Willard: Crime down

Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard says crime continues to trend down in the Queen City.  In an interview here on Girard at Large yesterday, Willard said that property crimes, which fell twenty five percent last year, are down another eleven percent this year.  Violent crime, he said, was down by nine percent.  

That information came as Willard urged motorists in the city not to give money to the growing number of panhandlers pestering people around town.  Willard warned motorists that the Manchester Police Department has stepped up enforcement in areas where panhandling has become common.  If you stop in traffic to give to a panhandler, expect a ticket.  If panhandlers step into the roadway to receive a donation, they will be cited as well.  

Panhandling: Crackdown in process

Willard said that many of those panhandling are doing so to feed their drug habit, reiterating statistics he included in a recent open letter to the community, announcing that at least two dozen panhandlers have overdosed, many on multiple occasions, and six of them fatally.  He also advised that signs discouraging people from giving to panhandlers and encouraging them to give to social service agencies that help with addiction and homelessness will soon be erected around the city.  He stated the problem isn’t unique to Manchester, referencing a recent conversation with Nashua’s police chief to point out it’s a problem across the state and nation.  

We’ve linked to the interview and the chief’s letter from this news read at Girard at Large dot com.

NH Budget Battle: Enough cuts to woo Freedom Caucus?

Today is the day we find out whether or not the New Hampshire General Court will adopt a budget.  Both the House and Senate will vote on the compromise spending plan that came out of the conference committee on the budget last week.  While Democrats in both chambers have announced they will oppose the budget, the question remains whether or not the Republicans have enough votes to pass it, especially in the House, where members of the Freedom Caucus have withheld support, unhappy over spending levels and the expansion of government programs.  

Daniels: Reached out to Freedom Caucus

In an interview here on Girard at Large earlier in the week, Senate Finance Committee Chair Gary Daniels, Republican from Milford, said he and Senate leadership had listened to the concerns of Freedom Caucus members and made many changes that were responsive.  Spending is lower and additional tax cuts were made.  However, Daniels also noted that there was much misinformation about the budget over what the spending levels really were.  He said the caucus needed to account for the one hundred forty four million dollars in spending that was approved by the General Court after the budget was passed when it considered whether or not spending in this budget was up or down.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Questions raised over council appointment

A bit of a controversy has cropped up over the Hooksett Town Council’s appointment of Alexander Walczyk to the vacant at-Large seat on the Town Council.  According to the Hooksett Town Charter, quote:

Eligible candidates will be registered voters and will have resided in Hooksett for at least one year immediately before the election.

The charter requires the town clerk to determine whether or not a candidate for office meets the qualifications.  The clerk couldn’t do that for Walczyk because he wasn’t registered to vote.  After some discussion, Council Chairman James Sullivan noted that same charter section also vests the council with “sole authority” to judge a candidate’s qualification for office.  After that, Councilor Mark Miville vouched for Walczyk, saying he’d known him as a town resident for over thirty years.  

Sullivan: Council “sole authority”

Girard at Large has been told that Walczyk did register to vote, but we’re unclear as to whether that registration came after he was nominated for the position or after he was appointed to it.  Some argue that the language of the charter requires a candidate be a resident for one year, not a registered voter for one year.  A candidate can register anytime before running, they say.  Whatever the intent, in response to questions we asked, Sullivan told Girard at Large he expects the language will be discussed at an upcoming council work shop, which will meet this Wednesday for a regular meeting.  

Vaillancourt: Special election set to replace

The Governor and Council has set the dates for a special election in Hillsborough County District 15, also known as Manchester Ward Eight, to fill the vacancy crated by the death of State Rep. Steve Valliancourt.  The filing period opens Monday and runs through the end of the week.  The primary and general elections will coincide with the upcoming city primary and general elections on Tuesday, September nineteenth and Tuesday, November seventh.

Auburn Library: Capital project to get public hearing

Pursuant to R S A 35 and Article 4 of the 2 0 0 6 Town Meeting, the Auburn Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing on the evening of Monday, July 10th for the purpose of receiving public comment on the proposed withdrawal and expenditure of three thousand two hundred fifty dollars from the Town Building Rehabilitation Capital Reserve Fund.  The money will be used to replace the deck rails on the porch and ramp at the Griffin Free Public Library with composite rails.  The hearing will start at 7:00 o’clock at the Auburn Town Hall.

 That’s NEWS from our own backyard!  Girard at Large hour ___ is next!