To The Daily Sun,
It is time for the rest of the story.
Laconia is a city consisting of people from six wards, all of whom pay taxes and also expect to receive services from their city and make it the best place to live.
I am so disappointed to read letters like the one from Mrs. Warren Hutchins in the paper on Friday, October 7. She is the wife of the chairman of the Laconia Planning Board and spoke the previous night at a Planning Board hearing in the same way as she did in her letter. Others at the meeting had derogatory remarks for the council and the mayor, as they have at many public meetings lately.
However, as usual, many false statements were made at the meeting and in her letter.
At the meeting she insisted that the council prevented Rusty McLear, an outstanding developer from investing in the Weirs and so turned to Meredith. Not true, and Mr. McLear states: "The city did everything they said they would do" and he indeed did invest $4 million dollars in a project which he later sold. The blame game never sells.
Most importantly, the proposal by Mayor Engler is just that, a proposal. It was initiated by the mayor for the explicit purpose of moving a subject forward. Mr. Hutchins has said we have not voiced our concerns with them. Again, not true. The council had asked for new zoning regulations months and months ago, following a previous proposal put forth by the Planning Board, which was defeated after a public hearing opposing it. We asked to work with them. No action was forthcoming, so the mayor brought the present proposal to the council in order to get it on track and move it to a satisfactory conclusion for everyone. The Planning Board and Zoning Board can make changes or suggestions and submit them to council. It is a starting point.
The city was also blamed for the decline of the Weirs. Really? In the past few years including this year's budget, the city has spent millions of dollars on infrastructure: the building of Weirs Community Park, reclamation of Weirs Beach, and presently extensive water and sewer repairs, burying utilities underground, repaving Lakeside Ave., renovations to Boardwalk.
How many improvements have the business owners made to their property on Lakeside Avenue? What new innovations have been started?
The other wards of the city have problems too and many streets have gone for years without repair. They want some attention too. But, there is only so much money available for roadwork and it seems the Weirs thinks it all should go to them for the short summer season. The rest of the city is here all year and their needs are year round.
We also have a huge drug problem in the city and need all the resources necessary to get it under control.
We have a downtown that needs revitalization.
There will be those who would want to override the tax cap to take care of everything, but that is not the answer. There will always be those who want more and the burden will fall on a population that cannot bear the tax burden. We have the highest degree of disparity in wealth in the state as well as the highest level of an aging population.
We must live within our means and spend wisely. We have done that for the past eleven years under the tax cap and at the same time have made huge investments in the city's infrastructure and city school buildings and Police and Fire Departments, as well as the library.
This matter is not just about the Weirs, it matters to the entire city. We are all Laconians and we live or die together. As such, each of us need to take part in the city's business. Come to council meetings, express your thoughts, write letters to the editors or to the council and let them know what you think.
One last thought. Isn't it wonderful that we have a mayor who will print a letter defaming him in his own paper?
Laconia Councilor, Ward 4