Council approves funds for heating, electric assistance | News, Sports, Jobs


Dan and Ellie Snyder were honored at the Governor and Executive Council meeting on Tuesday. They are pictured with Governor Chris Sununu and Executive Advisors Cinde Warmington, Joe Kenney, David Wheeler, Ted Gatsas and Janet Stevens. (Photo by PAULA TRACY)

NEW LONDON – To help heat homes and pay thousands of electricity bills this winter, $35 million in public funds was approved by the state’s Executive Council on Tuesday to help, following a swift legislative action on the issue last month.

This means that the money will now go to five regional agencies to be distributed to qualified residents who will get electricity credits of $200 each and heating credits worth $450 for a total of $650 for the winter.

The money comes from excess tax revenue and thanks to bipartisan legislation in September to help residents through what is expected to be a costly winter for heat and power.

The state’s four major electric utilities have now raised their rates for residential customers to more than $100 more per month each due to the added cost of generating electricity from natural gas.

Heating oil prices are also expected to increase due to disruptions in global fuel markets.

This program is separate from the federal energy assistance program for low-income households and goes further to help more people, lawmakers said.

State Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, told the Senate that if he did not pass Bill 2023, he would deny about 50,000 homes heat and electric assistance. He said the state could afford it and he had the money from unexpected revenue.

Although separate from the federal LIHEAP program, it uses the same existing application process to apply for funds.

Residents are encouraged to contact to secure an appointment at one of the state’s five regional community action programs in Manchester, Dover, Concord, Berlin and Keene to see if they are eligible.

All they need to bring to a meeting is a copy of their 2021 tax return and a copy of their annual home heating oil and electricity usage history.

Contact details are here https://www.energy.nh.gov/consumers/help-energy-and-utility-bills/community-action-agencies.

These five agencies have been partners of the state distributing federal funds for more than three decades and were awarded the sole-source contract based on that story, expediting the process to get the funds used as soon as possible, Jared said. Chicoine, State Department Energy Commissioner in his Sept. 23 letter to the board.

The new National Emergency Fuel Assistance Program and the State’s Supplemental Electric Benefit Program are unique.

Governor Chris Sununu had floated the idea of ​​a similar program that had more money, but the House and Senate had their own plan.

Still, Sununu hailed the new programs as a step forward in helping people at a time when they are facing inflation.

“The program funds are intended for moderate-income households, those whose annual income is more than 60% to 75% or less of the state’s median income,” writes Chicoine. That means those earning between $74,942 and $93,676 for a family of four are eligible for the $650 credit.

The money will go directly to their heating and electrical service and will not be received as a check in the mail.

The LIHEAP program has a lower income threshold for obtaining assistance. This program has already received its federal funds and is ready to begin distribution in November. He also appreciates that last year’s LIHEAP funds were not used and instead the state tapped into federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to pay for the program.

It’s also possible that more federal funds will come from bills being drafted in Washington.

Without debate, the council split the $35 million in state money among the five agencies, with Manchester Region getting $15 million, Keene South West Community Services getting $4.6 million, Belknap-Merrimack County CAP receiving $5.4, Dover Strafford County CAP receiving $2.9 million, and Tri-County CAP in Berlin receiving approximately $6.2 million.

•••

END OF THE ROAD SHOW AT THE NEW LONDON BARN PLAYHOUSE

The “tour” of the state’s five-member Executive Council, in which each councilor had the chance to host a meeting this summer in their district, ended Tuesday at the New London Barn Playhouse https://www.nlbarn.org /Barn.

The 90-year-old theater is a New London institution and has undergone an addition. It will be able to provide year-round performance instead of just summer.

Community leader Dan Snyder received a commendation from Sununu for his work to see the Barn Playhouse towards its new future and was praised for his other efforts to help by volunteering on various councils including education and the finances in the region.

He and his wife, Ellie, were pictured with his recommendation, along with all the advice and Sununu.

The council visited Plaistow, Hooksett, Jaffrey, the summit of Mount Washington and New England College at Henniker this summer. He will now return to conduct his business at the State House in its historic rooms outside the governor’s office.

The choice of New London was that of the governor, who also has the option of choosing a location for a meeting with councillors.

•••

JUDGE GUPTILL CONFIRMED

Without discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve Sununu’s choice of Ryan C. Guptill of Contoocook as a New Hampshire Circuit Court judge. Guptill recently received commendations at a public hearing. He will serve until the age of 70.

•••

NURSE BURNOUT

People are leaving nursing jobs due to burnout and the cost of training and care through overtime costs is rising.

State Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette won approval for a 30% pay rise for nurses at Glencliff Home near Warren.

She said it would be used to retain and recruit more staff at the state home for the aged. People are working a lot of overtime to take care of people right now and that adds to the burnout factor, she said.

“It’s a step” at the market rate in health care now, “and we’ve seen a huge increase in wages over the last year,” Shibinette said.

•••

MANCHESTER AND CLAREMONT YOUTH AT RISK SEX ED FILED

An attempt by Executive Adviser Cinde Warmington, the council’s only Democrat, to walk away from the table and pass a sex education program for at-risk teens in Manchester and Claremont failed, as council Republicans voted to keep it on the table.

The advisers are the same who also voted against health contracts for Planned Parenthood and other clinics that offer abortions, even though the funds cannot, by law, be used to pay for abortion services.

Warmington pointed out that this program would help prevent abortions.

While a vote to remove it from the table fell through, Warmington pressed Health and Human Services’ Trish Tilley about the programs’ potential benefits and the additional problems the state might have if the contracts weren’t funded.

Tilley noted that the same contracts have been made by the council for years, including this particular council who are all up for re-election in November and who are all running for another term.

Tilley said it was an after-school program for teens that required parental consent for children considered “high risk” for court matters and the child protection system. Some are at high risk of pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

A key part of the program is communication with parents, she said.

The federal government funds the program, Tilley noted.

Does the program teach abstinence, asked Warmington.

Tilley said yes, noting that it’s the best way to avoid pregnancy and that the program also teaches about contraception.

By national standards, Tilley said, “New Hampshire is awesome. We have a pretty low teenage birth rate, so that number has gone down, but we know we have pockets of the state…that are more at risk.

This program has existed in the state for over a decade and has been approved in the past.

The programs at the Amoskeag Health Center in Manchester and the TLC Center in Claremont will end without the funding they used to maintain those programs for years, she said.

Executive Advisor Janet Stevens, R-Rye, asked if attendees could be victims of human trafficking and homelessness. We told him yes.

The council will meet in two weeks and the matter remains on the table.





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