Too early to start planning for Meredith's 250th birthday?

  • Published in Local News

MEREDITH  — Jim Hughes, who served as chairman of the school board when the town marked its 200th anniversary, again urged the Board of Selectmen to begin preparing to celebrate the 250th in 2018.

Hughes proposed levying a "voluntary celebration tax of $2.50" on  residents and visitors beginning this year to fund the occasion. In return, for their $2.50 residents and visitors would receive a decal bearing a serial number and a different design for each of the seven ...

MEREDITH  — Jim Hughes, who served as chairman of the school board when the town marked its 200th anniversary, again urged the Board of Selectmen to begin preparing to celebrate the 250th in 2018.

Hughes proposed levying a "voluntary celebration tax of $2.50" on  residents and visitors beginning this year to fund the occasion. In return, for their $2.50 residents and visitors would receive a decal bearing a serial number and a different design for each of the seven years the "tax" would be collected.

Selectman Peter Brothers found the proposal "a little bit premature," suggesting that the board might form a committee to plan the celebration and recommend how to fund it.

Undeterred, Hughes countered "the earlier we start the better, especially with the tax," which he confessed was a "gimmick." He said that the town should collect the money before it spends it. Recalling the celebration in 1968, he said that the town minted commemorative gold and silver coins. "This is a big celebration," he said. "This is the proper time to plan and raise money. The longer you put it off, the less time you'll have to collect money." 

Hughes said that a committee should be formed, confessing that he has been nominated as chairman. However, he insisted that he would only serve as co-chair with George Jewell, president of the Meredith Historical Society.

Selectman Herb Vadney agreed with Brothers that it was premature to convene a committee and mount a fundraising campaign. First, he said the board should find out how the town celebrated in 1968 and form an idea of how to celebrate in 2018.

The selectmen agreed to direct Town Manager Phil Warren to meet with the Historical Society and report at a future meeting of the board.

"Everything starts with one person talking," said Hughes. "I've been talking and now you're talking."