As Ken Kasarjian aptly put it, " where is the accountability?" In the end, as the county budget took center stage at this weeks BoS meeting with NH House Rep's Karel Crawford and Glenn Cordelli, that was the real question. Once again, who is responsible for straight answers to taxpayers? Rep Cordelli told us that there is a $2.7 million dollar surplus as per the Commissioners and administration. If that is so, then why did we need a supplemental budget last year of $2.5 million?
A problem has also occurred with the 2014 audit that should have been completed by the last quarter of 2015. The auditing firm hired to do the previous years of audits from 2010 onward, reported that it was concerned that with the impending forensic audit (which has also not been done) it needed more money to complete the task. That audit firm was replaced and a new company was engaged to complete the 2014 and 2015 financial audits.
If it turns out that there is indeed a $2.7 million surplus, do the towns get a rebate? The answer was no, that unfortunately is not how NH DRA works. In a perfect world, a healthy fund balance would still need to be maintained and any additional surplus above whatever target the county sets would then be placed in the general fund to offset the tax rate. In theory then, we could see a reduction in the tax rate when the NH DRA sets the tax rate this fall. In theory. None of this will come to fruition if the audits prove to tell a different story or if the surplus is used for some other purpose.
We have a county budget that is based upon unaudited numbers from the prior now two years, we may or may not have a $2.7 million surplus and we could have $1.3 million in the rainy day fund. Still no clarity as to where our tax dollars are going and who is accountable.