Police Detail Rates Lower in Meredith than other communities (391)

MEREDITH — A discussion of the town budget at a work session of the Meredith Selectboard Monday afternoon revealed that police detail rates are much lower in Meredith than in surrounding communities.

Board member Hilary Seeger told the board she was surprised by how reasonable her company's bill from the Police Department was for an event her company held earlier this year.

''It was half of what we paid for the same detail in Laconia last year,'' Seeger told her fellow board members. Her statement was borne out by Town Manager Phil Warren, who said that a survey of surrounding communities taken a few years ago showed that police detail rates were generally much higher in other communities compared to Meredith.

That statement prompted board member Lou Kahn to ask who the biggest user of the police detail services from the town was. Brenda Vitter, town administrative services director, said that it was the state of New Hampshire which pays its bills on time. That prompted Kahn to say, tongue on cheek, ''We're definitely billing them too little.''

Vitter gave a report on the town's fiscal situation through the first seven months of 2014 in which she said that while revenues were basically flat, so were expenditures. ''There's no significant change to where we thought we would be,'' she told the board.

She said that boat tax revenues were up abut 10 percent over what was estimated in the budget, to $33,000 to date, while revenue from motor vehicle permits was running at about the $1.2 million level of last year.
Revenue from building permits is running 20 percent behind last year, with mostly small projects being undertaken and boat launching revenues are dwn by 15 percent. Members of the board said was likely due in part to the fact that launch ramps are only manned from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. most days, and that boaters appeared to be waiting until later in the day to launch in order to avoid thec $20 fee.
Vitter said that welfare spending has been dropping and that year to date only $53,693, or about 39 percent of the $140,000 appropriated, has been spent.

That was attributed in large part to landlords no longer accepting payments from the town for rents.

''They don't want to be a vendor,'' Warren explained.