Published DateTo the editor,
Belknap County residents may not be aware of the fact that the county has a new entertainment venue, the meeting room at the commissioner's wing. Monday night's public hearing on the budget was a cross between a tragedy and a comedy, with elements of a magic show. The performers spared no efforts (and manipulated the agenda) to assure that ample time was given to each of the Republican stars of the show to pledge frugality and hard nosed conservative values to the on-looking public. The drama was immediate when the first scene opened on the disembowelment of the commissioner's control of the budget, and the theft of that duty by the executive council.
So in a grand show, our Republican county caucus has told the voters that our choice for demonstrated competent and business like management by the commissioners was not our choice to make, they know better. You may read it in the stars that this single act will cost the taxpayers more than any other line item budget action of the evening. This is more of the same Washington-style partisan power play that infuriates the voters and cripples government into ineffectiveness. Pay theatrical homage to principle and fail to solve problems.
And now the elements of obfuscation and magic appear, as ample proclamations and pious brow beatings proceeded in pursuit of the sacrifices required to kill the budget gap. Here is where the shell game begins; when the commissioners negotiate a contract with the unions representing county labor, who will make the adjustments to the budget? Not the people we elected to do that job, who know the workings of the county institutions and operations, but the people we elected to legislate in Concord. Is this good governance? Will it result in long term savings to the taxpayers?
The proposed budget will result in our indigent elders receiving a reduction in already sparse services, and it is going to happen for the sake of political posturing. And there lies the tragedy.