Letter: Funding demands accountability

To the Editor:

We are now less than one week from town meeting and there is still no Part B of the 2017 Town Report available to Manchester taxpayers. Part B details the reports and budgets of town departments plus reports, proposed budgets and special appropriation requests from non-profits. We have virtually no time to consider these requests.

To quote Ivan Beattie, Select Board Chairman from the front page of the Manchester Journal on January 9 "We should not be committing taxpayer dollars to a non-municipal entity over which we have not supervisory control." This was in response to the Manchester Business Association's request for town funds. I suggest we apply this statement to the Manchester Community Library's request for funding in excess of $200,000 directly from taxpayer's pockets! I am not against the library or their programs but am only asking that in return for funding in excess of 1/3 of their operating budget each year that we (the taxpayers) get full disclosure and some town control of their operation. For example, are their financials audited? What is their endowment? I noted that in the 2016 part B that they were expecting something around $100,000 in income from it. I acknowledge that the library has held informational meetings and has a projected budget for the next fiscal year. There should be Part B disclosure prior to town meeting including the above.

When the library initially approached the town for funding many years ago a town employee was put on the Board of Directors as a requirement by the town.

What happened to this requirement? Again this year we are faced with budget increases both from the town and the schools. We have to add to that the increased tax rate from the special appropriation requests. The Manchester taxpayers are owed some accountability from the non-profits they are funding in exchange for their tax dollars.

Barbara Comer


Editor's note: Part B of the town report was placed online Monday afternoon.


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