Aug 1, 2015 3:37 PM
Carroll County struggles with $2.5 million budget shortfall
OSSIPEE — Carroll County commissioners are struggling with a $2.5 million budget shortfall for county expenses, which include various public services, a jail, a farm and a nursing home.
According to the Conway Daily Sun, the commissioners considered filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy to allow them to restructure their debts. Instead, they voted to postpone payment on a large bill from the state and to freeze payments to local service organizations unless the delegation decides to close the gap by raising taxes.
Budgets are set by a group of 15 state representatives from the region and then managed by part-time elected commissioners with help from the county administrator and department heads.
Commissioners say $1.5 million of the shortage is years-old receivables that an auditor wrote off, and they say a portion may be collected over time. Another $1 million was put toward lowering taxes last year.
The commissioners voted to freeze a $2 million payment to the state's Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services. Doing so would cause the county to pay a financial penalty, and the bill will be rolled into next year's budget.
They also decided to freeze funding for outside agencies. The cuts include $116,000 for University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, $75,000 VNA Hospice, $25,000 for Child Advocacy Center, $22,500 for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Carroll County. Carroll County Conservation District would be cut $21,000.
"We are not trying to be vindictive. We are not trying to hurt anybody," said Commissioner Denny Miller. "It kills me to cut the outside agencies because they do a world of good. ... We are up against a rock and a hard spot."
County commissioners are seeking a supplemental budget. The tax impact of the proposed supplemental budget was described as being $32 per a $200,000 house.