We publish, as received, a letter from Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas as he renewed his call for Hillsborough County to fund a drug court for the the Northern District of its superior court. The mayor addressed the letter to NH House Speaker Shawn Jasper, a member of the county delegation, following the news that the Southern District of the county’s superior court had received another federal grant that continued and expanded drug court operations for another three years.
September 11, 2015
House Speaker Shawn Jasper
NH House of Representative
107 No. Main Street – Speakers Office
Concord, NH 03301
RE: Emergency Meeting of the Hillsborough County Delegation Request
Dear House Speaker Jasper,
As you are aware the City of Manchester is continuing our efforts to bring a drug court to Hillsborough County-North. To date there has been no specific funding allocated to our efforts.
In the spring city officials, in conjunction with other stakeholders, reached out to the Hillsborough County Commission and Delegation to fund this program through surplus – surplus generated from our municipal tax dollars. We unfortunately fell five votes short and Hillsborough County North did not receive funding for a drug court. In the time since that action was taken by the delegation more lives have been lost, families are suffering and the epidemic continues to grow and is spreading within our community. To date, Hillsborough County North is still without a drug court.
The next possible option Hillsborough County-North has for federal funding is through a grant process with an application deadline in January and a likely decision on that application in August or September of 2016. The conclusion of this process will take more than a year and our success on that application has no guarantee.
In light of this timeline, I have two questions: 1) How many more lives will it take before the Hillsborough County delegation realizes that drug court is a need for our community? 2) How many more families need to suffer a devastating loss before the delegation uses surplus funds, generated from our municipal tax dollars, to realize funding a drug court at Hillsborough County- North is a necessity? These questions are harsh but the families and our community deserve answers.
At this time, in your position as Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, a member of the Hillsborough County Delegation, and a leader in our community, I would respectfully request that you convene a special meeting of the Hillsborough County Delegation for the purpose of immediately funding a drug court at Hillsborough County-North through surplus funds.
In closing, I would ask that you act on this request immediately, as the cost of any delay in this process is the difference between life and death. On behalf of the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends and everyone else trying to find help for their loved ones I implore you to convene a special meeting in a most expeditious manner so we can make drug court at Hillsborough County-North a reality.
I look forward to hearing from you.
(signature in attachment)
Theodore L. Gatsas
cc: Hillsborough County Commission
Her Excellency Governor Margaret Wood Hassan
Legislative delegation for the City of Manchester
Senate President Chuck Morse
Board of Aldermen