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People of Ashland in need of a better building for their public library

To The Daily Sun,

Public libraries serve the people. Public libraries give private, unmonitored access to information through printed books, which is extremely important, especially in this modern day of pervasive surveillance.

Public libraries give all people access to the internet, which should be a modern right, not a privilege. Public libraries offer services to the community, which enrich the people, often times especially children. Public libraries increase literacy and respect for the free exchange and discussion of ideas. People who love their democracy, love their library. In the past people have fought for the right to access public libraries. A library card used to be a cherished possession, that is how important a quality public library is to the empowerment of the people.

Now I have my suggestions for strengthening the current library improvement plan, which you can find on my website VoteSivalinga.com under the entry Sivalingam, 2017 Warrant Article 3.

For example, if we are going to take up the tax burden of a new library, we must offset the cost in other areas, in part by increasing reliance on volunteers. However, it is my opinion that the people of Ashland are in need of a better building for its public library, and Ashland's historic school at 41 School St. is a great choice.

I encourage the voters to fall in love with their library again, and vote "Yes" to warrant Article 3 (Library Building).

Tejasinha Sivalingam

Ashland

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Gilmanton needs to bring Elderly Real Estate Tax Exemption up to date

To The Daily Sun,
I urge Gilmanton voters to vote on Tuesday, March 14, in favor of Article 22 appearing on the 2017 Town Ballot, modifying the Elderly Real Estate Tax Exemption financial qualifications of individuals and the amount of exemption from assessed value by age.

Under New Hampshire law RSA 72:39-b this exemption was established and adopted by the town in 1961. However, it is the responsibility for each town by ballot to set the criteria for the qualifying allowable income and exemption limits. In Gilmanton, these amounts were last approved in 2004, 13 years ago, and are still the current criteria.

Based on the Consumer Price Index for the Northeast, there has been at least 35 percent inflation since then. Many senior citizens live on fixed incomes which have in no way kept up with this level of inflation and real estate taxes have substantially increased over the same time period. Simply put, many of the town's seniors are getting squeezed.

Much of the open land in Gilmanton is owned by senior citizens. In every 10 year town plan the residents have listed the rural nature of the town as a top priority. If the Elderly Real Estate Tax Exemption criteria are not brought up to date many seniors will be forced to sell their land and it most probably will be developed. For those senior homeowners who do not have land, they will have to sell and move. If many senior citizens leave our town, the volunteers for all sorts of committees and events will no longer be there.

For the precise modifications, they can be seen in the Town's "Voter's Guide, Explanation of Warrant Articles, Year 2017" and David Carkhuff's Sun article of Feb. 2. Please consider voting "Yes" on Warrant Article 22.

Felix Barlik
Gilmanton

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