If the entire Hillsborough County legislative delegation tomorrow night follows the lead of the Executive Committee, there will be no property tax increase for county towns for the third consecutive year.
By a 15-3 vote Wednesday noon, the Executive Committee recommending holding the overall tax rate steady by using $3.5 million of the county’s surplus and directing department heads to trim $919,000 (about two percent) from their salary lines.
Only Democrats Barbara Shaw from Manchester, Ken Gidge from Nashua, and Republican Win Hutchinson from Manchester Ward 2 voted against the final motion after more than two hours of discussion.
The amount to be raised by taxes would remain steady at $44,109,421; the total county budget would be in excess of $84 million.
During this morning’s discussions, raising taxes this year never seemed to be an issue. The question was how much of the surplus should be used. Chairman Carl Seidel, R-Nashua, not for the first time this year, abandoned his fellow Republicans and pushed for using more of the surplus, $4 million worth.
That motion failed by an 7-11 vote with the majority agreeing with Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, that if the county draws down too much of the surplus, substantial increases will be the result for outlying years.
Seidel’s motion not only would have used an extra half million from the surface, but it also fudged where the other $400,000 would come from. Seidel seemed to want the commissioners to find it from lapses, but that of course, is simply another way of drawing down a future surplus.
By an 8-10 vote, a motion (from Reps. Kurk and John Cebrowski, R-Bedford and very much favored by me personally) to eliminate $361,000 for funding the county cooperative extension program failed.
The entire delegation (122 members) is scheduled to meet Thursday night at the county complex in Goffstown to act on the proposal.
The executive committee Wednesday also approved a contract for 15 paralegal workers in the county attorney’s office. In exchange for a one percent performance increase (which will amount to approximately $6000 a year), the workers will accept change in health care which should save the county twice that amount.
The committee had been hoping that other more populous unions would accept similar terms, but they have not.