Sunday, July 8, 2012

Making the Best of It!

Town’s budget snarl forces cuts to programs

WINCHESTER — Adventure-seeking teens would normally be gearing up for the start of the Ellen Lambert Murphy Memorial Community Center’s summer adventure program, but this year they will have to look elsewhere.

The ELMM center canceled its six-week Adventure Crew program for 6th- to 8th-grade children, as well as the weekly field trips for its day camp, because of a potential $50,000 funding shortfall stemming from the town’s budget troubles.

A disagreement between the budget committee and selectmen over how to fund Winchester’s water and sewer departments led the committee to recommend not funding the departments as a form of protest. This threw off state calculations for the town’s permitted spending limit, and almost led the N.H. Department of Revenue Administration to require $419,000 in cuts, including the center’s funding.

Although it appears the problems are fixed and the community center will receive its funding, the program is still gone for the year.

Frank E. Linnenbringer, president of the center’s board of trustees, said the money from the town represents anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of the center’s annual budget. Other funding comes from room rentals, grants, registration fees and the center’s trust fund.

Linnenbringer said the board held a special meeting on June 4 after members learned about the potential shortfall. Unsure if the nonprofit community center would receive the money, the board planned on having only the programs’ $65 registration fees available as funding.

The center runs two summer programs, the Adventure Crew and Kids Club, a day camp for children in kindergarten through 5th grade.

Linnenbringer said the board was confident it could run the day camp, which starts Monday, if it removed the weekly field trips, but the adventure program, which does activities such as whitewater rafting and rock climbing, could not be done without off-site trips.

Cheryl A. Laraba, the center’s vacation activity coordinator, said the center had to plan for the worst.

“We can’t plan a summer camp and not have the funds to back it up,” Laraba said. “Because then if we didn’t get the funds that would be a disaster.”

Office Manager Danielle M. Borges said the adventure program, which had 28 participants last year, offered local children opportunities they wouldn’t normally have available.

“Our parents don’t typically have the budget to take their kids to things like rock-climbing clinics,” Borges said.

Linnenbringer said the board notified parents who had already registered their children about the changes and cancellation so they could find alternate plans if necessary. Most of the parents were understanding, but the children, especially the older ones, were disappointed, he said.

Now it looks as if the center will get its funds after all. A Cheshire County Superior Court judge ordered the town’s spending plan be permitted, including the center’s funding. Although the official approval from the Department of Revenue Administration has not arrived, the town expects the agency will comply with the order.

The check for the center is cut and will be mailed Thursday after the town’s contract with the center is signed at the July 11 selectmen’s meeting, said Winchester Town Administrator Joan C. Morel.

Though Linnenbringer said the timing of the payment is similar to other years, it is too late for the center to start the summer camp.

“We’re not going to try to throw together a summer camp in two days,” he said.

The center will be looking to reintegrate some field trips into its day camp program, but Linnenbringer said now the center will have to contend with a transportation problem. The day camp has two 15-passenger vans, but needs to rent extra vans or buses for field trips, he said.

However, the finite supply of rental transportation will have been mostly claimed by other camp programs in the area by now, Linnenbringer said.

“If you haven’t already reserved a vehicle you kind of have to do without,” he said.

Both Linnenbringer and Borges said they were not blaming anyone for the center’s situation.

“I’m not angry,” Borges said. “I understand it was a mistake. We’re just making the best of it.”

Garrett Brnger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1436, or


Anonymous said...

Linnenbringer and Borges can blame the towns legal counsel for this Fowl up.

Sick and tired of it! said...

As I read, "More shady dealing in Winchester", Making the best of it!" all I can recognize is the greed, selfishness, from the town employees and selectmen while attempting to cheat and deceive the tax payers to make the home owners bleed more to get their fair share of our tax dollars. Do these people think home owners grow money on trees or something?

Hello! From earth Borges/Linnenbringer and selectmen , “ there is a recession going on, families cannot afford their homes due to increases of their mortgage payments cause by high tax rates, we the tax payers can not afford your wishes anymore"! All Brian Moser’s budget committee had as their goal was to cut the town's budget for a couple years so home owner can recover a little.

No! Your demands on the tax payers, your greed to get the bestest and the mostest, your attempt to grown and inflating your departments budgets more and more each year has been realized.

Who ever made the comment we can not get people bright enough to run for office. We had Sue Newell and Brian Moser some of Winchester’s brightest minds and they were not good enough for you. Then who the Hell is bight enough in your standards?

Anonymous said...

All that has happened here is the town getting the money for all the warrant articles that "we" the voters approved, nothing more and nothing less.
These are all the same funds that passed by voters on election day.
All the complaining must be coming from the same people who do not get out and vote.
If you judge all this on the votes then it seems like the majority of people in town think this spending is needed to make our town a good place. If you insist this is not the majority then who is to blame for people that don't come and cast their vote!

Deception said...

That's not ALL that happened, the select board screwed up and tried to blame last years budget committee. With the underhanded takeover of the budget committee and with the town council recommending a friend to be legal council for this years budget committee all the money came back. This is not as much about money as it is deception.

Anonymous said...

I always vote to support the ELM, but I think rock-climbing should not be funded by the taxpayers. Also, I think rock-climbing as an activity would require high cost insurance and those costs should be paid by the parents.

sick and tired! said...

Anonymous you missed the point, what was referenced to is, what the selectmen approved for town warrants, is what dept heads and others put forward for the budgets committee to be reviewed and approved. In reference to the conniving, deceitful attempt to circumvent the budget committee by taking the water and sewage dept budget out of the town’s budget to be voted on.

The budget committee knew the voters would trust what ever the selectmen present for their budgets and approve it. (God help us!) The budget committee made an attempt to lower the cost of running the town for a couple years. With the selectmen bumbling attempt to circumvent the budget committee screwed-up and cried because of the budget committee was mean, hateful and dishonest in reviewing the town budget, stating “we can not provide good service we need more money“!.

This had nothing to do how you voted. The budget committee knew the voters in this town would vote to approve what ever the selectmen present even it was to spend $4,000.00 on a dog turd. To bad the budget committee intentions were to cut everyone’s budget by 20% even the ELM center and the welfare office with what the town could live without for a couple of years till the economy revived. Sorry the attempt to cut hurt your favorite.

Just think you have enough money now for Sharra to be full time and Dale Gray will get his bonus for paving all these roads.

Anonymous said...

Dear "sick and tired! said"...
YOU missed the point.
The B.C. had not right to fool with a budget that is paid for by user fees. Our best chance at lowering taxes was with the school and their request for over 12 million, But because procedure was not followed the B.C. school budget never made the ballot. You cant blame town employees for that.
Nothing is going to change all the warrants that we voted to approve will now be funded.
Ive heard many times that people think the majority of the towns folk do not want these budgets or warrants funded, if this is the case where are they on election day.Until these people get out and vote we will have to assume this is what the majority of the voters want
The rock climbing comment was more ignorance. The places that you go to for these activities carry the insurance. not the individuals attending.

just sick of it said...

Annoy; Yes you are right about the school budget, but the blog was about cuts to the ELM Center and the town budget not the school budget. I was suggesting the selectmen boo hooing to the superior judge the budget committee were acting stupidly and a bunch of unfair bums toward the town employees by cutting their budgets. Yes the ELM Center is important, but keeping your homes is more important to the individuals. Also making light were I was referring to their greed and entitlement of our tax dollar. What ever we do the sleeping dead voter that like to be led around by their noses in this town will go on forever.

Anonymous said...

Will someone take a moment and please explain to us why the BC school budget did not make the ballot?
Also I keep seeing post about hostile takeover of the BC can some one explain that I do remember voting on members in March, and the old chairman had his turn, am I missing something?
Lots of misleading info that I would like to see cleared up.
Im allready planning on who to vote for this March.

Business as usual said...

7:24PM--A new member of the budget committee called a special meeting, already had a key to the town hall, sat in the chairman's chair, ran the meeting and became chairman. It was an underhanded preprogrammed deal that had to be OK ed with the selectmen because she had a key to the town hall. Changing the chairman is not the problem, its how it was done, its the way the town hall does business.

Sick of the babbling bull$hit. said...

Before answering your question ananoy, can you explain to us what and how you made your choice for budget committee. Was it by most qualified, name recognition, someone instructed or influenced your decision. Maybe your decision was made because you saw your candidate at a selectmen meeting, planning board, ZBA or BC meeting speaking-out in what you feels is right! If you can tell us how you came to your decision on how you voted, then someone can help you explain how the BC was influenced. If you say you watched your choice speaking-out at one of these board, I will have to say your full of it because none of these people except Beaman was ever there when I was.

Anonymous said...

Business as usual said...I ask you
Did the BC vote on the new chairman? this is what they have done every year after elections as do most or all our boards. If your saying the board members were not allowed to vote on new officers than this can be a huge problem but the minutes do reflect them voting.
Sick of the babbling bull$hit. said...
I go to many meetings and I read ever single word of the minutes from all our boards. I personally know most the people on these boards and who run for them.
my choices for candidates are ones who understand the balance between what our town needs and the tax-payers burdens. the 2011 BC had some members that were there to serve out there own personal vendettas and they needed to go and they did.
I know from experience with most of the people I know that they do not attend meetings nor do they read minutes, These are probably the same folks who cant be bothered to vote but feel they have a right to complain.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
another really fed up citizen said...

If you have voted for the current people holding office in this town then you have a very warped sense of what is needed and what is wanted and by who. You vote based on who you know, not what they know and how qualified they are. Except for one or two incumbents, not one of the new members on any of these boards knows anything about the positions they hold, their responsibilities and how to properly conduct themselves at meetings. Why do you think every board, from selectman down to Planning Board ends up in court each year? Decisions are based on friendship and who knows who; not town regulations or state law here in Winchester.
Now as for the BC and the town's budget. The Selectmen tried to pull a fast one based on bs advice from our self serving town attorney; it backfired so they attempted to do away with the board altogether to have their own way. Quite a few sheep who would follow them off the face of the earth, took their lead and voted to remove the BC; but smarter people prevailed and so an new plan was devised to get rid of those members who stood up against the BOS and acted in a lawful and honorable way and replace them with the mindless, clueless, lead by the nose members that got on the boards this year. NOT ONE new member is QUALIFIED to handle the business end of the town budget. NOT ONE has a mind of her/his own and this was clear as day as THEY reached an agreement and rolled over for the BOS to stick it to us all in December and again next year when more money will be added to the tax burden to run this hole in the ground town.
While other cities and towns in NH are cutting back and providing relief for their tax payers, Winchesters BOS and their supporters and special interests keep piling it on:
new fire truck, new ambulance, new police cruisers, raises and bonuses for town employees, new hires ( all relatives by the way ) special interest projects, law suit up the wazoo, etc. etc. etc. Year after year while Rome burns, Winchester spends and more and more people lose their homes, while a very few reap the benefits of decisions made by our town government and their supportive cronies.
This blog has shed light on many issues, raised many questions and provided undeniable fact showing the problems we have with the people holding elected positions in this town and yet despite all that, very few actually give a shyt.
Until more people wake the hell up nothing will change for the good in this town. I am ashamed to say I am from Winchester and more ashamed at the mindless sheep who keep their mouths closed and stay home on election day. Oh, by the way, I did not vote for any of the new members of the BC either based on who they were and their non-qualifications.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone, have you noticed that that there's this one anonymous poster who never capitalizes his/her words to begin a sentence and no matter what the subject always comments in a supportive way no mater what the facts may say or prove, this rah rah all for the town imbecile continues to rant with blinders on. THIS is what is wrong with this town. We have a group of STEPFORD CLONES who only see what they are told to see, just like the one who posts on here.

Anonymous said...

1:32PM, If you don't think giving a new member, not yet the chairman, a key to the town hall, and have that person call a special meeting and on entering the building go to and set in the chairman's chair is underhanded, then as far as I'm concerned you are part of the problem. It was a setup that didn't need to happen and everything would have ended up the same.To bad but that's what I have come to expect from the selectmen and there cronies.

Anonymous said...

I predict if we continue to elect unqualified cronies of Tedford, Gardner and Gus Ruth to our town boards especially the budget committee we will soon be the first town in NH to file for bankruptcy. We can not continue to spend foolishly as we do. With just under 1 million dollars in unpaid property and the with the legal fees these committees have burdened the tax payers with we will become the laughing stock of the state while being labeled the stupidest community in the country. What does Gardner and Tedford care they are already making plans to sell us down the creek by moving away after leaving us with a disaster to deal with.

Anonymous said...

I am curious if the ELMMCC will return any portion of the $50,000 awarded as all of this will not be used for children's programming. If not, why not plan for a two week camp for the older kids towards the end of the summer?

Anonymous said...

Is it time for NH to opt out of the no child left behind, may states are allowed.

In September, Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced states that agreed to certain reforms could opt out from the law, which requires schools to hit increasing testing benchmarks in math and reading each year. The law has been up for reauthorization for five years, but lawmakers have been unable to agree on a compromise.

[2011 Policy Progress Report: No Child Left Behind]

The administration announced Thursday it had granted waivers to Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee. An application from New Mexico is still pending. Obama said Thursday that 39 states have shown interest in a waiver, and further applications are expected to roll in.

Wow! $65 said...

Um, excuse me - but $65 is the reason why there is no program. At that rate, I am surprised that they didn't have 200 kids in the program. That is the CHEAPEST babysitting service I have ever heard of (unless Grandparents are watching them). No wonder the $50,000 passes every year. There are a lot of people with their hands out expecting the rest of the town to help them pay for their children's summer entertainment.

WOW said...

WOW, No wonder Mrs.Borges is willing to Make The Best Of It.

Anonymous said...

A non-profit organization that doesn't do any fundraising gets FIFTY PERCENTA of its funding from taxpayers?!?!

The one qualified director they ever had openly stated that NO OTHER TOWNS FUND THESE KINDS OF ACTIVITIES FOR NON -PROFITS.

Wake up Winchester!

I really wonder what's in this year's contract.

easy guess said...

Checkout the BOS Minutes 6/27/12. Apparently the BOS did not contact the ELMM with funding info, so one has to wonder how is info or miss-info got from the town hall to the ELMM.

Anonymous said...

ummmm HELLO, This site posted a letter from Moser that stated most warrant articles were not going to be funded. It was in the newspaper, and talked about by many people around town and on this site.

Money can talk, it can not dance or sing! said...

To Mr. Anonymous......Well it was Chairman Brian Moser and his budget committee who for once tried to think of the struggling home owners first, instead of the town employees in heir sense of entitlement to our tax dollars by cutting the town and (school budgets). The budget committee voted by majority cut the town budget.

The chair of the BC by a certain date must complete an MSD signed by the majority, placed on file to the town clerk and with NH dept of Revenues the amount to be set for the town warrant articles.

After the town budget was voted on and approved by the BC, after the drop dead due date for the MSD to be submitted from the town budget committee, after the MSD was signed and submitted for some unknown reason Chairman Moser called a special BC meeting where at the very last minute Kevan Whippie was allowed by Moser to place an out of order surprise amendment to increase the town budget. The very last minute I remind you. Most feel it was a set-up. This is where Brian Moser bowed down to the selectmen and sold the BC and the struggling tax payers down the river.

Well the NH State Revenues would not except the change and only allowed the first approved amount and signed MSD to be placed on the town warrants to be voted upon by the voters.

We all know the selectmen sues the budget committee in superior court , Town Attorney Bart Mayor appoints a defense attorney for the BC and the selectmen win (no Fg’n wonder) and the tax payers loose in the kangaroo court. So rumors spread the budget was cut and there isn’t enough money. That is a lie and your tax dollars were given back to the town’s greedy town employees by Cheshire County Superior Court. I blame Brian Moser for given in to the Ken Gardner team at the very last minute with Keavan Whippie's motion to increase the budget.

Anonymous said...

Hello...... A judge reversed the DRA's ruling. Maybe you should read some other threads.