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Bristol's population hasn't grown but the town's budget sure has

To The Daily Sun,

Tis the season for warrant articles and budgeting for the coming year. At the last Bristol Selectboard meeting on Jan. 7, the selectmen were deciding on which warrant articles to bring to the annual town meeting. It was surprising to me that on many of these warrant articles the board was guessing at the amounts. No quotes, no estimates, no follow up with committees or department heads. Do they think the taxpayers, the senior citizens and less fortunate of Bristol have unlimited funds?

Bristol's population has not grown in 16 years yet the money needed to run the town keeps growing. This year Bristol is looking to spend over $6,000,000, including warrant articles. The Budget Committee is going through deliberations and even though some people try to reduce the budget, others keep raising taxes. Here is one example, "overtime" (OT), which for all departments is $116,000 this year. This is 38 percent higher than what was budgeted in 2010. Sure there is a need for OT, but be realistic and find ways to manage and reduce it and not increase it. The Budget Committee is the watchdog for the taxpayer, to make sure government gets what they need and not all they want.

This is one example of many of a budget that is getting out of control, which Bristol's elected officials are passing along to the seniors and families that are struggling. This is also being passed along to the people who have no vote because they own property in Bristol but it is not their primary residence. Hmmm, this sounds like taxation without representation!

For the past six years there has been on average a surplus of $185,000 every year? This is money that was not spent, but we have been taxed on. Where do you think this money goes? Well, it is automatically added to the unreserved fund balance, which by the way has about $900,000 in that account. This is the taxpayer's money, not a slush fund, keep what is reasonable and give the rest back.

Do you think Bristol's budget out of control? Your vote really does count so come out and vote. Go to a town meeting and make your vote count there as well. Vote the special interest groups and spenders out of office and let's make Bristol a place where all people can live and prosper.

John Sellers
Bristol

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Serious about reducing gun violence? Then attack the source

To The Daily Sun,

President Obama's gun control performance/proposals inspired some silly responses, including fawning approval and a Kathleen Parker column, contradicted by history, titled: "More guns can't be better than fewer."

President Obama is the best gun salesman ever because his policies don't indicate a real intent to protect innocent people. As president, he has inspired record, or near record, gun sales and background checks annually. Yet, although more Americans own more guns, violent crimes have significantly decreased according to the FBI.

Violent crimes decreased 6.9 percent between 2010 and 2014, and 16.2 percent from 2005 to 2014. Murder rates per 100,000 declined 6.1 percent from 2010 to 2014, and 20.8 percent from 2005 to 2014. (https://goo.gl/5faJDR)

With more law-abiding people able to better defend themselves, there are fewer crimes; in the past mostly only criminals and terrorists had guns.
The real issue isn't the number of guns, but who has the guns. Gang members, terrorists, and other criminals commit the vast majority (90-95 percent) of violent crimes with guns that they mostly get illegally.

President Obama's regulations will, almost exclusively, only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to protect innocent people. The lives potentially saved by President Obama's proposals will be small compared to the number of lives lost because law-abiding people cannot protect themselves.

While President Obama has been making it more difficult for law-abiding people to protect themselves, he has also been making our country a more dangerous place by increasing the number of violent people who are free in our midst.

President Obama has been releasing thousands of violent illegal alien felons into our country rather than deporting them. Starting last November, he began providing early releases to thousands of convicted felons, including many violent felons, based on new sentencing guidelines (note that many felons pleaded guilty to lesser crimes to avoid prosecution for their more serious crimes). He insists on bringing more refugees, immigrants, and students from terrorist countries despite our vetting system's demonstrated failures and inability to exclude terrorists. He doesn't support mandatory minimum sentences for crimes with guns. And, he has reduced federal gun crime prosecutions significantly; down 15.5 percent from 2010 and down 34.8 percent since 2005 (reference Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University).

For President Obama to convince Americans that he is serious about reducing gun violence, he must attack the source of the overwhelming majority of gun violence: gangs, drugs, terrorists, and other criminals. But he doesn't attack these. In fact, he has increasingly exposed Americans to more violent people.

Despite his protestations, the inescapable conclusion based on his actions is that President Obama's goal is to disarm law-abiding Americans, not to save lives.

Don Ewing

Meredith

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