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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Moultonboro 2017 Budget and Warrant Hearing Highlights

A fairly quiet hearing, nothing terribly controversial. Only the warrant articles with appropriations will reflect the BoS and ABC recommendations on the warrant, but the BoS and ABC did vote on all the articles for the minutes.
This year, as is the practice in many NH communities, the " hearts and flowers" requests have been bundled into the Town operating budget instead of many separate warrant articles.  Town Administrator Walter Johnson asked the past petitioners, whose requests were approved by past Town Meetings, to submit letters of request with supporting documentation.

All the warrant articles  seeking an appropriation (with one exception ) were recommended unanimously by the BoS and the ABC.  The exception was a petitioned article to pave a 300 foot portion of Black's Landing Road for $30,000 which was unanimously not recommended by the BoS and ABC.
Petitioned warrant article 15 seeking to rescind and reverse the 2003 vote of Town Meeting to allow the BoS to buy and sell property, was unanimously not recommended by the BoS and ABC.

Article 16 was the only article that did not have a unanimous vote. I was the sole dissenter and voted in support of the petitioned warrant article to rescind and repeal BoS policy # 2,  which established recommendations for private roads. I agree with the petitioners that the authority to set recommendations for private roads resides with the Planning Board and not the BoS.

1 comment:

Eric Taussig said...

I am troubled that the BoS went forward with the Town's statutory budget hearing that was sparsely attended due to the 2/9 snow storm. Many voters were unable to attend and present their views on the budget and petitioned articles because their roads weren't plowed, or if plowed they had inadequate time to dig themselves out to attend.

While the chair at least raised the possibility of postponing or leaving the hearing open, the Board ultimately unanimously decided that as Friday 2/10 was the last day to notice another meeting (pursuant to RSA 32:5) and the printer had to have the warrant by Monday, that "they had to go foreword" with the hearing. Of course, had the Board the foresight to have noticed a contingent alternative date in case of snow as other Boards have done, and found a printer who would not take some 4 weeks to print the warrant, the hearing to approve a $7,500,000+ budget might have been postponed or at least left open for the voters to properly address their concerns.

I would hope that this action, combined with the recent policy decision (Board Policy #33) to further limit citizen comments of more than 3 minutes to the Board, does not foretell a pattern of governance by the Board without citizen input.