MeredithMay2017

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Ending Fire & Rescue Reserve Fund will add volatility to our tax rate

To The Daily Sun,

Sanbornton's Petition Warrant Article 12 would discontinue the "Emergency Medical Services Fire and Rescue Apparatus Equipment and Vehicle Special Revenue Fund," established at town meeting in March 11, 1999.

In simple terms the net revenue generated by the town's ambulance for actual transports is deposited to this fund. Over the 18 years this fund has been in place it has generated $961,129 in revenue to the town of which $687,029 has been used to offset taxes for the purchase of large capital expenses, including three ambulances, the command car, emergency medical equipment and personnel protective clothing for the fire and EMS personnel.

This mechanism has served the town well and though amended twice to expand the purpose of the fund, the fund's existence has never been challenged until this year.

Eliminating this fund would introduce tremendous volatility to the tax rate. The past purchases of $687,029 of equipment did not increase the tax rate, but instead helped to keep the town's taxj rate stable while at the same time providing much needed equipment in a very transparent manner. Raiding this fund to provide a one-off refund to the taxpayers will only result in large spikes in the tax rate at the time equipment must be purchased.

This article was initiated by Roger Grey, who is trying to be re-elected to the Budget Committee, and also supported by former Selectman Dave Nickerson, who is trying to regain the seat he lost in last year's election. While these candidates tout they are fiscally responsible, their support of Article 12 is anything but responsible.

We ask you to keep what has served Sanbornton well for nearly 20 years and vote "No" to Article 12 at Town Meeting on March 15.

John Vorel

Ralph Rathjen

Sanbornton

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How much of school budget is overestimated to create a slush fund?

To The Daily Sun,

As Gilford voters/taxpayers may remember, the school budget was rejected and therefore the default budget went into effect last year for the 2016-2017 school year. Last year was my first year as a Budget Committee member. A lot of what I have see has been very disheartening.

As a newbie, one of those things was that the assistant superintendent was telling us late in the budget season that we were in the 11th hour and really didn't have enough time to correct a $100,000-plus discrepancy in the default budget to the harm of the taxpayers. A couple of us — both new — voted against a motion to try to get this corrected, based on the "eleventh hour" comment.

To our great surprise, a couple of weeks later, when the School Board and "friends" wanted something changed that would benefit the school's "purse," the same assistant superintendent, told them that he could do it that same night. That was the first wake-up call.

Another thing that surprised me was the fact that when the BudCom was going over the individual line items there was one for electricity for each of the schools. We went right over them thinking it would be ridiculous to think about reducing them because you can't have kids in the dark. As it turns out, when they decided that their raises in pay were critical enough, they actually found an extra $40,000 in the electricity line items. Ultimately they gave themselves a total of $118,000 in non-contractual raises when they were theoretically functioning on a "bare-bones" default budget.

This makes me wonder how much of the rest of the budget is actually overestimated in order to produce a slush fund for whatever "they" might see fit down the road. There are other questionable tactics that appear deliberate to try to keep the BudCom members from doing what we have been entrusted to do.

In my opinion, you should vote to have the Budget Committee prepare the school default budget. I believe that in doing this, when the school is preparing their budget proposal, they would make it more realistic, whereas, if it is rejected, they will be functioning on a "real" default budget. The same group of people doing the proposed school budget and the proposed default budget, at least appears to be engaged in a conflict of interest.

Based on the above, and barring any new information, I will vote "Yes" on Article 8 Citizen Petition.

Harry H. Bean

Gilford

  • Category: Letters
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