To The Daily Sun,
I am writing this letter today to try to clarify what has been projected as a monetary devastation to the taxpayers of Belmont.
This year Belmont taxpayers and residents will be asked to vote to ratify three three-year union contracts independently – Police, Fire and Highway.
Somehow, the newspaper continues to dissect the Police Department's contract to make representation that they have won the megabucks and will be receiving $252,656 over three years in wages if the proposed contract passes. This is wrong.
If the contract passes the Belmont Police Department will receive $126,328 over three years, that equates to $42,109.33 a year split among the entire Police Department's union employees.
Of course, matching health insurance contributions and retirement contributions are over and above this number, but they are now.
In today's law enforcement world and the level of drug use and crime, I ask myself, who wants to be a cop today? These positions are now almost impossible to fill, and the cost to replace an officer with an uncertified candidate is estimated to be around $54,000. Belmont's calls for service are higher than the city of Laconia per capita, and its wages have fallen to the near bottom of the county. Call the Belmont Police Chief and he can give you facts and details.
Don't be misled by inaccurate reporting. We cannot afford to lose any of our highly educated and well-rounded officers. Retention of seasoned, certified employees can only be achieved by maintaining a competitive wage scale. The current negotiated contract was done fairly with concessions made on both sides. The Police Department in no way has "hit a home run"!
This is a small price tag to retain our community protection and put thanks where it belongs. Vote "Yes" on Article 18 March 14. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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