To The Daily Sun,
"What defines Bristol in my view is the community spirit of people living here. They care so deeply about others, and this must surely portend a bountiful future for the Town of Bristol. What is important to me are our people and our future." This was written for our 2007 Town Report by a past selectperson.
This is what I believe and see in my town as I attend the many meetings for the TTCC, Kelley Park, Community Events Committee, Bristol Budget Committee, Minot /Sleeper Library, etc.
I have lived here for 65 of my 80 years. I have seen the town change from a small, self-contained town that provided most of what residents needed without leaving the town. But times change. This change is through no one's fault and we must accept the changes, try our best to make the changes benefit our town and its residents.
Town services change as society demands changes. The police department is much larger now because of the many problems that demand a different kind of policing. It is costly.
The fire department, now has 24/7 coverage. It is not a total volunteer department. It has professional firemen and with emergency services, ambulance and EMT-trained people who operate under stricter state laws. Members of the fire department require more training and better education. It is costly.
We have a great water/sewer department. It is well run and very efficient. It keeps us and our visitors healthy with clean water and much less pollution than was so in the past.
The highway department keeps the roads safe, cleared of snow when necessary and repaired as well. All of these services cost tax dollars.
The downtown has been reclaimed. It was a tough few months, but it will prove to be well worth the trouble.
At the 2012 Town Meeting the Bristol Voters agreed to build a much needed addition to the Minot Sleeper Library. It has been built and it is a testament to the positive vision of the voters in our town.
Carol Huber tells us that she wants to lower taxes. That is why she is on the Budget Committee. She is finding it an uphill battle. I have been on that committee for five years. I listen, question, and try to find reasonable ways to cut tax dollars. It sounds easy. It is not. We ask our department heads to go back and look at heir budgets, try to find ways to cut back, try to live with less and do more. Each year they do their best with really good results.
The people who are our town employees deserve to be paid accordingly, with health insurance and retirement benefits as the town can afford them. Some of these costs are out of our control. They still have to be paid for.
We need people to serve on our Selectboard that understand that taxes are here to stay, but need to be kept as low as reasonably possible. Bristol's tax rate is the 67th lowest out of 250 towns in New Hampshire.
There is no way we can return to the 1950s. It takes tax dollars to run a town. The voters determine what kind of town they want to live in and what kind of taxes they can afford.
When we vote on March 11 I will be supporting Rick Alpers and Shawn Lagueux for selectmen. They both have experience and think with a clear head. In my opinion they will provide the effective leadership that we need on our Selectboard.
Please, be informed Voters. Come to the meetings. Watch the Public Access Channel 24. I love my town and want only the best for all who live here.