To The Daily Sun,
Last week, the Selectmen of Meredith decided to put the interests of big business over the citizens of Meredith and let the taxpayer pick up the tab, to the tune of $18,000. Why? Nothing Ann Deli, president of Laconia Harley-Davidson, said to the board, made a lot of sense to me.
Years before Harley-Davidson came to Meredith, motorcyclists were coming up over the hill from The Weirs to our shops and restaurants and enjoying perhaps a bit less confusion for the day. Motorcyclists still spread out to many Lakes Regions towns.
Yet we had no vendors during those decades and no real traffic problems with long lines and long waits to come down the hill into the town center. We probably weren't paying $5,000 to the Motorcycle Week Association either. I have to question what if anything do we get from this worthless use of taxpayers' dollars as it wouldn't stop bikers from visiting Meredith if we didn't join the association.
Nor would we incur $13,000 more in taxpayer expense, if we simply stop allowing vendors into Meredith period. Motorcycle Week(s) is a Weirs event and as far as I am concerned, I welcome the bikers to Meredith, but I think the vendors should stay in The Weirs. I don't think the Meredith taxpayer should get dumped with subsidizing Laconia Harley-Davidson so they can continue to make $145,000 a year off their vendor rents and then listen to them threaten and complain when Meredith tries to collect a perfectly legitimate fee to offset the towns expenses.
I also seriously doubt Laconia Harley-Davidson is donating $220,000 to charitable causes. No doubt that's corporate giving that money. So please, Ms. Deli, don't try to hold that over our heads. And if LH-D is raking in $145,000 from the vendors they rent space on the property, then I am sure since they are already paying LH-D so much, they shouldn't mind paying an additional $45 a day to the town of Meredith to pay for expenses incurred.
If Ms. Deli is really afraid her vendors will go somewhere else, then maybe it would be a sound business investment to take some of that $145,000 and pay the town $18,000 for a tax deductible cost of doing business. I for one am not willing to use my tax dollar to pay LH-D's bill because of a threat that the vendors may move on. I'd just as soon all vendors go back to The Weirs and let Meredith go back to hosting and welcoming bikers the way we did before LH-D came to town. I can't think of any other major event that spills vendors in other surrounding towns, causing traffic jams and thousands of dollars in "taxpayer" expense.
Maybe this question should go on the town warrant and let the people of Meredith vote on whether they want vendors and traffic jams and $5,000 association dues and more expenses added to our taxes. Let the people choose.
So come on selectmen, stand up for the people who voted you to represent them ... the Meredith citizenry, the taxpayers. Do not be bullied by the big businesses. And do not put this off until 2017. I am calling on you to put this back on the table and do your duty and look after the taxpayer. You are charged with a responsibility to us. Please apply the $450 vendor fee for this bill, or put it to the voters ... or do we have an oligarchy in action, in the town of Meredith?