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

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Budget Workshop Number 2

A fairly uneventful session as we reviewed proposed budgets for Fire, Police, Trustees of the Trust Fund, Recreation and Developmental Services.

Among the highlights:

  •  The BoS agreed to budget an appropriation of $25,000 for the Trustees of the Trust Funds to pay for the annual management fee of a professional investment service. The Trustees have done a great deal of due diligence including consultation with the Charitable Trust unit of the NH Attorney Generals Office, who encourage use of professional firms for the creation and management of  Trust Fund investment portfolios. They are in the final stage of the evaluation process, and after evaluating 35+ NH investment firms, they are left with two firms as finalists: Mill River Wealth Management  and Bank of NH. 
  • The Milfoil Committee budget request is up somewhat this year to  $250,000.  The committee pointed out that  the $18,000 refunded from the Tri Town Milfoil group and the $18,000 rebated by NH DES will more than cover the $25,000 increase in spending. They do expect to use less herbicide this year, 2 treatments instead of 3. 
  • We anticipate around $30,000 from Time Warner Cable for the 2016 cable franchise fee. A portion of that fee, $27,500, was proposed to be placed in the Communications Technology Trust Fund. Franchise fees are governed under Section 622 of the Cable Communications Act of 1984. Section 622, states that municipalities are entitled to a maximum of 5% of gross revenues derived from the operation of the cable system for the provision of cable services such as Public, educational, and government access (PEG) TV channels. Subscribers pay the fee to Time Warner Cable, who then pay Moultonboro. The consensus of the BoS was to continue to fund the trust fund at the current ARC ( Annual Reserve Contribution) of $27,500 and revisit this with the negotiation of the new cable contract set to expire in 2017. 
  • The BoS will meet one more time in 2015 on Wednesday December 30th at 7pm. There will be formal votes on some of the items concluded in the budget session as well as any unfinished business we need to attend to before the year ends. One item may be to decide what to do about the soon to be vacant DPW Director position and whether to put the Road Agent question ( appointed or elected) to the voters at Town Meeting.


Joseph Cormier said...

2015 Budget at a glance


2015 MS-6


2015 Warrant


2015 Election Results: Josh picked up a vote on recount. I witnessed it.

698 ballots cast out of a town of 4,000 with @ 3,700-3,900 registered voters. What were there at the town meeting ... 265 folks or so. Complacency in a rich town ... so be it.


Joseph Cormier said...

Cable franchise ... MoBo's is presently at 2% of Gross Revenues ($30K-$33k) and will stay that way, contractually, till 2017.

"In the United States cable television industry, a cable television franchise fee is an annual fee charged by a local government to a private cable television company as compensation for using public property it owns as right-of-way for its cable."

"Section 542(f) of the Communications Act says "A cable operator may designate that portion of a subscriber's bill attributable to the franchise fee as a separate item on the bill." "

Look at your bill, those of you that subscribe. Probably around .80 cents or so. My bill comes in @ .88 cents. I'd rather pay that .88cents, then $30 bucks for a Rec. Dept. pickleball session; $30 bucks on top of taxes paying the $300,000+ Rec. budget.

"Local governments generally would prefer this item not be listed on the bill. Since the fee is paid to the government, ..."

"Cable providers, in contrast, see the fee as a cost of doing business which they are passing along to the customer."

"Although it is paid to a government, it is not a tax."

I look at it as a pseudo-rebate. It's paid by some in town, but the whole town gets to spend it, via the BoS.


The facts are, most of the franchise fee has been going into the Tech Fund since around 2007, with some of the money going into the General Fund. The town voted for the Tech Fund for "Communications Infrastructure". The fund should be around $200,000 +, at least. No money has been taken out. The BoS have recently approved $43,500 to run some DSL to some remote parts of the town, that may or may not use it. Time Warner, where the franchise fee comes from, didn't think it was worth it, so the BoS are giving it to FAIRPOINT, a phone company, to provide the capacity for an inferior product.

Next, will be the underground conduit cry.

"Cable" and "internet service" are legally different. The Franchise fee is from "cable". Blogger mentioned the Fed. Reg., .The NH RSA is RSA 53-C; for cable, not internet, nor broadband. Internet is supposed to be unregulated. Anybody aware that Feb. of this year the FCC started making Regs. for "Net Neutrality".


RSA 53-c