To The Daily Sun,
From an article in The Laconia Daily Sun on Feb. 14, 2015: "Mill Society looks to volunteers to raise funds for repairs & operations," by Michael Kitch. Attorney Pat Wood suggests that the Mill could save money, "by persuading the City Council to forgive the $6,000 in property taxes levied on the rented space in the building. Wood anticipated that the society might require financial assistance from the city, perhaps as much as $50,000 a year, for a limited period of time." What Pat Wood is suggesting is that the taxpayers of Laconia pay $6,000 in property taxes for the two law firms who are renting space from the Mill Society.
In another article in The Daily Sun Jan., 13, 2015: "At City Council, Mayor Addresses 'Disinformation' About Belknap Mill" In this article Mayor Ed Engler says that the two law firms renting space in the mill are not paying an "unfairly low rents". He claims that both tenants, "could relocate for comparable, if not lower rents, than what they pay at the mill." I'd like to see some facts to back up that statement. "He pointed out that until recently there were three tenants at the mill and the annual rental income was $35,000." If each unit pays a third of the $35,000 that would mean the Mill Society is getting $225 a week for each rental before the cost of property taxes. Deducting the $6,000 for property taxes the Mill is getting $186 a week for each rental. If the Mayor and City Council are having non-public sessions on the Belknap Mill, how can the public have the correct information?
What the mayor fails to mention is that the Mitchell Municipal Group rents from the Belknap Mill Society and is also Lacoina's City Solicitor, which is a conflict of interest.
If the Belknap Mill Society wants money from the Laconia taxpayers, then all the Mill's records should be public records subject to RSA 91-A Right to Know law. That would include the costs related to the rentals, including the costs for electric, heat, water and sewer if these costs are included in the rent.
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