Lemonade May Flow Unvexed

By S.D. Plissken | April 12, 2021

Among other matters of perhaps greater moment, Milton-Middleton Representatives Hayward and Bailey both voted last week in the NH House in favor of HB183Prohibiting Municipalities from Requiring a License for a Soft Drink Stand Operated by a Person Under the Age of 18.

Municipalities of other states and even Federal authorities have appeared in the news from time to time – in a very bad light – when shutting down and even occasionally arresting those that set up lemonade stands. Those thus imposed upon are usually children.

New Hampshire has not been so prone to this as other more-benighted places, although it has happened here too. Much of NH might retain still some shred of allegiance to its motto: Live Free or Die.

One might assume that passage of such a measure would be a “no brainer,” but some 163 representatives actually voted against budding entrepreneurs living free in the matter of lemonade stands. (Their names may be found here. It comes as no surprise to find that the representative who left her dog in the car throughout most of that warm day’s ten-hour session was among those voting “Nay”).

A majority of 211 representatives voted in favor. (The Speaker does not vote, except in case of a tie; and some 25 representatives were absent, excused, or did not vote).

HB183 passed in the NH House and goes next to the NH Senate. Governor Sununu has said in regard to other matters that he thinks the NH House is “silly,” so there is no telling whether he will deign to sign it if it reaches his desk.

I believe that starting any business should be as easy as a 10-year-old starting a lemonade stand. – Mark Cuban


CBS19 News. (2021, April 7). Little Girl Holds Lemonade Stand to Buy Stuffed Animals for Kids in Need. Retrieved from www.cbs19news.com/story/43623611/little-girl-holds-lemonade-stand-to-buy-stuffed-animals-for-kids-in-need

CBSN. (2018. May 29). Child’s Lemonade Stand Shut Down For Lack Of Permit. Retrieved from denver.cbslocal.com/2018/05/29/lemonade-stand-shut-down/

Fox 10 TV. (2021, March 25). Mesa Kids’ Lemonade Stand Raising Money for Cancer Patients. Retrieved from www.fox10phoenix.com/video/915006

KABC TV. (2021, April 1). 4th Grader on Mission to Change World with Lemonade Stand. Retrieved from abc7.com/localish/4th-grader-on-mission-to-change-world-with-lemonade-stand/10450174/

MacDonald, Steve. (2021, April 10). What Did Deb “Hot Dog” Stevens Think About Mitt Romney’s Dog on the Roof Story in 2012? Retrieved from granitegrok.com/blog/2021/04/what-did-deb-hot-dog-stevens-think-about-mitt-romneys-dog-on-the-roof-story-in-2012

NY Times. (2018, August 19). Boy’s Lemonade Stand, Shut Down for Lack of Permit, Reopens With Fanfare. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2018/08/19/nyregion/brendans-lemonade-stand-reopens.html

Schiewe, Jessie. (2020, June 23).  Lemonade Stands Are Illegal in Most of the United States. Retrieved from www.okwhatever.org/topics/wtf/are-lemonade-stands-illegal

Washington Post. (2018, June 12). Bullies were Shutting Down America’s Lemonade Stands. These Lawyers Work for Big Lemonade. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/06/12/bullies-were-shutting-down-americas-lemonade-stands-these-lawyers-work-for-big-lemonade/

WFMZ-TV. (2021, March 23). Lafayette College Sorority Hosts Lemonade Stand to Raise Funds for Breast Cancer Research. Retrieved from www.wfmz.com/news/area/lehighvalley/lafayette-college-sorority-hosts-lemonade-stand-to-raise-funds-for-breast-cancer-research/article_33597f4c-8c3d-11eb-b92f-83f91e0e887d.html

WGME. (2021, April 8). Bill Could Allow Maine kids to Operate Lemonade Stands Without a License, Retrieved from wgme.com/news/local/bill-could-allow-maine-kids-to-operate-lemonade-stands-without-a-license

Article 13: Independent CIP Committee

By S.D. Plissken | March 2, 2021

This year’s Article 13 should seem familiar to you. It appeared just last year, in exactly the same form (including even the same typos), but was known then as Article 17. It failed then with 345 (45.2%) in favor and 418 (54.8%) opposed.

Article 13: Establishment of Independent Capital Improvement Program Committee. Shall the Town vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to establish an independent committee pursuant to NH RSA 674:5 to prepare an amend the recommended program of Capital Improvement Projects and to make budgetary recommendations to the Board of Selectmen? The Committee, to be known as the Capital Improvement Program Committee, will have five (5) voting members to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen, and shall include at least One (1) member of the Planning Board. (Majority Vote Required).

Recommended by the Planning Board (7,0,0). Recommended by the Board of Selectmen (3,0,0).

It is apparent that the Town government is determined to have its “independent” CIP Committee. It would be independent only in the peculiar sense that its members would be selected by the Board of Selectmen, rather than elected by the voters. What could be more independent than that?

It was a bit of a speed bump when the voters “chose poorly” last year. Might the boards seek another, better solution? No, there must be an independent CIP Committee. Put it on the ballot again. We can keep doing it until the voters get it “right.”

This sort of thing is sometimes known as the “manufacturing,” “fabricating,” or “engineering” of consent.

We have seen this technique employed here before, most recently in the School Board election of last year. The pay raise measure on the School ballot was rejected then, but reappeared magically on the ballot in the very next election – the more lightly-attended September primary election – when it passed. That was some nice engineering. Not very subtle, perhaps, but it worked.

It is perhaps a bit disheartening that this little Article 13 “do-over” on the Town ballot has been recommended unanimously by both boards.

Now, the question on the ballot might be read as: “Are you as easily gulled as we think you are?” I hope not. I hope they are as wrong in this as they have been about so many other things. (Nil desperandum).

Vote “No” again, just as you did before but, if the measure should be rejected again, do not expect to have heard the last of this.

Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. – Article 8, NH Constitution


NH General Court. (2002). Capital Improvements Program. Authorization. Retrieved from www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LXIV/674/674-5.htm

Wiktionary. (2019, October 14). Jiggery-Pokery, Retrieved from en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jiggery-pokery

Article 5: Employee Retention Plan

By S.D. Plissken | March 1, 2021

Back in 1967, the NH State Legislature undertook to pay 45% of the pension costs of  city and town employees. After about a decade, they dropped their contribution down to 35%.

It is no great secret that “You get more of what you subsidize and less of what you tax.” The cities and towns hired more employees, paid them more, and pensioned them at higher levels, then they had ever been able before. One might say that – flush with state subsidies – they took on more, much more, than was traditional, more than was strictly necessary, and certainly more than was fiscally prudent or sustainable. 

About eleven years ago, the NH Legislature ceased paying their 35% subsidy. They just did not have the money to keep it going. Their stated legislative intent at the time was that the cities and towns should cut back also.

Many – including Milton – did not choose to “rein in” their spending and instead increased property taxes. They have by now increased them far beyond our ability to pay. The spenders have been enabled by Federal inflation of the money supply, which drives up valuations of the properties taxed, although the incomes of the taxpayers have lagged behind. (Inflation benefits most those closest to its source). The increasing gap between the inflated valuations and incomes has become unsustainable, especially for those starting out in life (“Why, oh why, are the young people leaving?”) and for those at the other end of life who are living on fixed incomes.

Article 5: Employee Retention Plan. To see if the Town will vote to adopt the Employee Retention Plan, which establishes a Grade and Step Plan for classes of employees of the Town of Milton. If approved, any scheduled increases, as laid out in the Plan and approved by the Board of Selectmen, will be incorporated into the operating and default budgets in subsequent years starting with 2022. No funds shall be raised in 2021. (Majority Vote Required).

Recommended by the Board of Selectmen (3,0,0). Recommended by the Budget Committee (7,1,0).

It was explained at the Deliberative Session that the “Plan” would be updated at five-year intervals. That means two selectmen in the rotation could spend their entire three-year term, and the third one most of their three-year term, without ever actually having to vote on this. Future boards can be “dumbfounded” that salary and pension expenses keep rising and that those rising costs have crowded out other expenditures. Increases would be out of their hands, they would be unaccountable. That is, even more so than now.

It was an especially sardonic touch that this measure is entitled the “Employee Retention Plan.” Town officials have been bleating for years about their desperate employee retention measures. (The Police Department retention bonus scheme of several years ago would seem to have been only partially effective).

Labor is a commodity too. Right now, with government-induced Covid unemployment running 10% (at least), wages are falling. When and how did ignoring market prices in favor of “retention” ever become our top priority? No one voted for that.

The Town does not seem to understand the simple fact that Milton is (and always has been) a “starter” town, which is unable to outbid larger and better appointed places. It is monumental folly to even attempt to do so.

Even those larger entities have reached the end of their tether and will not be able to go much further. Some pushed hard – one might even say desperately – for a NH House bill (HB274), which sought to reanimate the corpse of state pension subsidies (at the 5% level) for cities and towns. (Who is dim enough to suppose it would ever stop at 5%?) That attempt failed last week in a 189-168 vote. The coffin lid was nailed down hard with a reconsideration vote. As they say, “that dog won’t hunt.”

Basically, this warrant article is a misguided attempt to place pay and pension increases first in future budgets – “all other priorities are rescinded” – and to do so with precious little accountability. (It would in that sense be a suitable sibling to the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) plan, which has for some years placed other expenditures on their own upward conveyer belt).

Just say “No.” (And perhaps – depending upon their rationale – give a tip o’ the hat to the lone member of the Budget Committee that voted not to recommend this monstrosity).

When you ask them, “How much should we give?” Ooh, they only answer, “More! more! more!” – CCR


NH General Court. (2021). HB274-FN-L: Relative to Payment by the State of a Portion of Retirement System Contributions of Political Subdivision Employers. Retrieved from gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/Results.aspx?q=1&txtbillnumber=hb274&txtsessionyear=2021

Mr. Brown’s Deliberative Session Resolve

By S.D. Plissken | February 11, 2021

At the conclusion of the Milton School Board’s Deliberative Session of Saturday, February 6, 2021, Budget Committeeman (and ZBA member, and Local Government Efficiency Task Force member) Lawrence D. “Larry” Brown put forward a last-minute resolution from the floor.

Moderator: Does anyone else wish to speak? … Larry Brown.

Larry Brown: This is a … at the end of the Deliberative Session for the Town, I decided we’d had enough and rather than spend more time there, a different meeting. This is the text of a resolution regarding consideration, it requires a simple vote, up or down, no seconds, no amendments:

Resolved. The 2021 Town of Milton School Board Deliberative Session opposes the diversion of public education funding to private purposes and requests their State Representatives to support that position in the debate and with their vote on the House floor.

Moderator: Larry … is that a question, or …?

Larry Brown: That is a resolution to be voted for or against by the Deliberative Session …

The Moderator seemed a bit nonplussed. He referred the request to the School Board’s lawyer, who said it lay within the Moderator’s discretion. The Moderator chose not to take up the resolution.

There were but fourteen voters present in the audience, including the two State Representatives mentioned in Mr. Brown’s proposed resolution – who could hardly instruct themselves – and including also not a few Town officials (apart from the School Board members, Selectmen, Budget Committee members, etc., officiating at the dais).

The voters present made up only 0.4% – i.e., less than half of one percent – of Milton’s electorate.

Had such a resolution actually been voted upon and passed, it might have conveyed some sense of the majority (eight voters or more) of those few present at an underattended meeting (fourteen voters), but could hardly have conveyed any true sense of Milton’s electorate, and none at all of Middleton’s electorate. (The representatives being responsible to both Milton and Middleton).

One is left to assume that Mr. Brown was attempting a little humor or, perhaps, was engaged in a bit of trolling, which some consider to be a form of humor. If so, it fell just a bit flat.

It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously. –Oscar Wilde


Legiscan. (2021). NH HB20 | 2021 | Regular Session. Retrieved from legiscan.com/NH/bill/HB20/2021

Milton School Board. (2021). Deliberative Session – February 06, 2021. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG_c76h4YWI&t=2528s

In Search of the Northwest Budget

By S.D. Plissken | September 11, 2020

In 1845 Sir John Franklin, with two ships and 129 men, went in search of the fabled “Northwest Passage” between Baffin Bay and the Pacific Ocean. He and his men disappeared into the Canadian Arctic and were never seen again.

We know now that their ships became entrapped in the ice of the Canadian Arctic over a series of unusually cold winters. Researchers theorize that, apart from the appalling and deadly Arctic conditions, the expedition’s food and water supplies were contaminated with poisonous lead solder. That would have both sickened them and impaired their cognitive function. Lord Franklin died. Part of the crew descended into cannibalism.

Survivors tried to escape overland. They loaded a heavy ship’s boat with a lot of useless paraphernalia, including a writing desk, silk handkerchiefs, scented soap, sponges, slippers, hair combs, and many books. That seemed to them to be a good idea. It can only be supposed that these unfortunates were half-crazed due to lead poisoning. One by one they died while trying to drag this useless burden across the Canadian tundra towards settlements lying hundreds of frozen miles to their south.

The Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) is seeking a budgetary passage through the economic recession triggered by the Covid-19 shutdown. What do they propose that we drag across this hostile environment to a sustainable place?

Most of the departmental presentations so far have led off with pay raises. Yes, we’ll need them, make sure that pay raises get stowed in the boat. That would be only prudential management. They are essential.

Put them under the writing desk, between the silk handkerchiefs, slippers, scented soap, and books.


Dover, Connie. (2015, August 22). Lord Franklin. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIP5CaRky6s

Wikipedia. (2020, September 11). Franklin’s Lost Expedition. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin%27s_lost_expedition

Not Quite There, Yet

By S.D. Plissken | August 10, 2020

There was to have been a Board of Selectmen (BOS) Workshop meeting this evening at 6:00 PM. The BOS would have heard the next budget proposals from the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Recreation Department.

The meeting has been cancelled and the budget presentations rescheduled for the regular BOS meeting of Monday, August 17.

The Budget Committee sent previously a letter outlining its view that the overall budget should come in at $1,000 less than the Default Budget, as being the only way that an actual budget would ever actually be passed. Its chairman, Mr. Williams, read it out to the BOS at their last meeting.

The BOS heard previously budget proposals from the Milton Mills Free Public Library (MMFPL) and the Police Department. The MMFPL’s budget went over its 2% guidance. Chairman Rawson expressed his disappointment. It would not be impossible to arrange, but their overage would have to come out of some other department’s budget.

The DPW wants double this year, some $500,000, to make up for having their warrant item rejected last March. Again, this would not be impossible, provided their overage came from the budget of some other department or departments.

Some define Economics as the science of best allocating scarce resources. (Some call it the “Dismal Science”). Now the Town government has never felt the need to allocate our scarce dollars in any measured or scientific way. Well, maybe in the distant past, but not for a long time now. It has been more recently in the habit of taking with both hands, both in good times and in bad.

Even now, some in Town government wish to consult Town-hired lawyers to find some way to evade the Tax Cap, which is likely to cramp their style. The style to which they have become accustomed. They have tended to do what they like, as opposed to what we can afford. Does anyone suppose that taxpayers are likely to smile on additional legal expenses, to be added to their current burden, and incurred primarily to thwart their expressed will?

I would predict instead a revised tax cap, an “improved” one with a lower ceiling, maybe 1%.

Meanwhile, the School Board, who is also on a default budget, and whose salary increase warrant article got rejected some months ago, is not quite there with us either. It is to hold a deliberative session at the Nute High and Middle School cafeteria tomorrow, Tuesday, August 11, at 6:00 PM. Its sole object is to put their Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) warrant article back on a September 8 ballot.

The negotiated increases are substantial. They have to make up time for having been rejected before. One supposes they intend to repeat this exercise until we get it “right.” Because “no,” means “ask me again”?

Is anyone pixilated enough to suppose that taxpayers will have more money during this economic lockdown than they did when they kept their hands in their pockets last March? Very unlikely.

Yes, yes, one might expect turnout to be lower in a primary then it would be at the regular election. Wait, you don’t think that was a part of their calculation, do you? To pack a smaller venue? No, that would be sort of cynical and manipulative.

Do you suppose they know how many taxpayers asked also for a School tax cap? As I understand it, their name is “legion,” and such a measure is even now being studied. But it could never pass, could it? Well, yes, it very well could, if the School Board takes no account of the taxpayers’ scarce resources.

Taken all in all, one might say that many of our Town officials are not quite there with us yet.


Town of Milton. (2020, August 7). BOS Workshop Meeting Agenda, August 10, 2020. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/events/08-10-2020_bosagenda.pdf

Right to Know NH Leaflet

By S.D. Plissken | July 13, 2020

I obtained at a recent gathering a leaflet from the Right to Know NH organization, which I reproduce below for the benefit of our readers.

Obverse side:

Right to Know NH

Right to Know NH is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving adherence to and strengthening the Right to Know Law (RSA 91-A).

What We Do

  • Assist citizens in exercising their right to obtain information from their government.
  • Provide resources on Right to Know with the goal of making government more open and accountable.
  • Help public officials on how they can provide their constituents with access to government meetings and records so they may be in compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the law.
  • Propose legislation to strengthen the Right to Know Law (RSA 91-A).
  • Advocate for or against proposed legislative changes by writing to legislators and testifying at legislative committee hearings.
  • Maintain an extensive website with up-to-date case law, how-to information, and Right-to-Know Law training links.
  • Educate citizens on their right to know their government.
  • Build cooperative associations with organizations which share an active and ongoing interest in government transparency.


Membership is free, knowledge is invaluable. We meet regularly in Concord and invite new members. For more details check our website. We also welcome organizations to ally with us so together we have a stronger voice promoting open government.

Contact Us


Reverse side:

Part I, Article 8 of the New Hampshire Constitution

All power residing originally in, and being derived from, the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them. Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable, and responsive. To that end, the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted.

RSA 91-A:1 Preamble

Openness in the conduct of public business is essential to a democratic society. The purpose of this chapter is to ensure both the greatest possible public access to the actions, discussions and records of all public bodies, and their accountability to the people.


Accompanying business card:

Right to Know NH
promoting open government


The Envelope, Please

By S.D. Plissken | July 9, 2020

Milton Board of Selectmen (BOS) chairwoman Erin Hutchings announced her resignation, effective July 7, during the Selectman Comments portion of the BOS meeting of Monday, June 15, 2020. She had sold her house and would be moving out of town.

On June 22, 2020, the Town posted a notice seeking applicants from which they might select a replacement.

At their quasi-Public meeting of July 6, 2020, the BOS opened a sealed envelope with the names and particulars of three applicants vying to be her replacement. They were Laurence D. “Larry” Brown, Claudine Burnham, and Humphrey S. Williams. (Mr. Brown and Mr. Williams were candidates for this office at the March election).

At their quasi-Public meeting of last night, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, the BOS went immediately into a 91-A:3 II (c) session.

(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.

When they emerged from their secret session, they announced that they had selected Claudine Burnham to serve out the remainder of Erin Hutchings’ third year.

Ms. Burnham was for two years (2015-17) assistant recreation director for the Town of Milton, and has been for two years (2018-Present) a resident mentor at Shortridge Academy, on Governor’s Road in West Milton. Northeastern University conferred upon her in 1993 a B.S. degree, with a major in business administration.


LinkedIn. (2020). Claudine Burnham. Retrieved from www.linkedin.com/in/claudine-burnham-61a55214a

Shortridge Academy. (2020). Claudine Burnham. Retrieved from www.shortridgeacademy.com/staff_member/claudine-burnham/

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. (2020, July). BOS Meeting Minutes, June 15, 2020. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/minutes/06-15-2020_meetingminutes.pdf

Town of Milton. (2020, July 3). BOS Meeting Agenda, July 6, 2020. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/agendas/07-06-2020_bosagenda_final_0.pdf

Town of Milton. (2020, July 6). BOS Meeting Agenda, July 8, 2020. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/agendas/a_07-08-2020_bosagenda_final.pdf

Town of Milton. (2020, June 22). Milton Select-Board Vacancy Needs to Be Filled. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/news/milton_select_board_vacancy_needs_to_be_filled_003.pdf

Youtube. (1965). Cone of Silence. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1eUIK9CihA&feature=youtu.be&t=19

More Than You Might Think

By S.D. Plissken | July 2, 2020

We have seen that our newly-established Local Government Efficiency Task Force has begun its work with questions of how to find other revenue sources. That is to say, the Board of Selectmen (BOS) do not seem to feel that Milton has budget and spending problems, as such, but an income shortage instead.

They are wrong of course, as is their wont. A correspondent directed our attention to a recent article in the Concord Monitor regarding average Police budgets in New Hampshire.

According to this article, NH cities and towns spent in a range between $100 and $554 per capita for their Police services in 2019, with the average community spending $194 per capita. Milton, at $201 per capita, spent more than the average community.

Our neighboring city of Rochester reportedly spent $222 per capita, which was relatively low for a city, while our neighboring towns of Farmington, Middleton, and Wakefield spent $209, $188, and $161 respectively.

Milton taxpayers might well ask themselves whether our Police requirements and, therefore, our per capita Police expenses, align more closely with those of Rochester or those of Middleton and Wakefield. (Keeping in mind that our other neighbors in Lebanon, ME, have no police at all, relying instead on their County Sheriff).

Taxpayers might well ask these questions, as it would seem that our BOS have little interest in asking on our behalf.


Concord Monitor. (2020, June 24). How Much Does Your Community Spend on Police? More Than You Might Think. Retrieved from www.concordmonitor.com/How-Much-Does-Your-Community-Spend-on-Police-34923904

Remote Local Government Efficiency Task Force Meeting Scheduled – June 29, 2020

By S.D. Plissken | June 29, 2020

The Local Government Efficiency Task Force announced that its inaugural quasi-public meeting will be held today at 6:00 PM.

Its published agenda prefixed its title with the adjective “Remote,” which is meant apparently to signify a “public” meeting under the Governor’s Covid-19 workaround of closed meetings, without any public comment at all, that are “public” only in the sense that they are broadcast to the public or that the public may listen by telephone. Presumably, it is not intended to signify a remote local meeting, which would be to pile on another oxymoron. (The original one having been “government efficiency” or “local government efficiency”).

This new “task force” was initially identified also as an “independent” committee, which it would not be, – even in government speak – if constituted as discussed previously. An actual independent committee would be one composed mostly – if not entirely – of members who are not Town officials or apparatchiks.

A “Joint” committee would be one whose members are drawn from several different bodies or authorities, such as from the Board of Selectmen and School Board. A “Select” or “Special” committee is one appointed for a defined and limited time period for a particular purpose only. This might be termed alternatively an “Ad Hoc” (Latin for “to this” or “for this” purpose) committee.

The time period put forward for this Local Government Efficiency Task Force to fulfill its purpose has been estimated at twelve to eighteen months, or even longer, i.e., well after the current budget process, well after the next election, and perhaps even after the next budgeting process. It is truly amazing how these things “work.”

It would seem that those seeking tax reductions as precipitate as the tax increases have been might have to look elsewhere.

The Task Force’s agenda has six main topics: [1)] Introductions and Statements of Individual Goals, 2) Discussion of Ideas and Approaches, 3) Revenue / Tax Base Growth and Diversification, [4)] Operational Efficiencies, [5)] Organization, and [6)] Other Business.

Introductions and Statements of Individual Goals. In which we meet the members.

Discussion of Ideas and Approaches. In which we might hear of their general approach and their initial thoughts. I had once a boss that explained that consultants mostly return and support what management asked them to find at the outset. And that lies in the questions being asked below.

Revenue / Tax Base Growth and Diversification. a) What grows the tax base? b) What kinds of impacts do different types of growth have on the community? c) What opportunities do we have to create revenue brainstorming session (additional Solar Panel Farm, leasing of town facilities, advertising revenue possibilities), d. Other Ideas and Suggestions.

The questions all suggest that the Town government hopes still to continue merrily along at current or even larger levels, but that someone else might be found to foot the ever-increasing bill.

The questions do suggest some dim awareness that regulatory restrictions have hampered growth and, consequently, tax revenues. In this, the task force seems to have identified already the well-known Kindergarten principle: don’t hit people and don’t take their stuff. Regrettably, they seem to have taken away the wrong lesson. They hope to find and take more stuff.

They do not seem to consider “growth” to be a concern of property owners, as such, but a “communal” one. One supposes that they might next to be speaking of taxes as an “investment.”

Operational Efficiencies. a) What ideas do you have that might increase efficiencies? [E.g.,] Energy Conservation, Cooperative purchasing with school, regionally, Are there opportunities to combine departments / functions?, Are there other opportunities to regionalize?

It is better late than never to eliminate duplication, but it has been inexplicable that it has taken so long. There is an organizational efficiency that taxpayers should consider. Why would one ever establish, depend, or expand upon an organization that spends first and considers organizational efficiencies last?

Organization. a) Election of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary; b) Review of and proposed amendments to Task Force By-laws (you are a subcommittee of the Board of Selectmen, so these are samples – any by-laws ultimately would need approval by the Select Board); c) Do you want to put together subcommittees for the areas Identified Above?

Strictly speaking, a subcommittee of the BOS would be composed entirely of members of the parent committee, i.e. the Board of Selectmen.

Well, we shall see, will we not?

We always carry out by committee anything in which any one of us alone would be too reasonable to persist.  – Frank Moore Colby


Town of Milton. (2020, June 26). Remote Local Government Efficiency Task Force Agenda, June 29, 2020. Retrieved from www.miltonnh-us.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif916/f/events/06-29-2020_et_agenda.pdf

%d bloggers like this: