City holds off on VFW donation for poker machine license fees
MANCHESTER — The aldermen on Tuesday tabled a proposal to contribute $6,050 to a West Side VFW post to offset license fees it paid for video poker machines the post commander has since had removed.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 8214 Cmmdr. Richard Haugh had originally sought a refund of the license fees. Haugh has said the fees were paid by the previous commander despite the fact that he made his intention known to remove the machines, which he viewed as an unsavory source of revenue for the post. Meanwhile, the post is in debt, Haugh has said, and is struggling to stay afloat.
At a meeting of the Administration Committee last month, it was determined that refunding the fees would violate city ordinance. The motion was made to have the city’s finance director determine a funding source for a $6,050 contribution to the post — equaling the cost of the permits for the “amusement devices.”
Finance Director Bill Sanders identified two possible funding sources — from the budget for legislative services or Christmas decorations — but he also advised against the contribution.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Ward 3 Alderman Patrick Long proposed using the funds from the legislative fund, since he and other aldermen are also legislators and the funds haven’t been necessary to hire a representative in Concord.
However, Ward 4 Alderman Jim Roy said he was concerned about the precedent the donation would set.“I really felt sorry for him, I applaud what he’s trying do,” Roy said, referring to Haugh. “But I don’t think we should be using public funds to help a private club out of their woes.”The aldermen were prepared to vote on the contribution, until Sanders noted that the post wouldn’t necessarily have to apply it to back taxes, as Haugh has said.
Alderman-At-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur proposed that Haugh sign an affidavit indicating how the money would be used.
He proposed tabling the proposal, which was approved 8-5.
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Robert Tarr said:
"It was determined that refunding the fees would violate city ordinance." So it's okay for the City of Manchester to take a fee for "poker machines" knowing full well that it was an "illegal operation" to have such machines on the property in the first place but because of a city ordinance they can't refund the money that should have not been used/taken in the beginning? So it is it okay for the "City of Manchester" to collect fees and other money from the citizens and businesses of their city because they can, because it is a city ordinance? All this reader has to say is WOW... So like the Welfare Commissioner thought it was okay to deny a person city assistance for up to six months because they didn't include "gas money" used in a vehicle they owned? Or that the Welfare Commissioner can tell a person who needs medication for an illness; "Here is a 7 day supply, on the 6th day, come back to this office to see if we will grant you another 7 day supply of the medication you seek." If those readers out there doubt things like this happens in Manchester, it truly does, my wife was just one of the people turned away often because we didn't follow their (Welfare) rules or the rules by the City of Manchester. This reader hopes that the City of Manchester will refund all the money spent on permits to Commander Haugh and the VFW Post No. 8214 because as they say; "Two wrongs don't make it right". Guess we will see if Manchester's newly elected Charter Commission will also make changes to this ordinance or just allow things like this to continue to happen.... Only in the Nation of Manchester, outside the laws of New Hampshire and this Nation.
July 3, 2013 4:45 am
AL WOODARD said:
"Ward 4 Alderman Jim Roy said he was concerned about the precedent the donation would set.“I really felt sorry for him, I applaud what he’s trying do,” Roy said, referring to Haugh. “But I don’t think we should be using public funds to help a private club out of their woes.”...........if it were not for those members of that 'private club' Alderman Roy might not be an Alderman today, or even a US Citizen. He might be speaking German or some other language. The VFW is not a 'private club', it is an 'elite club' of men and women who have actually fought and sacrificed for this country and were lucky enough to survive. I'm sure if the members of the VFW were union hacks, it would be different though.
July 3, 2013 8:45 am
Nick Michael said:
I have mixed emotions about this. On one hand, I have great respect for our military members, both past and present. I appreciate the freedoms I have because of their sacrifices. On the other hand, just because a new 'commander' came into office doesn't mean that they wash their hands of responsibility of their actions. The past commander made decisions that he was duly authorized to make and one of them was to pay the fees for the machines. The Post must continue the policies of the past administration until the new admin makes changes during his term of office. If that means they lose money, then that is the price they pay to make those changes. What if the new commander decides he only wants to sell beer and wine and not have a full bar, will he ask for a refund of the fees they paid for a full liquor license? His best course of action is to keep the machines, set aside his moral objections, collect the money they make from them and make changes next year when the fees come due again or just eat the loss and move on.
July 3, 2013 10:11 am
Greg Barrett said:
No refund. That is not how city government works. Should we refund property taxes to people who vacate the property they live in? Private clubs can hold private fund raisers. put me down for a raffle ticket.
July 3, 2013 5:26 pm
Robert Tarr said:
Nick Michael wrote; "His best course of action is to keep the machines, set aside his moral objections, collect the money they make from them and make changes next year when the fees come due again or just eat the loss and move on." Mr. Michael, your actions and moral thoughts on this are completely wrong. You are in all saying, "Hey it's okay to have illegal gambling on a private property and keep the money... Who's going to notice unless someone says something?". That would be like saying Mr. Michael "It is okay for a woman to stand out at the street corner asking for money as payment for sexual intercourse or sexual desires? If nobody sees it or reports it, it's okay right?" The City of Manchester is wrong here, They took money knowing full well that those machines they classify as "Entertainment Only" is a ruse. That they get a "kick back" in permit fees allowing the machines to operate knowing full well that the money collected did not go to upkeep or repair of the machines. An arcade is considered "Entertainment Only" because the consumer does not 'receive' any money from the owner of the machine when they get a very high score. The arcade produces money yes, some money goes for repair, cost of operating the machine and the business it is located in which in turn goes into the owners overall overhead of his business. If lucky, he might make a small profit from them but not the likes of which are seen in table top poker machines and the such. So in closing, YES, the City of Manchester should refund the money for permits because it was not a legal transaction between the city and a private ownership. As for other posters who state; "Should we refund property taxes to people who vacate the property they live in?" NO because the simple fact is the land for which the property is owned and built on is purchased under the agreement that the City in where it resides shall be able to have taxation upon it according to the laws set forth by the State in which the city is in. Thus this law is setup so that taxes are paid yearly to the city, if no tax is paid, the city has the right to place a lean on the property to recoup the taxes unpaid. So Mr. Barret can a property owner vacate their property? Yes. Can they get a refund for past taxes? No. They are violating the legal terms of their agreement with the City and State for which they are domiciled and live in. Thus they are responsible for all taxes incurred on the property for which is shown by the title and deed of said property. No refund can be granted under the laws. You should know this Mr. Barrett, so why place such stupid questions in this blog to distract the readers from the purpose of this article. Laws were broken, The City of Manchester knew it, Thus should not only be held accountable for it by the State of NH but should also refund the permit money to the new Commander in Chief at the VFW. Let the new Commander within their by-laws of the VFW hold the past Commander liable under the laws of this State and Nation.
July 3, 2013 10:53 pm
Tammy Simmons said:
Poker machines for entertainment purposes are not illegal. Payouts from them are illegal. There was no illegal transaction with the city - the VFW past commander paid the fees associated in having the poker machines in the facility.
July 4, 2013 9:08 am
Nick Michael said:
Mr Tarr, your analogy involving prostitutes would be a good one if the City licensed and charged them a fee. But they don't. If the city thinks these machines are used for gambling, then they shouldn't license them to begin with. As far as the city is concerned, these machines are for entertainment, not for gambling, not for sexual pleasure, Mr Tarr. They did not license them as gambling devices so the transaction of receiving money was legal. If the VFW uses these machines as a gambling device, then they are the ones conducting an illegal act and that's when the city or state should step in. When a new Commander, or President or Grand Knight or Grand PooBah or whatever the title may be for an organization, takes office, he/she takes all the past mistakes along with it. It is up to him/her to make changes during his/her office. Will he be allowed to not pay back rent because he wasn't Commander last year when they fell behind? No, so he is out of luck on this one.
July 4, 2013 11:10 am
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