Published DateTo the editor,
I would like to thank the Belmont High School and students for their continued efforts of holding Candidates Night on Monday, March 4th. I would also like to thank Lakes Region Public Access for airing the forum on Channel 26 allowing Belmont residents the opportunity to get to know the candidates running for both the town and school offices.
I have been a resident of Belmont for 46 years, and have deep family roots within the town of Belmont, many of which have worked diligently on behalf of Belmont taxpayers. I too have worked and volunteered in many capacities for the Town of Belmont over the years. I am the owner of the Belmont NH Heritage Website (www.belmontnh.net) giving the history of Belmont, family roots within Belmont through birth, death, and marriage records, and high school graduation lists.
The highlight of candidates night seemed to be the race for selectman. Although, I was very pleased to see a few new faces and a younger generation showing their interest by running for various positions. In my observation, it was clear to me that some running for various positions were not in it for the goodness of Belmont, but for the purpose of serving their own agendas. I ask myself, why I would consider some of them for these positions? After all, this is my town, and I too have sacrificed and struggled over the years to stay a part of this community.
As I watched, grown men bullying each other over who is suing the town and for what and who lives and pays taxes in Belmont and who does not, it was obviously overlooked by all present that both candidates had sued the town. One under RSA 91-A the public has the "right-to-know" law, and the other for his own monetary gain while sworn in under the oath of office relative to medical insurance. I was thankfully convinced that at least one candidate does live in Belmont.
This also made me stop to think about the town policy that states relatives cannot work in the same department together to refrain from influences. I believe selectmen and other officials should not be exempt from this policy, as it totally goes against the rules they created for town employees. This should be standard practice throughout the town, including boards and elected officials. Imagine your neighbor's entire family making decisions of how your tax dollars are going to be spent. They say selectmen do not spend without the voters approval. That is correct, but when voters approve the budget in a lump sum (article #11), the selectmen have the authority to over-expend any line item they want or see fit. One candidate was challenged relative to an incident that occurred over 30 years ago, at the time he followed all permitting laws required by the state and utility companies. All of this occurred before the town had any ordinances, or even a Planning and Zoning Board. In the 1990s, the state became overwhelmed and put these responsibilities upon the town who in turn created ordinances, and also at this time suggested all underground tanks be removed (subject of the argument), at that time the land in question was no longer owned by the candidate being blamed for such non-sense. All of this made me stop and think about who I want to vote for. I hope it does for you as well.
As, for recent comments in local newspapers about Article #2 allowing transfer stations in our Industrial Zone. I do believe these facilities are working in other towns across the state without repercussions, but in this instance it is proposed to place such a facility above our primary water source in the Industrial Zone. I would support this in any other zone, but this one. I will VOTE "NO" on Article #2. I don't understand why we have gotten on the wrong track, has everyone who cares about Belmont given up?
The corruption, the fear of being targeted, or even cast out of the community is an intense reality for some. I too fear that, but it is a matter of principle, a matter or right and wrong, and if we all give in to our fears by not voting, we can only succumb to the wrongs that others put before us. As a citizen of Belmont, I am concerned that our bottom line budgets will increase at the school district level and the town level, continuing to cause us to lose our homes, making it difficult to feed our children, and its destroying our community. Our historical buildings have dwindled to four structures in existence the mill, the library, the Province Road Meeting House which is owned and supported solely by the Historical Society, and we have the Gale School that both the town and school want to just make it go away. These are the only structures left that represent Belmont's beginnings, without them what does Belmont really have? I too have felt like throwing in the towel on any hopes of having a real town to be proud of, and wonder if the motto "Best Town by A Dam Site" any longer applies. I want to encourage those who are no longer voting in this town to grab their ID and a utility bill, and go out to register and vote on March 12th,! If your not happy with things, you must vote to make a difference, it is the only way things will change! So exercise your right to vote, your town and school election and budgets is where your tax dollars are spent, YOU have a say, I urge you to please make a difference and vote.