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'If it saves one life it's worth it' sentiment is Megabucks mentality

To The Daily Sun,

It's Town Meeting time in Sanbornton and in my view as a taxpayer, the fire chief is trying to expand the Fire Department larger than a small town can afford. There are two warrant articles that will be voted on this year one is to add two full-time employees to the Fire Department. We presently have volunteers and per-diem staff to manage the services, which in my view seems to work well, and the cost increase with hiring two employees with benefits is a substantial cost increase, not to mention after putting employees in place his next request will be for sleeping quarters, which will increase the cost of insurance to the town and bring all its own problems to be dealt with (and paid for).

The other warrant article is to purchase a second ambulance. Aside from the cost of the vehicle there is stocking it and staffing it, not to mention housing it. I am not certain we even have the space in the station to park it which of course means an addition will have to be built to house it. For the runs we have to give up to other towns in mutual aid does not justify the cost.

For those of you who cry out, "if it saves one life," in my mind that is Megabucks mentality. If you buy one Megabucks ticket you stand a chance to win. However, if you buy two, three or 10, do you stand a better chance to win? Maybe, but the odds are still against you. With two ambulances and two full-time personnel, the fire the station is still the same distance from your home, and now if the New Hampton or Franklin or Laconia or Tilton is closer and available you will have to wait for the Sanbornton ambulance even though it may take more time to get to you.

I realize these requests pull on your heartstrings. But remember, you have be able to pay your taxes and afford to live in your home, if we are not careful we find ourselves in a well-staffed town with taxes beyond our means.

Earl Leighton

Sanbornton

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Many people will be denied the opportunity to vote if we repeal SB-2

To The Daily Sun,

Last year, Shaker voters finally passed SB-2 (ballot voting) at the Shaker Regional School District meeting. Several attempts were made, and failed, prior to last year, but now, for the first time, voters will have an entire day to cast their votes on the school budget and school district issues or will be able to cast absentee ballots if unable to attend that day.

Predictably, the Shaker Regional School District is presenting an article to abolish what took so many years to attain. This process has not even been tried until this year.

For years, voters were forced to sit through long, tedious meetings. It took hours to vote on all the issues. Older folks, people with children, people who had to work second shift, those with disabilities, active service men and women, and those who go south for the winter were unable to attend or stay to cast their votes.

The Shaker District meetings would wear on and on. Many people who did attend would leave, amid the meeting, disgusted with the time wasted — sitting through each repeated, separate ballot votes, all the activities, awards, band concerts etc. that took place well into the night. They came to cast their votes, not to be entertained.

Opponents of SB-2 contend that "uninformed" people will vote on the issues. However, it is my belief that most people who attended the traditional meetings had already decided how they intended to vote. I truly do not believe that any opinions changed because of something said during discussion. (If you are honest with yourself, you know that is true.)

With SB-2 in place, you can now attend (or not) the deliberative session if you have any questions, opinions or amendments you wish to voice/make regarding the school budget, warrant articles, etc. Approximately a month after the deliberative session, you may cast your ballots at any time while the polls are open. There are no more questionable/uncomfortable/embarrassing floor votes, or last-minute additions of money to the school budget that we have seen in the past.

SB-2 makes voting faster, easier, more convenient and more accessible. Voting is a privilege and your right. Voting should not be a chore or something missed due to time, distance, health or comfort constraints.

And there is one more very important fact: Because the school district is now under SB-2, you will be able to vote on both the town and school budgets, articles and elections at the same place — at the same time on March 14, at Belmont High School. Now how's that for ease and convenience?

Voting to remove SB-2 will shortchange democracy and deny many people the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

Please vote to keep SB-2 in place. Let's give this process a chance.

Ken Knowlton

Belmont

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