To The Daily Sun,
Next month there will be a very important election held in Bristol, and the voters are fortunate to have a number of candidates, and viewpoints to consider when they take to the polls.
I will be supporting three candidates in particular: Rick Alpers and Shaun Lagueux for Selectboard and Don Milbrand for the Budget Committee. I make these choices based on their years of experience and unselfish efforts on behalf of the townspeople of Bristol, with Rick and Don serving on the Selectboard and Shaun with the Budget Committee.
Over the past year I have been somewhat concerned that a few people have been loudly suggesting that the town of Bristol is in horrible shape, as if it were a rudderless ship drifting toward the rocks. I couldn't disagree more.
I have seen firsthand, serving on the Selectboard from 2006-2010, our elected officials working together to make Bristol a place people are proud to call home. You only need to look around.
Starting with a newly rejuvenated downtown, moving northward to a new and priceless library addition, passing a fire department with the only 24/7 fully EMT certified ambulance service in the Newfound region. Going a bit farther to the town office you will find employees, from the town administrator on down, who are as dedicated and professional as can be found anywhere. We are fortunate to have them.
All of this, of course, does not happen by accident. It takes leadership. So it begs the question: Is this really a community whose elected officials are resistant to change and lack common sense as some have suggested?
Recently a published letter stated that "our town budget has doubled in the nine years that Rick Alpers was a selectman." That statement however is not supported by the facts.
I believe the voters understand that a budget is not set by one selectman, but rather it is a combined effort of the Budget Committee whose duty requires them to offer a municipal budget for the legislative body, (voters) to approve at town meeting. A quick check of the town reports over the nine year period when Rick Alpers was a selectman shows that the average budget during those years was $5,593,000 with actual expenditures averaging $4,840,000. The highest adopted budget was in 2007 at $7,669.000 with actual expenditures of $5,054,000 in that year, and the lowest was in 2004 with a budget of $3,800,000 and expenditures of $3,563,000. Interestingly, the 2008 budget came in at essentially the average mark over that time at $5,994,000 and then steadily declined from 2009-2012. This is the same time span that Rick Alpers and Don Milbrand were serving on the Select Board and Shawn Lageuex was the Budget Committee chair.
It is quite a remarkable feat to be able to reduce the budget, or even hold the line, considering the spiraling cost of everything, especially healthcare costs, while maintaining essential services that taxpayers have a right to expect.
Rick, Don and Shaun are honest, hard-working guys that deserve our vote.