To The Daily Sun,
A handful of people stood up at the Belmont deliberative meeting on Jan. 31st and made some common sense recommendations that were voted down by a handful of voters.
We wanted to save the Belmont Mill in a way that will ultimately provide income to the town to pay the debt service that is required to save the mill.
The town selectman want you, the taxpayers, to pay $3.4 million to save the mill and move the present 4,000-square-foot town hall to the 17,000-square-foot mill, knock down the present town hall and bank to provide additional parking. They also propose to put an additional building attached to the mill for storage — an additional 625-square-feet to the present 17,000-square-feet. They want to use all four floors for 18 employees. That works out to be approximately 950-square-feet per employee. Compare that to the present town hall with 18 employees of 225-square-feet. That comes out to be 4.2 times more room.
Just to give you some idea of space, 950-square-feet is equivalent to a 30 foot by 30 foot garage or a comfortable three-bed room apartment. To make a further comparison, the Laconia City Hall is also 17,000-square-feet, but Laconia has a population more than twice that of Belmont, and double the number of (city hall) employees.
What the selectmen are telling all the thousands of taxpayers of Belmont is that you have to pull in your belts to pay for the borrowed debt service for the next 20 years and what they did not include is the additional funds for insurance, heating, air conditioning, maintenance and upkeep we will be paying for as well. I believe that it is better for our well-paid employees to pull in their belts until we use our common sense to provide an additional 4,000-square-feet of office space in the present town hall or fix the bank building to move some of the office space out of the present town hall.
For a selectman to suggest that the present town hall be knocked down for parking space does not make sense. The town hall is a historic building and was built over a hundred years ago when there were no power tools available.
Belmont has the highest property taxes in the county and we are in the 70 percent range in the state. Our tax rate went up 23 percent. That's because in the recent appraisal the value of all the taxed properties in town went from approximately $700 million to $550 million, which means we will all be paying more property taxes in the future.
We have 3,000 registered voters in town. It is up to you to decide the outcome of this bond issue. A "Yes" vote will guarantee a substantial increase your future property tax bill. Please vote on March 10 at the Belmont High School from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Category: Letters
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