LACONIA — The Belknap County Convention's Executive Committee approved a half dozen line item budget transfers when it met Wednesday afternoon at the Belknap County complex, including $95,000 for an increase in the so-called New Hampshire Bed Tax which is based on a percentage of the revenues received by the Belknap County Nursing Home.
County Administrator Debra Shackett said that the nursing home received more revenue than originally projected in this year's budget and will have to pay a 5.5 percent tax on the additional income.
Rep. Frank Tilton (R-Laconia) observed that the Bed Tax was enacted "'as a gimmick when we started to tax hospitals and give money back to them," a device used in many states to obtain more Medicare funds.
Other budget transfers approved included $52,225 for part-time and overtime wages in nursing home employees from the full-time wage account, $1,035 for the nursing home retirement account from the full-time wage account, $12,000 from the full-time wage account to professional management services to pay for the services of a New London firm hired to manage the nursing home until a full-time administrator is hired, $14,700 for dispatcher wages and overtime in the Sheriff's Department from the wages for full-time deputies account and $800 for vehicle maintenance at the nursing home from the new equipment budget line.
It was explained that the a truck used by the nursing home for snow plowing broke down recently and needs to be repaired as soon as possible so that it will be available this winter.
County Commissioners told the committee members that additional budget transfers will be needed by the end of the year, including $75,000 for medical services and supplies for the corrections department, $8,544.23 for wages in the county attorney's office, $3,600 for medical services in the county attorney's office and $5,000 for electricity for the register of deeds office.
Commission Chairman David DeVoyy (R-Sanbornton) said that the major increase in the medical services for the corrections department, which was originally budgeted for $150,000, is accounted for in large part by medical services required by inmates which were provided at Lakes Region General Hospital and Dartmouth-Hithcock Medical Center as well as anticipated bills from Horizons Counseling Center, which is working with the department on a pilot program for substance abusers designed to give them treatment prior to court action involving their cases.
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