Retiring Selectman Miller Lovett tells Meredith residents that everyone can & should 'keep getting better' at conclusion of brief Town Meeting
Published DateMEREDITH — Miller Lovett, who has served for seven years as a selectman here, took the occasion of his retirement from public office last night to speak to his fellow townspeople about the increasing polarization of American political life.
''We have a recession which is being made worse by a Congress which can't work together. In our local paper we see letter after letter from people who say that 'anybody who doesn't believe what I do is stupid.' It's an illness. We have an epidemic of people who can't listen to other people,'' said Lovett, who will celebrate his 90th birthday next Monday while traveling in China.
Lovett was addressing the annual Town Meeting at Inter-Lakes High School.
Lovett, who was senior minister at the Congregational Church in Laconia from 1965 through 1970 and later taught business management at the University of Massachusetts in Boston for 20 years, urged townspeople to adopt the theme that ''everybody can be better tomorrow than they are today if they're learning, if they're growing.''
Lovett has been chair of the board for the past year, said that he is proud of what the board has accomplished through its management of the town budget in recent years,
He said that that over the past five years of difficult economic times the town had been able to actually build its fund balance by $1 million even though it had used the fund balance to stabilize the tax rate.
''The tax bills have remained level. That hasn't happened by accident,'' said Lovett, who said that the town needs a long-range philosophy of financial management with plans for both the long and short terms,.
''I have a theory, The amount of the average tax bill should remain consistent and only go up though inflation,'' said Lovett.
He was presented with a sundial by his fellow members of the board of selectmen at the conclusion of last night's meeting and praised by his colleagues for his service to the community.
Voters approved a $13,005,004 operating budget for the town, an increase of $743,918, or 6.8 percent higher than last year's.
Additional warrant articles for expendable trust funds earmarked for future capital expenses which were approved raised the total budget to $13,627,664, which is $892,344, or seven percent more than the $12,735,319 approved last year.
Revenues from sources other than property taxes remained flat at $4,471,410. but selectmen have used the town's undesignated fund balance to limit the amount raised by property taxes by applying $725,000 to supplement revenues and another $750,000 to fund capital projects.
The total tax commitment for the town is projected to rise by approximately $193,000 to $7,986,504, or by ten cents per $1,000 of assessed value, increasing the town portion of the tax rate from $4.20 to $4.30.
The budget features approximately $1.7 million in funding for capital expenditures that were deferred during the past four years.
That includes two police cruisers, a command vehicle for the Fire Department, a Bobcat front loader for the DPW-Solid Waste, an F-350 pick-up truck for the DPW Highway Department and a CCTV inspection trailer for the Sewer Department.
The budget also includes a step increase of 1.25-percent and a two-percent salary adjustment for all eligible employees.
Voters approved a petitioned warrant article calling for creation of a 250th Birthday Celebration Committee for the town after sponsor Jim Hughes amended it to remove a celebration fee of $2.50 for each town resident and visitor from the proposal.
They tabled a petitioned warrant article submitted by Rosemary Landry of Meredith Neck which would have called on the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative to provide homeowners with a choice between new wireless smart meters and a hard-wired analog/digital meter. The petition maintained that smart meters increase radiation levels and are unsafe. Landry was not present to explain the petition.
Miller Lovett, who served seven years as a selectman in Meredith, was honored by his colleagues at the Meredith town meeting where he was presented with a sundial to show their appreciation for his service to the community. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)