Well, the drums of war are beating over Manchester’s budget as the Board of Mayor and Aldermen is set to take the matter up at tomorrow’s meeting. By charter the board has until the second Tuesday in June to adopt a budget or the mayor’s proposal becomes the city’s budget by default. That puts this year’s deadline at June tenth. The caveat to that, though, is if the mayor vetoes any proposed budget along the way, the adoption deadline gets moved to June thirtieth. The board is split into three factions over what to do. Ward Twelve Alderman Keith Hirschmann is advocating moving more than one million dollars from the school budget proposed by Mayor Ted Gatsas to the city side of the budget to fund police, fire and road work.
Ward One Alderman Joyce Craig and Ward Three Alderman Patrick Long, who have led the aldermen’s budget efforts over the past three years, are looking to roughly double the tax hike allowed by the city’s budget caps to add money back to the police, fire and public works departmental budgets while also adding money for non-departmental items such as contingency, health insurance and severance. Ward Seven Alderman Bill Shea, Ward Four Alderman Jim Roy and Ward Eight Alderman Tommy Katsiantonis are set to propose a budget that leaves departmental spending about where it is, but adds money for retirement severance, contingency and health insurance shortfalls.
All budgets will take advantage of new revenues, such as parking fees, adopted by the board and better than expected auto registration revenues. Also, as it appears the city is on the verge of an agreement with Public Service Company of New Hampshire over street lighting, there may be about six hundred thousand dollars in savings on street lighting costs factored into the mix. While Gatsas hasn’t publicly endorsed any of the options that are coming forward, he is said to favor the approach adopted by the Shea, Roy and Katsiantonis budget, believing the departments are sufficiently funded. He has also said he’d be okay with his budget being enacted, asserting he would work with the departments to manage it so long as the aldermen didn’t interfere and let him do what needed to be done. One thing’s for sure, tomorrow night’s meeting is shaping up to be a good one. Be sure to blog along live with us and share your comments and questions as we’ll be there for gavel to gavel coverage.
Also of note this week, the Committee on Lands and Buildings will consider a revised proposal on the privatization of the management of the West Side Arena tonight and the special school board committee to review the report of the federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights will meet again tomorrow at three in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
In case you missed it on Friday, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki caved into calls for his resignation and stepped down amidst the growing scandal involving more than forty V A hospital facilities falsifying wait lists of veterans in need of care. Some forty vets died waiting for care in Phoenix alone. By the way, it turns out that twenty percent of the staff at the Phoenix facility actually received performance bonuses for their good work. Anyway, G O P Senate candidate Jim Rubens, who has been among the most vocal critics of the scandal, issued a statement saying Shinseki’s resignation is warranted, but not enough. He said, quote “(A)ll those culpable for falsifying veterans health care wait list records should be criminally prosecuted.” End quote. He called on the VA to give veterans on wait lists or with long driving distances to a V A facility vouchers so they can get the care they need from a provider of their choice immediately. He also drilled incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and former G O P Bay State Senator Scott Brown, a rival for the G O P nomination. Rubens wants to know why they didn’t demand and get action two years ago when the scandal was brought to their attention as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in two thousand twelve. Good question. Second District Congressional Candidate Gary Lambert, a retired Marine colonel, issued a statement calling on President Barry to ensure that Shinseki’s resignation wasn’t a political solution, but the first step to permanently fixing the V A so veterans get the care they need. Don’t hold your breath.
Second District Congressional Candidate Marilinda Garcia issued a statement regarding new regs coming down from the E P A based on the Obama Administration’s emissions reductions goals. Referencing a recent report of the U S Chamber of Commerce, Garcia said quote “This proposal will not only compound our existing problems by raising our already sky-high electricity costs by six hundred million dollars each year, but will also cost the New England region’s economy two point seven billion dollars annually and eliminate almost five thousand jobs in the north east.” End quote. She called on Democratic Congresswoman Annie Kuster to break her lock step march with Obama and demand a stop to such job killing policies and defend hard working families.
Police in Candia continue to battle a crime wave that’s beset the tiny town to Manchester’s east. Last month, Candia’s finest issued ninety six motor vehicle warnings and six motor vehicle summonses. In addition, they arrested five nare-do-wells on a variety of charges including theft, D W I, and Possession with Intent to Distribute. We’ll continue to keep you up to date with our continuous Candia Crime Wave coverage.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ starts right now!