year in which actual funds are expended and the remaining five years as the planning period. "

  • Approximately $13,009,614.00 of capital improvement projects have been planned by the various town departments over the next 6 years.
  • These various Town departments have requested $1,745,636.00 of funding for 13 capital projects in the capital year, 2015.
  • The CIPC has recommended $1,589,636.00 for 9 capital projects in the capital year, 2015, because four projects are not recommended to be funded reducing the total amount of the six year program to $10,816,114.00.
The four projects not recommended by the CIPC are as follows:
 #5 – Highway Garage water system: (Unprogrammed – not enough information to evaluate need) $25,000

#57 – Rehab Baseball Field at Playground Drive including Lights: #7 (Not recommended) $15,000 (Engineering 2015); $385,000 (estimated project cost including lights) Total $400,000

#8 - Facilities Energy Upgrade (windows for Rec. Center): (Not Recommended) $66,000

#61 Construct Building w/gym, program space, offices, storage: #7 (Not Recommended) $50,000 (engineering and design 2015); ($3,800,000 to $5,000,000 for construction). Total to be determined.

The CIPC submitted it's report to the BoS in September. The Town Administrator in the process of preparing for the 2015 budget, submitted his capital recommendations in November. His proposal included funding for the Highway Water system (the CIPC was not provided details of this plan which was the primary basis for them  not recommending it) and he also did not recommend purchase of two new police cruisers, just one. The CIPC recommended replacing two older Crown Victoria models with upwards of 130,000 miles each to put the MPD back on a one vehicle per year rotation. In addition, the TA did not recommend funding for engineering to further evaluate the Public Safety Building slab.  The TA also recommended $30,000 for energy improvements to the lighting in the parking lots at Town Hall and the Public Safety Building ( with a potential NHEC rebate of $15,000.) This project was vetted by the CIPC after it was proposed to the BoS and the CIPC did ultimately recommend it. (The original request for $66,000 for windows at the Rec. Center was reduced in the Town Administrators recommended budget to just $9,800 to replace all the windows and one door and was thus just under the $10,000 required to be considered a capital request.  Per the 12/19/ draft minutes: "There was a lengthy discussion of the use of the Recreation building and the merits of investing in, with the consensus being (Paul opposed to the retention) to keep the windows/weatherization money in, but to inform the Department Head it could only be spent for that purpose. "
Finally, the TA  also recommended moving forward with the $15,000 for the Softball Field repair/redesign engineering.
All this was discussed department by department during the Friday budget  meetings with the ABC and department heads.The Capital budget was finalized for preparation for public hearing on Friday December 19th.
The end results are summarized as follows: ( Note: the remaining items recommended by the CIPC were approved by the BoS. The Gym/Facility funding was deferred pending the finalization of the UNH report.)
  • With considerable debate, money was put aside to fund a plan for improving the water quality at the highway garage ( $17,500) with additional funds to study a solution and options. Per the 12/19  BoS draft minutes: "The end result was a consensus (Paul opposed) to leave the item in, but to rename it Water Treatment Plan and Equipment and to make it clear the Board wanted a full study and presentation of alternatives before it would authorize proceeding with any specific action. "
  •  Approved the $30,000 for energy improvements. Per the 12/19 BoS draft minutes: "After a lengthy discussion of the payback on the energy improvements and the various options (doing it all, doing nothing, or doing only those items with the highest payback to secure the NHECO 50/50 grant) the consensus was (Paul opposed) to leave this item in the CAPEX budget as proposed. "
  • Per the 12/19 BoS draft minutes:"The softball field and parking lot design remained as well after lengthy discussion that the Board wanted the Engineer to look at incremental and lowest cost improvements. "
  • Per the 12/19 BoS draft minutes:"the consensus was to add the second cruiser and use $50k of fund balance toward it in order to remain with the 5% growth gap on the use of new tax levy."
You will note that throughout the 12/19 draft minutes( I invite you to watch the video), you will see " Paul opposed". I want to clarify that I didn't oppose everything, but had hoped that we could find funding for some of the necessary items from department budget surplus and not fund programs which are not critical to the Town. For example, I proposed adding back the second police cruiser which was strongly recommended by Chief Wetherbee, but also find the money somewhere else in the budget. In the end, we added and added, but never subtracted. That was not what I hoped for.

Details of the funding sources and total amounts requested will be presented in the 2015 Draft Warrant when the BoS meet in the final budget work session this Friday January 9th at 8:30am.

From there it is on to the budget public hearings in February and then Town Meeting  when the debate will continue and where voters will ultimately make the final decisions.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul for being the voice in the wilderness. I hope the voters make some changes in the BOS.....but I cannot vote. Concerning lights, any lights must be LED....anything short of that is totally unacceptable. It would be nice if the town admin followed the Cap. Committee, but that is asking too much. He has his own agenda and will continue until he is removed. The rest of the BOS still does not get it. They feel spend spend spend as long as the lakefront owners cannot vote or participate. Bottom line...they do not represent the best interests of all the taxpayers..just their own agenda.

Joe Cormier/jcormier2@myfairpoint.net said...

With all the committees, why is there a "TA recommendation"?

The BoS can't think for themselves?

Why,is it part of the process, with responsible department heads, who have "made their case" for their budget to the BoS?

Why,... with ABC and CIPC? Maybe MoBo needs DEFG ... XYZ!

The CIPC does a great job, in my estimation ... but theirs, is only an advisory role.

Why, if a dept. budget is consistently controversial, isn't the dept. head removed?

Time for an statutory Official Budget Committee and SB-2.

I don't blame the TA. I blame the premise that it is allowed to happen.

Bad Decisions said...

Town Administrator did not reccomend funding engineering for repairs on life safety building slab. He knows that when the slab collapses it will be an " emergency approiation ". So until then he can spend on feel good projects.. Seems like he is running for office.

Anonymous said...

Joe...You got that right...this is the result of one persons empire building, and we see time and time again that his goals do not match the direction the voters want to go.
Think about the money we could save, if we gave him a years pay, and sent him down the road. Think about what this town could be.....

Bottomless Pit said...

Paul, I'm addressing this question to you since you appear to be the only Selectman that's willing to take a stand on spending. As a taxpayer, thank you.

it's difficult to cut the budget when town employees continue to get raises meanwhile the private sector are making do with none. Town employees receive generous healthcare coverage, pensions and work a 40 hour week while the private sector is losing all of these.

Would you please comment on how negotiations regarding town empoyee benefits impacted this budgets bottom line? How will town employee benefits be handled going forward?

Thank you.

Cash Equivelent said...

Speaking of warrants, etc, the BOS needs to instruct the town administrator to once again include the fiscal total of values of town owned properties, page 59 on the 2013 annual report. This was included up to 3 years ago. I think he can find the space for one line of type.
If the B O S really wanted to make a point, they would Reccomend that the deleted three years totals be listed, among with the number of properties in each year....T A to find space for 3 lines of type...Transparency

Bill Dunn said...

Oh, please . . . .Bottomless Pit . . . give it a rest.
If working for the gubment is so good, then why didn’t you work for the gubment?
What’s your excuse.
You made too much money in the private sector?
Or are you another silver spoon baby?

Good Luck said...

Bill Dunn, thanks for what you do for us....our best employees work far from Town Hall. Just don't get too fat and happy....some retirement money is in the N H RSS
And that is underfunded, and based on a garanteed retirement pay to you...Something all industries have left behind.
Bet your health care ends up with fed Med-care-Cade....that will hurt too
Municipalities have made promises they can not keep.

On & On said...

Capital Spending.. Money in revolving trusts, and special dedicated trusts ....very risky place to keep money around here. The Cable fee kickback fund....paid by us, the subscribers...there is a good example for money in paril.
The Meredith BOS just checked their fund, found a 1/2 million dollars, said they did not see anything to spend it on, in near future, so they propose to put it back in the general fund....
Our Moultonboro BOS also have$ 300,000 in our cable fee fund...and just accepted a report calling for spending that to install broadband access into the last 40 homes that do not have it. The BOS have voluntarily stepped into this one,, and the way they handled it, some people think something will happen, like a cable truck in the yard. Their inactivity will make for another interesting time.. Don't feel sorry for them.