Nonprofits lower overall funding requests for 2010
Pop Whalen ice fee increases approved
September 24, 2009
WOLFEBORO — At their Sept. 16 meeting, selectmen reviewed funding requests for 2010 from 14 nonprofit agencies that provide services to Wolfeboro residents. Despite what most described as difficult times, the total requested, $84,023 was $2,376 or 2.8 percent lower than the $86,399 budgeted for 2009.
Selectmen did not make any decisions on the requests but did ask questions to clarify the information submitted or requested missing information. Final decisions will come later in the process as selectmen and the budget committee review the overall 2010 budget in the next two months.
The largest decrease in requested funds came from VNA-Hospice of Southern Carroll County and Vicinity, which requested $19,676 for 2010, down $3,013 or 13.3 percent from the $22,689 budgeted for 2009. According to the rationale provided by Board President Headley White, the number of VNA-Hospice visits in Wolfeboro in 2009 were down by 914, from 6,942 to 6,028, a drop of 13.2 percent. VNA-Hospice is projecting a further 11.2 percent decline (677 visits) in 2010, down to 5,351 visits. The agency itself has struggled with deficits in the last two years but, as a result of higher community contributions and a $700,000 cut in administrative expenses, it expects to end the year with a small surplus. Wolfeboro clients make up almost 25 percent of total visits for the agency.
The second largest decline came from the Wolfeboro Dinner Bell, which since last fall has been managed by Rev. Randy Dales of All Saints Episcopal Church. Rev. Dales reported that he had kept careful track of expenses and donations over the year. Dinner Bell served free meals 29 times between Sept. 18, 2008 and May 21, 2009. Four dinners had to be cancelled due to bad weather. A total of 1,124 attended these dinners. The total cost of food purchased was $3,776, with an average cost of $3.35 per meal. Based on that experience but anticipating growing demand and fewer cancellations, Rev. Dales felt confident that the amount requested could be reduced from $6,500 to $5,000 in 2010, a reduction of $1,500 or 23 percent.
Two agencies increased their requests and two agencies submitted requests for the first time.
Starting Point, which provides services for victims of domestic and sexual violence is requesting $860 more for 2010 than the $1,691 budgeted for 2009, an increase of 50.9 percent. Executive Director Suzette Indelicato indicated that 9.5 percent of victims assisted were from Wolfeboro, consisting of 35 individuals who received 86 services, including crisis intervention, hospital advocacy, police advocacy, in-person support and referrals to other agencies. Selectmen requested a complete budget submission to support the request.
The second agency requesting an increase was Medication Bridge, which is asking $277 more than the $670 budgeted for 2009, an increase of 41.3 percent. The volunteer program, based at Huggins, processes paperwork for clients to get medications from pharmaceutical companies at no cost and serves residents of 20 towns. During the last fiscal year through June 20, 2009, 43 Wolfeboro residents received 419 medications valued at $153,677.
The two agencies making first-time requests for 2010 are the Greater Wakefield Resource Center, which served 97 meals to Wolfeboro residents so far this year, and Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA), which served 53 abused and neglected children in Carroll County last year. The two new agencies are requesting $500 each.
The other eight agencies requesting level funding from 2009 are the Appalachian Mountain Teen Project, Caregivers of Wolfeboro, Kingswood Youth Center, L.I.F.E. Ministries Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, Northern Human Services, Tri-County Community Action Fuel Assistance, and Wolfeboro Area Children's Center.
Selectman Marge Wester said she feels all agencies should be asked for their budgets, the number of Wolfeboro residents served, the benefits provided, and certification of their nonprofit status. Some agencies did provide this information but not all. Town Manager Dave Owen said he would make sure the requested information is provided from every applicant.
Resident Mimi Lisbon presented a last-minute request from a group proposing to offer two hot noontime meals a week on Tuesday and Thursday at the First Congregational Church. Lisbon says this is a first step toward a senior center for Wolfeboro that would provide a place for seniors over 60 to congregate and enjoy shared activities. Such a place would help seniors avoid isolation and depression. She pointed out that seniors are the ones that volunteer for most nonprofit services in town. "We should serve those who serve us," Lisbon said.
Webster questioned why Thursday was one of the days, since the Dinner Bell serves an evening meal that day. Selectman Kristi Ginter said she felt the plan was ambitious. "Could you start out at one day?" she asked.
Lisbon said that the original plan called for four days a week, so two days is already a reduction.
The board agreed to take the request into consideration.
Pop Whalen ice fees
Selectmen reviewed the Pop Whalen Ice Arena rates proposed by Parks and Recreation Director Ethan Hipple to take effect this coming season, for 2009 and 2010. Rates were last set in 2007 and, according to Hipple, proved to be too low to support the operating budget for the arena, producing an operating loss of $10,171 in 2008 and $6,652 in 2009.
Rates for ice time will increase from a range of $105 to $140 an hour for discount and regular weekday and weekend times to a range of $130 to $165 an hour, in increase from 15.3 to 26 percent.
Rink advertising rates will also increase from a range of $400 to $625 per season to a uniform $650.
Hipple said that despite these increases, "we still maintain our distinction as having the lowest rates of any ice arena in the state." According to Hipple the proposed highest rate will not even equal the lowest rate found in a 2006-2007 survey of other rinks, which was $182 an hour.
The board approved the increases.
Town auditors Vachon, Clukay & Co., PC, presented selectmen with an unqualified opinion of the town's accounting, citing great improvement over last year. Key fund balances where most towns have problems are positive in Wolfeboro, according to the report.
Libby Museum Director Pat Smith proposed to selectmen (who are the trustees of the museum) to step aside as director at the Libby in favor of her assistant Lauren Hammond, who has worked closely with Smith this year and is an art teacher at Brewster during the school year. Smith's intention is to free herself to devote time to preparing for the museum's 100th anniversary and fundraising. "She has much higher qualifications than I ever had," Smith assured the board. Essentially Smith and Hammond would change places and there would be no increase in expenses. The board, voting as trustees, approved the plan.
Selectmen voted to impose no through trucking and a 7,000-pound weight limitation on Pleasant Street. Owen was asked to look into the delivery plans for Wolfeboro Inn approved by the planning board.
The board approved the construction of a 10-by-14-foot office in the Railroad Station by the Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce for Executive Director Mary DeVries.
Webster reported that the library trustees are working on a Request for Proposals for a library expansion plan. They also have surplus book trucks for disposal.
Selectmen approved the following special event permits:
To the Wolfeboro Area Recreation Association to hold the Stacey Burns Memorial Walk Against Violence Scholarship Fund benefit from 2 p.m. on Oct. 24 to 10 a.m. on Oct. 25.
To the Hospital Aid Association to hold indoor/outdoor fundraisers on four Thursday-Saturday periods in October, three in November and three in December at the Hospital Aid barns on Pine Hill Road (Route 109A) just beyond the Public Works garage.