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

Monday, August 24, 2015

Answers to some County Questions

( Not legal advice, just my opinion.... with the help of Google. Food for thought as we wind through this county budget mess. )

What happens if a Town doesn't pay it's County tax bill on time? We would pay 10% interest on the amount due. If my math is correct, that would be about $900 per day late.
Per RSA 29-11, "...interest at 10 percent a year from December 17 upon all taxes not then paid, and the county tax assessed against any town shall not be deemed paid until the whole amount of the warrant together with said interest from December 17 to the date of payment has been received by said treasurer."

What recourse does the Town have if the County does not set the tax rate in a timely manner? We can appeal to the County Convention, who have the authority to abate the interest due. 
Per RSA 29-12, "Any town from which interest is due to the county on its county taxes, whenever assessed, may through its selectmen file with the chairman of the county convention a petition for an abatement of all or any part of such interest, and the county convention is hereby granted the power to abate all or any part thereof, if it finds that such town was unable to pay its county taxes on the date when due because of extraordinary economic conditions, difficulty in collecting taxes due such town, or other good cause shown. Whenever a special meeting of the county convention is called to hear such a petition, the compensation of the members thereof provided by statute shall be paid by the petitioner. 

Can county officials be held personally liable for mismanagement/incompetence? It doesn't appear so, provided they didn't act in a " wanton or reckless manner."
Per RSA  29-A:1  "It is the intent of this chapter to protect county officers, trustees, officials and employees who are subject to claims and civil actions arising from acts committed within the scope of their official duty while in the course of their employment for the county."

Are County Financial Audits required? No, but if they are done, the Commissioner's require the approval of the executive committee of the county convention an interestingly must be completed with 90 days of the close of the county fiscal year.
Per RSA 28:3-a " In the event that an audit is required, the commissioners, with the approval of the executive committee of the county convention, shall engage the services of a certified public accountant qualified in municipal and county finances for the purpose of conducting an audit of the county books of account. The performance and scope of the audit shall be in accordance with generally-accepted auditing practice. The audit shall include an examination for conformance with state and federal laws and regulations relating to county finances, including rules adopted by the commissioner of revenue administration pursuant to RSA 541-A, and shall also include an examination of any subject of county finances that may be requested either by the commissioners, by the county convention, or by the treasurer. The audit shall be completed within 90 days following the close of the county fiscal year. The commissioners shall cause the report of the auditor, together with the customary management letter and auditee responses, to be published with or supplementary to the annual reports of the county officers."

What is the procedure for supplemental budgets?.
Per RSA 21:4-a "The commissioners may apply to the county convention for an appropriation to be made subsequent to the adoption of the annual county budget, or the convention, on its own initiative, may consider and act upon a proposed supplemental appropriation. The clerk of the convention shall deliver or mail to each member of the county convention (who will be in office on the date of the convention vote on the proposed supplemental appropriation) and to the chairperson of the board of selectmen in each town and the mayor of each city within the county and to the secretary of state a statement including the amount of the proposed supplemental appropriation and the objects for which the money is required. The convention shall schedule a public hearing on such appropriation to be held within 30 days of the mailing or delivery of said statement. Notice of the date of said hearing and the date of the convention vote on the proposed appropriation shall accompany said statement. A supplemental county appropriation shall require a vote of the county convention as provided in RSA 24:13."

What is the process for recall of County Commissioners?- NH does not have a recall process in the statutes. 

1 comment:

Joseph Cormier said...

Lakefront owners ... you need to find Oog!

Start at PDF page 3.
Then go to section 14-7 for County.