County Delegation to meet for 2014 budget review Feb. 3


January 30, 2014
OSSIPEE — The Carroll County Delegation will meet Feb. 3 to begin their expected chiseling of the proposed County budget and hearing recommendations of the delegation subcommittees who have been meeting with various departments this month.

The county commissioner's full proposed 2014 budget can be found on their website at www.carrollcountynh.net under the "Commissioners Office" tab. Copies are also available at the commissioner's office during regular business hours.

The subcommittee chaired by Rep. Karen Umberger (R-Conway) that is charged with overseeing the budget of the county commissioner's office and administration met Jan. 27. Two concerns are being kept at the forefront by that subcommittee the upcoming performance audit and information technology.

Last year the request for proposals went out and at least four proposals were received from firms vying for the job of auditing the functions of the county business office and making recommendations. The job was not awarded in 2013 so the $20,000 allocated by the delegation is being carried over into the 2014 budget year in the hope that the audit can be completed by mid-2014.

As for information technology (IT), the cost of it is spread throughout the budget and Umberger pressed for the commissioners to get the IT Committee to work reviewing the county complex IT status, needs, and make recommendations for the future. "I don't think anyone is happy with IT across the county," said Umberger. She added that the County's current IT contractor, Cybertron, is a reputable company doing a good job. She warned commissioners though that if they don't get a committee established to oversee the County IT needs, the delegation will not approve spending any more money for IT beyond the Cybertron contract. One IT-related item the commissioners are asking for in the 2014 budget is money to implement an electronic file storage system.

Despite pending legislation that could change the current law that now requires county commissioners to have a safe, there is $5,000 in the 2014 budget to purchase one. Umberger suggested instead of buying a bigger safe to store non-public meeting minutes, the commissioners get into a regular practice of making those minutes available to the public. "That should be done every year," she said.

"I know that's not gonna fly folks," said Umberger when looking at the bottom line of the County budget, realizing the proposal is up $3 million (17.5 percent) over the 2013 budget. "There is no way we are going to approve a $3 million increase in the taxes. I suggest the commissioners take another look at this unless you want us to make the recommendations which I'm sure you don't," said Umberger.

"Our budget is in, it's your budget now but if we could work together that would be great," said Sorensen.

The actual proposed budget is up about $248,000 over last year and will likely be even higher after the three union contracts are settled.

Committee member Rep. Glenn Cordelli commented that in the past the budget increased every year but county officials relied on dipping into surplus to offset the impact on the tax rate. That method of financial management has caught up to them now, however, he said and with less surplus to rely on, the county tax rate impact will be felt if the budget is not cut.

The county delegation budget review meeting will be held Monday, Feb. 3 beginning at 9 a.m. at Carroll County Administration Building on Water Village Road in Ossipee. The meeting is open to the public.

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