To The Daily Sun,
In the 2016 town election, Gilmanton voters elected two selectmen. The second selectman's position became available because of the resignation of a sitting selectmen with one year left on his term. Neither elected selectmen had very much Gilmanton town government experience.
I attended many Board of Selectmen (BOS) meetings during the year hoping I would see positive steps in the financial management of the town, but I was sadly disappointed.
During the year:
1. There has been no interim financial reporting, yet financial decisions were being made without information to know if the town was over or under the budget voted by the taxpayers.
2. The 2015 audited financial statements were not completed as promised and were finally issued in January 2017.
3. The town was late in financial reporting for every state of N.H. report filing requirement.
4. The bank account was not reconciled for the entire year. One check for more than $150,000 was outstanding for four months. This was a premature payment for a vehicle ordered by the town but not yet delivered. This is one example of poor cash management. to say the least.
5. The town tax rate was very late. According to The Laconia Daily Sun, Gilmanton was one of the last, if not the last, town to file for a tax rate. Even after taking the extra time, the tax rate set is inaccurate. In 2015, the estimated revenues were too low and this caused the tax rate to needlessly increase. In 2016, the estimated revenues were too high. This has caused an artificially lower rate which will make the setting the rate in 2017 spike higher.
The lack of adequate financial oversight is directly the responsibility of the BOS. The BOS has failed to properly govern in many other areas, but to me, their financial management inabilities hurt everyone. This is especially true when it comes to those living paycheck-to-paycheck or those on fixed incomes. We are fortunate in Gilmanton that the town department managers follow their budgets. If it were not for their management, Gilmanton might be in serious financial trouble. However, we need everyone to do his job.
The town needs an experienced person to guide the financial process. Don Guarino has done it before and can give the town the stability it needs for the future.
- Category: Letters
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