Several weeks ago, we warned of a pending decline in tax revenues to the town due to the reduction of parking fees, rooms and meals taxes and the delay in real estate tax payments. We indicated what a 10-15% decline in revenue would mean to the Town (and with the recent news and information from the State it may be much more) and then followed up with a memo outlining a strategic approach to the Town. In the past week we have seen where the Town management has taken actions to address the prospective declines in revenues by freezing costs, including the UFB warrant articles that were approved by the voters, limiting overtime and recognizing that we are in unprecedented times. What we have not heard is any commentary from the SAU’s that we pay dearly for in our taxes.
With schools no longer scheduled to be reopened for the rest of the academic year we call upon the administrators to communicate to the public what cost reductions, furloughs, layoffs and other expense savings measures they have introduced to ease the burden on the taxpayers. As members of our community they are not exempt from the realities of what is going on and while we appreciate the efforts of the teaching staff there appears to be numerous opportunities for cost reductions and we respectfully request to hear of these efforts. We offer to meet with the SAU administrations to discuss the opportunities if they so choose to do so.
Norman Silberdick & Jerry Znoj
Rational Taxpayers of Hampton
Below is a copy of a letter sent by Fred Welch to the managers of the Town of Hampton:
TO: Town Departments
DATE: April 14, 2020
SUBJECT: Use of Funds
This formal written directive follows my verbal direction given previously during our staff meetings.
Due to the ongoing State of Emergency for the COVID-19 response, only essential spending is authorized; all non-essential spending is to be deferred. Currently base payroll is considered essential, COVID-19 related direct expenses are considered essential (examples are PPE or staff cost to enforce the Governor’s emergency orders). Authorized overtime must be managed diligently and only be authorized if absolutely required for operational need. All COVID-19 related expenses are to be tracked and reported to the Finance Director.
If your Department is currently working on projects with funds authorized by Town Meeting from a Special Account such as a Capital Reserve or similar type funds that is not subject to being raised by taxation the normal rules of expenditure apply under the Purchasing Policy of the Town. In each case the Department head must consult with the Town Manager for approval prior to committing funds in this category.
Warrant articles that were approved by vote of Town Meeting with funding from the Unassigned Fund Balance are hereby frozen and cannot be expended without specific authorization of the Town Manager.
Pre-Approved Purchase Requisitions are required before funds are expended. The only exception to this requirement is in cases of emergency or life safety situations related to protection of employees, ambulance calls, fires and police actions requiring emergency actions by Departments. Also exempt are Public Works operations for solid waste collections or for any emergency nature for sewers, the WWTP and roadway emergencies. In addition, exempt are current signed contracts requiring timely actions under a contractual obligation.
If you are questioning whether or not a particular expenditure requires a requisition before an expenditure or whether a particular project is exempt please call either myself or the Deputy Town Manager for clarification and/or instructions concerning these requirement.
This Directive is critical at this time while we are investigating the overall costs of the operation of the Town Government during the current emergency our Nation is deeply involved in. Our obligation is to insure that sufficient funds are available for the long-term operations of the Town. We are in need of husbanding our funds and resources to insure the success of those long-term obligations to our citizens, taxpayers and employees.
~ Frederick Welch, Town Manager