The New Hampshire Liquor Commission Division of Enforcement and Licensing recently completed a series of inspections in Manchester to ensure compliance with the new city ordinance banning Spice. On November twelfth, the Division conducted one hundred on premise inspections at businesses licensed to sell beverages and wines for ‘off sale’ consumption. Only the Queen City Market, located at thirty one A Elm Street was was found in violation the new ordinance . The business was issued an administrative notice for violation and is subject to fines, suspension or revocation of their license to sell beverages and wines, and any other penalties the commission deems appropriate. Liquor Commission rules allow for special penalties when the commission considers the offense to be a gross deviation from public safety or public welfare. Over the next several months the Division will continue to conduct inspections of businesses licensed to sell alcohol throughout the state of New Hampshire in an effort to identify those businesses who are selling or distributing synthetic drugs.
The tax rate in Hooksett has been set and residents are likely to be very unhappy with the bill that’s coming in the mail. Thanks almost entirely to the Hooksett School Board’s buffoonish handling of high school contract issues, the school tax rate saw a whopping increase of nearly thirteen percent, which, in combination with a more than eleven and a half percent increase in the County Tax, led the overall tax rate to increase by five point seven five percent. The town rate actually was down by five and two thirds percent, thanks to the Town Council‘s decision to use more than three quarters of a million dollars in unassigned fund balance in a one time shot to lower taxes, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the massive increases in school spending associated with the Hooksett School Board’s decision to break its tuition contract with Manchester. Of the twenty four dollars and eighty three cent per thousand tax rate, twelve dollars and ninety cents comes from the local school tax and six dollars and forty nine cents is for municipal services. The balance is for the county and statewide property taxes.
Anticipation of the coming tax rate announcement no doubt drove members of the board to break out the budget knives as they cut some four hundred thousand dollars from the budget proposed by Superintendent Charles P. Littlefield on Thursday night. Littefield’s proposed budget increased spending by another one point three million dollars, or roughly four and a half percent over this year’s budget which was more than two million dollars higher. Expect further budget cuts at tonight’s special meeting. And, don’t be surprised if the board deals seriously with the default budget Littlefield finally presented to the board, also on Thursday. It was several hundred thousand dollars lower than the budget Littefield presented. Hey, it’s for the children, forget their parents who have to pay for it all.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Tyranny in Timberlane has reared it’s ugly head yet again. This time, at the district’s Policy Committee, co-chaired by Superintendent Earl Megalo Metzler and Timberlane School Board Member Peter Bealo. An email from Metzler’s secretary to Policy Committee members advising of procedural changes to how the committee does business opens as follows: Quote “Co-Chairs Peter Bealo and Dr. Metzler shall institute the following process for policy review as a means to foster more productive and efficient committee meetings.” End quote. The email then goes on to say quote:
“Policy meeting packets will be distributed at least two weeks in advance of the meeting to encourage individual policy review prior to the meeting.
“1. Committee members are encouraged to submit their comments and suggestions about the policies to the co-chairs ONLY by the Monday before the meeting. These comments and suggestions will be considered for meeting discussion. Copying to a quorum of the committee could very well constitute a meeting, and as such, this practice is strongly discouraged.
“2. A time limit of 10 minutes for discussion shall be given to each policy under review. This is where comments and suggestions to the co-chairs will be helpful in driving that discussion. It will be up to the co-chairs to determine if additional time is necessary to address a policy.”
Timberlane School Board Member Donna Green, who is on the Policy Committee, which interestingly consists of four school board members and seven district staff members, hammered the move saying the quote “Lack of deliberative time is the chief ploy the district uses to control outcomes.” End quote. Metzler has not acknowledged an email we sent inquiring on the matter. Bealo, in a posted response to Green’s blog, defended the move saying he had the authority to take the action, though he didn’t cite where it came from and wrote quote: “I will be cutting discussion time to encourage decisions to be made or other policies to be reviewed.” End quote. He said it was not his intention to screen written comments to determine which ones would be included in the meetings. He also said if Green didn’t like it, she could resign from the committee.
Also in Timberlane, it appears as if with only three scheduled budget meetings left, including one two days before Christmas, that Metzler and his budget team have so far failed to provide the Budget Committee with a completed budget proposal.
To date, the amount of information provided to the committee has caused member Arthur Green to submit Right to Know Requests on multiple items, requests that have still gone unanswered by administrators. In the latest request to Metzler, Green writes quote: “I would note that this information (the information contained in his Right to Know Request) had been promised during the Oct. 23 budget committee meeting, and had ostensibly been fulfilled with files posted by the district on the budget committee sharepoint on Nov. 6. I noticed that the posted file showed incomplete expenditures, and brought it to Mr. Stokinger’s attention at the Nov. 13 budget committee meeting, at which Mr. Stokinger exhibited surprise that I would have expected the financial reports to show the complete year-end revenue and expenditure position. As a budget committee member, I consider it outrageous that we are expected to deliberate the 2015/16 budget without having complete facts of the 2013/14 year which ended over four months ago. I also consider it an affront to the taxpayers who expect this work to be dealt with seriously.” End quote.