To The Daily Sun,
Some Bristol officials like to tell voters the Bristol tax bill can't get any lower, since the total tax rate in Bristol is in the lower third for New Hampshire communities. They brush off your concerns and struggles to pay your tax bill as if they are not valid or worthy of their consideration. In reality, the municipal tax rate in Bristol — the only tax rate the Selectboard is directly charged with managing — is near the 75th percentile of the most expensive tax rates in New Hampshire. We have room for improvement. Candidates like John Sellers know there is a need for improvement, so I will be voting for Sellers on March 14.
With Sellers on the Selectboard, I believe we can focus on data-driven needs vs. nice-to-have services, such as a K-9 unit.
We need to tackle the million-dollar unreserved fund balance, only half of which is needed for potential abatement reserves. This fund has been represented to the residents as a large unappropriated contingency fund. Well, we already have a transparent and voter-approved contingency fund in our budget. The truth is, this money got there by over-taxation during the greatest recession in the past 75 years.
To be fair, the Selectboard has in the past three years used the unreserved fund balance to lower the tax rate, but that obscures the real issue of overtaxing you in the first place and then giving a portion back to lower the tax rate while using the remaining excess to fund warrant articles.
We need to slow down the growth in long-term debt. The past few years we have watched million-dollar project after million-dollar project get pushed through the town warrant. In the past 10 years our long-term debit has increased from less than $100,000 to greater than $3 million.
Bristol should be improving its infrastructure, but a little more planning and thought needs to be taken into account. The philosophy of taxation without planning almost resulted in the town owning a very impractical and expensive boat shop.
This is only a sliver of the work that needs to be done in Bristol, but the first step requires voting March 14 for John Sellers Selectboard.
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