To The Daily Sun,
Dear fellow Gilmanton residents:
I am writing in response to the letter entitled "Petitioned warrant article would give Gilmanton Schools a tax cap". In this letter to the editor, written by Elena Ball of Gilmanton Iron Works, Mrs. Ball states that her petitioned warrant articles will not reduce the school's budget to the point of depriving the students of the essentials necessary for a comprehensive education.
I am writing you to tell you I believe this to be as FALSE and as misleading as the manner in which she obtained the signatures for the petition. I believe that our School Board and our SAU have nothing but the best interests of our children in mind when they create our school budget. Mrs. Ball's record on the other hand shows nothing but a total lack of appreciation or respect for the amazing level of education our children receive from Gilmanton School and all of the hard-working, under-paid people that make that happen. I would also like to recognize the efforts of the Gilmanton School PTA and its members, their hard work and dedication help provide valuable programs that otherwise would not be available. Some people might consider that these programs are not "necessary for a comprehensive education" but I disagree.
Now I won't just ask you to take my word for it like some have (refer to the paragraph above). However, I will give you some statistics, all of which I collected from the N.H. Department of Education website, which is available to all who care to look.
— Teacher salaries in Gilmanton are $5,652.00 LESS than the state average
— Cost per a pupil in Gilmanton is $1,367.01 LESS than the state average
As a matter of fact our cost per pupil for the years 2012-2013 was $12,260.49, which is LOWER than ANY of our surrounding towns, including Alton at $14,424.33, Barnstead at $13,125.23, Pittsfield at $18,371.61, Loudon at $14,369.57... I could go on!
While the sounds of lower taxes are appealing, putting a tax cap on the education of our children is not the answer. It is dangerous for our school and is disrespectful to our elected officials (also taxpayers) who set our budgets with both quality and prudence in mind. According to the Department of Revenue Administration, the local education tax in Gilmanton in 2007 was $12.46 and in 2013 it was $12.36. What are we gaining by restricting our school and our budget committees' proven ability to properly fund our school?
Our children are thriving at Gilmanton School. Our test scores remain in the top levels of the surrounding schools. Our school is ranked among the highest in the state. Placing a tax cap could dramatically change all of this. Contractual obligations with special education and high school tuition mean that cuts might need to happen to the student programming at the K-8 levels. The addition of one special education student alone could dramatically alter the education that our children receive if a tax cap were put in place.
To quote Mrs. Ball from her recent letter to the editor on common core, please keep this in mind: "We, the taxpayers, are asked to make funding available to the schools so they can produce knowledgeable children who are able and ready to move on in the world."
And: "Education was never meant to be in the hands of government"
Remember "It's your money!" and it's our future. See you at deliberative session and at the polls!
Gilmanton Iron Works
Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 10:12
To The Daily Sun,
I was very disappointed, but not at all surprised, when the Democrats, who currently control the Grafton County Delegation, chose political partisanship over decent behavior and selected a Democrat to complete the unexpired term of a Republican County Commissioner who died in office.
I know that I should expect this kind of behavior from members of a party that defends a Democrat president even when he has repeatedly violated the Constitution, but it still pains me and causes me great concern regarding the state of politics in this country.
I long for the day when more honorable people are involved in politics.
Russell T. Cumbee
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 11:25
To The Daily Sun,
The state of N.H. currently has two studies underway to both establish a new state energy plan and to review the SEC (Site Evaluation Committee) and it's processes. If the need for these studies has already been established then shouldn't our legislators unanimously support a moratorium on new energy projects until we can get the proper guidelines in place? The arguments being used against a moratorium just do not make sense. To say that we can continue on with our current policy for the time being ignores the studies initiatives. We are seeing forced curtailment at Granite Reliable and multiple violations with current projects like Groton Wind that clearly illustrate we have a problem on our hands. Groton Wind continues their denial and flagrant disregard of the rules while attempts at enforcement continue to cost the taxpayers thousands with ongoing litigation while putting the public's health and safety at risk. This alone should be grounds for our legislators to say, "enough is enough, we need a time out"!
To argue that NH needs to meet mandated RPS (renewable portfolio standard) goals does not make sense either. N.H. is already a net exporter of power, generating almost twice as much as is needed and has already met it's RPS goals. Why rush forward to sell power to states like MA and CT who don't want to "sacrifice their clean and wild places"? CT has instituted a moratorium on wind power in their own state which is very telling. Why can't we also take the time before consequences of bad decisions become irreversible?
The argument that a moratorium is bad for business is very far fetched. Industrial wind is not exactly the type of business N.H. should want to attract. It harms our existing businesses by raising electricity rates and costs taxpayers billions in wasted subsidies. There are very few benefits, most of which are temporary while the tradeoffs are far too great. The business that N.H. thrives on is tourism and this is the business that will be destroyed if these industrial developers continue to have their way taking advantage of our weak policies while trashing the state.
All of us want to be responsible and green. Initially wind sounds like the answer to our energy needs. But as you learn more it can be shocking to find that not only is it outrageously expensive but it also has abysmal capacity factors along with multiple health and environmental costs. It doesn't reduce carbon since the wind is intermittent and unreliable. Existing power plants must continue to exist. You also learn that the current siting guidelines in NH are outdated and were never written with wind power in mind. They are fraught with inconsistencies and lack balance and protection. One example is that towns have no voice and no local control yet at the same time must fend for themselves when it comes to negotiating with big wind over things like decommissioning and tax payments.
I applaud our legislators who have taken the time to learn the true facts and hope the rest can take the time with a moratorium to educate themselves and plan the best path forward when we have so much at stake. It would not be desirable to leave a legacy of miles of transmission lines, blasted ridge lines, abandoned turbines, and clear cut forests. When the people of NH look around at the devastation, they will remember those who allowed this to happen on their watch.
I drew some parallels to N.H. when reading a quote in a recent article in Forbes, which could help shed light on why this is happening around the country:
"Over the last several years in the Pacific Northwest, we have spent about $5 billion and impacted over 50,000 acres of pristine public land for the privilege of throwing away 9 billion kWhrs of carbon-free energy every year (NREL). Just so we can meet an arbitrary state mandate, claim we're green, and make a few folks lots of money in tax credits, the cost of which gets passed onto the rate-payers and taxpayers. So why is there such a drive to install wind capacity in an area doesn't need it? Surprise! It's all about the money."
Well, guess what? It is really supposed to be about the people! These are the people that elected the legislators, the same people that are paying attention and the same people that want a moratorium.
Please establish a moratorium on new energy projects and their related transmission so we can protect what is vital to us before it is too late.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 11:21
To The Daily Sun,
My name is Hillary Seeger and I'm privileged to be running for the Board of Selectman in Meredith. Today I was taken on a tour the Department of Public Works garage. After seeing this facility, I would strongly encourage you all to go to the Meredith Town Meeting and vote in favor of Warrant Article 10. In our beautiful town, I find it deplorable that we allow our employees to work under, well, the best way I can put it is, "less than ideal" conditions. Additionally, maintaining these antiquated facilities is not an efficient management of resources and is certainly not within any scope of being "green".
I will be writing about this in more detail and researching it in much more detail, but wanted to let you all know how much I support a new DPW facility for our town.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 11:10
To The Daily Sun,
This letter is written to correct one of your very frequent 'letter to the editor' writers: Steve Earle. Don't know whether "Stevie" is deliberately trying to provoke a heated discussion or not, but he continues to incorrectly spell my last name. While this in and of itself normally should not be a concern, I do take specific issue with his using a name that I do not go by or condone: "Bernie".
In the future "Stevie", I respectfully request that you refrain from using "Bernie" when referring to me. In addition if you Mr. Editor would correct the spelling of my last name whenever you receive a letter from Mr. Earle which misspells my last name.
The Laconia Daily Sun will continue to provide a great service to the residents of the Lakes Region in New Hampshire. We should not have to stoop to baiting, name calling and other low blows, right "Stevie"?
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 11:05