Published DateTo the editor,
Belknap County government is running amok of N.H. law and accounting practices.
The DRA director, in the 90s, explained that the grand total budget, as resolved by the any government appropriating authority, is comprised of the sum of all the individual line items (purpose) estimated amounts.
Accordingly, each estimate of an individual line item appropriation amount is considered "encumbered" until, the purpose has been completed. No money may be transferred to any other purpose unless it becomes "unencumbered".
Example: A line item is to purchase a vehicle (purpose), the amount of money allocated ($30,000) for that purpose is encumbered until the vehicle is purchased. If the vehicle's actual cost is less than estimated ($27,000) the remainder of the money ($3,000) becomes unencumbered.
NO MONEY can be TRANSFERRED until its purpose as described by the appropriating authority has been accomplished.
It's time the New Hampshire Division of Revenue Administration (DRA) step up to the plate and restores civility and compliance in the administration of Belknap's County's financial administration methodology.
Once the county budget, as resolved by the convention, is adopted, the conventions only involvement with the administration of finances, is in regards to a supplemental budget request or borrowing.
If any money at any time is in fact unencumbered, the commission must seek approval of the Executive Committee to transfer the surplus money from one individual line item to other individual line items anticipated to exceed its estimated appropriation.
Belknap County operates on a calendar year and the treasurer reports the financial status to the commissioners based on anticipated trending, as required. When has the treasurer or fiscal officer identified surplus/unencumbered line items money as available for transfer? Which line items has the treasurer identified and reported to the commission as "no longer encumbered"? Is it fair and equitable in the first quarter to eliminate capital line items or reduce the workforce of any department in order to increase the wages and pay the benefits of others? Where in the law does it state a line item appropriations amount can be deleted to increase another's line amount above its appropriated amount?
Thomas A. Tardif