To The Daily Sun,
The Gilmanton Fireman's Association is a non-profit civic group which raises funds in a number of ways to better serve our community. We purchase and donate equipment to the town that our department's budget can't support, donate to local charities, and furnish and maintain the living quarters of the Iron Works station that this same association built and now leases to the town for $1 per year.
This association is comprised of members of the Fire Department, however it is in no way associated with municipal business. No member is paid by the town to participate in any association activity.
Recently we received notice that the Board of Selectmen have chosen to initiate an ordinance that would prohibit our ability to hold our semi-annual "boot drives," in their words to "Protect the citizens of the town of Gilmanton through the legal regulations of individuals seeking to solicit funds for charitable purposes."
Our primary means of securing these funds are through these drives. As you all know, we choose race weekends and stand on Route 140, at the stop sign in the Corners, from 6 a.m. until about 11 a.m. to collect voluntary donations from race fans coming from the east on their way to the race track. These excited race fans are always willing to donate some change and say hello. We do, of course, see some of our townsfolk as well. We welcome all with a smile and a good morning, donation or not.
When elected to the Board of Selectmen, that member's opinion becomes void. They become the mouth of the constituent, the champion of the people, no matter their own voice. This honor given to them by the voters, in trust, to uphold the will of township, and most importantly to operate our town according to state laws and procedure. They, by running, being elected, and accepting that office, have a duty to uphold for you and I at all cost.
This Board of Selectmen has been one of their personal opinions, doing what they choose, when they choose.
This proposed ordinance is a direct attack upon our organization, citing complaints that can't be documented, rationales that are inflammatory, and opinions in the minutes of our Board of Selectmen meetings that are inappropriate and unprofessional. Since no written complaints can be cited, the proposed ordinance is the will and personal opinion of the Board of Selectmen and, again, not of the constituents.
Boot drives are an extremely common means for departments or similar groups to raise funds and are conducted nationwide, this is also the way for the association to raise money to give back to our community.
There will be a public hearing to show your support on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. at Town Hall. If you are unable to attend due to the unbelievably inconvenient time, please contact any or all of the members of the Board of Selectmen at:
Dennis Comeau, President
Gilmanton Fireman's Assoc