The federal Drug Enforcement Administration New England Field Division announced Manchester will be the first city in the Northeast where it will implement its comprehensive 360 Degree Strategy to address the opioid epidemic. Details of the new approach will be revealed at a ten o’clock press conference this morning at the Boys and Girls Club, which will feature various state, local and federal officials, including Mayor Ted Gatsas, Police Chief Nick Willard, Attorney General Joseph Foster, Drug Czar James Vara, U S Attorney Emily Gray Rice and others. The program’s goals include dismantling the drug trafficking organizations and gangs and partnering with health care professionals, social service organizations and government service agencies to provide long-term help and support to effectuate drug-free communities.
The Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund is accepting grant applications for its winter review cycle. Applicants should submit a completed application and all required information no later than end of business on December 14th. Information and the application are available at catholic n h dot org slash B C A F. The fund accepts applications from qualified 5 0 1 (c) 3 organizations in New Hampshire, without regard to religious affiliation, for projects that help people in the state meet their basic needs.
Taxpayers in the town of Derry will see their tax rate dip by more than seven percent, but that doesn’t mean they’ll see the amount they pay in taxes go down. Thanks to a revaluation that increased the net taxable valuation of the town by more than eleven percent and unspecified increases in revenue, the Town Council was able to hike spending by over three point one million dollars, or more than seven percent and the School Board was able to add over one point five million dollars, or two percent, to its bottom line. To pay for it all, the amount collected in taxes will go up by over two point three million dollars, or over three point seven percent. The Derry tax rate stands now at twenty seven dollars and six cents.
Speaking of tax rates, we now have the breakdown of Manchester’s, which was set last week. The increase in the tax base due to the city’s revaluation was four point seven percent, which dropped the rate by forty seven cents. A larger than anticipated surplus from the prior budget year of five hundred fifty four thousand dollars dropped it by another seven cents. However, taxpayers had to cover over four hundred twenty four thousand dollars in missed school district revenues, over five hundred fifty eight thousand dollars in reduced state education aid, five hundred seventy five thousand dollars in missed city revenues and almost half a million dollars for higher county taxes. The net reduction in the city’s tax rate was twenty nine cents per thousand or one point three percent, which brought the rate down to twenty three dollars and fourteen cents.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s Committee on Public Safety, Health and Traffic met last night to hear about traffic in the city’s South End. They got an earful from residents and business owners alike who were manifestly unhappy with the board’s decision to turn President Road into a one way street. Their unhappiness aside, the tales of terror on the streets as a result of the move were attention getting. After about ninety minutes of testimony from the public, three minutes at a time, the committee voted to recommend that all gates surrounding Walmart be lifted and President Road be restored to two way traffic to the cheers of the crowd at City Hall. Traffic counts will then be done to assess where exactly traffic is traveling in the area before any mitigation measures are taken. If, as expected, the B M A approves the committee’s recommendations tonight at its meeting, the changes could go into effect as soon as Wednesday. Lord Emperor Alderman at Large Dan O’Neil opposed the move.
The Manchester Board of School Committee met last night. Items of interest included a presentation by Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas about what he called the district’s structural deficit. The city’s facing a shortfall in the next budget of about six million dollars. At his request, the board enacted a freeze on all non-essential expenditures, including personnel. In the discussion, Vargas, who also presented a budget adoption timeline, said quote:
We have to stop adding to the financial challenges we have.
Amen to that! Board members Dan Bergeron of Ward Six, Nancy Tessier at-Large, Erika Connors of Ward Eight, Kate Desrochers of Ward Eleven and Connie Van Houten disagreed, apparently. They opposed the superintendent’s request.
The board also approved a contract with City Year which will govern the balance of the school year. City Year will come before the Sub Committee on Finance in December to bring what has been an internal the funding process out into the open to ensure the board is aware of what’s going on. Also enacted were measures designed to prevent non-eligible dependents from finding their way onto the district’s health insurance rolls. Bergeron, Tessier and Van Houten opposed the provisions, which included requiring the provision of marriage and birth certificates upon application.
Finally, a bit of good budget news came from Mayor Ted Gatsas who announced that discounts he negotiated with Elliot Hospital and Catholic Medical Center had saved the district two hundred eleven thousand dollars. The checks will be deposited into the district’s expendable trust for health care. The discounts saved the city side of the budget another one hundred seventy thousand dollars.
A reminder from the Bedford Police Department that their monthly Coffee with a Cop event will be held today from nine to ten thirty at The Inside Scoop on Wallace Road. The gathering was delayed by a week because of the election. Sergeant Thrasher’s looking forward to seeing you there, along with Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen…just kidding folks. I have no idea whether or not Thrasher’s a reindeer.
That’s news from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!