JOIN the APT- Next Meeting December 17, 7:00 PM 2015 at Library


Thursday,  December 17, 2015 at the Portsmouth Public Library

The MacLeod Board Room, Second Floor at 7:00 PM

 JOIN the APT. Send your name, adress and phone number to:


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Candidate Interview Videos Now Available

Candidate interviews are now available to watch online from our website. Please click here to watch.

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2015 Candiate Endorsements & Broadcast Schedule

Drum Roll Please!
The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers endorsements for 2015 are:

Interviews will be broadcast on PPMTV Comcast channel 98 – M-F and Sunday 3 hours per day until the election. The broadcast schedule is available here.

City Council:

We sought candidates for City Council who we believe will:

  • Make it their priority to keep spending and taxes under control
  • Prioritize the interests of residents
  • Ensure honesty and transparency of government in Portsmouth
  • Have a sensible approach to the water treatment plant

We endorse the following candidates for city council:

  • Jack Thorsen
  • Esther Kennedy
  • Duncan MacCallum
  • Rick Becksted, Jr.
  • John Palreiro

Police Commission:

The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers sought out candidates who were most focused on cleaning up the Police Department. It’s high time this is done, and the candidates we have chosen appear to be the best ones to do so. We applaud their intentions and hope we can applaud they accomplishments a year or two down the road.

  • Joe Plaia
  • Joe Onosko

School Board:

The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers sought candidates who are focused on providing school services in a fiscally responsible manner, are oriented towards local versus federal or state control of our schools, and are concerned about student privacy and data collection issues. While no candidates fully meet our requirements, we have endorsed two candidates whom we believe are open to dialog on these issues, and to some degree have expressed some of the same concerns we cite above:

  • Gary Epler
  • Clayton Emery

Please support these candidates for election in 2015. Display their election signs and email us at: if you would like to display one of our election signs on your property.

Thank You!

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2015 Candidate Interviews

Candidate interviews by the Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers will be aired on Comcast channel 98 (PPMTV), October 4th – November 3rd, and will be made available on youtube after initial broadcast.

We interviewed each candidate for approximately 30 minutes so that citizens of Portsmouth can see and hear the candidates in detail. Our interviews cover the following offices:

  • City Council
  • Police Commission
  • School Board

Our thanks to the candidates for participating, which nearly all candidates did. Continue reading

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APT Efficient Government Scorecard: VOTE Tues. November 5, 2013 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The APT has endorsed:

  • Jack Thorsen (took tax pledge)
  • Arthur Clough (took tax pledge)
  •  Mark Brighton (took tax pledge)
  • Esther Kennedy
  • Duncan MacCallum
  • Zelita Morgan

Sample Ballot & City Voting Information.  Candidate interviews by the APT will be aired on Comcast channel 98 – See HERE for schedule. 

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Tell City Council to Rollback Your Taxes

What would happen to your property taxes if Portsmouth rolled back spending to the level of 2010, or even 2003, for that matter?

Select a year and find out! Click HERE to go the tax calculator. (Note: Future tax calculations do not take into account changes in city and state revenues.)

This CAN happen with your help. With the bad economy now entering its fifth year, taxpayers are under increasing financial pressure with stagnating incomes, rising taxes, skyrocketing healthcare expenses, food and fuel inflation, and savings that yield almost nothing.

Send a message to your city councilors. It’s time to push back!

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Portsmouth – The BIG picture in 60 Seconds

Above is the Portion of the Budget the majority of city councilors control and increased. Continue reading
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Mayor Marchand 2005 Report on Police-Activity does not justify staffing

“The amount of activity the Portsmouth Police Department (PPD) handles is very low, and does not justify either the current levels of staffing or overtime.”

Mayor Steve Marchand – 2005 Continue reading

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Portsmouth City Assessment Information

If you feel your property was not fairly assessed, Continue reading

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See HERE for Salary breakdown for 2009 for all officers. Continue reading

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APT Efficient Government Scorecard : VOTE Tues. November 8, 2011, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m

The APT has endorsed Jack Thorsen, Esther Kennedy, Anthony Coviello and Eric Spear for City Council.  For the School Board  the APT endorses Mary Olea. We are encouraging BULLET VOTING.

PRESS RELEASEHerald Oct 28 2011 Article, Portsmouth Patch Article, APT Olea Press Release

Sample Ballot with referendum preventing THIS type of event in the future.

The Ward 2 is moved to the North Church Parish House (355 Spinney Road and off Middle Road) due to the Middle School renovation.



PDF version with source links Council Voting Record   *Mr. Coviello and Mr. Hetjmanek tell the APT that they voted….. more HERE **

Click HERE for Tax Pledge

Since June 2010, the APT has been tracking the Portsmouth city council on selected votes that directly affect taxes Continue reading

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Continue reading

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Click HERE for FY 2012 BIG PIE CHART – See where your money is going. This is information you will not see anywhere presented in such an easy to see manner.

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Bias in Studies

California example of a biased study:

When Palo Alto officials asked for an independent study of Fire Department staffing, they had no idea the analysis would be performed by a veteran firefighter who belongs to the International Association of Fire Chiefs Continue reading

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Steven Greenhut on Public Employee Paychecks…

Steven Greenhut on Public Employee Paychecks Continue reading

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Increase in Police Pay not cited by City Management

The APT does it’s best to correct inaccurate city data, to keep local government honest and to provide credible sourced information for the public.

1) A new Portsmouth Patrolmans Union contract [Accessed Sept. 14, 2011, contract vanished from city site Sept. 28, 2011] was attempted to be jammed through with days notice to the public (contracts are held from public examination until a contract is released by city management according to city protocol). The APT successfully petitioned for more time until Sept. 19th 2011 for citizens  to understand the contract – See HERE). Sept. 19th 2011 this new Patrolmans contract was voted down 5-4.

2) The Portsmouth Patrolmans Union contract expired in 2008, however often occurring automatic raises (step raises) were still paid.  As of Sept. 25, 2011, the APT has found no evidence that step raises or other contract items were paid with any official council vote authorization. A letter to the city has been drafted seeking an explanation.

3) According to the September 13, 2011 Herald article HERE [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011], Police Chief Ferland said “the patrol officers received no pay increases in fiscal years 2009 through 2011″. However, a simple check with their base pay in the online budgets shows his statement to be incorrect. Clearly, the officers have received pay increases during this time period.

LOOK at the officers’ BUDGETED pay below. (Please note that their true gross pay paid by the city is often much higher than budgeted pay (also known as base pay). Go HERE to see the 2010 gross wages paid. [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011]). In public union speak these raises in pay are called STEPS – in the private sector we call these automatic raises.

No matter what you call it, their pay has increased.

WIDERSTROM, E. FY09 $44,434 in FY11 $48,478
KOZLOWSKI, A. FY09 $45,873 in FY11 $48,478
MERCER, N. FY09 $45,873 in FY11 $48,478
RAIZES, C FY09 $47,737 in FY11 $48,492
BESON, E FY09 $44,434 in FY11 $48,478
JACQUES, D. FY09 $47,404 in FY11 $48,492
GOODWIN, A. FY09 $47,737 in FY11 $48,679
DUBOIS, W. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,392
MEYER, C. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,690
MCCAIN, T. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,690
KEAVENY, D. FY09 $48,478 in FY11 $49,690
LUKACZ, R FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
KIBERD, C. FY09 $49,056 in FY11 $49,690
KINSMAN, E. FY09 $49,061 in FY11 $49,690
JONES, R. FY09 $49,434 in FY11 $49,690
NOURY,J FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
EVANS,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
BOUCHER FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
PEARL,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
WASSOUF,A. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 *
STUDY,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $50,321
SHELDON, P. FY09 $50,321 in FY11 $50,321
LECLAIR,M. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
STACY, A. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
OUTHOUSE, D. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
MUNSON, R. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $53,417
AUBIN, J FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $63,442 (MADE Ranking Officer)
MALONEY, M. FY09 $51,640 in FY11 $68,093 (MADE Ranking Officer)
CUMMINGS, C. FY09 $51,783 in FY11 $63,993 (MADE Ranking Officer)
BLACK, T. FY09 $52,930 in FY11 $54,700
WEBB, R. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
BENTZ, E. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
HESTER, M. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
KOTSONIS, M. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
PERACCHI JR, J. FY09 $53,417 in FY11 $54,886
CASHMAN, T. FY09 $54,129 in FY11 $54,886
HESTER, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
COLBY, D FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
NEWPORT, M. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
SIRR, K. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $64,593 (MADE Ranking Officer)
ROGERS-BERNIER, K. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
ROTH, C. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $63,614
GRELLA, T. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
BRABAZON, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *
WILLIAMS, G. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 *

SOURCES:  p. 151-152 AND  p. 163 [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011]

So, this clearly demonstrates that EVERY officer received a pay raise in the form of automatic pay raises unions call steps or by being made to a ranking officer. The only officer who’s pay was lower than budgeted pay was NOURY, J – who appears not to have worked a full year. This is not explained in budgets. NOURY, J is listed for FY12 budgeted pay at $52,055 –  another raise from FY11′s of $49,690.

Now, lets go over the * officers. These officers were, in FY09, at the top of their pay grade. In other words, they do not get any more automatic raises as patrol officers. However, let us take a look at the something many citizens are unaware of many of our city employees. They can make far more than what their base pay is. This is accomplished by many of the goodies provided in contracts.

So let’s go over the officers with the * and see how they made far more more money than their base pay. You can find the total amount paid to them by the city here for 2010 YTD.
LUKACZ, R FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $61,205.97
NOURY,J FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $40,469.38
EVANS,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $59,652.87
BOUCHER FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $74,343.28
PEARL,S. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $64,665.63
WASSOUF,A. FY09 $49,690 in FY11 $49,690 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $56,043.97
HESTER, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $63,973.61
COLBY, D FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $66,722.20
NEWPORT, M. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $99,002.41
GRELLA, T. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $68,196.17
BRABAZON, R. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $85,016.19
WILLIAMS, G. FY09 $54,886 in FY11 $54,886 * — 2010 YTD Earnings $101,278.84

For the source of the figures above for 2010 YTD, see HERE. [Accessed Sept. 18, 2011]

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All APT endorsed candidates won the election including Mary Olea for School Board.

- APT endorsed candidates gained votes while the majority of candidates who voted to raise spending lost votes. Jack Thorsen took the APT tax pledge and was the biggest gainer in the race.
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Fire Department Request for More Money

  • The Portsmouth Fire Department has had the highest increases of any department – well over DOUBLE inflation over the past 15 years (1995/96-2009/10). From 1995/96-2009/10, the  Fire Dept budget (mostly salary/personnel costs) went UP 112%. Inflation for these same years was 47%.
  •  Council made a cut of $14,265 last year (2011/12 budget)  to the fire department which has a $6.7 million dollar budget.
  •  With calls made to several insurance brokers, we found that home owners insurance will not go up with the closing of a fire station or the loss of an ambulance. 
  • Assess the true need for personnel.
  • Ask for bids from private Fire/EMT companies.  Just having those figures alone would be an extremely valuable comparison. Consider augmenting the Fire Department with volunteer fire department personal, like many other towns.
  • The Fire Department is not hired to conduct advertising to advocate for it’s positions. It handed out flyers advertising the closing of Station 3 and has initiated an aggressive campaign.
TUES 17 Jan: City council initial vote on Fire Department overspending requests.
For the population density and land area, Portsmouth has a disproportionately high number of stations in towns greater than 18,000 residents.
towns - Click this for links to sources of the above chart.
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Key Budget Process Dates for 2012

Here are some of the key budget process dates:
  • TUES 17 Jan: City council initial vote on Fire Department overspending requests.
  • TUES 17 Jan: School officials will gather Tuesday night at Little Harbour School for the first of many public hearings on the school portion of the city’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget.
  • WED 25 Jan:  The Fire Commission will hold the next public hearing Jan. 25,
  • MON 30 Jan:  followed by the Police Commission on Jan. 30, which will be at 6 p.m. at City Hall.


  • MON 13 Feb:  the council will hold its first work session on it Feb. 13.


- Local Inflation (Consumer Price Index for Boston, Brockton, Nashua).  2011 average local inflation was 2.7%. ONCE AGIAN,  the city continues to spend at almost double the rate of inflation, the total city budget reflects an increase of $4.1 million, or 4.73 percent, over this year’s (2012) spending level.  a majority of people in the USA still feel like we are in recession – Like Vice President Biden - who speaks for the unemployed.  According to USA today March, 9 2012, most wealthy americans feel we are still in recession. 

- The great majority of the budget is labor related costs. 2011 wages paid to city employees (not including the school department) can be found here. Top tier school employees wages can be found here. These are only the wages paid to employees. They do NOT include health benefit costs. They do not include hefty contributions the city pays to prop up the $3.5 BILLION! unfunded liabilities of the NH Retirement System for pensions. In 2011, the city (Employer Rate) paid 10.7%-24.69% of wages to the NHRS.

- Water bills are expected to rise and have already risen well above inflation.

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Candidate Interview Schedule on Comcast Channel 98

Candidate interviews by the APT will be aired on Comcast channel 98 (PPMTV), October 21-25 and October 28-November 1, our first ever televised event! See the continuation of this article for the daily schedule.


⇓Scroll Down for Daily Interview Schedule⇓

We interviewed 20 of the 23 candidates city council 2013 election, 20-30 minutes per candidate. Interviews will be aired — two candidates each weekday — for two weeks, October 21-November 1. Airings are at 4:30 – 5:30 PM, and re-broadcast at 8:00 – 9:00 PM the same evening. Interviews will be available on the Internet the day following their airing on channel 98. Links to the videos will be provided below in the schedule as they are made available on the Internet.

We hope you enjoy the interviews and find them helpful in making your choices for city council this election.

Please donate to the Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers so we can continue our mission of taxpayer-friendly government in Portsmouth. Our members and contributors are unpaid volunteers.

If having a problem with Google Chrome browser for donation, please try a different browser.

Daily Interview Schedule

Date/Time (Week 1) Candidates
Monday, Oct. 21
4:30-5:30 PM & 8:00-9:00 PM
Zelita Morgan watch now
Bob Shouse watch now
Tuesday, Oct. 22
4:30-5:30 PM & 8:00-9:00 PM
Joe Caldorola watch now
Chris Dwyer watch now
Wednesday, Oct. 23
4:30-5:30 PM & 8:00-9:00 PM
Mike Kennedy watch now
Mark Brighton watch now
Thursday, Oct. 24
4:30-5:30 PM & 8:00-9:00 PM
Devin Murphy watch now
Jim Splaine watch now
Friday, Oct. 25
4:30-5:30 PM & 8:00-9:00 PM
Esther Kennedy watch now
Rick Beckstead watch now
Date/Time (Week 2) Candidates
Monday, Oct. 28
4:30-5:30 PM & 8:00-9:00 PM
Jack Thorsen watch now
Ken Smith watch now
Tuesday, Oct. 29
4:30-5:30 PM & 8:00-9:00 PM
Eric Spear watch now
Arthur Clough watch now
Wednesday, Oct. 30
4:30-5:30 PM & 8:00-9:00 PM
Tristan Law watch now
Josh Denton watch now
Thursday, Oct. 31
4:30-5:30 PM & 8:00-9:00 PM
Duncan MacCallum watch now
Brad Lown watch now
Friday, Nov. 1
4:30-5:30 PM & 8:00-9:00 PM
Bob Lister watch now
Stefany Shaheen watch now

Continue reading

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APT City Council Candidate Televised Interviews

The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers (APT) will provide televised
interviews of City Council candidates conducted by APT members as a public
service to Portsmouth voters for the 2013 election.

Interviews are approximately 25-30 minutes in length, and will be aired on
PPMtv, Comcast channel 98 in Portsmouth from 4:30 to 5:30 pm as well as
8:00 to 9:00 pm October 21 through October 25 and October 27 through
November 1. Schedule of airings will be made available on the APT website,
the PPMtv website, and in the Spotlight section of the Portsmouth
Herald. Following broadcast, interviews will be available through the APT’s

Interviews were conducted at Portsmouth Public Media (PPMTV) studios in
Portsmouth in late September and early October.


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NH Pension amount Data HERE

HERE for 2011 NH pension Data

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Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers Opposes Fire Department’s Request for More Money

For immediate release.

The city has approximately $250,000 in contingency money which is designated for use under emergency situations. In an unprecedented move, the Portsmouth Fire Department has decided to request these emergency funds to augment the budget submitted in 2011 – essentially for salary increases to already highly generously paid city employees. There has been no unexpected nor emergent change to warrant using these crucial funds to increase the fire budget. It would be an irresponsible precedent to allow a city leader to change his budget midstream without a significant event that necessitates the use of three fifths of the city’s emergency funds.

In 1993 the third fire station was created after the city acquired Pease land and facilities.  The population of Portsmouth in 1990 was 25,925 and the city was served by 2 fire stations. We now have 3 fire stations to serve a population of 21,233. The addition of the third station caused the creation of 4 firefighter jobs and 4 fire lieutenants to serve 4 shifts, as per the 93/94 budget. Since the time that that the third station was created Portsmouth has had a lower ratio of firefighters to officers. In 1995 the fire department was allocated 9.1 percent of the city budget. Today the fire department is allocated 10 percent per the city reports. Even with this increased portion of the budget it’s the fire chief who is asking for more and reneging on his acceptance of the 2012 budget. The Portsmouth Fire Department has had the highest increases of any department – well over DOUBLE inflation over the past 15 years (1995/96-2009/10). From 1995/96-2009/10, the Fire department budget (mostly salary/personnel costs) went UP 112%. Inflation for these same years was 47%.

Portsmouth is one of the most densely allocated departments in the state with 3 stations for 16 Sq. miles of land. For example Concord, NH has approximately 1 station for every 16 square miles of its 64 square miles of land and has twice the population of Portsmouth and similar daytime population growth. Portsmouth further expanded the capacity of its stations with the construction of the new station 2 on Lafayette Road in 2010. The Portsmouth Fire department has seen tremendous growth and substantial community support as the population decreases.

Given the response times and distance by fire department around the state, Portsmouth meets or exceeds the standards of the majority of other communities even when it uses only its two larger stations.

The campaign to increase the budget by suggesting that the city residents need to learn CPR because of the closing of a station that was added during a time of higher local population was unfortunate. CPR and other first aid skills are needed at all times. The recent actions of a worker at a local gym that saved the life of a client happened within a short distance of stations 1 and 2. The fact is that no matter how close a fire and rescue station is that it’s often the onsite citizen with the emergency skill set who makes the crucial difference. It’s a shame that this skillset was spun as necessary due to the brownout of station 3 rather than something each citizen in every district should strive to learn as a citizen first responder.  It’s also disturbing to find out that the overstated ISO standards seemingly have little to do with most insurance rates and the taxpayer funded improvements to station 2 are ignored.

Portsmouth is becoming a different community. The typical NH working class worker who lived in Puddledock in the 1960’s and 1970’s is disappearing, being replaced by families in subsidized housing as others leave the city when they can no longer afford to live here. The regressive water/sewer costs in the city have upended working families’ budgets and their ability to pay the high property taxes.

We should not be using emergency funds to augment capricious budgets without emergent situations. Management changing their minds about their budget is not an emergency; it is a failure of  public leadership to properly manage their department and the audacity to ask for more.

Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers
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