To The Daily Sun,
If you've ever been in a situation where you struggled to pay a medical bill or wondered whether you could afford to see a doctor, you know how stressful it can be. The rest of us can only imagine.
That's why I'm asking our state Legislature to help Lakes Region families and many other New Hampshire families by utilizing the federal funds available to our state to extend health coverage to more Granite Staters.
The federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs for the first three years and gradually phase down to 90 percent over seven years. If the federal contribution ever changes after that, New Hampshire can withdraw — we have that in writing from federal officials.
Many of our day care teachers, store clerks, landscapers and home health aides cannot afford health insurance. We now have the opportunity to provide them with affordable care so they can stay healthy without bankrupting their families.
In addition, the state will benefit from the estimated $2.4 billion in federal funds over the next seven years that would flow to clinics and hospitals — and lead to new jobs and more family dollars to spend at local businesses. Improved access to critically needed services like mental health and substance abuse treatment will create new savings for state and local budgets.
Please join me urging our lawmakers in Concord to move quickly to accept the federal funds and get more people covered now.
Susan E Smith
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 12:26
To The Daily Sun,
Every taxpayer in Belknap County should be aware that the 2014 budget proposed by the County Commissioners contains an 8 percent increase over last year. During the January 7 Belknap County Delegation meeting, Representative Colette Worsman did an excellent job explaining to the county commissioners and the general public how health insurance, salaries, and administration costs are unsustainable and spiraling higher. For all her efforts she was immediately accused of trying to "micro-manage" the county budget process.
What utter nonsense. She and her conservative partners are merely attempting to "oversee" a process that is clearly out of control. Belknap is rated 7th out of a total of 10 counties in N.H. with a population 47,567. Yet our Register of Deeds, Sheriff, and Human Resource Director are higher paid than in any of the other counties in the state, including Hillsborough (pop 402,922) and Rockingham (pop 297,820).
Furthermore, Belknap County pays the second highest for County Attorney and Financial Officer, fourth highest for Nursing Home Director, and fifth highest for County Administrator. Our Nursing Home Administrator and Corrections Superintendent are the seventh highest paid in N.H., compared to their peers. Obviously something has to be done.
Rep. Worsman's opponents say the solution to skyrocketing costs is to negotiate "as we have done in the past" or to put it another way "rubber stamp" what the County Commissioners propose. Plainly, the old way isn't working, at least for the taxpayer. Oversight is what's needed. Fortunately, Rep. Worsman and her supporters on the County Delegation are up to the task and right on track.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 12:22
To The Daily Sun
I can appreciate the fact that you print letters with grammatical and factual errors, so letter writers can speak in their own voices.
Despite my wish not to join the letter-writing hysteria, I must correct a couple of points made by Ms. Landry of Meredith: I clearly said, "Every penny matters." I do not trivialize tax money and never have. My friend, Representative Fields, has tried his hardest to bring the Belknap County Convention into established practices, instead of the take-no-prisoners rush to undercut our county workers involved in some of the most difficult work imaginable. Had Representative Fields' advice been heeded, we (county taxpayers) would not be expending thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Unfortunately, our convention's belief that we can make up the rules as we go along suggests that legal fees will likely not stop in the near future.
Rep. Ruth Gulick
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 12:19
To The Daily Sun,
I was curious to read the recent letter from Rosemary Landry in which she called upon Belknap County Commission Chair Thomas to apologize to Rep. Worsman and for Rep. Fields to come to meetings with new ideas instead of insulting remarks. I do not know Ms. Landry so do not know if I have seen her at convention meetings but her comments suggest that if she is there she is not listening to what Rep. Worsman says and how she says it. After one meeting last April, I wrote a letter as I was completely shocked by the things that Rep. Worsman said and how she said them. I have been to numerous meetings over the past year and if anyone should be giving out apologies it is Rep. Worsman. She is blatantly rude to the commissioners, the county staff and to any representative who does not agree with her and she has been that way from the start. She has directly and openly insulted them meeting after meeting. As Convention Chair, Rep. Worsman has set the tone and example for unethical and unacceptable behavior that Ms. Landry accuses Mr. Thomas of. I have yet to hear, or read, any apologies from Rep. Worsman and until she does make apologies neither Ms. Landry nor Rep. Worsman should expect it from anyone else. As it is said, we reap what we sow.
I have heard Rep. Fields voice suggestions at meetings but he, like the commissioners, is given no respect because he has differed with Rep. Worsman on a number of occasions. When he took a position last year that was contrary to Rep. Worsman's, she very quickly cut him off him by saying two words very tersely and emphatically — "enough Dennis". Is that respectful or how a professional responds?
I wonder if when Ms. Landry was working how she would have felt if someone who was retired said that Ms. Landry did not deserve a pay increase because they had not gotten one. For those who are lucky enough to receive pensions it is commonly understood that their monthly pension amount remains the same ongoing — they are no longer working and their pension amount was set when they retired. It is the same with Social Security, with the amount set when applied for and, while nice to receive, cost of living increases are not guaranteed. When someone is retired it is an entirely different situation then those who are in the work force. I do not know anyone who is now retired who expected to work year after year without any pay increases when they were working. Our town and county employees work hard and we all benefit from their efforts. They are active in the work force and are certainly deserving of at least nominal pay increases if their performance supports it. We are all fortunate that people choose to work in the public sector; we should respect and support them for doing that and not begrudge them a pay increase they have earned and deserve.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 12:15
To The Daily Sun,
The challenges of this winter make a hard job even more difficult.
The Meredith Department of Public Works has met those challenges during past and current extreme weather conditions and maintained safe streets throughout our town 24-7.
When expecting a storm or experiencing storm conditions, Meredith residents know that the dependable, courteous, and well trained workers will carry on and do the job they contracted to do, despite occasional unforeseen staffing and equipment issues.
Thank you to the entire Meredith Department of Public Works from their leadership, road workers, and administrative support team. You are a great example of service to our grateful community. Residents, visitors and businesses drive and walk more safely because of you.
Carol & Richard Gerken
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 12:12