Tonight, the SAU Board displayed shameless contempt for taxpayers and staggering incompetence. Examining a $2 million budget is just so very beneath their dignity.
While I was trying to make motions to cut budget lines one by one, the unelected Hampstead member, Cathleen Abruzzese, abruptly and inappropriately motioned to move the budget to public hearing. This was quickly seconded.
Hampstead’s Wayne Dinsmore tried to amend this to lower the bottom line by $15,000. The chairman would not accept the motion but invited Mr. Dinsmore to make a motion to table the motion on the floor. Mr. Dinsmore made a motion to table. Only he and I voted affirmatively.
Then, before you had time to blink, the vote was taken to move the budget to public hearing. The Vimeo isn’t out yet but when it is I bet the whole discussion was under 20 minutes. Town budgets of this magnitude take months of work and many hours of discussion, but that’s because Selectmen have a healthy respect for their taxpayers while your elected school district officials are too arrogant and lazy to be bothered.
It’s all for the children, after all…. and a few spouses….. but in the case of the SAU budget, not much goes for the children.
At no time did any of the board members say just what the bottom line of the budget was ($2,002,066). This is where the staggering incompetence comes in.
We were notified earlier today that the insurance line of the SAU budget would have to go up 5.5% because the Guaranteed Maximum Rate had been published only today by HealthTrust. It just so happens that our agenda packets at the meeting contained an unmodified budget not reflecting the 5.5% insurance increase. This means, the budget we voted to move to public hearing is shy a 5.5% increase in the health insurance line which I previously calculated to add one percentage point increase to the budget which would be a 4% overall increase from the 16/17 year.
Ms. Abruzzese, who should never see public office again, didn’t notice this – nor did any other board members apparently.
Oh well, you can be sure the SAU will come to public hearing, announce that they need an insurance line increase, and of course you will have to suck it up because there is not a darn thing you can do about the SAU budget.
Given that the voters have no say whatsoever about the SAU budget, you would think your elected officials would be more serious about it. Instead tonight’s meeting was a display of incompetence, indifference, irresponsibility and arrogance.
Present at tonight’s meeting were: the entire Hampstead Board and from Timberlane: myself, Peter Bealo and Dan Guide.
This is the government you have. It becomes the government you deserve when you do nothing about it.