Diverted Funds

Read an old Rumbo article, Testing… Testing… Testing

This reminded me that the Mayor has diverted funds from one grant to another project before.

So I tried to find that information. I was at the Council meeting and heard the words. I searched and searched to no avail. No where could I find those quotes.

So I changed tack and looked at What don’t you see? Guess what not all the minutes from Council meetings are posted.

I made a list of the scheduled council meetings and the agenda and minutes posted on the website. I found the following dates missing minutes.
Regular Meeting 11/20/2006
Regular Meeting 3/19/2007
Regular Meeting 4/17/2007
Regular Meeting 5/7/2007
Regular Meeting 6/2/2008
Regular Meeting 9/ 2/2008
Regular Meeting 9/15/2008

I wrote to the Council Clerks. As I’ve stated before, they are doing a great job. They located the missing minutes and forwarded them to the IT department. Next day they were available for review on-line.

I immediately found what I had been searching for.


Under contracts,  C-07-16 Pope Industries, Inc, 68 Maple Avenue, Atkinson, NH 03811 for Methuen Arlington Neighborhood Center in the amount of $541,427.00.
Read the following. [Out of context, yes but exactly in context--read for your self--click link above]

“Councilor Cronin definitely supports the programs but he has concerns and questions. One is that they are going to take grant money that was specified for another area in the Central District and move it.

Mayor Manzi said the reprogramming of that money, from point A to point B in this case, is done simply because of the fact that we were not going to be able to utilize the money toward the intended purpose. More testing needs to be done on the Appleyards’ site and he will come back with that money. In his view it was something that was acceptable. As much as he supports the programs, if this was a situation where one was going to suffer and one was going to gain, he would look to do it another way. The money cannot be used this year for Appleyards and this doesn’t impede our ability to get Appleyards done.

Councilor Cronin said the problem is we are not considered what they call a “mini-entitlement program” any more. This is the first year in the most recent years that we have to compete for community block money. There is no guarantee that we are going to receive any future funds designated for that site.

Councilor Andrew said the $125,000 for Appleyards would be returned for the Appleyards’ site.

Mayor Manzi responded, yes. He’ll be there for that as well.”

I need to ask a few questions.

The first is we spent $541,427.00.

I looked up the assessed value and it is building, $209,300 and land,$92,400. Total assessed value in 2009 was $309,700. We already owned the land, and the city of Methuen still does, but the cost of the project was, even with all the donated materials, $541,427.

How did a building that cost us half a million dollars become valued at $209,000?

I understand the neighborhood values and the surrounding buildings but they were all built over 100 years ago.

The second question is, where is the $125,000 borrowed dollars from the Appleyards grant?

How did they explain that in the grants yearly report?  We decided that we needed to move the money elsewhere, because we have tested this site to death and aren’t going to test it again this year.

Now we find we have a new grant for building at Appleyards.

Where did the money come from to fund the design work that is already done?

Shouldn’t all these funding requests be before the Council? Where is the open and transparent part that I seem to miss?

admin posted at 2009-10-20 Category: City Council

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