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County Delegation begins budget discussions Monday

February 27, 2019
OSSIPEE — County budget makers will meet March 4 in what could turn out to be a record setting work day.

The main responsibility of the Carroll County Delegation is to set the annual County budget by March 31. Chairman Edie DesMarais (D-Wolfeboro) is optimistic that, due to the diligence of the subcommittees, most if not all of the annual budget may be approved weeks ahead of the deadline.

The meeting, open to the public, begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Carroll County Complex in Ossipee. The Delegation is comprised of 15 state representatives and they are divided into five budget subcommittees. They were given the county commissioner's proposed $33 million budget back in December and have been meeting for two months combing through it and coming up with their recommendations. As of press time, they had whittled the budget down about $92,000. If the budget passes based on subcommittee recommendations, it will be an increase of 3.8 percent over the 2018 budget. The commissioners hope to use enough out of the County's fund balance to offset the budget increase.

There are some new requests in this year's budget, including clothing allowances for the county attorney and her staff, as well as a mileage allotment.

For a year, the county administrator has been trying to get approval to fill a vacant administrative assistant position in his office. The previous delegation shot down the requests last year.

This year, both the County's auditor and the county treasurer suggested someone with a financial background be hired instead of a secretary.

The 30-year, $3 million Siemens energy contract is underway, with all upgrades to HVAC, wiring, plumbing and other energy improvements expected to be completed this year. Then a guaranteed annual energy savings is expected offset the three decades of payments to be made on the loan.

The jail is putting in a bid to win the contract to house female state prison inmates, a plan the county administrator said could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. Meanwhile, the jail budget subcommittee is planning to continue to meet to study the true cost of housing inmates.

Another subcommittee has been formed that is charged with figuring out how to best fund the restoration and preservation of the historical records in the registry of deeds. The registrar had asked for the county to take out a $1 million bond to get the work done post haste and using today's dollars rather than stretching the ever-increasing costs over 10 years. That committee was formed by the commissioners.

Over in the sheriff's department, the plan is to start purchasing new cruisers outright rather than financing them. Rather than spend a cruiser's worth of interest every three years by financing the purchases, the commissioners and subcommittee agreed buying the vehicle outright when needed makes more sense.

Meeting minutes from all budget negotiations can be found on the County Web site at www.carrollcountynh.net. Video and audio of most meetings can be found at www.governmentoversite.com.

Martin Lord Osman
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