To The Daily Sun,
The Belknap County Board of Commissioners has accomplished much during the last 17 months. We have shown fiscal responsibility from the outset. In 2015, we inherited a proposed budget from the previous board that would have raised county taxes by 10 percent. We cut the increase to 1.3 percent. Throughout fiscal 2015, we continued to look for savings and ended the year with a $695,000 surplus. For 2016, we proposed a zero percent increase (no tax increase). We continue to work hard for the taxpayer to find additional savings for 2016.
The long overdue Community Corrections Center is currently being built and will be ready for operation in the fall of 2017. It will include programs, specially designed for our county, to combat substance abuse and to curb recidivism. The previous Board of Commissioners promoted a costly 42-million-dollar solution. We chose to pursue the "Sullivan County Model" of repairing the existing jail and adding a community corrections wing, not to exceed 8 million dollars.
We have reduced the costs associated with employee health insurance in two ways. First, in 2015, we substituted a lower cost, similar coverage that substantially lowered the total cost number. Second, the county negotiated three new collective bargaining agreements with county employees, which through additional changes in health insurance coverage provided more overall cost savings.
While some good things have happened since the beginning of 2015, these accomplishments have come in the face of a badly divided Board of Commissioners. Many important decisions have been made on 2-1 or 2-0 votes. In my view, the upcoming elections give our county the chance to install a fully cooperative Board of Commissioners, with all three members working together in a productive and civil manner, placing policy above personality.
To that end, I ask you to support the candidacies of Hunter Taylor in the 3rd District (Alton, Center Harbor, Gilford and Meredith) and Glen Waring in the 2nd District (Barnstead, Belmont, Gilmanton and Tilton).
Commissioner Taylor has worked tirelessly and successfully for Belknap County since his installation as commissioner in early 2015. He was the first person to suggest using the Sullivan County example as the model for the start of our jail planning. In addition, it was Hunter Taylor who headed the county negotiating team that reached the contractual agreements with the county employee bargaining units. Not only did we end up with good results for all concerned, we did it without paying an outside negotiator an exorbitant amount of money to lead and advise our team. There is no one working harder for Belknap County than Hunter Taylor, and I hope you will vote for him in the Republican primary on September 13.
Glen Waring, running in the 3rd District, is a highly accomplished financial officer with experience in the public and private sectors. Mr. Waring was CFO of a large auto agency and then served as financial director of Belknap County. He is now the business administrator for Mascenic Regional School District. The experience and expertise in planning and management of budgets that Mr. Waring has acquired in these positions would make him invaluable as a member of the Belknap County Board of Commissioners. During the time that I worked with Glen Waring, while he was the finance director of Belknap County, he showed skill and keen insight in developing a budget. Therefore, I ask you to cast your vote for Glen Waring in the Republican primary on September 13.
With Hunter Taylor and Glen Waring joining me on the Belknap County Board of Commissioners, I am confident we can keep our county taxes among the very lowest in the state, while at the same time providing constructive leadership for a transparent and responsive county government.
David DeVoy, Chairman
Belknap County Board of Commissioners
- Category: Letters
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