The New Hampshire Municipal Association during the NH Legislative session, publishes a weekly Legislative Bulletin, which highlights the happenings in the NH House and Senate.
The current edition focuses on a few bills, some in regard to the Assessing Standards Board (ASB) which the BoS discussed on Thursday. The impact of these bills could cost NH municipalities billions of dollars in lost revenue made up by increased property tax bills.
The BoS on Thursday authorized the Town Administrator to send a letter to Concord opposing passage of these bills.
Lobbying is another point of this post. The NHMA lobbies for its member towns and cities and as Moultonboro is a paying member of that organization, I have learned over the past few years of the numerous benefits it entails, such as the issue with ASB bills.
There is another bill that seeks to " Muzzle Local Officials"per the NHMA. The Legislative Bulletin highlights just one other bill this week, HB 223 , sponsored by Rep. Cordelli, Carr. 4; Rep. F. McCarthy, Carr. 2; Rep. Avellani, Carr. 5; Rep.
Comeau, Carr. 5; Rep. McConkey, Carr. 3; Rep. Spillane, Rock. 2, seeks to prohibit the recipient of a grant or appropriation of county or municipal funds from
using such funds to engage in lobbying activities."Typically these bills are directed at NHMA, but depending on which rumor you listen to, this
one has either the School Boards Association or the Association of Counties as its target."
Considering the lead sponsor, I would be fairly certain that the bill is intended to stifle counties and schools from opposing and perhaps even testifying against legislation these elected bodies disagree with.
It would prevent NHMA and many other municipal organizations ( NHMA lists the Police Chiefs Association,
the Association of Assessing Officials, the Water Works Association, and the City and
Town Clerks Association among the many such organizations) from advocating on behalf of their members.
Another organization that has lobbied on behalf of Moultonboro, although it is not as active as it once was, is the Coalition of Communities, which led the fight to lobby against donor towns. Over the years we have paid fees to to them to have our voice be heard in Concord on behalf of our taxpayers.
As NHMA states: "Do not municipal officials have free speech rights?"
It is quite disingenuous for the most vocal opponents of anything, good or bad, that "infringes" on local control, then want to use the power of the government to take away our local control when it gets in the way of their personal agenda.
Town meeting should be the arbiter of these decisions to keep local control, not the State of NH. Lets keep it that way.