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School board has good intentions but some can't afford them

To The Daily Sun,

Gilmanton residents:

I would like to start off by thanking you all for allowing me to serve as your selectman. Over the last three years, the Selectboard has been involved in making decisions on many difficult issues. There are always two sides to an issue, and the Selectboard is charged with making decisions that is best for residents of Gilmanton. The only issue that has no disagreement is taxes. I have never spoken with a person who wants their taxes increased. The selectmen are also charged with being the stewards of your town tax dollars.

Three years ago, I ran for selectman on the platform to stop tax increases. Despite cost increases downsourced to Gilmanton from the state and Belknap County, town taxes have not only stopped increasing they have been reduced. These tax cuts were made with no loss in services. I cannot take sole credit, but I did participate in these efforts.

Throughout my time as a board member, many different concerns have been brought to my attention. My job as selectman is to look into these concerns on behalf of the people who elected me and bring these concerns forward. I will not apologize for the points I have brought forward from the public. My only intention was to reduce the tax burden on Gilmanton residents.

I went to the schools deliberative session. Some residents spoke out against the tax cap warrant article and voiced disapproval of Gilmanton now being a SB-2 town. Their arguments were very convincing. However, the continuing tax increases are causing financially-struggling people to react, "hoping for change." I don't believe the people who want to stop tax increases are selfish, stingy or heartless, they simply don't have enough money to support more increases in taxes.

In the past overtaxing led our Founding Fathers into the revolution that formed this country. Taxes being raised will only cause more people to struggle, this will then cause more public reactions to stop tax increases.

There are two elected legislative bodies in Gilmanton. The Board of Selectmen is one, and the School Board is the other. As one of the selectmen, balancing the services being provided with being frugal spending has always been my mission. The School Board is charged with ensuring a good education for our children, but has not been able to do this without raising its budget. If the selectmen being helped from the town administrator and the town employees can provide services needed without raising taxes, the School Board, being assisted by the SAU, should be able to do the same.

Owning your own home use to be part of the American dream. Now with continuing increases in property taxes, the word owning is being replaced with selling. I hope my replacement and all elected to any position remember who they represent and what those people really need and want. Our School Board has good intentions for our children, but they need to be reminded who votes for them. The ideas from the School Board may be the best, but some mothers and fathers can't afford them.

A good education starts at home and according to some research done by Carsey Institute at UNH, New Hampshire experienced the largest increase in child poverty of any state in the country. To see this full report goto http://www.unh.edu/news/releases/2013/sep/lw20carsey.cfm

I will end by thanking you again, I have learned many things about local issues and hope I have served you well.

Ralph Lavin

Gilmanton

 
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