Approved Minutes of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC)

Town Hall, Temple, NH

May 28, 2003

Members present                                                                  Others present

(in alphabetical order)                                                            Ted Petro (select board)

Steve Andersen                                                                        Sherry Fiske (select board)

Rae Barnhisel                                                                           Jim McTague (police chief)

Charlene Eddy                                                                         

Brian Kullgren                                                                         


Meeting called to order at 7:05 pm

A. Minutes: May 14, 2003, minutes approved as amended.

B. New business:

1.     Police chief Jim McTague discussed his concerns regarding the BAC’s April 23 letter to the select board that advised the select board not to accept a $10,000 anonymous private donation to purchase an OHRV (4-wheeler). McTague would have preferred that the BAC advise the select board to postpone the hearing rather than to vote against it, and to have drafted questions rather than make statements.

The BAC responded that the lack of time and communication among departments and boards guided the BAC’s letter and that its main concern was that the decision was not being put before the town at the annual meeting. Barnhisel said a warrant article should be prepared as it would be with any donation that entails maintenance, operational expenses, or unforeseen costs. Kullgren reminded the BAC that Sandra Rourke, DRA, had advised the BAC last year to submit a warrant article on accepting and maintaining the recent firehouse addition and that selectman Bruce Kantner had said he would handle it. Barnhisel checked last year’s annual report, found no such warrant article, and said she would prepare a draft.

There was general discussion on perceptions regarding private and anonymous donations to the police dept. McTague told the BAC that he has an unwritten policy to go to the select board when he received donations of more than $500 and that he screens donations depending on the person and the situation. He stated his boss was the attorney general and that he seeks guidance on propriety from that office. He stated that RSA 105 governs his policies and actions. McTague said if he were asked whether the town needed the vehicle, he would say no but that it would be only a matter of time. He said if he were asked to take this matter to the town for a vote, he would prefer not to.

McTague said that helmets, trailer, hitch, registration, and maintenance would be donated but that officers would wear their battle dress uniforms and boots. Eddy expressed concern that officers would not be adequately visible during hunting season. McTague said that gas and oil would be the only costs to the town. He stated that the vehicle will have a radio and lights and all hours would be logged just as the cruiser use is logged.

McTague discussed the grants provided by the NH Fish and Game Dept. to pay the town $45 per hour to operate an OHRV. Eddy expressed concern that special detail would compete with regular town detail since the officer receives almost twice as much hourly pay. Barnhisel expressed concern that officers could work special detail while on regular duty. McTague assured the BAC that officers would satisfy their town obligation first and do special detail only when off duty. He said that 60% of the fines and penalties paid will go to the town and the fine for outrunning police is $1000. Currently, special detail rates are $35.00 per hour in which $25.00 goes to the officer and $10.00 goes to the town. Andersen expressed concern that the $10.00 to the town does not adequately cover the actual expenses incurred during special detail due to retirement, social security and vehicle wear and tear.

There was discussion about grants in general. McTague said that the state will typically pay half of the purchase of radar equipment, cameras, and even a helicopter. He said some items are obviously unnecessary and they commit the town to future expense. His dept. had just received new digital radios from the state and if broken will need to be replaced by the town. He said analog radios will soon be obsolete. Andersen suggested said that officers not use the digital radios until the analog radios are obsolete. McTague said the digital technology allows for better communication.

McTague projected that his next year’s budget would be roughly the same. He said he has not identified any new needs except for computer updating. McTague said he always wants to come under budget. Andersen asked whether McTague was concerned that coming under budget would lead to cuts. McTague said yes. Barnhisel raised the issue that Aaron Kullgren, Greenfield BAC, had raised last year of incentivizing dept. heads to come under budget.

McTague asked the BAC to correct an error from its 4/9/03 minutes in which Kullgren reported that a new part-time assistant has been added to the Police Dept. A part-time officer, Kay Lamare, has been hired to replace part-time officer Tom Richardson.

McTague told the BAC that Temple’s police dept. is well respected and admired for its low crime rate, high conviction rate, good pay, and good reputation. He has seen other towns go into a spiral in which police officers are not paid well, their attitude becomes poor, support for the dept. declines, officers continue to be unsupported and poorly paid, and the town continues to be dissatisfied. He said that towns like New Ipswich used to be highly regarded and in a short time have spiraled downward. McTague agreed to work with the BAC to ensure that the Temple Police Dept. remains in good standing and has high public support.

Andersen requested that McTague provide the BAC with special detail rates set by other towns and the state. McTague thought that New Ipswich has a rate of $45 in which $6 goes to the officer. Petro agreed that the select board should review their special detail rate. The BAC agreed to help investigate the issue.


C. Ongoing business:

1.      S. Fiske reported on the budget for the town common rails. She stated that the Trust Fund Trustees had not been given a formal request to spend the Common fund and that the Village Green Committee has agreed to donate paint, primer, and rollers. Eddy submitted copies of her research into what funds had been already appropriated by the town to repair the Common (see attached). In 2002, $13,500 was appropriated for Common Repairs and Maintenance. $9, 690.20 was expended -- $8,000 to repair the tennis courts retaining wall (not on the Common) and the remainder to test the monitoring wells installed at the Old Brown dump site (not on the Common). Barnhisel and Eddy said they would look into whether warrant articles specified these uses. Andersen recalled that a warrant article was presented at the 2002 meeting to test the dumpsite and was defeated.
Barnhisel expressed concern that the Budget Worksheet provided to taxpayers at the 2003 Budget Hearing had deleted the word, “Common,” from the account designated for Common Repairs and Maintenance and so may have potentially misled voters into thinking that no money had been specifically appropriated for the Common. She stated voters were uninformed when they deliberated on whether to appropriate $2500 to repair the common rails. There was discussion on whether there should be an account for repairs and maintenance of town property not on the Common and whether to expand the definition of the Common to include all common property. Currently, the categories of General Government Buildings and Properties only includes specific accounts for the Municipal Building, Town Hall, Town Forester (not a building or property), Ballfield, and Cemeteries.

2.      The BAC reviewed the 4/11/03 draft List of Recommendations, made changes to Item 4, and unanimously voted to accept the draft. Barnhisel will provide a revised draft to the BAC (see attached).

3.      Members reviewed the draft letter to Debra Harling requesting several items and agreed to convert the letter to a checklist (see attached).

4.      Members reviewed the draft letter to the select board requesting information regarding the Chris Weston Conservation Land clean-up and agreed to wait until next meeting to get all members’ signatures. No changes were suggested (copy attached).

5.      Members heard from S. Fiske that changes to insurance were being made by the Select Board. Andersen suggested that insurance costs be removed from the operating budget draft. He will proof the draft provided by Barnhisel and take out the insurance portion.

6.      Members reviewed the mission statement as formulated by Quinn and voted unanimously to accept the statement (attached here).

7.      Members agreed that Barnhisel draft a letter to the Police Dept. requesting detail on the OHRV and accessories that have been donated to the dept. (draft attached).

8.      Andersen reported that he was unable to procure the Account Detail from Debra Harling. The BAC agreed to draft a request in writing if the information is not provided by their next meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 10:00 pm


Respectfully submitted,

Rae Barnhisel

July 9, 2003