Belmont already taxed higher than other towns; we need alternatives

To The Daily Sun,

After attending the bond hearing for the reconstruction of the Belmont Mill, we came away with more questions than answers.

We read Donna Hepp's letter to The Daily Sun, published on Jan. 27, and congratulate her for explaining, in great detail, the town's proposal.

With one vote, the town is asking us to:

1. Raise $3,357,250 to renovate the mill to be used for town offices.

2. Bond $2,957,250 as partial payment for this project.

3. Authorize the selectmen to negotiate the terms and interest rate for said bond or note.

4. Authorize the town to take $400,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund to pay the balance.

These are far too many questions to expect the voters to answer with a yes or no, all-or-nothing, vote and with no other options offered.

In reality, there are two separate issues here.

The first is: What should we do with the historic Belmont Mill? As Donna pointed out, we could repair the damage for less than $2 million and recoup some of the expenses by renting some of the space as has been done up until now. There are also ways to pay for the necessary renovations to the mill other than tax dollars. Again, as Donna stated, there are public and private funds available.

The second issue is what should we do for town offices as the selectmen are not happy with the Town Hall as it is? There are a number of alternatives here. The existing Town Hall has a second floor that is not used. The floor space could be doubled with some improvements that would cost around $400,000 (a rough estimate). A second option, that was mentioned when the town purchased the former bank building, is to repair the leaking roof and heating system on this building and move in some of the town offices. This would cost around $250,000 (again a rough estimate). The third option, moving the town offices to the Mill, is by far the most expensive.

The Town of Meredith is to be commended for holding a hearing on their issue of whether or not to put in roundabouts. Four hundred to 500 people attended this meeting, spoke up, the selectmen listened, and changes were made.

Belmont can do the same. We are currently taxed higher than other towns and the school meeting on March 6th proposes additional costs which will increase our taxes further.

We have the opportunity to attend the Belmont Deliberative Session on Saturday, Jan. 31, at 10 a.m. at Belmont High School and have a thorough discussion of these issues and what is best for Belmont. Only you can make this happen by coming to this meeting, speaking up, listening to what others have to say, and asking the selectmen to go along with what the voters want. Then, go and vote on March 10 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Belmont High School.

George & Susan Condodemetraky

  • Category: Letters
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Combine 2 Rte. 3 crosswalks into 1 & tie signal to main 3/25 lights

To The Daily Sun,

I am pleased that the Town of Meredith Selectboard listened to the people and put a stop to the proposed roundabouts along Route 3 and Route 25 at this time. We will still have traffic issues going forward and hope that a viable option will be presented in the future.

We still need to look at the uncontrolled pedestrian crossing along Route 3 near the town docks. There are two crosswalks within 500 feet of each other with one at Dover Street right at the point where the two lines of traffic are trying to merge into one lane going South.

Why can't the two crosswalks be joined together at Dover Street with a crosswalk signal tired into the traffic light system at the intersection of Route 3 and Route 25?

The sequence at the lights now is as followed. Green arrows allow Route 3 North to turn onto Main Street and Route 3 south onto Route 25. They then allow Route 3 South to go and after a short pause allow Route 3 North to cross the intersection. Next is Route 25 traffic to go south on Route 3, north on Route 3, or across onto Main Street. Main Street now allows traffic to cross to Route 25 West or Route 3 North and if needed Route 3 South. If the pedestrian buttons are pushed during the sequence all traffic is stopped in all directions, allowing pedestrians to cross. If the Dover Street crosswalk light was to be activated at the same time there would be plenty of time for pedestrians to cross in both directions with the least amount of traffic trying to go south.

I think that this idea should be looked at and given an opportunity to see it will help. I do not think the cost will outweigh the benefits.

David L. Bennett, Sr.


  • Category: Letters
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Maybe Pres. Obama is doing something right, despite opposition

To The Daily Sun,

Mr. Boutin's most recent letter is packed with fantasies and talking points that are simply not true. He writes about Clinton and the GOP Congress working together but conveniently forgets that that same Congress wasted time and millions trying to impeach him and opposed his economic policies for eight years. Clinton's policies gave us the highest growth rates in a generation and balanced the federal budget — something none of the Republican presidents in the last 50 years has been able to do.

The income declines came from the Republican policies under Bush that led to an economic crash and the worst recession in 80 years. Congressional Republicans have refused to take any steps to dig us out of the ditch and in fact have opposed any attempts to do so.

Mr. Boutin tries to make Obama into a lackey of Wall Street. One has to ask Mr. Boutin if he would like to break up the big financial institutions, increase taxes on the banks, and impose stricter regulations? We also have to ask if Boutin was opposed Dodd-Frank?

Mr. Boutin, if you really had any concern for the middle class, then instead of shedding crocodile tears you would support Democratic policies that are designed to help the middle class and to once again make it possible for people to rise into the middle class, as was possible before Republican policies enabled the 1 percent to grab all the money.

President Obama writes: "We have to choose what we want that future to look like. Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and rising chances for everyone who makes the effort?"

Recent polls have indicated that President Obama's popularity has been steadily rising. And under his policies job growth in the private sector has steadily increased, and the economy has been growing again. Maybe he's doing something right. And to repeat — this has happened despite the knee-jerk Republican opposition to anything he supports or proposes.

And by the way, the name-calling is not necessary to make your points, invalid and misleading as they may be.

Bernadette Loesch


  • Category: Letters
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PSNH customers to pay $435M for what? A boondoggle, that's what

To The Daily Sun,

Guess what? The $435 million bill is coming! The $435 million bill is coming! Just like Paul Revere, riding out to tell everyone to mobilize and confront the coming danger to the community, we must now do the same, every one of us, thinking citizens, who can take part in any way (phone calls, emails, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to stop this cold.

$435 million for what, exactly? The previous New Hampshire state Legislature passed a bill, signed and sealed, which demands the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) force Public Service New Hampshire (PSNH) to sell off, against its will, its nine hydroelectric power generating plants and three fossil fuel power generating plants as soon as possible, and in so doing, they will incur a $435 million loss, to be paid off by all electrical consumers in the state.

What a concept! (Even if you pay your electric bill through another company, they are selling you electricity that uses PSNH infrastructure, so you are still a part of all this.) Our home-grown, on-the-NH-soil and rivers, currently functioning, built and paid for over the past century, up-to-date, utility-company-owned electric generating capacity is required to be sold off piecemeal, to the highest bidders, who can then sell them off, and ship all the equipment, piecemeal to overseas buyers, if they like, maybe China, Iran and Cuba, and they can get the benefit of our century of building them instead of us having light and heat from them into our future. And, we take a $435 million loss to do so. Boondoggle! Crazy! Madness!

I bet you don't believe it. Well, guess what? It's true. Please refer to the Associated Press (AP) article published in The Laconia Daily Sun Saturday, Jan. 17, page 15. (Thank you, Laconia Daily Sun) The focus of this article is the PUC wrestling with how PSNH will be reimbursed for its $422 million loss and how the $435 million loss to be paid for by consumers is to be structured.

In the article, the PUC says it is proceeding as required by the previously enacted legislation, "unless and until that legislative directive is changed." This current Legislature, if they have the will to do so, could take up this subject in one day, pass it, get it signed by Gov. Hassan or override her veto, and this particular piece of madness would stop.

But, guess what? Again, referencing the article, above, it seems no one down there in the Legislature is even bringing up the idea of stopping the sale. No representative or senator is saying, "Stop the Madness, Stop the selloff of the 12 plants." Instead, it seems from the article that their focus is on how to structure the billing to minimize the effect on consumers of the $435 million debt to be paid by them. (And nothing about how that loss of home state generating capacity will compromise our future energy independence.)

Every representative and senator in this current Legislature needs to be made aware of this ongoing boondoggle and that the sell-off needs to be stopped — by them. They are the only ones who can stop it. One day, one bill, passed, signed, done. It would be out of the ordinary, but they could do it if they really wanted to. (Think how fast-one day-they put through the guns in the Statehouse rule.)

Space requirements, unfortunately, do not allow me to tell the whole story in one letter, so please watch for my next letter(s), where I address how PSNH has been fighting this sale all along and why the original rationale for the sale (eventual higher rates) in the first place was (and still is) bogus and why it is likely the buyers of our plants probably will not operate them in place, but will ship them, physically, elsewhere. Also, what this sell-off would mean to us as consumers and how it will affect our future ability to attract new businesses into our state. And, why we won't be able to fix this mistake once the plants are gone and we then discover it was a mistake.

But, meantime, please start spreading the word. This sell-off needs to be stopped.

Carol Grasso


  • Category: Letters
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Dr. Dawson gave us look atthe ugly side of freedom of speech

To The Daily Sun,

In Thursday's issues of both The Laconia Daily Sun and the Citizen newspapers, the readers were "treated" to a series of attacks on Fox News by Thomas Dawson, Ph.D. In his letter, Dawson accused Fox News of a conspiracy, false reporting, possible sedition, untruthful "facts," and so on. He asks about Fox, "Are they committing treason against our federal government?"

Throughout his letter Dawson spoke of lies being told by Fox News. However, in not one instance was he able to offer a single example. Apparently he is happy with the reporting on networks such as MSNBC and the "truth" as reported by commentators such as Ed Schultz and the "Reverend" Al Sharpton.

Part of the First Amendment allows for the freedom of speech that Dawson exercised to unfairly smear Fox News and its owner, Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch came to this country, legally, from Australia, and it is evident that bothers Dawson significantly. Maybe his anger is because of the "legal" thing . . . or maybe its Murdoch's overwhelming successes ... or the countless jobs he has created ... or the high taxes he and his workers' pay to the government. Maybe, just maybe, it's because Fox News has literally "cleaned the clock" of all those other cable news channels that Dawson adores.

Free speech comes in all forms — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Dr. Dawson gave us a look at the latter.

Bob Meade


  • Category: Letters
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