February 25, 2011
Selectmen say 'Yes' then vote 'No'

To the Editor:

Debates and numerous town-wide construction and other projects. Under these circumstances the chief must access funds from a different budget line which could hinder services the Police Department provides from the other budget line.

As things stand, when an outside vendor hires the police for a construction or other special detail, the town charges that vendor more than the officer’s rate of pay. The overage in payment accounts for administering the account lines and for the officer’s retirement. When the vendor pays the bill those funds go back into the General Fund. This money never goes back to the special detail line of the police budget. So every year during the budget process the Chief of Police has to ask the tax payers for more money for that account, money their tax bills will be partially based upon. 

A prime example of why Article 13 makes sense is when the presidential elections come to town, the Chief of Police has to guess at what he thinks he will have to pay out in police special detail pay, as large TV vendors such as CNN or Fox may not know how many debates they will do or how many candidates will be invited to appear. Because the Chief must estimate how much the event will cost for police coverage, the costs are not exact. When the budget gets passed this situation requires that the Chief submit an inflated amount, we tax payers get taxed on that amount. In the event the Chief of Police doesn’t expend the entire amount budgeted, the funds are returned to the General Fund. This Article eliminates all of the guesswork and cost-shifting allowing for a budget with special detail costs removed (all paid for by the hiring vendors) which means that much less on all of our tax bills.

Upon voter approval of the revolving account it will be initially funded with currently budgeted money. The only cost to the tax payer is during the first year which is already in the budget. Once the revolving account is in place what money goes out will come back in when the vendors pay the bill, eliminating any further taxpayer funding of the Special Detail Account, and the Chief of Police will not have to estimate or budget for the special detail line. 

In the February 7 Deliberative Session Selectman Gross stated that the Board Selectmen supports the Special Detail Account but they could not lend their official support to Article 13 this year because they didn’t have the funds to support the necessary update to the accounting software required to maintain the account. 

Interestingly, a special revolving account isn’t new to the town as it is currently being used with the ambulance services provided in town. (It is also used by numerous, other nearby towns and has proven to work well in those communities.) The Goffstown Ambulance Fund is a revolving fund/account and has been effectively self-funded for years. It is not clear why the software the town uses to manage that account could not also be used to maintain a Police Special Detail Revolving Account. 

You decide. Please support your local Police Department and lower your taxes by voting “YES” to Article 13 on March 8th.

Name withheld upon request





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