MeredithMay2017

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Many people will be denied the opportunity to vote if we repeal SB-2

To The Daily Sun,

Last year, Shaker voters finally passed SB-2 (ballot voting) at the Shaker Regional School District meeting. Several attempts were made, and failed, prior to last year, but now, for the first time, voters will have an entire day to cast their votes on the school budget and school district issues or will be able to cast absentee ballots if unable to attend that day.

Predictably, the Shaker Regional School District is presenting an article to abolish what took so many years to attain. This process has not even been tried until this year.

For years, voters were forced to sit through long, tedious meetings. It took hours to vote on all the issues. Older folks, people with children, people who had to work second shift, those with disabilities, active service men and women, and those who go south for the winter were unable to attend or stay to cast their votes.

The Shaker District meetings would wear on and on. Many people who did attend would leave, amid the meeting, disgusted with the time wasted — sitting through each repeated, separate ballot votes, all the activities, awards, band concerts etc. that took place well into the night. They came to cast their votes, not to be entertained.

Opponents of SB-2 contend that "uninformed" people will vote on the issues. However, it is my belief that most people who attended the traditional meetings had already decided how they intended to vote. I truly do not believe that any opinions changed because of something said during discussion. (If you are honest with yourself, you know that is true.)

With SB-2 in place, you can now attend (or not) the deliberative session if you have any questions, opinions or amendments you wish to voice/make regarding the school budget, warrant articles, etc. Approximately a month after the deliberative session, you may cast your ballots at any time while the polls are open. There are no more questionable/uncomfortable/embarrassing floor votes, or last-minute additions of money to the school budget that we have seen in the past.

SB-2 makes voting faster, easier, more convenient and more accessible. Voting is a privilege and your right. Voting should not be a chore or something missed due to time, distance, health or comfort constraints.

And there is one more very important fact: Because the school district is now under SB-2, you will be able to vote on both the town and school budgets, articles and elections at the same place — at the same time on March 14, at Belmont High School. Now how's that for ease and convenience?

Voting to remove SB-2 will shortchange democracy and deny many people the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

Please vote to keep SB-2 in place. Let's give this process a chance.

Ken Knowlton

Belmont

  • Category: Letters
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My name is Dave Nickerson. I am running for selectman in Sanbornton. I have already written one letter to the editor, but in this letter I'd like to explain in more detail some of the issues I was talking about, that being highway and fire departments.

To The Daily Sun,

My name is Dave Nickerson. I am running for selectman in Sanbornton.

I have already written one letter to the editor, but in this letter I'd like to explain in more detail some of the issues I was talking about, that being highway and fire departments.

I speak from some experience as I was a firefighter/EMT with the Tilton-Northfield Fire Department and a contract work inspector on the sides of highways for 15 years.

As I stated, I am against a second ambulance at a cost of $260,000 plus two full-time firemen at a cost of $140,000. If you ride around town and look at the roads you will see that they are in need of repair. The "Y" project that was done a few years ago is cracked, the shoulders need gravel, Steele Hill Road is cracked and needs gravel, and all the roads leading to Steele Hill need a new top coat of asphalt. We invested over $3 million in the "Y" project and haven't enough money to maintain it. Steele Hill Resort is our biggest taxpayer. We really should maintain the roads to Steele Hill.

Our fire chief is going to tell you that we have the funds to purchase the new ambulance. What people do not realize is that every time the ambulance goes on a call the taxpayers lose approximately $750. That $750 is paid for by your tax dollars, complicated to understand, all towns are losing some money. Sanbornton cannot afford to support two ambulances and two full-time firemen with the needs of the Highway Department and other town departments.

Why not, if legal, use that $260,000 to help the Highway Department and pay a living wage to our employees?

The Highway Department needs two more full-time people at a cost far less than fire department personnel. The Highway Department vehicles and equipment are at a point where they will need to be replaced.

Two weeks ago, dirt roads such as Oak Hill Road were barely passable even for a new four-wheel-drive ambulance. Bad roads make it difficult at best for everyone.

We need to keep our priorities straight, our town employees need a living wage that compares to surrounding towns, our buildings need repair, you can't drink the water at the town office building, fire department and police department.

These are just a few of the issues facing the town, yet our fire chief is pushing for a larger department that we cannot afford right now. I fully understand his vision, but now is not the time.

I hope that more than 300 citizens show up at town meeting March 15. Please come and vote your conscience. This could be the year that Sanbornton changes significantly.

Dave Nickerson

Sanbornton

  • Category: Letters
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