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Pelham - Windham News | February 24, 2012 - 3 Request to Review Default Budget Meets With Much Criticism


by Diane Chubb At both the Town and School District


Deliberative Sessions, held on February 7 and 8, respectively, the warrant articles drawing the most discussion were related to the petitioned warrant articles submitted by Joe Puddister. Warrant article 14 on the town ballot reads, “Shall we adopt provisions of RSA 40:14-b to delegate the determination of the town default budget to the municipal budget committee which has been adopted under RSA 32:14?” On the School District ballot, this is warrant article 11, and requests determination of the school district default budget. During the town session, Puddister, who submitted the petitioned warrant articles, explained that he did so to foster greater transparency within the budget process. (Puddister did not participate in the school district session, due to a schedule conflict.) However, voters were quick to line up to speak in opposition to the warrant article. Ed Gleason, Chair of the Board of Selectmen, said he opposed the warrant article because setting the


default budget was one of the few places where the Selectmen had discretion with respect to the budget.


“If we make a mistake, we have to live with


it,” he said. “We work very closely with the department heads to make sure we have those numbers correct.”


Gleason also added that the town already


provides the Budget Committee with detailed information regarding the default budget. Therefore, he did not see the need for this particular warrant article. The School Board did say that it does not


provide line-by-line detail with respect to its default budget. However, they pointed out that school district budget is far more complicated, and the district is on a different calendar year than the town. Thus, it was far more difficult to calculate the default so far in advance, given the variables involved, such as special education. In both the town and school district session,


voters accused the Budget Committee of making a “power play,” trying to grab more authority with respect the budget process.


In response, Puddister stated that no other members of the Budget Committee had been aware that he was submitting the petitioned warrant article, nor did they sign it. That raised another set of questions from voters, asking whether this was a responsibility that the Budget Committee was even willing to accept. The members of the Budget Committee who were present declined to answer. They did state that Puddister had let them know of his actions and a meeting was held with the Selectmen and School Board to discuss the matter. Currently, both the town and the school district must present their proposed operating budgets to the Budget Committee for review. The Budget Committee holds a series of hearings to ask further questions of each town department and the school district about the proposed budget. Ultimately, the Budget Committee decides


whether to accept the proposed operating budgets submitted. They have the authority to either add or remove funds from the bottom line, and may suggest which budget lines they recommend changing.


Windham High School DECA News


Marketing exam and role-play. Alexis Clemons received first place in “Apparel & Accessories Marketing Series Role play.


Jake


Klaassens received third place in the “Personal Finance” exam. Kellie McDade earned second place in “Travel and Tourism exam.” Olivia Brown scored first in her “Personal Finance” role-play. Qualifying for nationals were Megan McNamara and her partner


Jessica Farr placed second overall in their “Hospitality and Team Decision Making” role-play. Andrew Sun ranked second overall in his Auto Services Marketing individual event. The DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) is the highlight of the DECA year. It will be held in Salt Lake City, UT, this April. Fourteen thousand high school students, advisors, businesspersons and alumni gather for several days of DECA excitement. Most participants at ICDC compete in one of DECA’s competitive events. The top competitors in each event are recognized for their outstanding achievements.


Back row, left to right: Morgan Colantuone, Chris Ulbrich, Mike Masone , Rachel Sullivan, Alexis Clemons, Jake Klaassens. Second row: Sophia


Left to right: Mr. Murphy (principal), Andrew Sun, Olivia Brown, Jessica Farr, Megan McNamara, Ms. Simmons (adviser)


submitted by Christine Simmons Windham High School (WHS) Distributive Education Clubs


of America (DECA) students mean business. Several students placed first, second and third and three qualified for nationals last week at the DECA State conference held at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. Three-hundred eighty students from across the state came to compete in individual and team events. Windham student delegates included Andrew Sun, Alexis


Panourgias, Colin Lagos, Kellie McDade, Olivia Brown, Max Masse (plaque), Jessica Farr (holding sign), Ms. Simmons (adviser), Andrew Sun. On floor: Katelyn Merchant, Mehwish Hussain


Clemons, Olivia Brown, Morgan Colantuone, Mehwish Hussain, Jake Klaassens, Colin Lagos, Kellie McDade, Megan McNamara, Jessica Farr, Mike Masone, Max Masse, Katelyn Merchant, Chris Ulbrich, Sophia Pangourias, and Rachel Sullivan. Students were required to take a 100 question comprehensive exam in their content area. Delegates then competed in either individual or team events. Overall WHS students did incredibly well their first year. Andrew Sun ranked first on the Auto Services


Carolyn Webber for Windham Planning Board


I believe that town affairs strike a delicate balance between housing, business, conservation, historical and cultural elements. That balance must be maintained. This past year I have had the honor of being a part of the Planning Board. It was a busy time and there are many amendments that will be put before the voters in March. Workforce Housing is amendment # 10 and it will ensure that the ability to purchase affordable housing is available to those that qualify. It will also bring


the town into compliance with State Law. It is an important issue to vote on at Town Meeting this year. In the coming year, Design Review, and the Master Plan are only two of many issues that will be worked on. We also need to be friendlier to small businesses; they are the base of our economy. The character of Windham is why many of our residents moved


here. This character should and must be preserved and successfully merged with growth. This is not an overwhelming concept and can be accomplished for the betterment of the town. Taxes are an important issue and must be taken into consideration. The vision of


New Members Welcomed by Windham Woman’s Club


submitted by Windham Woman’s club At the February 1 meeting of the Windham Woman’s club, Membership Chairman Sue Violi introduced new members: Patricia Bookless, Sue Fortier, and Annette Cooke. A warm welcome was shown! Susan Morgan, author


Power Of Dreams, who was the guest speaker at the February 1 meeting, gave informative, interesting, and enlightening talk. A question and answered period followed.


Guests are welcome, bring a friend and come meet us, find out what we are about and enjoy! For information contact Sue Violi, at 889- 0578 or visit our Website: www.windhamwomansclub. com.


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the town’s people and the Master Plan must be adhered to. Experience: • Graduate, Northeastern University • Supervisor of Clinical Microbiology Laboratories, 30 years • Volunteered in town since the late 1980s • State Representative 2009-2010 • Member/chair of the Board of Selectmen 1996-2002 • Member, Planning Board/CIP 2010-present • Member then, of the HDC/Heritage Commission, currently an alternate


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During the annual Town Meeting, voters must approve or reject the operating budget, as amended (if applicable), for both the town and the school district. If the operating budget is not passed, then the default budget is automatically in place. Per New Hampshire RSA 40:13 IX(b), default budget is defined as “the amount of the same appropriations as contained in the operating budget authorized for the previous year, reduced and increased, as the case may be, by debt service, contracts, and other obligations previously incurred or mandated by law, and reduced by one-time expenditures contained in the operating budget.”


Because the default budget is defined by law,


voters at the sessions questioned why the Budget Committee needed to be involved in determining the default budget at all. Pelham resident Dave Hennessey stated his objection to the warrant articles. “It seems to me that this is a solution in need of a problem.” The warrant articles require at least 60 percent of the vote to pass.


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