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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Visit to County Complex

I spent some quality time at the county complex this morning meeting face to face with Carroll County Administrator Ken Robichaud, Finance Director Charles Stuart and Commissioner David Babson. I also took a tour of the county nursing home with Administrator Howard Chandler. More on that later.

The visit was informative and positive and provided a good look at what is going on at the county, the past problems and the solutions that have been implemented. The county has come a long way in the past year.

I asked a simple question early on: has one of the most vocal critics of the county commissioners,  Glenn Cordelli, or for that matter any members of the Delegation ( comprised of all 15 of the NH House Reps in Carroll County) come in and sat down with the Administrator ,Finance Director or Commissioners to ask questions or seek information,or even just visit? With the exception of Rep. Avelloni who has stopped in a number of times, the answer was no. Why is it that Cordelli, along with Rep's Umberger and McConkey, and now Comeau, the loudest anti county voices, do not feel the need to sit down and get the answers they seek?
I firmly believe that developing good working relationship with the county staff and commissioners is paramount to moving the county forward and ending the disharmony. It should be job one for the delegation. Taking the approach that the other side is the enemy is not in the best interests of constituents.
Some highlights:

County Farm-Due to the budget cut of $90,000 to the county farm, a 22 year county employee was let go. Hay production has been down, primarily because the budget did not have sufficient funds to properly fertilize the hay fields.

Tax Rate- The county submitted the paperwork on time to the NH DRA by the September 1st deadline and now the ball is in the DRA court. The bad news for Moultonborough is that with the increase in property valuation of 4%, our total tax payment will increase by about $183,000.

Audit- Things appear to be at an impasse. The commissioners are pushing for a $20,000 targeted audit, while some of the delegation want a full blown forensic audit for $130,000 or more. If the delegation does not approve a budget transfer, no resolution will be  forthcoming. It should be noted that the NH DRA when doing its review last summer, had an auditor that has expertise in fraud investigations and while she was not looking for fraud, concluded that there was no evidence of any fraudulent activities.

Dental Insurance/ Health Insurance - The right to know request from Ed Comeau has been expanded to now include all health insurance payments/claims in addition to the previously requested  dental. It was discussed at yesterday's commissioners meeting.
It was confirmed that all medical and dental claims and payments are reviewed one by one by the finance director and two other individuals before approval.

Contingency Fund- The delegation did not budget any money for a contingency fund in this years budget.  The implication is that if a serious need occurs, money has to be found from somewhere else in the budget from money allocated for some other purpose.

General Fund Balance- stands at a healthy $2 million. Very good news.

Nursing Home- All I can say is wow. What a beautiful facility and it is very well run by our very capable administrator Howard Chandler. The county did a good thing in building this facility. It was ranked as one of the top 100 such facilities in the USA by Medicare. Financially it is doing very well and like most of NH,  is facing a nursing shortage.

All in all, a productive visit and I thank Ken, Charles and Commissioner Babson for taking the time to meet with me and for an open an productive conversation and visit.


Anonymous said...

Quick question Paul. If you win the House seat in November, will you also run for re election to the Select Board in Moultonborough in 2017?

Unknown said...

Glad to have you Paul. You asked some pretty good questions, and I am happy to have answered them for you. We have an open door policy here at the county, and anyone is always welcome to visit, sit down and have meaningful conversations with myself or any employee.

I am also happy that you were able to visit the nursing home and see what a magnificant place this gem really is.

Mellisa Seamans said...

Kudos to you for taking the time to visit the complex and ask questions. If time permits, I implore you and anyone else who is interested to take the time to now get to know the people who actually do all the work (as I have over the past 16 years). The things they know and the stories they can't tell because they are afraid of losing their jobs would fill a book.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

I am leaning toward yes. I enjoy being on the selectboard and it has been rewarding.