Minutes of the Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers Meeting of June 16, 2010
The Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers held their monthly meeting at the Portsmouth Library on Wednesday, June 16, 2010. Bill St Laurent called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM. Fred Watson gave the Treasurer’s report. We spent $25.26 for stamps for the mailing on the budget We currently have $258.68 in our account.
First on the agenda was election of officers. Bill St. Laurent – President and Sandra Lorusso-Recording Secretary. The office of Treasurer is still open. Trustees for two years are Chris Maden and Jerry Stow, and for one year Harold Whitehouse and Martin Cameron.
Michael Pierce, from Hampton , spoke to us about his group and how they worked with the coalition of NH Taxpayers. They support candidates for school boards and review the Town Warrant Articles with a yes or no support. The Voter Guide is mailed to all property owners.
The members discussed the budget process and how we can be effective in the coming months. Chris said the Taxpayers group definitely had an impact on the budget process with our press releases, letters to the editor, and speaking at the public meetings. Going forward we need to have concise talking points.
Eric emphasized the city budget process needs transparency, especially on the collective bargaining issues. We will try to find a procedural way to approach the process. Bargaining is in secret, then the council votes on the contracts. They can refuse and return the contracts for changes. The councilors can ask questions and have guidelines. How can the city voters get information? It was suggested we ask the city negotiator, Mr. Flygare, to come to a meeting to explain the process. We could ask Judy Belanger, Finance Director, to address our meeting too.
One suggestion was that we endorse state legislators according to their fiscal policies , We could interview through a mailing and publish the results. We have to be careful not to be partisan. The questions should be tax based issues.
Bill read a thank-you letter from Matt Dwyer, the custodian who visited us in May.
Marty discussed the State Retirement situation and how it affects local government. Portsmouth is the largest contributor to the fund. The state has lowered its contribution from 35%to 25% in the 2011 budget.
Our next meeting will be July 21, 2010 at the Portsmouth Library, at 7 PM.
Sandra J. Lorusso, Recording Secretary