Schools are Open
First grader Jackson Dewitt and second grader Gabby Sousa board the bus for Hills Garrison on Tuesday.
Litchfield Budget Schedule is Set
by Lynne Ober
Getting a new budget deliberation schedule set has been difficult for Litchfield selectmen, but it finally is completed.
“I helped George (Lambert),” said Budget Committee Chairman Brent Lemire. “We want to have a good working relationship and this is George’s first year as selectmen’s representative to the budget committee.”
In Hudson, the town and school take turns having their budgets reviewed first, but in Litchfield the town goes first. The schedule is compressed for the entity that goes first and last year the town struggled getting some of its items completed. Lemire hoped to avoid some of last year’s lateness by working with Lambert on the schedule.
However, Lemire also told Lambert and the budget committee that “I was incensed at some of comments made by selectmen.” Lemire took exception to comments that the budget committee spent six weeks on the town budget but only two weeks on the school budget. “That comment is simply not true. We spend the same amount of time on each budget.” He also did not like the implication that the budget committee had moved up the schedule and told Lambert that the schedule was exactly the same as last year.
While the school district has three principals, special education director, curriculum director, several secretarial assistants, business manager and superintendent to help prepare a budget, the town relies on volunteers, part-time department heads, one secretarial assistant to selectmen and only a few full time department heads. The school district, however, also is trying to develop budgets and begin the new school year. Neither the town nor the school district is faced with an easy budget schedule.
Lemire noted that the budget committee was bound by dates in the state’s municipal budget act. “We don’t set our dates. They are mandated by law.”
Lambert said he would take Lemire’s remarks back to his committee and noted that department heads had met with selectmen and had agreed to the schedule.
Several budgets, i.e. from the Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Cable Committee, Cemeteries, Mosquito Control and Recreation Committee, are developed by volunteers who serve on their respective committees. The Conservation Commission, Zoning board of Adjustment and Planning Board agreed to submit their budgets by September 5, but the Planning Board’s Steve Perry said he needed to get the spreadsheets one week before the deadline to meet that date.
Budgets will be submitted weekly from the first week in September through October 17. Selectmen will begin weekly budget deliberations on September 18 and by November 13 will have sent all budgets plus proposed warrant articles to the budget committee. In every case the budget is due at town hall earlier than the proposed selectmen’s review, which will give selectmen time to form questions before the public review. The last selectmen review date is October 27.
Warrant articles are due by September 26 and selectmen have schedule three reviews, beginning October 6.
Search Begun for New Hudson Police Chief
by Gina M. Votour
With the impending retirement of Police Chief Richard Gendron happening at the end of this year, the town’s search for his successor has begun.
At a September 2 Board of Selectmen workshop meeting, Selectman Ken Massey, Police Department liaison, said potential candidates first should be sought in the Police Department ranks. He pointed out that the department is nationally accredited and contains a “well-implemented community based policing model.”
“I do think it would be a mistake to go, at least initially, on a search outside of the department; I think it would be demoralizing … ,” agreed Selectman Shawn Jasper. He later added, “I think it is a huge mistake to bring in people from outside of the department to run an agency which they do not have intimate knowledge of … I think we will find that we do have the talent within our department.”
Selectman Roger Coutu concurred. “I am a strong advocate of promoting from within … We certainly have a man (Chief Gendron) who is leading that department who is very qualified, very professional … and I’m sure that’s rubbed off among many within the command staff.”
Selectman Vice Chairman Richard Maddox said he would prefer the town also begin looking at outside candidates. He said it would be shortsighted to narrow the search to only a couple of individuals within the department.
Maddox was the lone dissenter to Massey’s later motion, which passed 4 - 1, to conduct initial searches within the department.
Candidate qualifications also were deliberated. Massey recommended that a bachelor’s degree, command experience, and at least 12 years spent within a police agency should be the criteria used as minimum qualifications. He added that five members of the department have those attributes; two captains and three lieutenants.
Another topic discussed concerned interview panels. Jasper suggested a citizen panel and a professional panel. After conducting separate interviews with each candidate, the idea would be for the two panels to come together with an overall recommendation.
Postings for up to five citizen positions on a search committee will be forthcoming shortly. The town administrator and selectman liaison are to be involved within the citizen panel. The professional panel is likely to be drawn using the resources of the New Hampshire Police Academy and state Department of Safety.
A plan with more specific details on all postings will be presented during the board’s September 23 meeting. What remains to be seen is which members of the current department apply for the job.
Cougar Girls Kick Off Season with a Victory
by Tom Roye
Campbell High captain Alison Lajoie advances past No. 18 Lyndze Priede
of Raymond High.
On Tuesday, the Campbell girls soccer team opened the 2008 season with an impressive victory over defending class M state champion Raymond. The final score of 1 - 0 was not an indication of the multiple scoring opportunities that both teams had. Campbell keeper Hayden Leith and her Raymond counterpart, Sarah Richard, were kept busy all afternoon as both teams pressed the attack.
The Cougars came out strong early, with Shawna Trunca and Alli Ayotte controlling the offensive end for Campbell. In the 18th minute, Trunca chipped a beautiful cross that Ayotte pushed just wide of the net. Four minutes later, Campbell midfielder Jenny Evans lofted a shot from about 20 yards out that Richards tipped over the cross bar at the last possible second.
Raymond began to counter-attack behind the play of striker Kerry Ann Belanger whose aggressive runs kept Cougar sweeper Ali Lajoie busy for most of the half. Lyndzey Priede played an aggressive midfield for the visiting Rams, as momentum began to swing in their direction. Campbell’s Courtney Gannon helped stem the Raymond attack by effectively marking the much stronger Priede.
With the Rams attack neutralized, the opportunistic Trunca picked up a rebound of an Ayotte shot and popped home the only goal of the contest. The Cougar defense led by Lajoie and Leith put the clamps on Belanger and the Rams and made the lone goal stand.
Campbell Coach Rod Hanson was especially pleased with the play of his sophomore goalkeeper. “Hayden played excellent in her first varsity start,” he said, adding, “I believe she will step up and be fantastic for us.” Leith was pressed into the starting lineup in the pre-season when projected starter Meghan Sweeney opted to forgo her senior season of soccer. Hanson noted the aggressive play of his young goalie, “She has very good instincts, and made excellent decisions.”
The Cougars hosted Sanborn Regional on Thursday and results were not available at press time. Tuesday, September 9, the Cougars host rival Derryfield with a 4 p.m. start.
Midfielder Stephanie Loeb, No. 15, passes past Raymond’s Carly Hester.
Hudson Selectmen Discuss Legislative Proposals
by Gina M. Votour
Hudson selectmen this month will receive the opportunity to express their views on several statewide issues.
On Friday, September 12, at 9 a.m., the New Hampshire Municipal Association (NHMA) will be holding the 2009-2010 Legislative Policy Conference at Concord’s Local Government Center (LGC).
Each New Hampshire town is asked to send a voting delegate to this conference to represent the town’s interests and views on policy proposals. The Hudson delegate will be Selectman Ken Massey.
To present a united front, Hudson’s Board of Selectmen thoroughly explored each of the top six proposals on which Massey will be asked to vote.
Among the proposals was a request from Lyman to “allow all veterans residing in the State of New Hampshire with an honorable discharge to qualify for the Standard and Optional Veterans’ Tax Credit, regardless of whether they served their country during the qualifying wars and armed conflicts currently listed or received the required medals.”
Selectman Shawn Jasper said making this exemption for all veterans could allow the tax rate to skyrocket. Massey agreed that this could be “a significant cost impact to the town.” “When you start getting to the point when everybody has an exemption, you wind up that few pay for the many,” he said.
Selectman Roger Coutu, on the other hand, supported the idea. “This country does very little for our servicemen when they come back from overseas ... they are taken away from their families and their homes and they are serving their country and, if they served it honorably, we owe them something and I don’t mind paying it.” Selectman Chairman Ben Nadeau and Selectman Vice Chairman Richard Maddox agreed, leading to the board’s decision to vote ‘yes’ on this issue.
Another item on the agenda came from Conway that says limitations should be sought on the diversion of Highway Funds. The proposal says, “Today more than 40 percent of funds in the Highway Trust Fund are used for purposes other than for the construction and repair of our roads and bridges.” Conway’s proposal includes that these funds have been diverted to other departments in recent years.
Hudson’s Board of Selectmen also chose to vote ‘yes’ on this item, although Massey and Jasper were opposed because, as Jasper pointed out, not all diversions should be considered abuses. “The money has to come from somewhere … just recognize that there will be a tax increase if this passes,” he said.
Conway also proposed that town governments be given the final word on whether a methadone clinic may operate in their municipality.
In a letter to Governor John Lynch, Conway’s Board of Selectmen said that “New Hampshire ranks fifth in the top 10 states in the country for the highest percent increase in methadone deaths from 1999-2004.” Therefore, Conway wants localities to have more control over decisions on methadone clinics.
On this subject, the Hudson selectmen voted affirmatively. “I think that this board should have the ability to decide whether or not we should recommend to the planning board or wherever it has to go if we want a methadone clinic in certain parts of our community,” Coutu said.
Other proposals discussed by Hudson selectmen included the potential waiver of recording fees for elderly deferrals (Hudson will vote ‘yes’), clarification of the definition of ‘default budget,’ (on which Hudson will also vote ‘yes’) and an amendment giving towns final approval on water withdrawn from aquifers for commercial bottling (Hudson will vote ‘no’).
The towns will be allowed one vote on each policy proposal. During the conference, policies will be adopted after a 2/3 vote by all members.
A listing of the NHMA legislative policies following the conference will be found in the November issue of Town and City Magazine or www.nhlgc.org.