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Dollar for dollar, the Gilford BudCom is an enormous waste of time

To The Daily Sun,
A couple of concerned citizens, in recent letters, have suggested that if not for the Gilford Budget Committee, certain town and school expenses would have been even higher in the past than they were. Let's set the record straight on this.
Without the Budget Committee:
1. Concerned citizens raise the exact same issues and make the exact same changes to the budgets at the Deliberative Session.
2. Voters still get to accept or reject a budget presented to them, after any Deliberative Session changes, on voting day.
3. The School Board and the Board of Selectmen become more directly accountable for their actions, and can easily be voted out if they don't control spending responsibly.
Whether it's the fire engine or the enrollment-to-staffing ratio or any other issue, there are still multiple opportunities to address these concerns without a Budget Committee.
People hearing the question "Will this make it past the Budget Committee?" are hearing it because the Budget Committee is often irrational. It debated an expenditure on replacement chairs worth less than $2,000 (out of a $12 million budget) across three committee sessions in last year's budget season, for example.
Some Budget Committee members also derail meetings with their own personal agendas, as one member did in last year's session by using committee time to question the Selectboard's representative during two separate meetings about the lighting of flags in the town after Labor Day — a topic not associated with a single budgetary line item.
The analysis that Fred Butler and I presented looked specifically at the financials presented to the Budget Committee by the Board of Selectmen and the School Board, year by year, and what the Budget Committee did with those numbers. And despite literally thousands of hours spent in the last seven years, the net effect was minuscule — roughly $2 per year in property taxes on a $200,000 home.
Hour for hour, dollar for dollar, the Budget Committee is an enormous waste of time. Please vote "YES" on Article 30, and let's focus our efforts to save taxpayer money where they really count.
Allen Voivod

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We have a lot of work to do in Alton, and I’ll put you first

To The Daily Sun,

Everybody in the Town of Alton knows who I am and where I stand. Whether you agree with me or not, I tell you my position, I tell you why it makes sense, I do not obfuscate in the grey area, I offer up a solution, and I sign my name. Name one position I have taken that I have not put you first-not me, YOU. I am for turning the water department over to the town so that my neighbors and local businesses who are on town water won't have to suffer one bad day. I was one of the first town's people to speak out for the town taking over the cemetery. Today the majority, including the cemetery trustees, believe that makes a lot of sense. I am excited and support what Scott Williams is doing to grow our town while not changing our town. We should welcome new businesses like a Dollar Store with the caveat that the façade looks like any of our residential neighbors. Workshops should be 100 percent video-taped and posted on the town's web site along with the minutes.
Do I know what I am talking about? You decide: I have chaired and been on the Budget cCmmittee for the last 12 years. I have been a member of the ZBA (Zoning Board of Adjustment) for seven years. While on the ZBA, you know me for putting residents and property ownership rights first. I have served as a water commissioner for the last year, and have chaired and been a member of the Alton and Prospect Mountain High School boards for the last four years. I have chaired their finance committees. I have chaired and been a member of the JMA finance committee for over nine years and been a member of both sides. I have successfully negotiated three union contracts and been the school board manager of the $4MM ACS construction project. Name one other candidate with my length and breadth of experience. Name one issue that I have not been passionate about. Name one issue where I did not fight for the benefit of Alton and her taxpayers. Name one issue where you were not sure where I stood. Name one time where I did not put Alton first. You and I may at times disagree, but we never disagree about who comes first.
What do we need to do? In no special order: We should be proactive in recruiting businesses into town such as a medical professional for the old Alton Family Medicine building. We should help Scott Williams fill out the new center. We should offer tax abatements for business who make aesthetic improvements to their business on Main Street. We should finish the sidewalks once and for all. We should improve the bandstand no matter what season it is. We should hire a milfoil monitor for the summer. We need a hospitality/tourist page on our web site. We need to change the Gilman Museum into a productive asset. We need to be more efficient in our assessing protocols. We need a master plan for the Highway, Police, and Fire Departments. Street lights have to be addressed. In other words, going forward, let's have Alton become proactive instead of just reactive. Boy do we have a lot of work to do.
Steve Miller
Candidate for Selectman


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