Fake News

It’s nothing new;

I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors.

The Laconia Daily Sun reported on the county budget meeting.  If one takes the time to read the source documents they will find that the Sun seriously lacks credibility, their spin on the facts could provide material for The Onion.

Here are the real details:

Representative Sylvia’s proposed budget appropriates approximately $400,000 for spending in 2018 over the actual spending of 2017.  The reader should observe that the year end spending spree, approaching $150,000, reduced funds available to be returned to surplus.  Much of that spending paid for items included in the commissioners’ 2018 budget.

Sylvia’s budget trims $23,211 from the corrections department from their 2017 spending level.

The bloated nursing home budget was reduced by $399,817 from the 2017 spending level.

The sheriff’s department has an increase over 2017 spending by $55,374.

The county attorney receives and increase of $31,854.

The Sun rounded up the cut to county maintenance from $38,954 to $40,000, but who can blame them, we all like round numbers.

Speaking of round numbers, not reported by the Sun, Sylvia rounded up UNH Cooperative Extension to $153,000, B.C. Conservation District to $62,000 and Community Action Program to $48,000.

More fun to come next Monday Jan. 29 at the county complex in Laconia.

Dangerous Delay

The Belknap County delegation met on Monday Jan. 22 to work on the county budget for 2018.  The county operates on a calendar year, so beginning on January 1, the county has no appropriations.  While the county has long practiced a policy of continuing spending until a budget is finally set (generally in March), there is no authority in the statues which allow such a practice.  In fact, the statutes are very clear, with no appropriation the county commissioners can spend no funds from the county treasury.

At the meeting a vote was taken which unanimously rejected the commissioners’ $29 million budget proposal.  Another budget proposal, which would have set the budget level with 2017 spending, was also scrapped.

Rep. Sylvia had prepared a budget proposal to offer as a reasonable compromise.  His budget kept the property tax increase down to 11%, and allowed for a 1.5% increase in spending for county operations.

Rather than taking a serious look at a well formed budget, Rep. Hout of Laconia, preferred to deploy a stalling tactic, and moved to adjourn the meeting.  This irresponsible motion passed, and the delegation departed with no consideration of the lack of appropriations necessary to fund county operations.

This stalling adds another unnecessary meeting for which the taxpayers will shell out $600.  Further, the taxpayers face a serious possibility of being forced to pay the legal costs of defending the county commissioners for misappropriating county funds.