New Carroll County Delegation meets for first time



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WHILE IT IS TRICKY to get all of Carroll County’s 15 state representatives in one location for a group photo, we managed to gather 13 of them following their county delegation meeting held in Ossipee Dec. 10. Pictured here are (l-r): standing, Harry Merrow (R-Ossipee), Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro), Karel Crawford (R-Moultonborough), Stephen Schmidt (R-Wolfeboro), Susan Ticehurst (D-Tamworth), Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield), Tom Lavender (D-Brookfield), Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro); and sitting, Syndi White (R-Conway), Chris Ahlgren (R-Wolfeboro), Karen Umberger (R-Conway), Mark McConey (R-Freedom), and Tom Buco (D-Conway). (Mellisa Seamans photo) (click for larger version)
December 13, 2012
OSSIPEE — The first gathering of the new county delegation was held Dec. 10 and the group managed to accomplish much. The delegation is made up of the 15 state representatives that represent Carroll County.

For the past two years, the delegation was comprised of 14 Republican members, 11 men and three women. With redistricting, Carroll County picked up an extra representative this year. The delegation is now comprised of 10 Republicans and five Democrats, 11 men and four women.

Before their Monday morning the group gathered for breakfast at Mountain View Community where they had a chance to meet each other and hear brief presentations by several of the county department heads.

Once in the meeting, the group had a chance to take their first glimpse at the 2013 proposed county budget and get organized.

In a secret ballot vote, Karen Umberger (R-Conway) was elected chairman. Chris Ahlgren (R-Wolfeboro) had also been nominated for the job. The only nomination for the vice-president slot, Mark McConkey (R-Freedom) was voted in. Ed Butler (D-Hart's Location) volunteered to serve as the delegation clerk.

The group also sorted out who will serve on each of the several subcommittees. Those groups are charged with meeting and getting to know the county departments to which they are assigned, meeting with department heads to review their part of the proposed 2013 budget, and make recommendations to the full delegation. The delegation is then charged with setting the final county budget by the end of March 2013. In the past, the budget approval process has gone completely to the final moment with delegates scrambling with the clock ticking to get their signatures on the budget that is submitted to N.H. Department of Revenue Administration. Umberger said she wants to change the practice of dragging out the county budget process six months. "In the past we haven't gotten our budgets done until the final day. Perhaps we can change the pattern this year," said Umberger.

Newly elected Karel Crawford (R-Moultonborough), who said she comes from a law enforcement family, will chair the Sheriff's Department subcommittee, joined by Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett), Ted Wright (Tuftonboro), and Syndi White (R-Conway). It remains to be seen, however, how much time Chandler will have to devote to the county's business as he was elected as the state's Republican Minority Leader earlier this month.

Chris Ahlgren (R-Wolfeboro) will chair the Mountain View Nursing Home subcommittee and will be joined by Mark McConkey (R-Freedom), Harry Merrow (R-Ossipee), Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield), and Ed Butler (D-Hart's Location).

Stephen Schmidt (R-Wolfeboro) will chair the jail subcommittee and will be joined by Susan Ticehurst (D-Tamworth), White, and McConkey.

McConkey will chair a committee that includes nine different county departments and budget lines including County Attorney, victim/witness program, medical referee, County Farm, Registry of Deeds, RSVP, conservation district, and Carroll County Home and Health Care Services. McConkey will be joined by Tom Buco (D-Conway), Schmidt, and Ticehurst.

Umberger will be joined by Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro) and Tom Lavender (D-Brookfield) on the subcommittee charged with studying the budgets of commissioners, administration building, treasurer, special fees, human resources, human services, capital reserves, county convention, and capital expenditures. Cordelli asked that the county's information technology (IT) expenses also be included in this subcommittee.

The subcommittees will now have about seven weeks to do their work before the delegation next meets again on Jan. 28.

On the budget

Commissioner David Sorensen presented the proposed 2013 budget to the delegation, line by line, all 31 pages of it. Delegates kept their questions to a minimum, opting instead to let the subcommittees do their work before getting too far involved in the budget. The actual county budget is up $885,434 (3.2 percent) but the amount to be raised by property taxes has increased $1,220,739 (9.2 percent). Sorensen had said at commissioner's meetings that either more surplus would need to be used or the budget would have to be cut to bring the tax increase down.

One item the commissioners did not include in their budget was a contribution to Blue Loon bus service. Jack Rose, chair of the transportation committee that oversees the Blue Loon, asked the delegation to consider adding $2,000 to the budget this year. He said in the first year of operation, 2010, the bus service had 2,407 passengers and in 2011, 6,098. It is expected, he said, the blue busses will give rides to 7,000 passengers in 2013. The group made no decisions, opting instead to take his request under consideration.

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