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County budget displute centers on $112k that was placed in nursing home budget. . . or not really

LACONIA — In the most recent dispute to roil the government of Belknap County, Rep. Colette Worsman, who chairs the county convention, has claimed that the salaries of administrative personnel were overspent by nearly $63,000 in 2013. In a column published in The Daily Sun on Tuesday, Worsman charged that "your tax money went to the bloated upper management's salaries."

County Administrator Debra Shackett not only rejected the charge but contended (see column on page 4) that an accurate accounting of the administrative payroll shows that it was underspent, leaving a surplus that was returned to taxpayers by applying the undesignated fund balance against the amount to be raised by property taxes.

The dispute arises from the budgeting and accounting of administrative salaries.
The county administrator, administrative assistant, finance director, assistant finance officer, bookkeeper and human resources director share their time between the county administration and the nursing home. In order to accurately reflect the cost of operating the nursing home and ensure that the state reimburses qualified costs, the county budget includes two appropriations in equal amounts, one in the nursing home budget and another in the administration budget.

In 2013, $112,758 was appropriated for "professional management services" in the nursing home budget an an equal amount in the budgets of the administrative and finance departments. To ensure that the same appropriation was not spent twice, each quarter $28,189.50, one-fourth of the $112,578 appropriation, was debited to the nursing home and credited to the administrative and finance departments. In the budget the full amount of $112,578 appears as a revenue offsetting the appropriation for the salaries of the administrative and financial personnel.

According to Worsman, by debiting one department and crediting another this "inter-departmental allocation, zeroed out the $112,758 appropriation to the nursing home, which she described as "not real money." Consequently, when she calculated the appropriation for salaries of the administrative and finance departments, she excluded it. She concluded that since $424,795 was appropriated and $487,457 was expended, the budget was overspent by $62,662. Worsman claimed that the overage was applied to administrative salaries.

Shackett insists that the $112,758 appropriated to the nursing home and credited to administration and finance must be included in the total appropriation for salaries, bringing the amount to $518,516. Less actual expenditures of $487,457, she contends, the appropriation was underspent by $31,058.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 01:34

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Unexpected/unpredictable expenses said driving up county's public safety budget

LACONIA — Belknap County Corrections Superintendent Dan Ward last week provided a classic example of how unanticipated events can drive up spending at the county jail.
While explaining details of his budget to the Belknap County Convention's Public Safety Subcommittee, Ward pointed out how  the inability of one person being held at jail to post $100 bail resulted in a $5,000 hospital bill for the county.

'She was being held in protective custody on $100 bail,and couldn't be released because she was intoxicated. She then thought she was having a heart attack and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital where she was taken to the emergency room. It wasn't a heart attack but the bill was for $13,000, which the hospital discounted to $ 5,000.'' said Ward.
Ward said that mental health spending for inmates needing those services accounts for around $45,000 a year while medications which are supplied by the county for those in custody requires about $4,000 a month — but those numbers are unknowable at the start of the budget year and can only be estimated at that time based on past experience.
Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin said that he has the same kind of expenses facing his department with involuntary admissions to the State (mental) Hospital, which he said require his department to take as many as 300 people there a year, many in the middle of the night, which can require off duty officers to be called in.
Rep. Frank Tilton (R-Laconia) advised both department heads that they might want to look at their budget estimates closely as he is calling for the elimination of a $100,000 contingency line in the county budget ''which the county commissioners can do what they want with'' and creation of a contingency fund which the county convention would have more control over.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 02:40

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Robbie Mills 8 Ball Tourney brings in $3,600; Brulotte is champ

LACONIA — The 7th Annual Robbie Mills Memorial 8 Ball Tournament held Saturday at the Funky Monkey in downtown Laconia raised over $3,600 for the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region and the WLNH Children's Auction.
Winner of the tournament was Tim Brulotte, who won every match during the day, while Don LeBlanc was the runner-up. Buddy Diltz placed third and Stan Brallier was fourth.
The tournament, which was started seven years ago by Mike Baron of Baron's Billiards as a benefit for the Boys and Girls Club, attracted 56 entries.
Baron was joined by Tony Felch, John Rich and Brenda Ferland of the Deja Vu Pub Mania Team, in running the event this year. The team raised over $20,000 for last year's Children's Auction and half of this year's proceeds from the Robbie Mills Tournament will go to the auction.
''We had a good tournament with lots of enthusiastic players and are looking to make it even bigger next year,'' said Baron, who along with Felch thanked all of the sponsors, including MetroCast, which donated $1,000.


CAPTION: slugged poolmills

Winners in the 7th Annual Robbie Mills Memorial 8 Ball Tournament, which was held Saturday at the Funky Monkey in downtown Laconia,  included, left to right, Don LeBlanc, second; Stan Brailler, fourth; Buddy Diltz, third, and Tim Brulotte, the winner, who won every match during the day-long tournament. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 02:37

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Going forward, only AP courese will carry extra grade weight at GHS

GILFORD – Grades in advanced placement (AP) courses will continue to carry more weight at the High School, but grades for honors courses will no longer be weighted starting in the fall of 2018, if a proposed policy is approved next month.
The Gilford School Board held a first reading of the weighted grades policy Monday. The policy returns for a second reading and likely approval at the board's March meeting.
High School Principal Peter Sawyer, who had initially proposed eliminating weighted grades entirely, presented the modified proposal at Monday's meeting.
"It's really irrelevant to colleges whether we have weighted grades," said Sawyer who sought out the opinions of several college admissions officials on the subject.
Advance placement courses provide college level curriculum and tests to students in a variety of academic subject areas, such as mathematics, science, and literature. Honors courses are more accelerated and go over more material than the standard course in a given subject.
When the issue of weighted grades was first raised at the School Board's December meeting, Vice Chairman Kurt Webber said he was concerned that eliminating weighted grade would adversely affect students' class rank, and so possibly hurt their chances to get admitted to the more competitive colleges or universities.
But Sawyer said that judging from the feedback he received from admissions counselors, colleges do not place that much weight on an applicant's class rank, and Sawyer pointed out that only about half of the high schools nationally include a class rank on a student's transcript.
"What they look at is the rigor of the class and the grades they received," Sawyer explained. "It's not the SAT scores or the class rank."
And while acknowledging that some colleges and university are much harder to get into than others, Sawyer said that college admission personnel analyze student performance in much the same way. "From SNHU (Southern New Hampshire University) to Princeton they all look at students the same."
On Monday Webber said he was happy to see that grades for advanced placement courses will continue to have more weight.
"I thank weighting AP courses makes sense," he said.
Another part of the revised grading policy Gilford High would add a "diploma of distinction" that would require earning 26 class credits, a minimum GPA of 3.5 and there would be a community service component for one-half of a credit that would require a minimum of 24 hours. In addition, a diploma with distinction would require a student earn 13.5 or more credits from honors or AP classes.
NOTE: The board endorsed a proposal from Student Council representative Bridget Eldridge to include CPR training as part of health class at the high school. Eldridge, who is doing an internship with Gilford Fire-Rescue, said that Fire Department personnel who are certified CPR instructors would give CPR training twice a semester. "There are too many people who don't know what to do (when someone has a heart attack)," said Eldridge, in explaining the need to teach the procedure which helps restore partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 02:23

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