LACONIA — It may be seen as just a formality, but Rep. Frank Tilton (R-Laconia), says that he believes a $297,300 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security which the Belknap County Sheriff's Department is using for upgrading its communications network still must be appropriated by the Belknap County Convention.
''I never heard of one (a grant) not being in a budget,'' said Tilton at Friday afternoon's deliberations of the Belknap County Convention's Public Safety Subcommittee.
Belknap County Finance Director Glen Waring said that the grant was received by the Sheriff's Department last summer, long after this year's budget had already been approved, and that work on the communications project is still ongoing although approaching its final phases.
He said that the administration will provide an accounting to the convention for how the funds were spent.
Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin said that in his experience he's ''never seen a pass-through grant which needs to be appropriated.''
He said that the department has been making regular expenditure reports to the state N.H. Safety Department in order to receive reimbursements.
But Tilton persisted in insisting that the county must vote on the grant even though it was applied for and accepted by the Belknap County Commissioners on behalf of the Sheriff's Department. He said that the appropriation was necessary in order to track all funds which go through the county.
He said that he couldn't understand ''how it is never seen as a requirement.''
Rep. Ian Raymond (D-Sanbornton) suggested that the commissioners submit a request to the convention at its next meeting for appropriating the funds and Rep. Herb Vadney (R-Meredith) said that even though there might not be a requirement for a vote that it might be a good idea to take one.