Here is some of what is going on at the run-ups and grind-downs of Deliberative Sessions for SB2 annual meetings here in New Hampshire.
What the voters would see-ith, the Deliberative Session took-ith away.
In New Ipswich last Saturday Mascenic School District D.S. voters removed an amendment proposed by the Concerned Citizens Group to trim 5% from the $18 million dollar budget. There were dire, unsupported claims of a loss of accreditation and property values from the tax and bankrupt crowd if the 5% trimming passed. So voters will need to vote no on everything in March to offset the yes vote crowd.
Exeter town voters reduced a citizen petition looking for $5000.00 down to $500 dollars for parade funding. They shot down, in violation of newly passed HB 77, a petitioned article for a municipal budget committee – no need to have more people involved in the budget. And the $20 million dollar operating budget was passed without a peep. Taxers did well in Exeter so far this year.
Weare voters at the Town D.S. fought off an attempt at limiting spending by a quarter million out of a proposed budget of $4.83 million. If voters who use the ballot at the Annual Meeting reject the proposed budget it will pass a default budget of $4.73 million. The vote at the D.S was 17-53. Thousands of voters will use ballots to decide in March if they will spend $8,000.00 on fireworks and $756,000.00 on other separate articles.
Salem’s D.S. added $474,000.00 in a 61-31 vote to restore funding of a new water meter scheme. Thousands of voters will weigh in on that article in March at their annual meeting. Salem Selectmen amended an article, by lowering it $1 million, for a bond on bridge work.
And Hudson comes in with an increase, approved by a handful of D.S voters to increase salaries of town department heads. The Hudson selectmen added this increase to the proposed annual budget instead of a stand alone article as has been the traditional method. So, to the Deliberative Session victors will go a rejected Annual Budget. Hudson resident and CNHT Director Howard Dilworth pointed out to the meeting that Town Attorney Steve Buckley had referenced the wrong RSA in a warrant article he drafted for the Warrant. What else is new with that lawyer.
Allenstown has a taxpayer champion in Dave Coolidge who apparently has not drunk of the school spending Kool-Aid. Dave is on the Allenstown Budget Committee and argued against a quarter million in teacher raises over three years. Again, March will tell when the town’s voters vote by ballot.
Rindge’s Jason Czekalski led a successful effort to snip $330,000.00 from the Town’s proposed budget. Jason was recently on the Rindge Advisory (toothless) Budget Committee and had a list of what spending he wanted to cut.
The trend for 2011 Annual Meetings is as it has been for a long time. Prepared activists can make a difference.
It looks like the public employees and spenders got their voters out to the Deliberative Sessions this year and have accomplished some of their agenda even though most are voters not on favor of riding the spending ratchet when the economy and student populations are down.