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Don't worry, Gilford voters will probably give Genesis what it wants

To The Daily Sun,

I am writing in response to a letter published on Jan. 21, written by Lauren Cooper of Gilford.

Mrs. Cooper lays out a passionate case for Gilford taxpayers to fund Genesis Behavioral Health to the tune of $21,000. As a longtime Budget Committee member, past chairman and current vice chairman, I have the privilege of understanding the process and logic behind our actions at a much higher level than someone who has just attended their first meeting.

I will not argue the role that Genesis Behavioral Health plays in the mental health community.
Each year when these petitioned warrant articles by third party agencies seeking funding come before the Budget Committee there are two short speeches given: One by the selectman's representative explaining that the selectmen prefer not to take a position on these issues and would rather leave it to the voters. They always unanimously vote to not recommend, only because the law requires that the ballot contain their recommendation. And I always give explain my position for voting against these funding request.

Must, if not all, of these third-party agencies do good work and are reputable organizations worthy of our individual donations. I have two issues: 1. Are we paying for services rendered and which town official authorized those services? The town does not budget for these services. 2. Is this a charitable contribution? If it is charity then it cannot be a taxpayer liability as well. We have far too many residents who are struggling to pay their property taxes to levy forced charity on them as well. Charity cannot be by force.

Mrs. Cooper seems to be taking the position the taxpayers should pay for services rendered without authorization. Suppose, hypothetically, that the house next to Mrs. Coopers was terrible disrepair and desperately in need of paint and landscaping, so much so that the home had become an eyesore and was endangering the value of Mrs. Cooper's home. The owner of the property hires a contractor to spruce the property up. Mrs. Cooper is happy. A month later the contractor sends Mrs. Cooper the bill for his work because the homeowner couldn't afford to pay. Is Mrs. Cooper still so enthusiastic about paying for services that she didn't contract for? I doubt it! Mental health services should not a taxable liability for property taxpayers.

That has long been my position. However, do not worry Mrs. Cooper, the voters of Gilford have historically been very generous and these funding request are almost always approved and I don't suspect these year will be any different.

A few corrections: The meeting that you attended was actually a budget hearing; the event on Feb. 7 is not a "public budget session," it is actually the first session of Town Meeting, otherwise know a the Deliberative Session. This is the process in which every warrant article is explained and officially placed on the ballot. Voting on these warrant articles is on March 14.

Although Mrs. Cooper and I will not agree 100 percent on every issue I do thank her for getting involved. More taxpayers should get informed and be active in the workings of town government. Thank you Mrs. Cooper.

Kevin Leandro

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How could Mr. Murphy take such a disgraceful stand against our kids?

To The Daily Sun,

I take such offense to the letter to the editor by Warren P. Murphy of Laconia that was published in The Sun on January 14. He bashed our Meals For Kids Program at the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region.

How shallow of you, Warren, to not see the need to take care of our local "kids" in every possible way. The club provides a "Positive Place for Kids" on a daily basis. We have been in existence for well over 10 years, scratching to establish our club. We have struggled to keep the doors open for our community kids, to provide homework assistance, guidance, activities to keep them amused and also teach them team building skills in sports and games, and to KEEP THEM SAFE. We diligently addressed all these issues, but until merging two years ago with our Concord club, we barely could keep going. We (our 17 MEMBER LOCAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS), along with other community members, had to beg, borrow, and plead to keep the club and dream alive. We opened our hearts and check books and had only one other goal to secure, which would be feeding "our kids" with a hot and nutritious dinner every night we are open.

If you were mislead by the article, YES, the federal government does subsidize this program to allow us to nourish the children of our community. What a blessed life you must lead to not understand hunger in our community. I am a proud founder of this club and am there weekly to participate with these kids educationally and then go serve food in our newly donated, commercial kitchen — which did not take a nickle out of your tax pocket. The entire kitchen was donated by The Roy Foundation in honor of their mother and by T-Bones restaurant.

The FOOD PANTRY gladly provides food to this program because our need qualifies. I talk on a bi-weekly basis at the club to educate anyone willing to listen to the impact this new food program has made. "I'll have everything" is the request we receive by our kids and they are welcome to come back for seconds, if they feel the need. We are building our community from age 6 and UP and a "hot meal on their table" is not always possible.

Your words may have 'shamed" one of our children or their family member by tagging this a "public welfare" program. I invite you to come see our kids at the club and help serve in our kitchen to see their beautiful faces and ask yourself, how many of these kids possibly would have gone hungry tonight? Our chief of police, Chris Adams, is on our board because he knows first hand the need to save our kids in any way we can to make them strong and confident and well-nourished and OFF THE STREETS. How could you take such a disgraceful stand?

Barbara E. Leone
Founder & Advisory Board Member
The Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region

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