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October 25. 2012 12:28AM

Manchester aids far fewer than Nashua and Concord

The welfare office in the state’s largest city spends far less on assistance than the next-largest cities of Nashua and Concord.

Nashua, with a population of nearly 87,000, has spent three times as much as Manchester, with a population of nearly 110,000, in recent years to help residents with food, utility, housing and other emergency costs. Nashua has spent an average of $900,000 a year on assistance since 2009, while Manchester has spent under $300,000 in that time period. Concord, with 43,000 people, is less than half the size of Manchester, and the city has also spent more on welfare assistance, averaging $400,000 a year since 2009.

At the same time, Manchester spends a far greater share of its welfare budget on staffing compared to Nashua. In 2011, the city spent 55 percent of its budget of $1.09 million on salaries, or $605,000, according to data the agency has provided. Nashua spent $335,000 on welfare administration in 2011, out of a total budget of approximately $1.6 million, according to its 2011 budget. This information was unavailable for Concord.

The share of the Manchester Welfare Department’s budget devoted to its payroll has been increasing, while the share for assistance has been declining. In 2012, 63 percent of its budget went to salaries, and for the current 2013 fiscal year, it’s estimated that salaries will comprise 65 percent of the budget.

Despite its larger payroll, Manchester processes fewer cases than Nashua. In 2011, the Manchester office had 2,344 individual contacts and 1,238 “applicant intakes,” according to data provided by the agency. Nashua had 11,373 contacts and 2,260 assisted cases, according to the city’s 2011 financial report.

Manchester Welfare Commissioner Paul Martineau said he believed part of the reason for the difference was that the city had many social service providers his agency can refer people to, such as New Horizons, Families in Transition and Southern New Hampshire Services

“We’re fortunate to have them,” he said. “Other communities probably don’t have these nonprofits available.”

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Ted Siefer may be reached at tsiefer@unionleader.com.


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