To The Daily Sun,
Laconia's City Charter, Section 5:06, covers appropriations after budgets are adopted. It mandates the council shall designate the source of any money so appropriated for a specific purpose.
Two notices for public hearing per Article V (S5:06) appeared in a local newspaper. What is problematic for the public is that; a. the notice regarding the new revenue, "previously received from the federal Department of Justice" is absent what the appropriation purpose is or the amount of money deposited in the general fund; b) The notice regarding the new revenue, "to accept and expend funds from the State of N.H. Department of Justice" is absent what the appropriation purpose is or the amount yet voted for deposit into the general gund.
Following my Right-to-Know request of Monday, I was anonymously informed that "the city manager had consulted with the city solicitor and was told the city was doing nothing wrong".
I reminded this individual that this was a supplemental appropriation. The response was that it is not a supplemental appropriation because it was "not tax dollars".
Moreover, I was also told that since the new revenue source was not tax dollars it could be spent outside the budget. I find no exception in charter or RSAs that allows a so-called "gift" of money from the fed or N..H. Department of Justice, being classified as non-tax money.
My RSA 91-A 19 Oct. 2015 request to review all documentation pertaining to the two notices on has gone unanswered. It would seem the council had to have had all that information in order to vote to accept or apply these funds for a purpose. Accordingly, all that I requested would be denied or readily available. Clearly, the city manager is using the five-day rule to inform me when the document would be available for review. In so doing, I (the public) would not be able to speak at the hearings because no facts, i.e., purpose or amount will be known until after the hearings.
No matter what the source of revenue, the city receives, it has to be deposited in the general fund and assigned a revenue line item. Accordingly, the council must appropriate the money for a purpose. These public hearings reek of non-transparency. Something is drastically wrong in city government.
Thomas A. Tardif
- Category: Letters
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