CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

My Opinion

March 8, 2012

My Opinion: March 8, 2012

RAYMOND — Let me start with the Rockingham County 2012 Budget meeting.

The Delegation met on February 21st, and passed the budget as noted in Resolution 10-2012: That the Rockingham County Convention, in accordance with RSA 24:13, authorize $77,931,074.00 in appropriations and $69,966.00 in reserves and encumbrances for the use of the County during 2012. That $43,141,885.00 be raised in new county taxes, that $31,063,189.00 be accepted as an estimate of revenues from other sources, and that $3,795,966.00 is accepted as fund balance for a total of $78,001,040.00 in resources.

This appropriations/expenditures of $77.9M is a modest increase of 4% over the 2011 budget. All departments worked very hard to come in with a decrease in spending, but several things that are out of their control forced the increase, including: (a) Utilities are 74% of the maintenance portion, the contracted heating fuels increased: 22.9% for #6 oil, 32% for #2 oil, and 29.9% for LP gas, plus vehicle gas up 18-60%. Expected to come on-line around April, the Biomass plant should save us about $100K in 2012, and $350K each year thereafter. (b) $2.2M added by an old state debt. (c) With no on-call judges on weekends now, it causes an additional jail expense. We now are housing an average daily total of 300, plus we have 50-60 females housed in outside contracted facilities. Our incarcerated inmate ratio is 1 post-trial inmate to 2 pre-trial, as they await their hearings. Also, if those post-trial inmates need medical attention, while awaiting a hearing, it's an added cost, as once they have a hearing many of them do not receive any jail time.(d) Medicare is up $15M. This was caused when the federal government stopped their American Revitalization and Recovery Act (ARRA) program that ended 6/30/11.We have 78% or 168 of our 213 residents on Medicaid. (e) County salaries and benefits account for about 70% of the budget (excluding human services categorical assistance

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