Town meeting time again. Yes that time of the year where you know that you should go to town meeting and vote on important matters…like how you tax dollars are going to be spent.
However, the thought of wading through the blizzard of superfluous information called the budget, just sends chills down your spine! Fear not my friends…remember faint heart never won fair maiden!
In New Hampshire RSA 91:A governs access to all government records…PERIOD! Allow OHB to paraphrase; unless there is some one out there using a Hermes 5000 or a Valentine Pink Diana Royal manual typewriter to prepare these documents, the government is obligated to sending you electronic documents in electronic format. In short this means they must email them to you. Give thanks and praise to Donna Green v. SAU 55.
You would think that town government would have learned by now to just put them up on the town’s website and be done with having to field multiple requests for documents. As of this writing…they have not learned and they are wasting our tax dollars by not learning.
So here you can find the generic form you need to fill out to request information. You can type in this document. Be very specific as to what you want. So you might want to call them first to ask them exactly how town officials refer to the document that you wish to receive. a-master-right-to-know-public-write
Here you can find examples of two detailed Right to Know Requests that OHB submitted. This is how we found that town government is conduction business via text messages on their personal phones. request-for-doccuments-11-1-20016 and email-and-text-request
The most important item you can ask for is the 6 month and End of Year financial reconciliation report. You can go blind reading the details of the budget if you like, but these two reports (town or school district) will have all the information you need to see the tax impact created by newly proposed budget’s bottom line.
So go out and email the town and the school district to your hearts content. Get the financials reports that I have mentioned and do not be afraid to ask for reports from years past.
Next week OHB will write about how to read them.
Remember, the information you are requesting should be routinely posted to the web site…if you don’t have it then it is nobody’s fault but your own.
OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…PEACE!