Municipal Departments

Town Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday
8:30 am - 4 pm
Closed 12:30 - 1:00
Friday: 8:30 - 12:30

Town Clerk's Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday:
8:30am-3:45 pm
Closed 12:30 - 1:00
Fridays: 8:30am-12:30pm
First Saturday of the month:
8:30-10:45am

125 Main Street, Suite 200
Littleton, NH 03561
Phone: 603.444.3996
Fax: 603.444.1703

Nov 17, 2015

Budget Committee Minutes - November 17, 2015


MINUTES OF 11/17/2015 BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING

Attendees:

            Budget Committee: Steve Kelley, Diane Cummings, Dann, Ron Bolt, Evan Nelson, Rudy Gelsi, Muffy Copenhaver, Eddy Moore, Carolyn Murro, and George Kirk

            Town: Milt Bratz, Karen Noyes, Andrew Dorsett

            Police Department: Chief Paul Smith, Captain Chris Tyler, Administration Lori LaDuke

Parks & Recreation: Commissioners Tod Odell, Jeff Brammer, and Travis Lewis, and Recreation Director Ryan Glass

Others: Linda Massimilla

            Media: Darin Wipperman, Courier Editor, and Kathy Doriski, LATV

Administration:

  • The minutes of the 10 November meeting were approved as submitted.
  • Carolyn Murro was appointed as a voting member for today’s meeting.
  • George Kirk was appointed as a voting member after Diane Cummings departed.

 

Police Department

            Chief Smith provided a detailed briefing explaining the increases in his proposed budget. The total increase over the default budget is $225,162 (16%) not including any changes that might result from a new collective bargaining agreement. The increases are mostly in staff, but also include body cameras and a replacement vehicle. The staffing proposal includes two entry level full-time officers, the one-year mandatory extension of the grant-funded officer (crisis intervention), and one part-time officer based on an anticipated retirement.  Over the past several years, proposals for new patrol vehicles were presented in the form of a warrant article. Chief Smith believes that vehicle replacements, normally one per year, are routine in nature and belong in the budget (as was done for many years in the past). Grants will be sought to offset the cost ($12K) of equipping all officers with body cameras.

            Chief Smith presented various statistics on trends in crime. An analysis of incidents and arrests over the past 3+ years indicate that the top three problem areas are Theft/Fraud (40.55%), assaults (24.42%) and drug/narcotic offenses (15.59%) – much of which may have roots in drug abuse. Historical information also reveals that arrests have gone down in recent years compared to the past when the department was fully staffed. Crime has not gone down, only arrests. All of these factors were taken into consideration in making the proposal to return to full staffing.

            Chief Smith went on to state that on average each patrol office has 15-20 open cases currently being investigated, with cases ranging from violent offenses to complex felony crimes. From toe to tail (surveillance to prosecution) it can take up to 60 hours for a single case. Complicating matters is a raft of new mandates and requirements which are an additional drain on time and resources. The net result of high case loads is:

  • Less time available on proactive patrol
  • Lengthy case resolution
  • Increase in mental stress for officers
  • Reduced response time for lower priority calls

The increase in proposed staffing will (1) reduce case load and, thereby, increase officer presence and availability throughout the community, and (2) enhance the safety on the streets and neighborhoods, and ensure the prosperity and security of the community.

            At this point, the following motion (Diane/Muffy) passed by a vote of 5-3:

‘The Budget Committee requests an indication of support or non-support from the Board of Selectmen regarding increases in the proposed Police Department budget.”

Parks & Recreation Commission:

            This conversion focused on the plans to replace the “green” building at Remich Park. The planning is still in the early stages as the commissioners would like to gather more information from the public about what is really needed, for now and the future. The commissioners are considering various survey options and wish to target all demographic groups. They will be coordinating with the town, school, and other stakeholders. Grants will be sought. The commissioners were encouraged to use the Mt. Eustis Ski program as a model.

The commissioners believe that Park programs are more important than the structure. They see the need to better inform and educate the public on the scope, breadth, and value of programs.

Collective Bargaining Agreements

            The following motion (Ron/Dann) passed unanimously:

The Budget Committee recommends that the Town’s SEA Collective Bargaining Agreement Negotiation Team place emphasis this year on reducing the cost of health insurance, by any means possible but with particular emphasis on raising the deductible and co-pay levels.”

            The following motion (Ron/Dann) passed unanimously:

The Budget Committee recommends that the School’s Collective Bargaining Agreement Negotiation Team place emphasis this year on reducing the cost of health insurance, by any means possible but with particular emphasis on raising the deductible and co-pay levels.”

Next Meeting: 24 November, 4 PM, Community Center

Ron Bolt, Secretary