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

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Budgets and the Calendar.

During the discussion last Thursday about plowing of private roads, it was noted money was budgeted for the 2017-18 winter. While that is true, it is also sort of not true.The town goes two and a half months every year ( January 1st to March Town meeting) until the operating budget is approved.

The town operates on a calendar year, so money appropriated at our March town meeting is for that calendar year. The winter doesn't end on December 31st however, and neither do all the other expenses.We don't receive our first tax payment until six months into the year, so there has to be enough funds to carry us from January through June. Keep in mind that the county tax bill is due the end of December. Some municipalities have to borrow money and pay interest on Tax Anticipation Notes ( TANS) to meet their obligations.

The School District doesn't have this problem, as they are on a July 1st to June 30th fiscal year. Their operating budget is adopted at the Annual Meeting before the fiscal year begins.

There is certainly a case to be made as to why we should bring this back to the voters in the near future, not just to align with the school district, but with our cash flow.

1 comment:

Fred Van Magness said...

I do not want to add confusion, but this article may leave some folks in the dust. There is a distinct difference between cash flows and budgets. First, budgets are for the calendar year Jan 1-Dec. 31. If I am correct, the budget for plowing...and all other town expenses...are for those expenditures made for services received during that same period....Jan 1-Dec.31. While winter indeed extends beyond Dec. 31, the funding for any plowing events after Dec.31 must come from funds budgeted for the next fiscal year. Now comes cash and cash flow. Cash to pay the bills comes from town available funds or borrowing until tax receipts are received. So the statement that funds were budgeted for plowing for the 2017-2018 period needs a little clarification. Amounts budgeted in 2017 for plowing only covers the period through Dec. 31, 2017.....nothing beyond that. If things continue as in the past, the town will budget for plowing the Jan-Dec 2018 season as part of the 2018 Town Budget presented to town meeting in March, 2018.

I recognize the issues of private road plowing and applaud the BOS for their leadership and strong commitment, as reflected in their recent public statement, to find a solution, including potential legislative actions, to favorably solve the issues. During this interim period that may not have a known legislative solution until Spring of 2018, the BOS must let the entire air out of this balloon now by clearly stating in very simple terms.....all private road plowing will continue unchanged though the entire winter 2017-2018 season. 13 simple words and exactly what Laconia has already done publicly. Since we are working with Laconia, what prevents us from making a similar public statement? 13 simple words that will relieve a lot of fears until future results are known....! Just consider this one fact....there are 283 +/- private roads in town, some with associations and many without, with hundreds if not thousands of property owners....who have no idea what the BOS intend for plowing after Dec. 31 of this year. I encourage the BOS to make this simple 13 word statement at their next meeting. Now is the time...before town meeting !

The issue to cash flow timing and changes to fiscal years is a whole added topic for another day...and previously studied by the ABC in the past.