The New Hampshire Senate and House agreed on legislation in Committee of Conference yesterday that would increase the cost of a marriage license and add a fifty dollar fine for persons convicted of domestic violence offenses to fund domestic violence prevention in the State. As a result of the conference committee’s actions, the new fees will be incorporated into the budget document that will require a vote of both chambers to be adopted. No doubt there will be other announcements as General Court continues to hammer out the details of the budget. Looming in the background is a possible veto of anything lawmakers iron out as Her Highness the Governess Margaret Wood Hassan continues to rail against what she terms irresponsible budget cuts despite there being no actual reductions of funding than anybody seems to be able to identify.
Former Derry Town Councilor Brian Chirichiello appeared yesterday on the Girard at Large show to make the case that the Derry Town Council went too far in reducing spending. We’ve linked to the interview for your convenience from this news read at Girard at Large dot com.
A key point he made was he believes the town’s charter allows the budget to be reopened and spending and taxes increased if a petition drive circulated by town residents results in an election where voters approve the increases, effectively overturning the council. Chirichiello said that by eliminating positions and reducing overtime, the council overreached and predicted service interruptions as a result. The Town Council voted to reduce overtime budgets by about half and also defunded eight positions in the fire department and four in the police department, half of which were vacant. Of those that remained, only one firefighter is expected to be laid off at the start of the next fiscal year as retirements will clear the balance of those that weren’t funded.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats have come forward to the city of Manchester with more than four million dollars in deferred maintenance needs at Fisher Cat Stadium. The Special Committee on Riverfront Activities heard from Cats ownership and management earlier in the week as they detailed the stadium’s needs. The city owns the ballpark, whose bonding costs were supposed to be absorbed by improved property values in the area and planned new construction, much of which has not happened. City taxpayers are now out of pocket about half a million dollars a year to pay for the complex.
Of the outstanding need, about one million dollars is mission critical stuff as the playing field needs to be replaced as does the fire suppression system. Looks like shoddy work done by contractors on both systems has come home to roost with multiple leaks in the fire sprinkler system and hard building materials buried under the filed rather than properly disposed of, like bricks, are poking through the turf, not to mention the normal wear and tear of all that happens on the diamond. The committee unanimously recommended the Board of Mayor and Aldermen undertake the field and sprinkler system replacements.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Voting in the competition to see which dog park in the United States of America gets a one hundred thousand dollar prize from Pet Safe begins today at one o’clock. A proposed dog park in Merrimack is the only entrant in the competition in all of New England, heck in all of the Northeast! We heard yesterday from Holly Morales and Harvey Bloom of the Friends of the Merrimack Dog Park who gave us all the exciting details of how they qualified to compete for the prize by being finalists in the early round of voting. We’ve linked to the interview. They also sent us all the links we need to share with you so you can rally round the home team and help them make their dream of a dog park at Wasserman Park. Altogether, there are fifteen parks competing nationwide, so this is going to be a dogfight we all need to take part in, no need to pardon the pun!
Speaking of voting and dogfights, the G O P presidential field grew again yesterday. While nobody’s exactly surprised that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush entered the race, some were surprised that Donald Trump actually pulled the trigger and jumped in. Trump, who as played with running in past cycles, put it all on the line in an event at Trump Tower in New York City. He promised to restore the American brand around the world so that we’re respected as a country again and laughed at no longer. He hit the topic of his wealth head on, releasing information saying his total net worth is nearly eight point eight billion dollars and showing he’d contributed more than one hundred million dollars to charity over the past five years. Trump said he was going to self finance his campaign and not rely on money from lobbyists and special interest groups. One thing’s clear, Trump intends to win. Next week, Louisiana Bobby Jindal is expected to make his candidacy for the Republican nomination official at an event scheduled in New Orleans.
Finally this morning, a poll out yesterday shows that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is also going to have to be dealt with. Suffolk University says Sanders gets thumbs up from thirty one percent of Granite State Democrats versus forty one percent for Hillary. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who many say is the dark horse in this race, was down at three percent. I’m thinking that horse might need some new legs and it looks like Hillary just might be losing hers. Maybe he can put them to use.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.