How quickly we forget. For as long as I can remember Belknap County government has been conservatively and prudently managed, sometimes too much so.
Over the past five or six years there have been a series of events that had a significant impact on the county budget requiring significant administrative changes.
1. Several years ago the Nursing Home experienced a devastating federal compliance review. The upshot was a need for more supervisory and administrative support in order to comply with the regulations for care and avoid closure of the facility.
2. In 2008 there was an embezzlement of county funds. Subsequently, the auditors and accountants insisted on significant changes including one for an independent financial manager position.
3. In 2009, in an effort to balance the N.H. state budget, there was a downshift of the cost of long term elderly and disabled persons care under Medicaid in exchange for the state assuming the cost of youth services. In 2011 there was a similar, although smaller, downshift. The current budget proposal holds another almost one million dollar downshift in long term care Medicaid responsibility. This has cost the county up to three million dollars.
4. At one time each county department did their own human resources (hiring and firing). There was inconsistency and some lawsuits. The human resources work was brought into the administration budget.
All of these events affected the budget.
As we all know, the process of governing is complex and fraught with intended and unintended consequences. Not long ago, former Senator Judd Gregg, in a television interview in essence said, "It is important to understand we are a constitutional republic system of government, not a parliamentary system. To make it function properly there has to be fair debate and compromise."