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A little property tax relief is available for some of the elderly

To The Daily Sun,

For years, I have been alerting homeowners and helping some elderly file for this property tax relief. This year, I forgot and the month of May has passed. It is so easy to forget and then there are so many out there still unaware of this relief. I am very pleased to announce that our own Laconia tax assessor has a stack of these DP-8 forms in the office at the ready for anyone who needs one. And city staff remembered to run a reminder in our Laconia Links (http://www.city.laconia.nh.us/uploads/administration_dept/Newsletters/06.03.16.pdf) to consider your qualifications and filing for this rebate. Applause!

I hope you will check out this website (Low and Moderate Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief Historical Claims Data - http://revenue.nh.gov/faq/l-m-historicaldata.pdf) and note that others must not know or forget about filing by June 30 for a rebate. In 2002, there were 23,666 claims totaling $7.7 million. In 2014, there were 9,414 claims totaling $1.8 million. I think there is a story there.

Municipalities should be gratified when their citizens receive a little tax rebate, since they are the very ones most likely to spend this money locally — lower incomes, elderly, handicapped or disabled, no transportation, don't drive out-of-town, etc. New Hampshire, with no income tax or sales tax, relies heavily on property tax for revenue, a regressive tax system. This means for lower income taxpayers with property tax having nothing to do with their income, many are paying as much as 25 to 30 percent of their income just for their local property tax. Therefore this regressive tax system can shift the burden making the least able to pay the most likely to pay and local governments depending on property tax as a source of revenue are the "bad guys raising the taxes," not the state.

I am liking the good news I am reading about the recent progress developing in Laconia, especially the Main Street area.
Dorothy Duffy

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Personal attacks have no place in Gilmanton? Is that a joke?

To The Daily Sun,

Finally, Gilmanton has an explanation as to why its current town government has made more damaging mistakes and missteps in five months than I have personally seen in five years. The reason, according to a recent letter (June 1), is that they are, in fact, on a learning curve. Of course! What was I thinking?

All along I was under the impression selectmen were voted in because of their experience, and that they had some idea of what it took to run a town government; and also that they had previously made a study of it, so to speak, and that they had developed a certain understanding and confidence to navigate, as the letter writer states, the "surprisingly complex" responsibilities of being a selectman because they had in fact involved themselves for years, prior to running, so they could examine these complexities and how they were handled by those more experienced. Not surprisingly, based on past records, none of these seems to apply to Gilmanton's current board.

But really ... to try to pass this all off on a ... learning curve? It's laughable! Let's be realistic. We're not talking about a job at McDonald's, or Walmart, or Home Depot, we're talking about a town government. When someone on the learning curve at McDonald's ruins a cheeseburger, nobody gets hurt. You throw away the burger and try again. When someone newly hired at Walmart or Home Depot makes a mistake, the manager, who has earned his position by years of experience, just shrugs it off and chalks it up to, that's right ... the learning curve. No harm done; no one hurt. Correct the mistake and move on.

But to suggest that the same principle applies to town government is ridiculous. It's simply a very bad excuse for an unacceptable degree of performance and irresponsible behavior, which has caused countless cases of slanderous and invasive damage to both citizens and employees of Gilmanton, and which has also produced some seriously mind-boggling errors in policy, followed by equally baffling reversals of those very same policies.

Amusingly, the letter-writer admonishes us in Gilmanton that personal attacks have no place in disagreements with the current board and administrator. Is this a joke? It is for the very reason that the board and administrator, themselves, have shown so much disrespect and executed so many personal attacks, along with their opponent cleansing, "clean-slate" policy, that this controversy exists in the first place.Yet, the letter writer conveniently overlooks this.

Well I, for one ... do not.

Al Blake

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