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Sen. Ayotte: stop wasting money on foreigners & stand up for vets

To the editor,
Senator Ayotte, you were elected to the Senate because most of us thought you had some backbone and were out to serve the people of the great state of New Hampshire. Where did you learn the art of deception so well that as a sheep farmer you pulled the wool over the eyes of your supporters so easily.
It is getting clearer and clearer that the only reason you wanted to be senator was to double your salary from (rounded off numbers) $85K to $174K a year and to take the salary with you when you retired. Wouldn't it be nice if you got your backside off the golden throne and did something you could make us all proud of you for? Like instead of going with the rest of the crooks down there in DC you got on the bandwagon to help the veterans who are so desperately in need of disability help. You would think that after you took that trip to Iraq when you first got in office as a senator (by the way, as your boss, I did not sanction this trip of wasted tax dollars) that you would have compassion for the people that are following your orders serving in a hell hole that will always be a hell hole. Why is it that those of us struggling for a living can see the way to helping our soldiers and you can not? It would be so simple to take the money away from all the freeloaders (lazy kids who dream up any excuse to get on welfare and church-sponsored foreigners who are handed money right and left because they think this is the land of milk and honey). The parents had these kids and the church brought these people here, let them support them and lets the money go where it should be going — TO OUR VETS!
Stand up Senator Ayotte and become a leader of the people for the people and make us proud that you are from the little Great State of New Hampshire.
Bev Buker

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:24

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Budget balances both needs of county government & taxpayers

To the editor,
Seeking a balance between the needs of the county government and that of those who are responsible for paying the bills — the Belknap County Taxpayers — on March 4, 2013, your representatives passed the 2013 Belknap County budget.
On December 10th, the Belknap County Commissioners presented their budget to the delegation. That budget would have required a nearly 9 percent increase in the amount required to be raised by taxation. Officials and members from our communities began appealing to convention members to control this budget. Your delegates have worked tremendously hard to accomplish that charge.
We began by identifying the cost drivers. Realizing that the increase in this budget was, in part, caused by unsustainable wage raises—an average of 5 percent per year — and the taxpayers' continued absorption of the increases in health insurance and benefits, our goal was to slow this growth. We realize that while most county employees are dedicated and hardworking individuals, so are the hardworking taxpayers who must support their own families while still supporting the county employees' salaries and benefits. Many taxpayers have seen no salary increases at all during the last few years and, if they have insurance, they are paying for all or most of it out of their own pockets. Therefore while the approved 2013 Belknap County budget made very few cuts, it has reduced the growth of county government expenditures. Essentially, we have succeeded in level-funded salary lines, incorporating the raises and step increases made during the 2012 year. This decision also reduces the associated appropriations such as Payroll Taxes, Retirement, Unemployment, and Workers Compensation expenses. After taking into consideration the 2012 mid-year rate increase, we have also level-funded health insurance for employees and their families.
Two appropriation lines in each department have no monetary amounts assigned to them: the lines associated with longevity pay and a sick pay bonus. Additionally, we have reduced one salary line, as well as the legal and training budgets in the Administration Department. We reduced the New Computer line from $14,000 to $11,216 in Info Technology. We identified savings made possible by a donation by Rep. Bob Greemore. We achieved a more realistic amount for Building Improvements in the Maintenance Department. We funded fewer new cruisers for purchase by the Sheriff's Department. Finally in the Belknap County Nursing Home, we reduced some of the overtime funding from $150,000 to $100,000, removed the funding for a new vehicle, some chairs and the refurbishing a floor that appears to be in good condition. In all, the total appropriations were reduced by $599,980.
On the revenue side, we used a bit more of the fund balance and more realistically adjusted revenue accounts based on actual receipts. The budget, as voted, raises taxes by $56,010 over last year's budget.
In summary, the 2013 Belknap County Budget balances the needs of both the county and the taxpayers with no change to the number of employees and therefore no change to services.
Please note these are my comments and do not necessarily represent all members of the convention. I would like to publicly thank them for all of their hard work and I am sure they would appreciate your support.
Rep. Colette Worsman
Meredith & Gilford

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:20

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Don't spend the $200k in recycling savings until you see it

To the editor,
I am in favor of more city-wide recycling. However, I am not in favor of adopting a city budget that is predicated upon "potential savings" from increased recycling efforts. If the $200K in (recycling) savings for the city is actually realized, then, and only then should the city spend the money. It was once said "I see a fund ... capable of extinguishing the debt... in 10 years or earlier. But we must not reckon our chickens before they are hatched." (Sir Walter Scott, 1829 Scott Journal, May 20, 1946).
Thomas Selling

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:17

Hits: 366

Thanks for generous donations to LHS Band's Sweet Sensations

To the editor,
It is so rewarding to know that our community loves our students at Laconia High School! On behalf of the Laconia Sachems Band Boosters, we would like to thank the following for their generous donations of wonderful "goodies" to our Sweet Sensations of the Lakes Region:
Hart's, Fratello's, T-Bones, Laflamme's Cakes, Becky Johnson, Vintage Café, Village Bakery, Jack's in LHS, Kathy Calvin, Lisa Cornish, Allison LeClaire, Priscilla LeClaire and Lori Walker
Without the help from the wonderful LHS custodial staff, parents and volunteers, this night would not have been the success that it was. We thank you all so very very much.
We look forward to seeing you all at our next fundraising event on April 5th, A Night of Laughter at LHS featuring 3 Boston-area comedians and the LHS Jazz Band! Tickets are just $9 and can be purchased at the door, through your favorite band or chorus student or at Greenlaw's Laconia.
Are there any band alumni out there that would like to contribute to our granite paver? The Band Booster will be purchasing a granite paver for the new sports stadium for $1,000. If you would like to donate please e-mail Lisa Fortson at Laconia Sachem Band Boosters at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lisa Fortson, President
Sharon Pond, Vice President
Laconia Sachems Band Boosters

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 12:45

Hits: 277

Next year, can T-N Fire Board please make presentation to voters?

To the editor,
Another year has come and gone with regards to annual meetings. The Tilton-Northfield Fire District Annual meeting was at best a disappointment. I say that with all due respect to the Budget Committee, the commissioners and our administration. First, thank you all for your service and hard work.
Each time I have come to this meeting there is some kind of controversy over the warrant articles or the budget. This year it was pretty calm despite some harsh words from some friends and neighbors. The great thing was we all walked out friends. I am hoping we have put behind us the unpleasantry of the chief's employment contract and whatever divisions we have between our towns. Pat Clark was re-elected and we approved a well constructed budget. The disappointing part of this entire evening was there was no communication from our chief, Budget Committee or commissioner on the state of affairs of the district. No discussion (outside of statistics in the annual report) about anything. How about telling us about some accomplishments or great rescues... anything? It always seems like it is a one-way conversation. Some friends and neighbors took to the microphone to voice concerns, ask about line items in the budget, ask questions of Pat Clark and Jane Alden and a question for the chief. Seriously, when our very skilled moderator, Kent Finemore, read the warrant for the budget and it was brought to the floor with NO presentation from either the Budget Committee or the commissions, I was stunned. At least guide us through the highlights of the increases, decreases, challenges and disagreements between the two entities. What did we hear after Kent asked for discussion...? Crickets! Next year, can you please prepare a brief presentation so we have a starting point discussion and we can better understand the warrants and budget? Thanks.
The highlights from the School District meeting were sparse. We voted to support the football program with $1 for safety of the kids. $1 might seem like a small amount, but what that does is allows the school board to put much more money in that line item only for the safety of the kids and ONLY for this coming school year. A lot of folks thought this was an "end run" to fully fund the program in the future. It might well be, now that this line item has been created. However, it is for one year while the Football Feasibility Committee convenes and spends more time with the athletic director working on this issue and making a recommendation to the school board. Let's see what they come up with before we decide either way. It will be another hot button issue next year. I would be remiss if I did not mention the passionate comments of Valerie Kehr regarding the treatment of the Music and Arts Program compared to athletics. Valerie made a great point that more kids participate in music and arts than athletics and can claim an equal or even higher level of usefulness in future life than athletics. She also mentioned that a lot of the kids who participate in theater, arts and music often have to purchase their own supplies, make their own sets and instruments. Why should we not ask that of our athletes? Excellent points, Val!
The other hot issue surrounded merit pay for the non-unionized employees. The school board has been pushed by us for years to establish this for not only non-union but also unionized employees. They finally have done it. The amount they chose for the pool was 4 percent maximum. Friends and neighbors disagreed on that amount and justifiably stated they were not saying those people did not deserve a 4 percent raise but it was not what the district could afford. In the end, the 125 in attendance (pitiful turnout) left the budget alone with the 4 percent in.
Speaking of raises and unionized employees, I hope everyone had a chance to read the story last week about the negotiations between the school district and our teachers. In case you missed it, they hit impasse and the teachers do not have a contract. NO ONE can say our school board does not care about teachers. Did you see what the teachers turned down? Three years of raises that totaled nearly $1,000,000! Plus higher starting pay and higher retirement benefits for recently retiring teachers. The school board wanted to eliminate the multi-level step program that automatically increases teachers' pay just for years of service and level of education. And the teachers said NO? I'm glad this was made public and congratulate the school board for making these negotiations public. I wonder if the teachers know about this.
I also congratulate the Budget Committee for their tireless and thankless work this past year. This might seem self serving as I am about to rejoin the committee for another 3-year term following a 2-year absence. I am looking forward to the work and thank all those who cast a vote for me. I will serve you well. I am also very accessible. Call or e-mail me anytime.
Great to see everyone who turned out this year. Until next year...
Keith D. Murray

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 12:42

Hits: 366

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