Charge self haulers

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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby cyclone70 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:15 pm

Brian McCarthy wrote:The points brought up at that meeting is that we are doing far better (town portion - the part we have control of) than the cap would have put in place.

There were many implementation issues brought out that caused me to vote against putting it on the ballot.

I can't support something that I see flaws in. Re-work it, bring it back and try again.

It is the same reason the I said no to the demo ordinance - there were too many questions.

My comments about use your vote was meant to get people out and take part in the process.

Brian


What angered me is that nobody detailed what they didn't like,they just remained silent.
That does not give me a good feeling and sends the wrong message to those watching the meeetings from home.
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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby Brian McCarthy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:11 pm

cyclone70 wrote:What angered me is that nobody detailed what they didn't like,they just remained silent.
That does not give me a good feeling and sends the wrong message to those watching the meeetings from home.


Then I'm sorry for not speaking up beyond agreeing that it should not move forward.

I was sitting there listing to Tim review issues and was agreeing with many of them as I had similar concerns. He covered many more than I could (thanks Tim).

I will tend to sit there and speak only if my views are not spoke - it tends to shorten the meetings.

Brian
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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby Tim Tenhave » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:43 pm

Cyclone,

I spent nearly 10 minutes pointing out the flaws in the tax cap. I would be happy to do it again.

Jeannine,

Please read it through it before you sign it. I am not saying that you don't think hard about these things but the current version is a city version that has been changed only slightly to look like and say Town. In a City, the Alderman and Mayer make all the votes and the voters do not get any say in the budget. In a city, the city budget includes the Schools and City budgets as one budget, not in a Town. The present version is totally unfair to the Town taxpayers as it lets the Schools, State, and County absorb any CPI-U increase or more and then penalizes the Town. Read it closely.

Rick,

You say "many", please show me. You say if we had just looked. Please show me. I am serious and you know I don't fool around. We have spoken too many times and your wife knows very well that I am a sincere person.

You cannot compare Derry to Merrimack. In Derry, the Town Council votes and enacts the budget (just like a City). The voters never vote on the budget. The voters never go to a Deliberative session to discuss and possibly adjust the budget. In Merrimack, the voters can adjust the budget at the Deliberative session. We have seen that happen in 2 of the last 4 years (one year down, one year up). Then the voters enact/vote on the budget in April. A very different system than Derry where the voters have NO vote on the budget.

Rick take a close look at this. All you are presently doing is taking the city version that someone gave to many of you and you are pushing that one on us...a Town. The version you are pushing is too complicated, has too many ways to mix tax rate cap with budget cap (look at the reassessment year clause) etc. I hate it when you generalize and say "many". Please show me the specifics of these others and let's work it out.

Show me a tax cap in a Town with a Town Meeting form of Government like Merrimack and I will look at it. If you can't find one, come see me anyway and let me suggest a version that does work for our Town. When I say work, I mean has a valid tax cap. I am not your enemy. I am not a career politician, I am just your neighbor.

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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby cyclone70 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:03 am

Brian McCarthy wrote:
cyclone70 wrote:What angered me is that nobody detailed what they didn't like,they just remained silent.
That does not give me a good feeling and sends the wrong message to those watching the meeetings from home.


Then I'm sorry for not speaking up beyond agreeing that it should not move forward.

I was sitting there listing to Tim review issues and was agreeing with many of them as I had similar concerns. He covered many more than I could (thanks Tim).

I will tend to sit there and speak only if my views are not spoke - it tends to shorten the meetings.

Brian


I apoligize then Tim,Brian,I guess all I saw was the vote and Mr Mahon ask about discussion then also.
I will try and catch the tape of the whole show.
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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby Brian McCarthy » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:17 am

There are certainly times when I sit there and keep quiet, feeling just as passionate about an item as the person speaking to it.

Its just the way I work. If I've got my notes and someone else hits all my points, or even if they hit 90% of them and make several other points that I didn't think of - they have it covered - I don't need to be on camera or listed in the minutes lets move on.

Having seven people sit there does bring a larger variety of background in, which is really needed. People who run their own business, people who have worked in family businesses, people who have been elected to other boards throughout the state, people who work for large companies - its a great mix of viewpoints that are never going to agree 100% of the time.

I also sit there and wonder what side of a vote I'm going to be on - its just human nature (but it doesn't change the way I'm going to vote).

People are starting to warm up to me after almost one year, so more emails and phone calls are coming in - thank you - keep them coming!

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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby RBarnes » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:55 am

Tim Tenhave wrote:You say "many", please show me. You say if we had just looked. Please show me. I am serious and you know I don't fool around. We have spoken too many times and your wife knows very well that I am a sincere person.


Tim, I know your a good guy too. Don't take my frustrations personally.

Towns that have working tax caps in place already are Franklin, Derry, Dover, Laconia and Nashua. Rochester is a more recent example that has put a cap in place as well but they I believe are the newest one so they don't have as much of a history showing whether it works or not.

Tim Tenhave wrote:You cannot compare Derry to Merrimack. In Derry, the Town Council votes and enacts the budget (just like a City). The voters never vote on the budget. The voters never go to a Deliberative session to discuss and possibly adjust the budget. In Merrimack, the voters can adjust the budget at the Deliberative session. We have seen that happen in 2 of the last 4 years (one year down, one year up). Then the voters enact/vote on the budget in April. A very different system than Derry where the voters have NO vote on the budget.

Rick take a close look at this. All you are presently doing is taking the city version that someone gave to many of you and you are pushing that one on us...a Town. The version you are pushing is too complicated, has too many ways to mix tax rate cap with budget cap (look at the reassessment year clause) etc.


Tim, I'd be more then willing to work with the council putting together a version that you can all agree would work. Problem is I didn't get that impression from watching the council. I didn't see the council saying that they don't agree with this version but would be willing to put together a version that they can see working. I just saw it getting shot down. Maybe I need to re-watch the meeting with a cool head and fresh eyes.

Tim Tenhave wrote:Show me a tax cap in a Town with a Town Meeting form of Government like Merrimack and I will look at it.


Our charter is rather unique so I'm not sure there are any towns 100% like us. Any town pointed out can be shown to be different then us.

Tim Tenhave wrote:I am not your enemy. I am not a career politician, I am just your neighbor.


Tim, I know you, Brian, Dave, Mike etc are all good people. I do like you all even though we may disagree on issues. Don't take my criticism personally. Just because I point out areas we disagree politically doesn't mean I dislike you as a person. I know you aren't the enemy but I will continue to call you and the others out where I disagree with you.

As we see often though (myself included) we call out the bad but never point out the good. For that reason you may see me as someone viewing you as the enemy... while I disagree with how you handled the articles as I pointed out here that's just my pointing to one aspect of everything the seven of you have done.

I think the people should have been given a chance to have their say, you and Brian have given your reasons why you think otherwise... we disagree. I'm willing to agree to disagree and leave it at that. The only thing to do is look forward and see what options we can both agree on. Since there clearly is a segment of the population who feels this cap is a good idea I would really like to see the council work out an alternative version since they disagree with the version presented to them. Same with the trash and demolition articles. Maybe there is no middle ground... maybe as in the case of the demolition article its a bad idea and there is no good version but I'd still like to see the council work toward finding an option they could agree with to present to the people rather then just shooting these down and leaving it at that.
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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:59 am

Tim

I don't plan to single out the Town Budget. In fact that's the least of our problems. My gripe is with the school budget. We have almost 600 less kids than we did 4 years ago but it increases every year.

I have no problem paying my share even though I have never had a child in Merrimack schools, I don't use the library or the transfer station. But enough is enough. When we are paying $1million for a Superintendent's office, teachers have gotten raises every single year that I can remember. How many of us have gotten raises every year over the past 10 years? We've got classroom with 15 kids in them at the high school level. Is this really needed at their ages? When they get to college they will be sitting in classroom with far more people than that.

We need to get a cheaper health plan for the town and school employees. My husband's company has done that for the past 3 years in a row. I am paying $110 per mo for my medications compared to $45 just two years ago for my co-pay. Why should we pay for better benefits for people who work for us than what we can afford for ourselves?
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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby Tim Tenhave » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:36 pm

RBarnes wrote:Towns that have working tax caps in place already are Franklin, Derry, Dover, Laconia and Nashua. Rochester is a more recent example that has put a cap in place as well but they I believe are the newest one so they don't have as much of a history showing whether it works or not.

Tim, I'd be more then willing to work with the council putting together a version that you can all agree would work. Problem is I didn't get that impression from watching the council. I didn't see the council saying that they don't agree with this version but would be willing to put together a version that they can see working. I just saw it getting shot down. Maybe I need to re-watch the meeting with a cool head and fresh eyes.

Tim Tenhave wrote:Show me a tax cap in a Town with a Town Meeting form of Government like Merrimack and I will look at it.


Our charter is rather unique so I'm not sure there are any towns 100% like us. Any town pointed out can be shown to be different then us.

Tim Tenhave wrote:I am not your enemy. I am not a career politician, I am just your neighbor.


Tim, I know you, Brian, Dave, Mike etc are all good people. I do like you all even though we may disagree on issues. Don't take my criticism personally. Just because I point out areas we disagree politically doesn't mean I dislike you as a person. I know you aren't the enemy but I will continue to call you and the others out where I disagree with you.

...

I think the people should have been given a chance to have their say, you and Brian have given your reasons why you think otherwise... we disagree. I'm willing to agree to disagree and leave it at that. The only thing to do is look forward and see what options we can both agree on. Since there clearly is a segment of the population who feels this cap is a good idea I would really like to see the council work out an alternative version since they disagree with the version presented to them. Same with the trash and demolition articles. Maybe there is no middle ground... maybe as in the case of the demolition article its a bad idea and there is no good version but I'd still like to see the council work toward finding an option they could agree with to present to the people rather then just shooting these down and leaving it at that.


Hi Rick,

Dover, Laconia, Nashua, Franklin, Rochester are all cities and Derry is a Town that does its budget like a City. Going back to my point, none of them do their budget using a Deliberative session and none of them let the Voters have a final say. I can't blame them for wanting to have a tax cap.

You don't have to find someone with a Charter like ours (though it is close to Bedford and a few others), all I really meant to say is one that has a Deliberative Session and an All-day vote, i.e. SB2 Town. We are an SB2 town with a Council not a BOS. When it comes to the budget process, we are essentially the same except a non-Charter town does not have a Charter that puts the process all in one place and instead relies on the RSA's.

At the end of the meeting I specifically reached out and said bring back a proposal that is not flawed. I had hoped that was viewed as an olive branch and not as patronizing. It is sincere.

The tax cap proposal came to us in the middle of budget season. No one brought it to us or came to the Council asking for assistance on this before this January. Mike wanted this proposal and no other so there was no chance to even look at real alternatives. It is very hard to work a Charter change of this magnitude while we work the budget. If you can hold off on your signatures and not force a special election, I would be happy to suggest either directly or as part of a Council agenda item some ideas on a tax cap that accomplishes a cap but stays within control of the Town so we are not held hostage to the outside forces.

Tim
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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby Tim Tenhave » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:41 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote:We need to get a cheaper health plan for the town and school employees. My husband's company has done that for the past 3 years in a row. I am paying $110 per mo for my medications compared to $45 just two years ago for my co-pay. Why should we pay for better benefits for people who work for us than what we can afford for ourselves?


On the Town side, the Finance Director and his staff put out the health insurance for bid over the last month and have received bids that will bring down the Manager's original budget for those. That is good news for all taxpayers. And for co-pay, the Manager's proposed budget increases the health contribution to 10% for all non-union employees. We cannot do anything (now) about the existing union contracts that have it at 2% for a good portion of the union members.

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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby RBarnes » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:14 am

Tim Tenhave wrote:
Jeannine Stergios wrote:We need to get a cheaper health plan for the town and school employees. My husband's company has done that for the past 3 years in a row. I am paying $110 per mo for my medications compared to $45 just two years ago for my co-pay. Why should we pay for better benefits for people who work for us than what we can afford for ourselves?


On the Town side, the Finance Director and his staff put out the health insurance for bid over the last month and have received bids that will bring down the Manager's original budget for those. That is good news for all taxpayers. And for co-pay, the Manager's proposed budget increases the health contribution to 10% for all non-union employees. We cannot do anything (now) about the existing union contracts that have it at 2% for a good portion of the union members.

Tim


Tim, a few years ago Mike Thompson rose a lot of questions about health insurance during budget meetings siting the high cost we were paying. I don't recall if it was town or school but we were told that the contracts required us to use one of only 3 or 4 options limiting who we could even take bids from.

If this was the town side, do you know if this is still the case?
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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:19 am

Tim

Thanks for the info. Do you know ANYONE who only pays 2% of their health Insurance premiums or even 10% for that matter?
When is someone going to stand up against these unions and say no? What''s the worse that can happen? The union members strike?
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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby mglr536 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:53 am

Most corporations that I have experience with charge the employee 18-20% of the health premium.

The non-union employees should get to this level phased over a period of time, as companies that I have experience with do as a practice. Say for example we acquire a company with a 18% contribution but the buying company has 20%...the company phases the increase in over a 1-2 year period. The impacted employees either accept it or leave that employer.

With union workers, the negotiated contract is voted on by voters. Ask yourself individually, how you voted the last time any article was on the ballot for any union increase? No disrespect for our union employees (ie fire, police) but I always vote no on them because I believe that their total compensation value is more than adequate with features such as longevity bonus, sick time payouts and extremely sweet pensions. Take the state worker who retired with a $229K final check, who may or may not be union, but tell me that's not more than adequate?

I don't want to take this off topic, so I apologize if I have, but economics of union based and governmnet based comp plans are totally out of whack with private business. So, if you want parity, send a message vote no when it comes up.
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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby Tom Williams » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:34 am

Do you mean that this person received a lump sum pension of $229k? And they would then have that to live on during retirement?

Many retirement planning advisors use the 4% rule for determining one's adequate 401K or IRA retirement savings balance (in the absence of a traditional pension annuity). The rule is that you have enough savings to retire when you can live on 4% of the balance per year, assuming one is in good health and plans to live for a while in retirement. We can use the same rule in reverse to see how generous a $229k lump sum payout is: $229,000 x 0.04 = $9,160 per year income during retirement.

The 2008 US poverty threshold for a 2 person household is $14,000 per year. I hope whoever this is managed some significant IRA or other retirement savings. (Social Security likely won't be around much longer).
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Re: Charge self haulers

Postby mglr536 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:23 pm

No, not a pension payout.
The state employee received this amount in his last pay year. There was a front page article about it in the Sunday Union Leader probably 2-3 weeks ago.
I believe his annual wages amounted to about $130K. the rest was sick time, and a few other special pay categories that state employees can earn during their career. You'd have to read the article, but it was definately not his pension payout.
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