To The Daily Sun,
Recent letters have referred to my comments at the June 16 public hearing regarding the legality of the request for bonding by the Belknap County Commissioners. At the hearing I read to the delegation the portions of the RSAs that prohibit bonding for the purposes intended. My comments were quickly followed by another representative who said she favored the advice from the bond counsel over mine and then by Commissioner Philpot who said that "the bond counsel did not object to the bond request". The vote followed and failed by a 7-9 vote.
I was skeptical and didn't think any bond counsel would endorse the use of bond funds for the purposes stated in the bond request. So I have obtained a copy of the advice by the bond counsel. There are nine items of advice. They are limited to requirements for appropriate notices of the public hearing, minutes of public hearing and and commissioners' meetings, debt limit certificate for county, and certificate regarding county's outstanding debt. They do not address at all the proposed uses of the bond funds. It appears that the bond counsel was not asked if the planned uses of the bond funds were legal. So the statement that "the bond counsel did not object" is accurate (but misleading).
Determination of legality of uses for bonds is not complicated. It is spelled out in simple language in the law. RSA 33:3, Purpose of Issue of Bonds or Notes: This RSA says "a municipality or county may issue bonds or notes for..." (a lengthy list of types of uses) "...of a permanent nature..." . It goes on: " ... A municipality or county shall not issue bonds or notes to provide for the payment of expenses for current maintenance and operation, ...".
Leasing a temporary building for three years is not "of a permanent nature". Paying over 10 years for a use of something for three years is not only poor fiscal management, it is illegal.
In many forums in which I've been involved at federal, state, and municipal levels, this topic has come up many times, often by a new legislator. It has generally been accepted that "permanent" is satisfied by ensuring that the item bonded has a useful life longer than the term of the bond.
RSA 33:3-c, Issue of Bonds for Preliminary Expenses: In great detail, it allows for certain planning and design items, which would include that being proposed, a schematic design; however, it also says that the bonds "shall mature over a period of not more than five years unless they are issued at the same time as bonds or notes for the public work or improvement for which such expenses were incurred...".
In other words, it is okay to use bond funds for planning and design work if it is part of the bond that is approved to finance the facility itself. This procedure is done frequently. But preliminary design by itself, to get the conceptual design, must be done out of operating funds. That is what Belknap County has done to date. But if it is necessary to augment the accepted conceptual design done by Ricci-Greene, to perhaps reduce the estimated cost, it has to be funded with operating funds or with bonds from the overall project funds.
It's very easy to see the entire RSAs. Google NH RSA 33:3.
But no proposal by the commissioners for these purposes came up during the lengthy operating budget deliberations from December 2013 through March 2014. (according to newspaper reports, the ideas in the June 2014 bond request were already established in late 2013).
It is disappointing that the commissioners would propose something without reading the relevant law that authorizes bonding. It is disappointing that seven representatives, including two lawyers, would vote for it in spite of having the law read to them just prior to the vote.
NH Representative, District 3
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 09:59
To The Daily Sun,
We are happy to announce our new spring clothing line for the entire family. We are located just two doors north of Franklin City Hall at 332 Central St.
We are a nonprofit ecumenical organization with a 501(c)3 status. This store has been in operation for the past 14 years. Our mission is to serve the needs of the Twin Rivers communities with clothing and household needs at a minimal cost to our customers.
Through the generosity of our donor's invaluable contributions of clothing, household items and the many hours given by our 17 volunteers, we are able to provide more affordable clothing and essentials. Besides providing material goods there is an atmosphere of friendliness and respect to all who enter the store. In the past we have been able to give back to the communities monetarily as sales flourished.
The store hours are Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10a.m.-1 p.m. We can be reached by Phone at 603-934-2423. Please help us to continue this valuable ministry.
Thrift Clothes Closet Volunteers
Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 10:22
To The Daily Sun,
I'm running for County Commissioner against Dave Devoy. Although commissioners do a lot more than manage the jail, that issue makes your choice a stark one.
Mr. Devoy wants to wants to spend our money to renovate a jail that from a structural, programmatic and security perspective should be replaced. He wants to release more prisoners on electronic monitoring than our jail superintendent thinks is safe, and he wants to house female inmates in the commissioners' conference room.
I agree with those who think we should build the most cost-effective new facility that will do the job and have the lowest possible effect on our tax rate.
My wife and I have lived in Laconia with our four kids for the past 10 years. For nine of those years I've been teaching at Lakes Region Community College where, among other things, I also participate in the strategic planning process and have been elected president of the Faculty Senate. In addition, I spent a year at Laconia High School teaching math and English. I coach youth lacrosse and I referee high school soccer and lacrosse. I like to read and garden and ride my bike and I'm an avid basketball player who appreciates the new floor in the Community Center.
Before moving to New Hampshire, I practiced law for five years and spent about a decade before that in the construction industry most significantly as a project manager in New York City. This is my first try at politics.
Listening is important to me and I have respect for opposing viewpoints which I try to understand as much as possible before making decisions which I think are made well by gathering evidence and applying rational analysis.
Corrections, to me, is an important component of the social fabric. Therefore, I hope to help get the county through this deadlock so that we can provide the best possible service to our residents. However, being a taxpayer and having been in the construction industry, I also understand the value of a sharp pencil. I don't want my taxes to go up any more than anyone else does.
Finding the right balance between cost and service to ensure that the quality of life in our county continues to improve while remaining affordable is critical. I will bring a willing ear, an open mind, a clear head, and that sharp pencil to the job.
I hope to hear from you.
Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 10:16
To The Daily Sun,
"Anyone wanting to advance an agenda should try thoughtful persuasion, not personal invective and bullying tactics. Nothing lowers the level of conversation more than raising the voice" to quote Stanley Horowitz.
When Mr. Wiles writes of a "tyrant's lawless power .... hoards of progressives ... relentless and cunning ideological driven mania ... serfdom for the citizens ... sucking on the teat of the nanny government ... " his attempts at debate or discussion will always fail.
We are encouraged to check out the ACLJ site. I would venture a guess that most of Mr. Wiles' letter is "cut and paste" from this same website. If this is the substance and the tone, I certainly wouldn't waste any time and certainly any money on people who can't disagree without becoming disagreeable.
By the way ... President Bill Clinton made 140 recess appointments, and George W. Bush made 171. Obama's first term has seen a paltry 28. Only Obama's are "unlawful?" Maybe you think one senator showing up for five minutes means Congress is "in session"? Just asking.
Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 10:13
To The Daily Sun,
Mr. Sellings' letter last week and Mr. Sellew's in Tuesday's paper against the legalization of marijuana were, like too much of the opposition, based on misunderstandings and fears which keep New Hampshire from using its intelligent judgement on the matter.
Treating use as a crime makes no sense. The Centers for Disease Control statistics consistently show that marijuana is safer, less addictive, less toxic, and less damaging than "legal drugs" like tobacco and alcohol. The effects of alcohol lead to more than 30,000 deaths a year in the United States, and New Hampshire residents consume alcohol at almost twice the national average. We know the carnage that drunk drivers causes on our roads. Other studies show that marijuana use does not lead to crime and violence like harder drugs such as meth, heroin and crack. We've all known plenty of nasty drunks. I've yet to meet a nasty smoker. The only person who might be in danger from marijuana smokers might be a delivery guy driving a truck full of Doritos.
The best evidence from numerous studies shows that marijuana is not a gateway drug. Its illegal status is the real gateway. Because it is currently illegal smokers are supplied by drug dealers who have a financial incentive to get their customers to expand their use to hard drugs. We are currently putting people in jail who don't belong there. They are getting kicked out of school, losing their jobs, and seeing the promises of life cut short.
This should not be a law enforcement matter. The amount of time and resources that our police, courts and jails use pursuing smokers would be better dedicated to more productive ends: Making our communities safer.
Legalization and regulation make it more likely that quality and doses will be safer. There are already laws against DUI, and there are age minimums in the current bill. Content, production and distribution can be properly regulated and taxed. Monies that go to drug cartels will stay in our state. And by putting any abuse in the hands of medical professionals instead of the criminal justice system, we will reduce addiction.
Over the last 30 years the states that have reduced penalties to fines or have legalized medical marijuana have seen rates of use no higher than in states that criminalize it.
This is not a partisan issue. The latest poll shows that 60 percent of New Hampshire residents support legalization for recreational use.
The arguments trotted out against legalization sound like those from 100 years ago that pushed for prohibition of alcohol. That experiment really worked out well, didn't it? It helped create and strengthen regional and national criminal organizations and resulted in violence, tainted booze, and networks of corruption and payoffs. Who benefits from Prohibition? It's the black market and the cartels.
Mr. Morin's letter was right. We have serious problems that we should be dealing with. And Mr. Sellings should be praying for those who lives and futures are being ruined by a misguided policy. Enough of the "reefer madness" mentality.
Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 10:08