Page 3 of 3

Re: Dogs in ball fields

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:13 pm
by lynn
oh, oh,
back comes the ugly moveable letter sign :roll:

Re: Dogs in ball fields

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:19 pm
by Nat Fairbanks
RBarnes wrote:The state budget training this year covered this exact point. Anything build or created based on donation cannot by law tie taxpayers to future expenses so something like a dog park or skateboard park built off donations must be maintained by donations and if those donations stopped then they must be left either in a state of disrepair or closed down.

The example the state lawyer gave was a neon sign (similar to the one in front of the police station). They pointed out that town or school bodies should NEVER accept such a donation because the electricity to run it would violate state law by forcing tax payers to fund a donated item. They went on to say that if such a donation was accepted (as was the case with our sign) and no donations were take to fund the electricity then it must be left turned off so not to create a taxable expense.

That would mean the town/school would not be able to accept the vast majority of donations. If the graduating class of seniors donate a new scoreboard for the gym the school wouldn't be able to pay any one to turn it on or off, plug/unplug the control board, or even wipe the dust off it. Did the state lawyer really mean to go that far?

How about if the police station previously had a lit sign, but the ballast burned out so it was off for awhile (week, month, year, does it matter how long?). Then a new lit sign is donated. Does it matter if a budget cycle had passed without paying for the old lit sign? What if the new sign was more energy efficient but bulbs cost more?

Re: Dogs in ball fields

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:51 pm
by dgyakuboff
Hey Lynn,

That's not nice. That was my ugly sign. :(

Re: Dogs in ball fields

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:16 pm
by RBarnes
Nat Fairbanks wrote:That would mean the town/school would not be able to accept the vast majority of donations. If the graduating class of seniors donate a new scoreboard for the gym the school wouldn't be able to pay any one to turn it on or off, plug/unplug the control board, or even wipe the dust off it. Did the state lawyer really mean to go that far?

How about if the police station previously had a lit sign, but the ballast burned out so it was off for awhile (week, month, year, does it matter how long?). Then a new lit sign is donated. Does it matter if a budget cycle had passed without paying for the old lit sign? What if the new sign was more energy efficient but bulbs cost more?


I doubt it would mean to go so far as to not clean it but she specifically gave the example of a neon sign and said that if the town objected then it would need to be unplugged unless donations were made to cover the cost of running the sign each year.

She didn't get into what if it was tied to an existing expense so that would definitely be an interesting question to raise. The lawyer who ran the workshop was Christine Fillmore, very bright woman.

Re: Dogs in ball fields

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:47 am
by lynn
But I liked being able to read it Dave.
the one they have now is very hard to read at a glance

Re: Dogs in ball fields

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:09 am
by Nat Fairbanks
RBarnes wrote:I doubt it would mean to go so far as to not clean it but she specifically gave the example of a neon sign and said that if the town objected then it would need to be unplugged unless donations were made to cover the cost of running the sign each year.

She didn't get into what if it was tied to an existing expense so that would definitely be an interesting question to raise. The lawyer who ran the workshop was Christine Fillmore, very bright woman.

Did the lawyer mean the town or school couldn't accept donations with possible future costs at all or was she explaining that a vote to accept the donation was required because of the possible future expense, thus tying the future expense to a group who has the authority/responsibility over that expense?

I initially read that no donations could be accepted AT ALL if they had a possible future expense on the town. Should I have actually been reading that because of the possibility of future expenses the TC/SB has to vote to accept donations? (caveat that town meeting has to vote to allow the TC/SB to accept donations) I really hope I am misunderstanding things.

Re: Dogs in ball fields

PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:33 am
by RBarnes
Nat Fairbanks wrote:
RBarnes wrote:I doubt it would mean to go so far as to not clean it but she specifically gave the example of a neon sign and said that if the town objected then it would need to be unplugged unless donations were made to cover the cost of running the sign each year.

She didn't get into what if it was tied to an existing expense so that would definitely be an interesting question to raise. The lawyer who ran the workshop was Christine Fillmore, very bright woman.

Did the lawyer mean the town or school couldn't accept donations with possible future costs at all or was she explaining that a vote to accept the donation was required because of the possible future expense, thus tying the future expense to a group who has the authority/responsibility over that expense?

I initially read that no donations could be accepted AT ALL if they had a possible future expense on the town. Should I have actually been reading that because of the possibility of future expenses the TC/SB has to vote to accept donations? (caveat that town meeting has to vote to allow the TC/SB to accept donations) I really hope I am misunderstanding things.


I tried to find the document she handed out to pull the exact wording but I couldn't find it.

My take on what she said would come down to the additional expense being "required" or not. However the example she gave with the sign was a case where the town could opt out of the associated expense by turning the sign off.

One example I could think of off the top of my head would be if someone were to donate a police dog. Since that dog requires food which costs money the town could not opt out of that expense because the dog would die, so they could not legally accept it as a gift since the town could not opt out of the expenses associated with it.

Re: Dogs in ball fields

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:41 am
by Sylvie