Few Good People Needed

Have you ever considered running for a position in your local government?   Every year around this time comes the need for willing resident to consider giving back to the community and this year is no different.    There are several elected positions up this year; two (2) on the Board of Selectmen and four (4) for the Budget Committee.   Please consider stepping up and help set the direction for our community; if you are willing and able to commit please sign up.

Candidates can declare their candidacy any position between January 25 and February 3 at 5pm at the Litchfield Town Clerk’s Office.  [RSA 669:19; 652:20; 40:13, VII]

Reach out to other members of those boards and committees to better understanding the role and personal committed.    You can also learn more by watching meetings on our YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/LitchfieldTV.   

 

For all things about the upcoming Town Meeting go to http://litchfieldnh.gov/2017-town-meeting/.

Seeking your support.

I am seeking your support for re-election to the Board of Selectmen.   My family and I have lived in Litchfield for the past 18 years and in Southern New Hampshire area for the past 28 years.   My wife Cathy and I have four children, three which have graduated Campbell High School; and our youngest son is a senior at Campbell High School.

It has been my honor to serve for the last six years and I would like to continue the work of supporting our community.  Since moving into Litchfield, I have volunteered and served on different committees and boards; as I believe in volunteerism and giving back to the community.  Over the past few years, we have been working hard to address the growing fiscal concerns and the need to provide basic services that our community relies on.  It has not been easy, and it will be continue to be a difficult task and there is still much to be done.

While on the board and the support of the community; we have addressed the many issues around our infrastructure of roads and equipment; and with the support our employees and many volunteers, we continue to see improvements all around town. 

If re-elected, I will work as a representative of the citizens; and continue the work of providing the needed services to our community.

Please feel free to contact me at john@litchfieldnh.net or at 603.262.3901.  

Support the Tax Cap Warrant

The Litchfield Board of Selectmen is seeking the consensus of Litchfield’s residents on the warrant article 16 concerning the town’s possible adoption of a tax cap. Under state law, RSA 32:5­b allows municipalities to implement a cap limiting the growth of taxes either through a percentage or dollar increase. If this warrant is approved, the Litchfield Board of Selectmen will bring forward a warrant article formally proposing a specific tax cap for the voter’s consideration at the 2016 Town Meeting.

The Board of Selectmen had considered bring this article forward for the past two years but was concerned about what we viewed as technical problems with the existing law. That law was modified by the legislature last year and the Selectmen believe that these changes addressed the concerns. A tax cap for our Town would limit the amount of money in the budget and warrants able to be recommended by the Budget Committee but would not restrict what voters could consider at Town deliberative session. In other words, if there is a strong case for a budget need exceeding the cap, the citizens can consider the facts and make the best decision.

If this year’s article is approved, the Board of Selectmen will suggest a percentage or dollar amount as the “cap” limit. Voters will have a choice of amending the “cap” number at the Deliberative Session which will then go to the ballot.

Warrant article 16 is an important warrant for the town’s voters and provide us as Selectmen with your guidance as to how you wish us to proceed.

Budgeting for Lease Purchases

Litchfield voters determine in warrant article 17, how they wish their budget to be created by the Budget Committee. Warrant article 17 is a non-binding article that advises the Budget Committee to use lease-purchases for items placed into the Town’s operating budget.  It is the opinion of the Litchfield Selectmen that allowing this flexibility in constructing the budget is in the best interests of the voters.

There have been numerous discussions concerning the legality of placing leases into the operating budget. Four times, the Board of Selectmen or the Budget Committee have obtained an opinion from legal counsel. Two separate attorneys serving as counsel for the Town along with multiple opinions of attorneys for the NH Municipal Association have all provided the same opinion; that placing a lease-purchase appropriation into the Town’s operating budget is legal. Nevertheless, there remain individuals who do not agree and refuse to consider this alternative.

The Selectmen had previously utilized lease-purchase for several items in the operating budget. Examples include the purchase of police cars, photocopy machines and other items. The use of a lease-purchase is typically done over the period of three years which applies the cost of these items over that period. While there will be interest payments required to do this, with today’s interest rates at all time lows, the additional cost of a lease-purchase is not high.

Performing an outright purchase as is currently used by the Budget Committee means that the citizens must appropriate that amount all at once, within one annual budget, thus raising the years budget appropriation and raising taxes. It is the suggestion of the Selectmen to advise the Budget Committee to use leases where appropriate in the operating budget by voting to support article 17.

Please support the Litchfield's Town Employees on March 10th

On March 10th, the citizens of Litchfield will have a decision to make on warrant article 14 as to whether they will provide their Town non-bargaining employees the opportunity to begin moving to a wage plan that makes sense.  In the past, the Town’s wage structure was composed of a system of grades with 8 steps in each grade.  This system required that employees only had to spend time in their grade before automatically being “promoted” to the next step.  It didn’t matter on performance, ability at their job or the knowledge they possessed the promotion was simply tied to their time in grade.  The Selectmen would then ask for a cost of living increase “COLA” that would be added to all non-bargaining employees salary irrespective of their grade, step or merit performance.  It was the belief of the Selectmen that this process was inefficient, unfair to both the employees and Litchfield’s citizens.

In 2013, the Selectmen voted to institute a system that rewarding performance of employees for their work, knowledge and effort; a merit performance based system.  The Selectmen undertook a study of the town’s jobs for our non-bargaining employees in order to arrange them into a rational system of grades based upon duties and responsibilities.  Unfortunately, to get to this system, the many of our employees must be moved in terms of salary.  Warrant article 14 commences that process by starting the movement of employees whose positional duties and responsibilities are grossly out of line with their current salaries.  This process will continue over several years.

This system has been approved by the Selectmen and presented to the Budget Committee who has voted unanimously to support this effort.  The Selectmen ask you to also support this effort at bringing a rational salary system to Litchfield.

Litchfield Board of Selectmen