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I aim to change this kind of behavior in Belmont with your support

To The Daily Sun,

It is that time again when we voters of Belmont are preparing to go to the polls to vote for the position of selectman for a term of three years. I have placed my name on the ballot to represent you, as I have represented you in the past. I am a common-sense person and that has served me well in my personal and business life. I am, and have always been, an independent thinker and I can listen to both sides of an argument.

Most people lose sight of the fact that the voters are the people in charge because they are the ones who make the final decision in the end. A leader's job is to keep the voters informed as to what is being planned and to advise them regarding the best course of action.

I am a voter and a concerned citizen and I am not happy at all with the leadership in the Town Hall. For example, did anyone in this town vote to approve the construction of a pavilion or the purchase of a bridge? Were the voters informed of the fact that meetings were being held at a time that no working person could have possibly attended regarding the mill building? The present leadership does nothing to encourage voter participation.

Advertising in the newspaper or writing a news release to all 3,000 voters that a Town Meeting is going to be held to vote on the Town Warrant Articles on March 10 at the high school from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. would inform voters and encourage greater voter turnout.

I aim to change this type of behavior with your help.

I am going to vote against the $3.4-million bond issue (Article 3 of the Warrant). I am also going to vote against Article 12 of the Warrant for $125,000 to go into the capital reserve fund. The selectman have $500,000 in that fund already. They use that money to build pavilions and bridges without your approval.

To all the 3,000 voters in Belmont, you have the opportunity to take a few minutes of your time to vote on the proposed $3.4-million bond issue. How much time will it take, 20 or 30 minutes? If that bond issue passes you will be married to that bond for 20 years and wondering why your taxes keep going up every year.

I respectfully ask for your vote as selectman so that I can represent the taxpayers interest and seek greater participation through transparency.

George Condodemetraky


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We do not want to go back to a 3-member Selectboard in Ashland

To The Daily Sun,

Having been involved in town government in Ashland for the past several years in many capacities,  including Budget Committee, Capital Improvement Program Committee, Economic Development Committee, and now as a member of the Ashland Selectboard, I have seen, studied, experienced, and participated in the challenges of small-town municipal government.

This experience has made it clear to me that if we want to increase the chances of developing and continually operating Ashland as a financially sound town and enjoy our small town New Hampshire community, the five-member board is more likely to make that happen.

Some facts and thoughts to support a five-member board and reject going back to a three-member board:

— Five Selectboard members that have the desire and skills to help govern the town and participate in the many important committees and boards involved is more likely to be successful then with a three-member board simply because tasks can be shared by more people.

— Collaboration and communication with the town committees and organizations as well as tapping resources of regional, state and federal organizations is critical for a small town. Five people make it easier than three and is still a small enough group to make decisions.

— If a three-member board has a member missing it can cause major problems in effective decision-making.

— One member in a three-member board can much more easily control decisions by getting one member to

go their way consistently.

— A five-member board increases the likelihood of transparency and new ideas and opinions.

Ashland has moved forward with several initiatives recently under the first year of a five-member board format to include:

— A continually inclusive, collaborative and informative Financial Forum that involved many different departments of the town to help identify, communicate and plan for short and long term capital project costs.

— An active Ashland Economic Development Committee to help grow our tax base and lower tax rates.

— Participation in numerous regional and state organizations to help find funds and improve the efficiency of our systems.

— Beginning the coordinated process for applying for and obtaining grant money to help fund town needs.

— Creation of a priority list to track and ensure follow thru and transparency on key initiatives.

— Evaluated our I.T. infrastructure to keep it progressive but inexpensive.

— Began a long overdue process to bring GIS technology into our tax maps and will eventually help digitize many aspects of our recordkeeping and allow for more transparency.

— Significantly increased collaboration among departments and committees that is absolutely critical to our future success.

— Begun to review ordinances and processes to help ensure consistency, transparency, and efficiency in how we operate.

These all are much more likely to be managed effectively with a five-member team as opposed to a three-member team.

Some final facts:

— Approximately 87 percent of the votes taken in both a three-member board in 2013 and a five-member board in 2014 were unanimous votes from March to December, which would appear to show no significant disagreement after discussion of facts.

— Only three votes out of 98 were 3-2 votes in 2014.

Vote "No" on Article 23 on Tuesday. March 10. We do not want to go back to a three-member Selectboard

Steve Felton

Ashland Selectboard Member

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