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Old 05-13-2013, 08:00 AM   #1
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Unhappy Marine Patrol Funding Woes

Glendale facility falling into the lake!
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Funding for N.H. Marine Patrol will take big hit if Huot's bill fails to pass Senate
CONCORD The presence of Marine Patrol on the lakes in the future perhaps hinges on legislation sponsored by Rep. David Huot (D-Laconia) that would repeal a statute halving boat registration fees as of July 1, 2015. Huot's bill passed the House of Representatives and now awaits a vote in the Senate.
The registration fees represent close to 60-percent of the Marine Patrol budget with a Recreational Boating Safety Grant from the United States Coast Guard accounting for the balance. The grant includes a "maintenance of effort" clause that requires the Coast Guard to reduce the amount of the grant to match reductions in state funding for marine safety. The state budget adopted by the House of Representatives appropriates $4.6-million in fiscal year 2014 and $4.9-million in fiscal year 2015 to Marine Patrol, with registration fees representing $2.8-million and $3.1-million of the revenue.
The registration fees were introduced in 1992. As the number of registrations rose, peaking at 102,258 boats in 2005, Marine Patrol was able to fund its operations without adjusting the fees. However, by 2008 the number of registrations had shrunk while inflation had more than halved the purchasing power of dollar since 1992. Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of the Department of Safety, said that as Marine Patrol's resources diminished, the boating season, traditionally June, July and August, stretched to between ice-out and ice-in. As calls for service rose, he said that the number of seasonal officers dwindled and the condition of the fleet and equipment deteriorated. Moreover, the agency's headquarters at Glendale became structurally unsound and began sinking into the lake.
In 2009, the Legislature, with the support of the New Hampshire Marine Trades Association and New Hampshire Lakes Association, doubled the registration fees, adding a rider that they would revert to their original rates in 2015 without legislation to maintain them.
However, Sweeney said that Marine Patrol fared less well in the 2012-2013 budget. Apart from trimming the operating budget, the Legislature also drained more than $1 million from the Navigation Safety Fund, a dedicated fund accrued from the annual surpluses in the operating budget, and stipulated that future operating surpluses would lapse to the general fund rather than the Navigation Safety Fund. Sweeney called these measures "a double whammy" to Marine Patrol, which threaten its funding from the Coast Guard.
Meanwhile, an assessment of the headquarters building at Glendale in Gilford found it was settling in several directions, its roofs fail to meet snow load requirements and it is not handicapped accessible. Moreover, the mechanical and electrical systems are inefficient and inadequate. The report recommended replacing the building at an estimated cost of $11-million. This year the Public Works Bureau of the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services revisited the report and proposed replacing the building with a smaller 32,000-square foot structure for a cost of $9.4-million.
Sweeney said that if registration fees were halved in 2015, revenues would decrease by at least $1.6-million a year, leaving the agency approximately $500,000 short of meeting operating expenses. That he said would require another budget reduction, which could jeopardize funding from the Coast Guard and put paid to tackling the conditions at Glendale.
Huot's bill to repeal the repeal (House Bill 411) carried the House by 36 votes, 189 to 153, with only 10 Republicans and only one of 13 Republicans from Belknap County voting with the majority.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:48 AM   #2
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Default Hb 411

HB 411 also contains a clause that funds canot be diverted to the general funds. I think that is what sinking the bill.

Because of this clause, I am all for this bill. It is the only way that our dollars will benefit the boaters and not the legislatures whims.
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:58 AM   #3
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Glendale facility falling into the lake!
As with any other agency you really have to wonder where the money is going? How much is wasted and how much actually gos into policing the lakes and rivers. As has been mentioned on this forum we see a lot of nice new MP boats arriving on the lake. Just saying.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:36 AM   #4
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Mcdude, thanks for posting....


Here is the thing that I find most troubling here.... Was the current MP headquarters built just before the moved there??? or was it an already existing structure...

Because if it was built for them originally, why is it failing!!!!!!

Bottom, line NH is still out of control with its methods for funding state agencies and it government from an overall perspective.

As BroadHopper points, out the fact that this bill takes away the ability of the legislature, to re-appropriate funds is actually a good part of the bill....
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:52 AM   #5
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I believe it is still the same building the state bought back in the 60's.

"The Goodhue Boatyard operated for many years until a spectacular fire in 1960 destroyed the building. John (Goodhue) rebuilt and operated for several more years but sold out to the State of NH for use as a base for the expanded Marine Patrol."
Source: http://www.gilfordhistoricalsociety....es/7_24_08.pdf
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:35 PM   #6
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Why not sell the existing MP HQ for a handsome sum while retaining rights to dock MP boats and park there, and build a new HQ away from the lakefront where land is cheaper. Seems like a win for everyone.
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:30 PM   #7
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Why not sell the existing MP HQ for a handsome sum while retaining rights to dock MP boats and park there, and build a new HQ away from the lakefront where land is cheaper. Seems like a win for everyone.
That would probably make too much sense for government.
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:56 PM   #8
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They don't want to lose the view.
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:26 PM   #9
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Why do they need a 9 or 11 million dollar building??
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:41 PM   #10
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That would probably make too much sense for government.
Did you notice who didn't vote for Huot's Bill 411 to repeal the repeal?

"189 to 153, with only 10 Republicans and only one of 13 Republicans from Belknap County voting with the majority."

Can you tell me why more Republicans didn't vote for Huot's Bill that would help the NH MP at least maintain their existing revenue?

.
.
.
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:07 PM   #11
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Why do they need a 9 or 11 million dollar building??
Contact this department and ask that question, then let us know what they say:

Michael Connor, Director
Bureau Of Public Works Design & Construction
7 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03302-0483
Tel.: (603) 271-3516
michael.connor@nh.gov
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:52 PM   #12
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Can you tell me why more Republicans didn't vote for Huot's Bill that would help the NH MP at least maintain their existing revenue?

.
.
.
Because Republicans rarely vote to increase taxes and fees?
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:40 AM   #13
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Default What is the building on 106?

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Why do they need a 9 or 11 million dollar building??
I thought they just moved into a new building on RT-106 in Belmont a few years ago. Why do they need that big building on the water anyways. All they really need is dock space and repair facility at or near the water.
As I said maybe they should take a look at spending and come up with a way to work within their means. We may, all be surprised to find out just how much money they get and where it goes. Then again maybe not, just saying.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:29 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dave R View Post
Because Republicans rarely vote to increase taxes and fees?
Correct.

Political party alignment first and safety second.

I'm not trying to make this thread into a political debate, I'm just commenting on what the article said.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Did you notice who didn't vote for Huot's Bill 411 to repeal the repeal?

"189 to 153, with only 10 Republicans — and only one of 13 Republicans from Belknap County — voting with the majority."

Can you tell me why more Republicans didn't vote for Huot's Bill that would help the NH MP at least maintain their existing revenue?

.
.
.
The reason being was the initial bill was supposed to include a non-lapsing provision that stated ALL fees taken in from boating registrations MUST remain in the Navigation Safety Fund and cannot be raided and switched to the general fund. Instead this bill simply sunsets the initial intent of the increase to have the increase go away after infrastructure was improved.

However as we all know once there is an increase it is difficult to go back to budgets of old. Just look at how many tolls were put in with the promise they would be removed once the road construction was paid for.

When the bill came out of legislative services without the provision to basically reinstate the Navigation Fund as truly "DEDICACTED" fund it lost almost all support from the Republicans including the cosponsor of the bill who signed on at our urging. He even spoke against the bill on the floor. If this provision had been included as intended it would have taken the house by a consent vote. Now it is in jeopardy of being killed which will be devastating to the Marine Patrol and Safety.

Unfortunately we saw this coming last session and tried to rectify the situation, however now that it is time critical some legislators felt this was an easier way to keep the increase at their higher levels without having their power limited to a "dedicated" fund. Quite simply this is now a tax on boaters. No longer a fee.

One can also argue that if the Navigation and Safety Fund had not been raided over the years to close the budget gap that the Marine Patrol would have already had enough money to build their new facility and perhaps they would not need to remove the sunset provision and our registrations would actually come back down.

Currently there is discussion of adding back the initial clause as a floor amendment, however it has not yet been finalized.

Best not to speculate and to talk to the people making the laws before jumping to conclusions. Unfortunately there is much more going on here than meets the eye.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:38 AM   #16
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OCD, do YOU know why they need such and expensive building?
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:26 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by OCDACTIVE View Post
The reason being was the initial bill was supposed to include a non-lapsing provision that stated ALL fees taken in from boating registrations MUST remain in the Navigation Safety Fund and cannot be raided and switched to the general fund. Instead this bill simply sunsets the initial intent of the increase to have the increase go away after infrastructure was improved.

However as we all know once there is an increase it is difficult to go back to budgets of old. Just look at how many tolls were put in with the promise they would be removed once the road construction was paid for.

When the bill came out of legislative services without the provision to basically reinstate the Navigation Fund as truly "DEDICACTED" fund it lost almost all support from the Republicans including the cosponsor of the bill who signed on at our urging. He even spoke against the bill on the floor. If this provision had been included as intended it would have taken the house by a consent vote. Now it is in jeopardy of being killed which will be devastating to the Marine Patrol and Safety.

Unfortunately we saw this coming last session and tried to rectify the situation, however now that it is time critical some legislators felt this was an easier way to keep the increase at their higher levels without having their power limited to a "dedicated" fund. Quite simply this is now a tax on boaters. No longer a fee.

One can also argue that if the Navigation and Safety Fund had not been raided over the years to close the budget gap that the Marine Patrol would have already had enough money to build their new facility and perhaps they would not need to remove the sunset provision and our registrations would actually come back down.

Currently there is discussion of adding back the initial clause as a floor amendment, however it has not yet been finalized.

Best not to speculate and to talk to the people making the laws before jumping to conclusions. Unfortunately there is much more going on here than meets the eye.
You don't know politics very well if you think that any surplus that a department has accrued for any given year won't be gobbled up and go into the "general fund".
Good luck with the "discussion of adding back the initial clause as a floor amendment, however it has not yet been finalized." I don't think it stands a chance of passing but it won't hurt to give it a try.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:39 AM   #18
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You don't know politics very well if you think that any surplus that a department has accrued for any given year won't be gobbled up and go into the "general fund".
Good luck with the "discussion of adding back the initial clause as a floor amendment, however it has not yet been finalized." I don't think it stands a chance of passing but it won't hurt to give it a try.
That is the issue. The so called "surplus" was set aside for a new boat and for summer help. The late director Barrett was an extremely bright individual who was able to predict what his budget would be the following year based on the trend of decreased boating registrations. He shrunk his department and set aside the funds so not to run a negative when the new resources were purchased / hired. However, they passed a law allowing all dedicated funds to be raided with the promise that it would be both "returned' (yeah right!) and the law reversed.

Of course this did not happen and even less of a chance now with the new legislative synergy in Concord.

I agree this will be an uphill battle for the amendment however we need everyone to call their Senators and asked to support this effort.

Complaining on a forum will get us no where. As boaters we need to stand up and tell them what is right.
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