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Time to think about how Tilton/Northfield fire service is delivered

To The Daily Sun,

As a "flatlander" from Connecticut who has lived in the Tilton/Northfield area for many years, I find myself fascinated that T/N has 24/7 fire and EMT coverage. I also note that proposals have been made to replace the old station and I have read with interest the budgetary and overtime issues in Laconia.

Connecticut, my home state, has many all-volunteer fire departments. For example my hometown of Old Saybrook, with a population around 12,000, has no paid fire or EMT staff other than a fire marshal/chief. The annual budget is around $300,000. They have a five-bay modern fire station and small building for ambulances.

Close by is Wethersfield with a population over 25,000. The operation there is about the same.

I have been told that T/N in the distant past was all-volunteer. With a budget around $2 million it might be time to think about how this service is delivered.

Rick Honer


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I was one of the 'tireless minority' who stopped the House budget

To The Daily Sun,

This is the 11th of my reports to the voters of Hill and Franklin on what is happening in Concord. I did not write a report last week because it was very slow with hearings on a few Senate bills in the Criminal Law Committee.

One interesting bill that passed our committee should be going to full House and then on to the governor addressed the jurisdiction of State Police. It turns out that for many years the State Police have been restricted from action in any town with over a population of 3,000. I don't know the genesis of this but I suspect it was territorial wars between some larger city police chiefs and the State Police commissioners. Smart lawyers and things like GPS finally brought it to a head. Cases were dismissed when the lawyers found an incident occurred in a town with too large a population by comparing census records with the State Police GPS records. This was common practice on roads like 101 and Route 4. Today it is important that all police agencies work together. The chiefs of police and the State Police presented a bill they all agreed would solve the problem to make this action a thing of the past.

Last week we worked to pass the budget. However, we failed because of egos and an unwillingness to compromise. A group of about 70 conservative legislators examined the budget and could not agree to the overall increased spending. This is a good biennium for tax revenues, but we all know that if you spend it all you are building a base that will be hard to overcome when times are sparse. And that will happen. The Republican platform says the increase should not exceed the rate of inflation plus any population growth. Over the next biennium an increase in spending should be no more that 3 percent. The budget spent general funds at a rate of 7-10 percent increase, depending upon the set of rules being utilized. I am using a range here because it is hard to determine a straight answer. Nonetheless, it was higher than the 3 percent rate of inflation over the biennium. The conservative group tried numerous amendments to no avail. They also went to leadership to negotiate a compromise, but met a wall of resistance. In the end, the budget failed. The Democrats were never going to vote for a Republican budget and, with the conservatives in opposition, the budget went down in flames. The Senate will start fresh to come up with a budget. In the end, a budget will be proposed and in a Committee of Conference between the House and Senate members will work out the details before it is presented to the House and Senate to pass. The final result will then go to the Governor. John Adams once said, "It does not require a majority to prevail, but an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." I was one of the "tireless minority."

Legislation is moving fast. By the time, you read this report it may be too late for you to voice your opinion on a given bill, but you must be engaged to have your voice heard. You can view the House Calendar every Friday to see what bills will be presented at www.gencourt.state.nh.us. Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 320-9524 if you have any questions.

Dave Testerman
N.H. State Representative
Franklin and Hill

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