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Meredith Library has beautiful building and accessible location

To The Daily Sun,

I read the jarring article by renown journalist Michael Kitch in the Laconia Sun dealing with Meredith's Public Library. The library panel apparently voted to leave the present site. The Site Selection Committee asked for approval on the "abandonment of this historic facility" and for a dialogue with the public on whether to abandon the present site. We look forward to erudite and rigorous discussions as well as some intellectual diligence and reliable data.

I have been out of the loop on the politics of this audacious thunderclap decision. My family likes the library and its present location. It is a beautiful building and is on the National Historic Register. The beautiful location is excellent and it is easily accessible. The interior of the building is beautiful, comfortable and possesses enormous old world charm. The views from the second floor writing and reading table are exceptional. The woodwork in the interior is incomparable. This is a special building. They don't make structures like this anymore. I remember when a new addition had been added and I think a new roof was also added as well.

The library is an artistic treasure. It is part of our town's culture and history. It is a museum representing who we are. We are an intelligent species. Why vacate with mindless abandon what is a perfectly good building in a great location?

I think we must acknowledge our responsibility to our residents who advocate for a remarkable, distinctive architectural structure whose design shows ingenuity, grace and is stunning for its raw emotional force. Meredith is where I live. I have a connection to the library and its faded elegance geographically and morally. It has a distinct personality, exudes intimacy, coziness, and is a welcome retreat for thought.

My compelling interest in the library is that it is part of the town's historic attraction and a quiet place to read and write. It is part of our legacy. We don't need a contemporary structure on the site.

What are the plans for the building? Will it be renovated, converted, updated and restored or torn down. I don't like to hear about destruction and rebuilding. I have chosen Meredith as my home. The library is a home-like place for me to read and conduct research.

What will unfold next? I have memories of the library. The library is a showcase in the town. I have had many hours of happiness in the building. It is not obsolete.

We have a library in the high school and another in the elementary school, so space is not an issue.

The changes in Meredith are astonishing. The landscape is in a constant stage of transformation, blending postwar with slapdash restaurants and bars. The pace of reconstruction has accelerated. The town is being transfigured. The town planner apparently has an ambitious redevelopment scheme. The library does not sit on a dowdy corner. It is an inextricable part of Meredith's historical arc, and cannot be ignored.

Are the decision makers considering leveling the building and replacing it with taupe-and-glass office tower, or an anesthetized chain store, tourist trap and bank branch? Maybe a sidewalk cafe for clientele who are businessmen or bikers.

Why the ferocious drive to close the de facto library? What is the existential crises?

What are the plans for the new library?

What are the plans for the old library building?

Will it be sold and or open for public bid?

What are the costs of a new facility vs necessary additions/ renovations to the current library to accommodate clientele including older citizens?

Are we running around with a surplus of funds?

Are we to get slammed with new taxes ?

I recall that we recently went through a torrent of new high-priced construction: A new community center, police station, fire station and all-weather track and field. There was an understanding that there would be a moratorium on new town construction in order to hold down the requirement for raising taxes.

Closing the library will be deeply disruptive. I want the leaders of this effort to marshal their thoughts and do their personal best at thinking this through with intellectual rigor.

Richard Gunnar Juve


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Why did County Delegation sign Sheriff Department’s contract?

To The Daily Sun,

Here we go again. The Belknap County Commission signed the County Sheriff's Dept. union agreement/employment contract, to wit, the commission will bring to the Belknap County Delegation for approval. The question is why?

What's problematic is who has the final word regarding any employee agreement with unions: appointed administrator, department heads or sheriff deputies. What is clear is that the Delegation does not employ county employees. It's the commissioners of each county who shall employ such numbers of employee deem necessary. The Commissioners, however, do not have authority to interfere with the terms and conditions of Deputy Sheriffs' employment, so long as the Sheriff complies with the overall budget constraints relating to the deputy sheriffs.

Therefore, just exactly how did the Commission get involved with the elected sheriff's powers vested in the constitution? It is the sheriff who is the constitutional go-to person to negotiate wages and benefit of sheriff deputies. If the elected sheriff exceeds the department's annual appropriation then and only then can the commission exercise its administrative budgetary powers to affect the transfer necessary to abide by the labor agreement.

Accordingly, the Delegation adopts its annual budget resolution. Subsequently, the Commission administers the budget and seeks the approval of the Executive Committee to transfer unencumber appropriation line item amounts to other line items exceeding the estimated line item appropriation amounts.

Only, if or when, cost items associated with the wages and any benefit acquired through collective bargaining whose implementation results in exceeding the 2016 Fiscal Year's Grand Total Appropriation invokes a supplemental appropriation with the Delegation approval. In fact, the Delegation has no authority to alter the terms of any employment contractual agreements.

In the event of cost overruns of line item estimated appropriations involved with contract negotiation requiring additional revenues exceeding the Grand Total Annual Budget, the commissioners apply to the Delegation for a Supplemental Appropriation. In that event, the clerk of the convention shall deliver or mail to each member of the county convention (who will be in office on the date of the convention vote on the proposed supplemental appropriation) and to the chairperson of the board of selectmen in each town and the mayor of each city within the county and to the secretary of state a statement including the amount of the proposed supplemental appropriation and the objects for which the money is required.

Supplemental appropriations generally are made to cover emergencies, such as disaster relief, or other needs deemed too urgent to be postponed until the enactment of next year's regular appropriations act. The county is in its second half of the fiscal year.

Why the Delegation is involved is unknown regarding the deputy sheriffs' contract? What are the individual line-item appropriations impacted as a result of the contractual agreement known to have been anticipated by the sheriff's decision or the Commission's prior to signing of the employment agreement? Clearly, the Executive Committee is the authority to transfer funds as necessary to fund the Sheriff's Department union agreement, not the Delegation.

Thomas A. Tardif

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