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Belmont can’t afford to lose its educated, well-rounded officers

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.

R. Bilodeau


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Incumbents for Alton Selectboard work together in a positive way

To The Daily Sun,

Among the candidates running for Alton selectmen, I support the two incumbents, Cydney Johnson and Lou Lacourse.

Even though I had to step down as a selectman a few years ago, I've made of point of following the town's progress and attend as many meetings as possible. Oftentimes, I'm the only person in attendance, and occasionally a reporter. Therefore, I'm surprised by the number of people who are running for the position of selectman since I've not seen any attend meetings or even the deliberative session until this year.

Naturally this makes me wonder: Why the sudden interest? On the other hand, while under their tenure, I've seen two people who have devoted numerous hours to the town and taken their position as selectman seriously. I've seen different points of view turn into thoughtful discussions that result in carefully considered decisions for the benefit of our townspeople. Our current selectmen have made steady improvements to our town through the years, such as the project in the Bay, a complete overhaul of the Fire Department and the hiring of a new, highly qualified Town Administrator, all while keeping the budget in check and tax rates low.

It is beneficial to have board members than can work together in a positive way and support the majorities decisions. This should not be confused with having a board that simply rubber stamps things. If you have gone to meetings or watched the videos, you will see this is not the case. These two members are willing to listen and consider others' points of views and concerns before making a decision. They find ways to work together putting the Town needs before their own interests. They have shown that they have no personal agenda. We don't need to return to a board consumed by infighting that is incapable of making any
forward progress as we had 25 years ago.

That is why I encourage you to vote for Cydney Johnson and Lou Lacourse for Selectman on March 14.

R. Loring Carr


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