Chairman Thibeault and the Beanstalk

By S.D. Plissken | August 26, 2018

It may be that people these days are less familiar than formerly with the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. Let us set the scene:

Jack is a young, poor boy living with his widowed mother and a dairy cow, on a farm cottage. The cow’s milk was their only source of income. When the cow stops giving milk, Jack’s mother tells him to take her to the market to be sold. On the way, Jack meets a bean dealer who offers magic beans in exchange for the cow, and Jack makes the trade. When he arrives home without any money, his mother becomes angry and disenchanted, throws the beans on the ground, and sends Jack to bed without dinner.

Chairman Thibeault had a bright idea, on which he expounded at last week’s Board of Selectmen’s (BOS) meeting. (Selectman Lucier was absent). Thibeault would like to trade the Town cow for some State magic beans.

Thibeault: Alright. Next on the agenda: A possible State Boat Ramp at the Town Beach. I put this on there [the agenda]. So, this has been talked about a little bit I guess in the past. I reached out to the State a little while ago to get some more information on the State boat ramp. Basically, it’s a 25 to 35-year lease with the State. They require designated trailer spots. It has to be open 24/7 for free – for boaters – to put your boat in and out. It is not intended to be a swimming area. It is not intended to be an area to fish off the dock. The State initially just took a look on Google Earth at the Town Beach. They didn’t say, “yes,” they didn’t say “no.” There were definitely some challenges if we were to try and do a State Boat Ramp there due to competitive parking. The fence would have to be changed a little bit. So, I just wanted to bring it up to the Board of Selectmen, because it’s essentially a Board of Selectmen decision. The State is – would be – willing to talk to us if we want to talk them to get further information. Like I said, it wasn’t a definite “no,” it wasn’t a definite “yes,” because there are challenges with the ball field, with the Town Beach, competing for parking. That was one of their initial concerns, so I wanted to share that with the Board – something to think about. Basically, the State then would be – they would pay for – the boat ramp and maintaining it for those years. So, something we can think about.

Hutchings: Do you want a response?

Thibeault: Yep.

Hutchings: I think it would be a shame to give that to the State. I really do. I think that’s probably kind of the pearl – in the oyster – is that beach area.

Thibeault: You wouldn’t be giving the beach area. Just the spot for the ramps.

Hutchings: You’re going to wind up losing – I mean it’s not a huge area to begin with. We have to give parking up for … for trailers and that. We’re going to lose quite a bit, I think. I asked one of the employees Sunday who was working at the gate to pull up the numbers knowing that this was on the agenda and the amount of money that that brings in up there – I think it would be shame, I mean it’s self-sufficient. I think if we took our money and repaired the boat ramp ourselves, as a town. I think, … I just think it would be a shame to give that away to the State. You’re talking since the middle of May ’til the middle of August, it’s brought in almost $33,000 and that’s not saying the …

Thibeault: $33,000?

Hutchings: $33,000 – $32,726. The boat ramp and the beach. I’m lumping it altogether, because ….

Thibeault: I’ve asked several times how much the boat ramp itself brings in and was told it couldn’t be separated.

Hutchings: Well, I went up and asked Diane on Sunday morning early if she would mind doing this, because when I saw this and she said, how do you want it broke down …

Thibeault: There’s something wrong with those numbers, I think.

Hutchings: Well, I’m saying this is the beach and the boat ramp.

Thibodeau: What were those numbers again?

Hutchings: $32,726, starting from May 8th all the way to August 16th.

Thibodeau: 32 what?

Hutchings: $32,726. The boat ramp – it’s not that the boat ramp brings in the huge amount – the beach brings in the bigger number, but I sat out there, I’ve gone out several times and sat there and watched people who’ve come up, and they bring the whole family, some one of – Uncle Bob we’ll say – brings up the boat, he puts the boat in, and the kids are all out there playing on the beach and then they alternate – they run ’em through. There’s a lot of that that goes on. I think it would be a shame to give that to the State. I really do. So …

Thibeault: I think there’s several options down there and I think we could still charge for the beach and the State ramp would actually bring people into town and promote the town of Milton, which economy is hurting and help the businesses in town because you’d have a State-advertised boat ramp. I do think that we need to be able to separate out how much money just the boat ramp is taking in and my understanding is the way they … they can’t do that right now. The Rec. Commission had actually voted and made a recommendation that that be separated out and I’m not sure where that stands. But, I’m not saying give up the whole Town Beach to the State. That’s not at all what I’m saying if you give up

Hutchings: But I think if you give up …

Thibeault: a small part. I’m open to discussing with the State, to see what they have to offer, because it would be a way to get. like I said, a State boat ramp would get us on the map with the State, and also, I mean, we won’t have to pay the cost of putting in the new ramp.

Hutchings: Which is what – about 30 grand? And we already have $15,000 that the taxpayers in town earmarked for it a year or two ago. Two years ago.

Thibeault: But it’s $30,000 we could use on other areas …

Hutchings: There’s $32,726 we could use to put in a new boat ramp. We could put in a nice pavillion down there, so the kids aren’t having to use the tent. I mean, there’s all kinds of things that we could use …

Thibeault: You’re sure there’s no summer camp money in that?

Hutchings: Positive.

Thibeault: Okay. Alright.

Hutchings: I’m just saying. I just think it would be shame to give that away.

Thibeault: Alright. I just think that we need to think outside the box and the $10 fee that we get at the boat ramp – or whatever it is – we have to account for how we are going to bring people into town. And that free advertisement that the State would give us, I think that would help. I wanted to share that with the Board and I guess right now we don’t really have a decision one way or another. So, we can move on.

Now, Thibeault claims that his scheme would save money, a claim that Hutchings questions. But note his main rationale: this would bring people into town to use the now State ramp, which would help businesses, and the State would do the advertising.

The truth is that “helping” businesses is not a governmental function at all. No taxpayer resources whatsoever should be devoted to that purpose. None, nil, zilch.

Government’s supposed justification has always been the protection of life, property, and liberty. At the town level, it is usually taken to also include maintenance of roads and schools. Business and its concerns – its successes or its failures – have no part in this. The town government does not have to, as Chairman Thibeault has it, “account for how we are bringing people into town.” “Boosting” business is not a concern of government of at all.

Surrendering a part of the Town Beach – as some have said, its “pearl” – to the State based on Chairman Thibeault’s theory – just a theory, mind you – that it would somehow “help” business is misguided. That has the taxpayers subsidizing the businesses. That is not how free markets work. He needs perhaps, as happened to Jack in the story, to be sent to bed without his dinner.

But neither he nor Milton town government will welcome these truths.

Of all the offspring of Time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder’s welcome.

References:

Milton Board of Selectmen. (2018, August 20). Milton Board of Selectmen Meeting, August 20, 2018. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/LfPichonEYQ?t=1840

Wikipedia, (2018, August 23). Jack and the Beanstalk. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_and_the_Beanstalk

Wikipedia. (2018, May 20). Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_Popular_Delusions_and_the_Madness_of_Crowds

Goffstown Shows the Way

By S.D. Plissken | August 21, 2018

Mr. Bailey rose to speak again during the Public Comments portion of Monday night’s Board of Selectmen’s (BOS) meeting. His subject was again the erroneous over-taxation in the 2017 2nd half tax bill.

The BOS has never given any explanation, exact figures, or proposed solutions to this problem.

Mr. Bailey provided the BOS with copies of the following letter sent out with Goffstown’s first half tax invoice (July 2018). (Milton did not make a similar correction or explanation in its first half tax invoice).


[Town Seal] Town of Goffstown

TOWN OFFICES

16 MAIN STREET, GOFFSTOWN, NH 03405

Dear Goffstown Taxpayers,

Enclosed is your property tax bill for the first half of the property tax year 2018. You may notice a significant reduction in property taxes due, compared to the previous year’s tax rate. There is a unique situation this year which we aim to clarify with this letter.

As you may be aware, the audit of the Goffstown School District 2017 fiscal year identified reporting errors which led to improper retention of unreserved funds above the limits authorized for contingencies under RSA 198:4=b. The accumulation of funds between 2011 and 2017 amounted to a total of $9, 811, 451 which will be reclassified in July at the end of the current School District fiscal year. Without any action, this reclassification of School funds normally would have reduced the amount of taxes to be raised for local education beginning with the 2018 2nd half tax bill in November.

The Board of Selectmen successfully petitioned the State Department of Revenue Administration to adjust the 1st half tax rate in anticipation of this release of funds. The revised tax rate for the 1st half of 2018 is shown below, compared to 50% of the final 2017 tax rate.

[Here there appeared a table showing the County, Local School, State School, Town, and Total tax rates for “50% of 2017 Rate” and “1st Half of 2018 Rate.” The Local School rate of $7.315 in the 50% column has been adjusted downwards to $4.125 in the 1st Half column. That would be a drop of $3.19 per thousand]

The impact of this release of funds continues over the next tax cycle as well. The rate for the 2018 2nd half tax bill will not be determined until the fall, but it is expected to be similar. The 2019 1st half tax bill will increase and approach previous levels as cash flows stabilize. We expect conditions to normalize by the 2019 2nd half tax bill.

If you escrow your property taxes, you may want to notify your financial institution of these anticipated changes. If you are planning to sell or buy property in Goffstown in the next 12 months, you may also want to consult a real estate professional regarding tax proration.

If you have any questions about your taxes or the fund balance issue, please feel free to contact us or visit the Town and School websites at www.Goffstown.com or www.Goffstown.k12.nh.us

Sincerely,

[Signatures of]

Adam Jacobs, Town Administrator

Brian Dalke, Superintendent


Mr. Bailey’s comments cannot be transcribed here. That is because they do not appear in the video record of the meeting. There is a short (1:31) section in which Ms. Virginia Long spoke of an upcoming volunteer cleanup on Casey Road. Mr. Bailey then began to speak –

Glenn Bailey. You have before you a letter issued by the Town of Goffstown and there are more on the sideboard if people … [end of recording].

His full remarks are not included in the published record. That second section is missing. There was a technical problem at that point.

The third section commences at the beginning of the remarks of the next commenter, Mr. Larry Brown, who spoke of the upcoming pie contest.

In any event, Mr. Bailey highlighted the Goffstown letter’s second paragraph as an example of “transparency” in that the Goffstown officials had explained that an error had been committed, as well as describing its scope and size. He went on to highlight the third and fourth paragraphs as examples of “accountability” in that the Goffstown officials had explained in some detail how they proposed to return the money that had been over-collected through their error.

He further remarked that Milton officials, who have spoken often of the importance and virtue of “transparency” and “accountability,” had never displayed any at all in the matter of the 2017 taxes. He said that they had forfeited their right to employ those terms.

References:

Milton Board of Selectmen. (2018, August 20). Milton Board of Selectmen Meeting, August 20, 2018. Part 1. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtYixUTRFa8

Milton Board of Selectmen. (2018, August 20). Milton Board of Selectmen Meeting, August 20, 2018. Part 2. Missing from the record, due to technical difficulties.

Milton Board of Selectmen. (2018, August 20). Milton Board of Selectman Meeting, August 20, 2018. Part 3. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfPichonEYQ

Non-Public BOS Session Scheduled (August 20, 2018)

By Muriel Bristol | August 18, 2018

The Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) have posted their agenda for a BOS meeting to be held Monday, August 20. The meeting is scheduled to begin with a Non-Public preliminary session at 5:15 PM. That agenda has four items: Non-Public matters classed as 91-A:3 II (c), 91-A:3 II (j), 91-A:3 II (b), and 91-A:3 II (j).

91-A:3 II (c) Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the public body itself, unless such person requests an open meeting. This exemption shall extend to any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine, or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant.

91-A:3 II (j) Consideration of confidential, commercial, or financial information that is exempt from public disclosure under RSA 91-A:5, IV in an adjudicative proceeding pursuant to RSA 541 [Rehearings and Appeals in Certain Cases] or RSA 541-A [Administrative Procedure Act].

The first, second, and fourth matters appear to relate again to the recent tax abatement process. In November, the BOS made a serious error in setting the 2017 tax rate. It affected all of the taxpayers, i.e., about 2,700 taxpayers, to a very large degree. Various figures have been given, ranging as high as $1.4 million.

In December, the BOS suggested that those affected should file for abatements. This would be the second meeting that devoted agenda time to hearing appeals of rejected abatements (The “c” item). The other items (the “j” items) are likely also matters related to abatements. However, the BOS has also been dealing with matters related to the title of the old fire station.

91-A:3 II (b) The hiring of any person as a public employee.

The third matter relates to the hiring of one or more additional town employees. This does not suggest that the BOS intends to either cut the budget through attrition or even level fund it.

The BOS intend to adjourn their Non-Public BOS session at approximately (*) 6:00 PM, when they intend to return to Public session.

The Public portion of the agenda mentions appointments and resignations from various town committees, accepting a donation of a basketball hoop, police cruisers, a grant for an emergency management trailer, a possible state boat ramp at the town beach, a zoning fee waiver, cemetery mowing, the townhouse heating system (again), nomination of the former Plummer’s Ridge Schoolhouse for a grant from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, as well as the Staff Appreciation Day Cookout and September meeting adjustments.

References:

NH Preservation Alliance. (2018). Seven to Save. Retrieved from nhpreservation.org/seven-to-save/

State of New Hampshire. (2016, June 21). RSA Chapter 91-A. Access to Governmental Records and Meetings. Retrieved from www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/VI/91-A/91-A-3.htm

Town of Milton. (2018, August 17). BOS Meeting Agenda, August 20, 2018. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/bos_agendas.php

Milton and the Knowledge Problem

By S.D. Plissken | August 13, 2018

Milton has a serious knowledge problem: it lacks awareness of the “Local Knowledge Problem.”

A succession of Milton selectmen, town officials, planners, economic developers, as well as much of its population, have been absolutely certain that Milton needs a family restaurant at Exit 17. They have known this, almost as an article of faith, for years. Few question it.

Some might ask how they received this revelation (or why they have persisted in believing it for so very long). Well, they will tell you. The major weight of Milton’s increasingly high property taxes is borne by homeowners. Unaccountably, those taxpayers do not like to bear that burden. So, that tax burden should be shifted onto businesses. Or, at least it could be, if there were only more businesses. Milton needs more businesses.

The business owners’ incentive to line up for this mulcting remains unclear. It might appear that they have none at all. Alternatives, such as reductions in town government or in its budgets (or even just holding the line), easing local regulations, seeking state regulatory relief, etc., are never seriously considered. That would be crazy. Milton just needs more businesses.

There are aesthetic considerations too. Milton deplores just any business venture that might arise through natural market processes. (Witness the China Pond and Mi-Te-Jo expansion melodramas). Milton does need more businesses, but they need to be the “right” sorts of businesses.

Restaurants might be good, but franchise restaurants are obviously less so. They do not strike the right tone; they are a bit déclassé. However, a “family” restaurant could work quite nicely. That would be just the “right” sort of business. Absolutely. Milton needs a family restaurant business at Exit 17. No doubt at all. The town government knows what is best for Milton.

But it does not know. It could never know – that would be impossible – because of the “Local Knowledge Problem.”

Professor F.A. Hayek (1899-1992) of the London School of Economics (and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics) published “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (often called the “Local Knowledge Problem”) in the American Economic Review in September 1945. His article was rated recently as among the most important 20 papers of the last 100 years. In it, Hayek explained why central planning is all nonsense.

The knowledge required for economic planning is imperfect, transitory, and widely dispersed among many actors. No board, commission, or committee of individuals could ever hope to assemble enough for an optimal solution (and perhaps not even enough for a poor one). It is impossible for them to do so. The necessary knowledge resides temporarily – the situation is ever changing – in the array of all market participants. (Nowadays, it might be said that the necessary knowledge and information is “Crowd Sourced”).

As one proceeds north from Milton along NH Route 16, the results of successful decisions based upon such dispersed local knowledge may be seen readily. There are three gas station convenience stores, two restaurants, a trading post, an auto parts store, a sugar house, a Kung Fu dojo, a garden center, a motel, a farmers’ & crafters’ market, a stove museum, and a fish farm. There are also quite a few home-based businesses. In season, there are several farm stands.

All of these businesses were created without benefit of central planning, through market processes. Their entrepreneurs took a chance, based upon their own intuition and local knowledge. They invested their own capital (available in part due to lower taxes), resources, and effort in those concerns. Bravo! They have satisfied market demand, and done so with no cost, risk, or loss to taxpayers if they fail to thrive.

Milton’s central planners have their thumb on the scale in “knowing” that Milton needs a family restaurant. Without adequate knowledge, which they can never have, it is their own preferences they put forward in defiance of market desires. That can garner only imperfect results at best and likely “it will all end in tears.” (Remember the most recent strong preference failure of this sort: the landfill?).

Why should it not be that an electric car-charging station, farmers’ market, sheep farm, meadery, dojo, cell-tower, billboard, or things not yet imagined arises at Exit 17? Why is a family restaurant necessarily the optimal solution? How can planners know that? (A free market might even prefer that location remains as it is). Obviously, they cannot.

Yes, there is a sort of arrogance to it all. Milton and its taxpayers are not part of some SimCity game.

Of course, there is also the additional hurdle of water and sewer facilities. The proposed Exit 17 location lies beyond the town water network. (Exit 18 is even further beyond the Pale). It has been estimated that it would cost at least $1 million to extend those services out to the desired restaurant site. That is daunting. But, wait. BOS Vice-chairwoman Hutchings revealed recently that the $1 million figure is an underestimate. In fact, it would cost much more than that, vastly more. (And government estimates usually need to be tripled to approach real-world accuracy).

Tax reductions would allow business growth. But that implies an attendant government reduction. Town government sees no benefit in reducing itself: such a proposal lacks appeal. Impossible. Put such notions aside.

The Exit 17 family restaurant must remain an article of faith. Government planners know it.

Meanwhile, the Stop, Drops & Rolls coffee shop closed this week. Its proprietor seeks to sell both the business and the property. “We just can’t generate the customers to continue to stay open.”

References:

Hayek, Friedrich A. (1945, September). The Use of Knowledge in Society. Retrieved from fee.org/articles/the-use-of-knowledge-in-society/

Stop, Drops & Roll. (2018, August 6). It Is a Sad Day Today. Retrieved from www.facebook.com/StopDropsandRoll/

Wikipedia. (2018, August 13). Friedrich Hayek. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek

Wikipedia. (2017, June 20). Local Knowledge Problem. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Knowledge_Problem

Wikipedia. (2018, August 3). SimCity. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SimCity

Electra, Dorian. (2010, December 20). I’m in Love with Friedrich Hayek. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=Arbfem4BohA

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

By S.D. Plissken | August 1, 2018

The Dover City Council passed a resolution on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, that called on Governor Sununu (R), the NH congressional delegation (Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Maggie Hassan (D), Representatives Carol Shea-Porter (D) and Ann McLane Kuster (D)), and Director of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, to demand an end to the Border Patrol’s “coercive checkpoints” in the state and to “immediately halt” policies that separate or imprison families.

This was their third resolution on this topic. Last year, on Wednesday, October 11th, the Dover City Council passed a resolution, unanimously. Last month, on Wednesday, June 27th, the Dover City Council passed a similar resolution, unanimously (with one member absent), that called on the Trump Administration to immediately end its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has led to thousands of family members being separated while attempting to cross the US border.

However, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) seems to have slipped past their resolutions somehow. ICE lists an address in the Strafford County Complex in Dover as being one of its Detention Facilities. (That is just 4 miles from where the Council passes its resolutions). In fact, ICE identifies this address in the Strafford County Complex as being its Boston Field Office. (There is nothing new in this as the Strafford County House of Corrections has been housing ICE detainees since at least 2008).

None of this needs to be. The Federal government is supposed to supply its own officials to implement its own policy initiatives. It cannot compel local officials to participate. In 1842, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote in Prigg vs. Pennsylvania that

The fundamental principle applicable to all cases of this sort, would seem to be, that where the end is required, the means are given; and where the duty is enjoined, the ability to perform it is contemplated to exist on the part of the functionaries to whom it is entrusted. The clause is found in the national Constitution, and not in that of any state. It does not point out any state functionaries, or any state action to carry its provisions into effect. The states cannot, therefore, be compelled to enforce them; and it might well be deemed an unconstitutional exercise of the power of interpretation, to insist that the states are bound to provide means to carry into effect the duties of the national government, nowhere delegated or instrusted to them by the Constitution.

This is the so-called Anti-Commandeering Doctrine. It has been used to oppose the Fugitive Slave Law (1850) and a host of other iniquities. It appeared more recently in Printz vs. United States (1997).

Neither the NH Department of Corrections nor the Strafford County Sheriff can be compelled to participate in ICE initiatives. They do so voluntarily. The NH Department of Corrections has been receiving so much per head to house ICE detainees; the Strafford County Sheriff has been receiving so much per head to transport them. (A recent contract between the Sheriff and his deputies incorporates this transporting into their duties as a regular task). They are doing this for ICE detainees taken in the whole northeastern tier of states.

So, Dover City Council, you are barking up the wrong tree. Imagine an alternative reality. Instead of addressing a fourth resolution to distant authorities, you make a couple of in-state phone calls. “Hello Sheriff (and fellow Democrat) Dubois, could you stop taking Federal money to transport ICE detainees? Thanks” and “Hello Commissioner Hanks, could you stop taking Federal money to house ICE detainees? Thanks.”

The notion of refusing to support officials with which you do not agree is not new. Etienne De La Boetie advised in 1549:

I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.

References:

Concord Monitor. (2018, July 2). Change of priority: As ICE bumps up security at the border, Strafford County jail sees hike in immigrant inmates. Retrieved from www.concordmonitor.com/As-ICE-bumps-up-border-security-Strafford-County-jail-sees-hike-in-immigrant-inmates-18447934

Corwin, Emily (NHPR). (2017, March 22). N.H.’s Immigration Detention Facility Saw Spike In February. Retrieved fromdigital.vpr.net/post/nhs-immigration-detention-facility-saw-spike-february

De La Boetie, Etienne. (1549). Discourse on Voluntary Servitude. France.

Foster’s Daily Democrat. (2018, June 28). Dover Council May Take Immigrant Action. Retrieved from www.fosters.com/news/20180625/dover-council-may-take-immigration-action

Foster’s Daily Democrat. (2018, July 11). Dover City Council Demands End to Checkpoints. Retrieved from www.fosters.com/news/20180711/dover-council-demands-end-to-border-checkpoints

Labor Relations Information System (LRIS). (2014). Collective Bargaining Agreement. Retrieved from www.lris.com/wp-content/uploads/contracts/straffordco_nh_sheriff.pdf

Maharry, Michael (TAC). (2013, December 28). States Don’t Have to Comply: The Anti-Commandeering Doctrine. Retrieved from tenthamendmentcenter.com/2013/12/28/states-dont-have-to-comply-the-anti-comandeering-doctrine/

Manchester Union-Leader. (2017, July 2). New wall has opened door to more illegal aliens at Strafford County jail. Retrieved from www.unionleader.com/crime/New-wall-has-opened-door-to-more-illegal-aliens-at-Strafford-County-jail-04032017

New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR). (2017. August 07). In wake of immigration crackdown, some New England jails see brisk business. Retrieved from www.necir.org/2017/08/07/wake-immigration-crackdown-new-england-jails-see-brisk-business/

NHPR. (2018, June 28). In Dover, A Protest Against Family Separations And N.H. Border Patrol Checkpoints. Retrieved from nhpr.org/post/dover-protest-against-family-separations-and-nh-border-patrol-checkpoints

Pontoh, Dan (ACLU). (2017, October 11). Dover, NH Social Justice Action Alert. Retrieved from www.facebook.com/doverdemocrats/posts/2010453229211338

Tenth Amendment Center. (2013, October 15). No Water = No NSA Data Center. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ANUo8BnYoo

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. (2008). Detainees Leaving ICE Detention from the Strafford County Correction Facility. Retrieved from trac.syr.edu/immigration/detention/200803/STRAFNH/exit/

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (2018). Strafford County House of Corrections. Retrieved from www.ice.gov/detention-facility/strafford-county-house-corrections

WMUR. (2018, July 12). Some ICE Detainees Kept at Strafford County Jail. Retrieved from www.wmur.com/article/some-ice-detainees-kept-at-strafford-county-jail/22133924

Non-Public BOS Meeting Scheduled (August 6, 2018)

By Muriel Bristol | July 31, 2018

The Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) have posted their agenda for a Non-Public BOS meeting to be held next Monday, August 6, at 4:00 PM. The agenda has two items: a Non-Public matter classed as 91-A:3 II (c) and another matter classed as 91-A:3 II (d).

91-A:3 II (c): Matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the public body itself, unless such person requests an open meeting. This exemption shall extend to any application for assistance or tax abatement or waiver of a fee, fine, or other levy, if based on inability to pay or poverty of the applicant.

91-A:3 II (d): Consideration of the acquisition, sale, or lease of real or personal property which, if discussed in public, would likely benefit a party or parties whose interests are adverse to those of the general community.

The first matter relates to the recent tax abatement process. In November, the BOS made an error in setting the 2017 tax rate. It affected all of the taxpayers, i.e., about 2,700 taxpayers, to a large degree. Various figures have been given. In December, the BOS suggested that those affected should file for abatements.

This would be case of apples and oranges. Abatements are intended to resolve errors in particular property assessments or to address the personal circumstances of particular taxpayers. For this purpose, the town typically allocates or holds back a very small percentage – less than 1% – for abatements. (They had allocated only $20,000 to cover all abatements). The BOS’s very large town-wide rate error could not possibly be corrected through granting a few abatements.

The difference between the BOS error and their proposed “solution” is separated by several orders of magnitude. The BOS may or may not have known that back in December, but they surely do know it now.

Only 56 taxpayers filed for the suggested abatement. Of those, 39 (69.6%) received abatements, while 17 (30.4%) were rejected. This Non-Public matter before the BOS is likely an appeal by one of the 17 whose abatement was rejected.

The second matter relates to the buying, selling, or leasing of property. Several property matters have been in the wind over the last few months. The sale of the old fire station, acquisition of conservation land, and the proposed purchase of parking spaces have been much discussed lately.

The BOS intend to adjourn their Non-Public BOS meeting by 5:00 PM. Their prior public meeting was held on Monday, July 16. Their next public Meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 20.

References:

Town of Milton. (2018, July 31). BOS Non-Public Agenda, August 6, 2018. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/bos_agendas.php

State of New Hampshire. (2018, February). Revised Statutes Amended Online. Retrieved from gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/indexes/default.html