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I support J.P. Morrison and John Sellars for Bristol selectmen

To The Daily Sun,

Some Bristol officials like to tell voters the Bristol tax bill can't get any lower since the total tax rate in Bristol is in the lower third for New Hampshire communities. They brush off your concerns and struggles to pay your tax bill as if they are not valid or worthy of their consideration. In reality, the municipal tax rate, the only tax rate the Selectboard is directly charged with managing, is near the 75th percentile of the most expensive tax rates in New Hampshire.

With Morrison, and Sellers on the Selectboard, I believe we can focus on addressing the following taxpayer concerns.

— Stop overestimating funding when building a budget.

— Stop the unnecessary encumbrance of funds when a cost saving can be found in the budget.

— Tackle the $1 million unreserved fund balance.

— Slow down the growth in long-term debt.

The department head is only charged with making the bottom line balance out. Transfers from underspent lines to overspent line items to achieve that balance.

 Instead of handing this money over to you, the taxpayers, the town ends up encumbering the money to try and spend it elsewhere.

This fund has been represented to the residents as a large unappropriated contingency fund.

The truth is, this money got there by over taxation during the greatest recession in the past 75 years. We can't go back in time and correct that wrong, but we need a board that will give this money back to the taxpayers.

The past few years we have watched million-dollar project after million-dollar project get pushed through the town warrant.

The result of which has grown our long term debt from less than $100,000 to greater than $3 million.

— Bristol should be improving its infrastructure, but a little more planning and thought needs to be taken into account.

— We need to have a more open government.

The philosophy of taxation without planning almost resulted in the town owning a very impractical and expensive boat shop.

This means changing the way we conduct non-public sessions and how we communicate information to the public.

We are lucky to have recruited an excellent town administrator (Nik Coates) and I believe Nik will be instrumental in helping improve the way Bristol shares information to the public, and all town officials.

This is only a sliver of the work that needs to be done in Bristol, but the first step requires voting March 8 for J.P. Morrison and John Sellers for the Selectboard.

Paul Manganiello


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CAP gives Gilford residents assistance without using tax dollars

To The Daily Sun,

As voters go to the polls to determine how tax dollars will be spent, Community Action Program, Belknap/Merrimack Counties Inc. (CAP) is asking the voters of Gilford to support Article 24 in the town warrant and appropriate $9,000 to support the local area center office located in Laconia.

Last year CAP programs provided Gilford residents with more than $365,939 of services, returning $40.66 of service to Gilford residents for each dollar spent in support of the Laconia area center. This request is not for any social service program but solely for the operations of the area center. Staff salaries are the major budget expense.

The area center serves the residents of the city of Laconia and the five surrounding towns. We ask the city and each town we serve to share the expense of maintaining the office so that, when residents experience a hardship and find themselves unable to obtain basic needs such as food, shelter or fuel, the area center staff will be there to help them access resources for these basic life sustaining elements.

CAP staff work in partnership with local town and city welfare offices to assist residents in need using resources other than local tax dollars. We are awarded contracts by the state of New Hampshire to administer programs to provide basic necessities to New Hampshire residents.

We are also entrusted with grants from many businesses and individuals to provide needed assistance to residents seeking help in their time of need. All of the private funds donated to our agency are used exclusively for assistance. No administrative costs are provided. Therefore, we ask for the city and towns to share, with other federal and state administrative funds, in the support of the area center so that staff will always be available to assist families and individuals in need.

Last year, the staff provided 114 residents with 945 meals from the emergency food pantry. A total of 209 Gilford households were provided with $173,520 in fuel assistance and 228 Gilford households receive a discount on their electric bill because of the work of the area center staff. All told, $56,058 was spent weatherizing 15 Gilford homes and $1,629 was provided to residents facing a utility shutoff. Without the CAP area center, these residents would have sought assistance from the town welfare office and local tax dollars for assistance, which the town is required by law to provide.

CAP provides other resources and not local tax dollars to help the town meet its legal commitment. As a Gilford resident, I encourage town officials to seek out resources other than my tax dollars to provide basic life needs assistance to local residents.

I hope the residents of Gilford find the work of the staff of Belknap/Merrimack Community Action Program worthy of support from their town.

Judy Scothorne


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