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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Be thankful ...that we are not Gilmanton

The front page story in today's Laconia Daily Sun was about a very contentious Gilmanton Selectboard meeting last evening about the cause for a $3.01 increase in the tax rate to $25.94 and a successful vote to replace the board chair.
The first thing to be thankful for is to not have a tax rate anywhere near $25.94.  We have work to do on our budget beginning next week to keep our tax rate low. I'm sure it won't turn into a free for all as it appears to have happened in Gilmanton. The $3.01  increase will cost $301 per $100,000 of property value. That is a real hit on the family budget for many of us. As someone squarely in the middle of middle class, that increase in my mortgage payment would hurt.
It does seem as though Gilmanton's transition from one Town Administrator to another did not go very seamlessly. There does not appear to have been a clean handoff when the new TA came on board.  It is curious why the previous years budget process was not clear to either the BoS or the town staff. Or even the town budget committee. I do have to agree that such a large jump in the tax rate should have raised some questions from the new TA. This is not a case of no news is good news because the NH DRA didn't call. This is our second piece of good news. Our transition went very smoothly.
In any event, it doesn't seem fair to blame a new TA on the job for only four months , for what may have happened under the old TA's watch as the budget was constructed last year. For sure, it shouldn't be so confusing.
Another thing to be thankful for is having a five member BoS. We have our moments, but we are five independent voices and rash decisions tend not to happen as we often cancel each other out. We do argue and disagree and occasionally voices are raised, but in the end, we move on and try to do what is in the best interest of Moultonboro.
Our budget meetings are open of course to the public, but few attend.  Come February, when we have the budget and warrant hearing, it will be 2-3 months after the context of the decisions were discussed. It is hard at that point to change course. As the saying goes: " be there or be square."


Janet Cramer said...

Nearly $26/1000. That's 2.6% a year on your home value. Or 26% in 10 years. That is so amazing that it boggles the mind. And over a 10% increase year over year. It's SO important to keep our tax rate from creeping up. Every increase hurts our ability to balance our personal budget. And every little increase seems OK....until you get to the tipping point. I know the Selectmen have a difficult job. But our goal should be to DROP the tax rate. Not just to keep the increase small. We don't need to look at Gilmanton. Our rates need to stay low.

Joseph Cormier said...

The voters can do something about the Municipal and Local Ed. parts, but not the State Ed., nor County parts. All four make up the tax rate.

On the positive side it's not just the rate, but the valuation that determines what you owe the town. The total town "rated valuations" pays the town bill.

You ask ... who creates the bill ... come-on now. Like blogger says ... "be there or be square." MoBo doesn't have an Official Budget Committee, only an advisory one.

Thank you, to all the lakefront owners, especially those that are not residents, and cannot legally vote!

As we are probably aware, our tax bill is the tax rate/$1000 X assessed valuation.

MoBo ‘s is now, 9.01/1000 X the assessed valuation
e.g., .00901 X $100,000 house = $901 for the year (bill comes half year).

The old rate was 8.86; a 1.69% increase.

Tax rates
MoBo tax rate 9.01


County Apportionments
MoBo at 21.98%


Equalized Valuation
MoBo at $2.84 Billion


Nancy Wright said...

According to the Town Administrators 11/23/15 report. "Other weeks activities include final preparation of my proposed FY16 budget to the Select Board and a productive meeting of the "community center work group" who will be presenting a proposed plan to the Select Board in December."


Because this is a "working group" meetings are not posted, the public is not invited and there are no minutes. Members of the "working group" are Selectmen Paul Punturieri and Jean Beadle, Town Administrator Walter Johnson, Recreation Director Donna Kuethe, and the architect.

According to the Town Administrator the "working group" will give an update to the Select Board on December 3rd and a presentation to the Select Board on December 17th.

If you're concerned about a tax hike, be aware the gym/community center is on the table. If some of our Selectmen have their druthers there will be a Warrant Article at the 2016 March Town Meeting for a gym/community center. The proposed location is the recently purchased Taylor property and Moultonborough Academy grounds.

William Dunn said...

Correct above.
Yet we have a multitude of committees and sorts prancing around devising ways to spend hard working and retirees taxpayers money.
Sidewalks for about half dozen kids?
New gymnasium for no reason at all except a monument someone?
Walkways and bike paths to nowhere. Never swept.
Mission creep budgets for some departments?
Spend, spend, spend. As if there is no tomorrow.

I count two food pantries in town. How many food pantries are there in Moultonborough?

Anonymous said...

If the plan is to drop the tax rate which services are we willing to give up?

Joseph Cormier said...

Repeating what Nancy quoted from Walter's weekly report:

"... and a productive meeting of the community center work group who will be presenting a proposed plan to the Select Board in December."

Ever wonder why a "work group" rather than a "committee" or "sub-committee" is providing the BoS with a presentation or report, any report?

Might be because a "work group" doesn't fall under the Right-To-Know law, RSA 91-A.
No legal requirement for minutes or notices etc.

I'm not saying there's anything nefarious regarding a work group, but ...

I can remember being on the Broadband Work Group and the BoS never finding out, openly, what went on in the "work group". Do you know what stacking the deck means?
How about the BoS not having a clue on what goes on in a group ... or should they care?

Recent NHMA piece on Right-To-Know law, page 2:

"It is important to distinguish between non-meetings (which do not exist for purposes of the Right to Know Law) and nonpublic sessions, which are meetings governed by the Right to Know Law."

" ... and meetings among individual officials who are not an official board, committee, commission, etc., are not a meeting."