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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

County Update

I spoke by phone with Carroll County Commissioner David Babson last evening about a number of things, but mostly about some background information on the contingency fund budget line, which was zero funded for the 2016 budget. This resurfaced a few weeks ago when some emergency repairs were required.
Per Commissioner Babson, the emergency repairs were for repair of a sewer pump, an AC pump in the administration building and a faulty generator. On the horizon is a generator transfer switch which is quite old ( as is the generator) and while it is currently operable, it may need replacement at any time. "Umberger ( Delegation Chair) said not once, not twice, but multiple times, that we would not need a contingency fund" said Babson as the Delegation Executive Committee  zero funded the contingency budget line item. It is his understanding that the Delegation Executive Committee believes that there is sufficient money in other line items to cover unanticipated expenses. Time will tell how accurate that assumption will be. Since no significant expenditure can be made by the Commissioners without the Delegation Executive Committee approval, keeping a small rainy day fund is sensible. If the money is not spent, it can be carried over to the next year. If the department and other areas of the operating budget are as tight as the Delegation leadership has told us, then there should not be many areas where significant under expended line items can be found.

Commissioner Babson spoke of the funding for the County Farm being stretched as far as it can and it is hoped that they can make it a bit further into the summer than earlier anticipated as they are ahead of revenue projections. Babson took exception to Delegation member Glenn Cordelli's claims that the farm lost $449,000 over the past four years. He said that Cordelli used unaudited numbers and had claimed that the audited data was not available. Babson said that was not true and that the audited numbers were available in the finance office. Those numbers he said show a deficit of about $104,000, much less than claimed by Cordelli.
Commissioner Babson will be the sole current Commissioner remaining come January 2017, as Commissioners Sorensen and Ahlgren are not running for re-election. The Commissioners typically meet on Wednesday mornings at 8:30 at the County complex in Ossipee.


State Rep Glenn Cordelli said...

Who said that the county operating budget was "tight"?
The budget spending went up by almost $2.5 million over expenditures of last year! Maybe it is time that the Commissioners start managing rather than complaining.
If Commissioner Babson disagrees with my numbers, maybe he should go back and read his own complaints about farm loses - December 23,2009! He complained about a farm loss of $80,000 and stated that people would be calling for closing the farm. I repeat, 2009. He can find the minutes on the County web site.
And let's end this -----, that the Delegation wants to close the farm. We want the Commissioners to DO something that will utilize the 900 acres for the BENEFIT of the citizens of Carroll County. They certainly had not done anything since Commissioner Babson's complaints in 2009.
The Delegation's action has resulted in positive movement. The Kendall Foundation saw the articles and have come up and toured the property. Andy Kendall said that there are almost too many possibilities for use of the county land. He further stated that there was no way a government could possibly have the resources to make proper use of the property. He was talking about leasing land to local farmers (something Delegation members have been talking about for years) and maybe an "aggregator" to aggregate products from local farmers to ship to larger markets and/or large local use of the products - just some of the possibilities. Next is probably some "listening sessions" and then hopefully a feasibility study.
The sub-committee I chair for the Delegation Agriculture Learning Center is looking at creation of a learning center on the property for all types of workshops and education.
So those who want to stick with a 1900s view of a "County farm", can either get on board or get out of the way while some us try to do something positive.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

The Delegation should be doing what the people of their districts want them to do. It remains disingenuous to reduce funding for the farm knowing that it would close the farm and then say that you did not vote to close the farm.
Let me share two quotes from way back in 2010 at an emergency Delegation meeting on March 31st to approve the budget. The first is from Susan Wiley of Sandwich
"We can't trust these people? (Commissioners)Give me a break. These privileged legislators who think that the backs of our hard working employees at the county need to suffer because they need to have privilege and they can't find any other place for revenue in the state other than cut, cut, cut. This isn't Wisconsin or Alabama this is New Hampshire. We are prosperous. We are careful. We have good policy. We have commissioners who have done their jobs. After 30 years of watching the county commissioners, this is the first time I've seen them go line-by-line looking. And then 14 people can come in and totally rip apart budgets that are well planned and well thought out?"
The second is from then NH House Rep. David Babson who voted no on the budget and was not too happy with his fellow legislators: "I find it offensive. The representatives are not in session today. I have been coming for four years and other than Rep. Wiley and once when it affected Rep. Patten, I haven't seen an elected representative here and yet they sit here and make all the decisions on the budget. I think that is wrong. I still think we should elect a representative like we do for Concord to sit here every week and do the budget work. I listen to these blowhards that have no idea what they are talking about."
Two last points to make. I didn't move to NH to change the state. Things like a county farm are what makes us what we are. Secondly, the problems of 2010 still exist today. The Delegation leadership refuses to work collaboratively with the Commissioners or the Administrator.