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Town & school officials must endure BudCom's vitriol year after year

To The Daily Sun,

Despite David Horvath's March 4 opinion piece to this newspaper that lambasted Allen Voivod and me for proposing that Gilford's Budget Committee be disbanded due to it being both inefficient and ineffective, I still respect and, in fact, like him. With that said, the fact remains the 2013-2016 School Board recommended budgets increased by 7 percent (1.8 percent per year) while the committee's increased by 6.5 percent (1.6 percent per year). That's 0.5 percent difference over four years! (It's worth noting that those four years were cherry-picked by Mr. Horvath to highlight the School Board's supposed disregard for the taxpayers, since the prior two years included in my original analysis would have shown a 1.3 percent decrease.) In citing the 7.3 percent increase, Mr. Horvath unwittingly supported my argument that the Budget Committee is irrelevant by referencing the final budget figure that will be presented to the voters on March 8, which was a result of a citizen's motion at the deliberative session that single-handedly wiped out the modest $117,000 (0.46 percent) cut the Budget Committee made to this year's School Board's recommended budget and that added an extra $70,000.

An argument has been made that the School Board, in particular, only makes a cut when the budget line item in question would not "make it past the Budget Committee, and wouldn't do so in the absence of a Budget Committee. That is speculation, not fact.

One of two things will happen should Article 30 pass: Either the Selectboard/School Board will take responsibility for their own budget cuts, or they'll be exposed for not having the backbone to make the cuts necessary to protect Gilford's taxpayers. Should the latter occur, we as taxpayers will have a chance to reduce the budget at the deliberative session and/or vote the elected officials out.

Regarding Mr. Horvath's undue personal attacks, I served six years on the Budget Committee, not because I'd hoped to be able to one day disband it, but instead to serve my community by ensuring their tax dollars were being spent judiciously, as I'm sure is the case for every committee member. I was indeed sometimes a minute or two late due to my obligations as a new father and having a working spouse. Mr. Voivod missed a few meetings due to work travel, as many committee members do.

It's a shame I even have to dignify those comments with a response. Yet those sorts of personal attacks are indicative of the unwarranted vitriol the employees of the town and school, the selectmen, and School Board are forced to endure year in and year out — and all for negligible results to the taxpayer.

Vote "yes" on Article 30.

If Article 30 fails, I implore next year's Budget Committee members to please not question the motives of anyone who disagrees with their opinions on how to best serve Gilford's taxpayers. Doing so does the town, and themselves, a disservice.

Fred Butler

Gilford

  • Category: Letters
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Belmont already prohibits many uses on land over the aquifer

To The Daily Sun,

This letter is to clear the confusion of facts regarding the Belmont Aquifer ballot article by listing all of the uses that are already prohibited in Belmont.

The Belmont Aquifer and Groundwater Protection Ordinance already prohibits the following uses on non-residential lots located on the aquifer in every zoning district:

1. The development or operation of a hazardous waste disposal facility as defined under RSA 147-A.

2. The development or operation of a solid waste landfill.

3. The outdoor storage of road salt or other deicing chemicals in bulk.

4. The development or operation of a junkyard.

5. The development or operation of a snow dump.

6. The development or operation of a wastewater or septage lagoon.

7. The development or operation of a petroleum bulk plant or terminal.

8. The development or operation of gasoline stations.

9. Sludge monofills.

10. Storage of animal manure unless covered or contained in accordance with the specifications of the Manual of Best Management Practices for Agriculture in New Hampshire, NH Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food, August 2005, and any subsequent revisions.

11. Facilities that generate, treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste subject to Env-Hw 500-900 except for:

a. Household hazardous waste centers and events regulated under Env-Hw 401.03(b)(1) Env-Hw 501.01(b).

b. Water remediation treatment works approved by NH DES for the treatment of contaminated ground or surface waters.

12. Non-sanitary treatment works which discharge to the ground and that are subject to Env-Wq 402,

except the following:

a. The replacement or repair of an existing treatment works that will not result in a design capacity greater than the design capacity of the existing treatment works.

b. Treatment works approved by NH DES designed for the treatment of contaminated groundwater.

13. Storage of regulated substances in greater than household quantities (i.e., 5-gallons), unless in a free-standing container within a building or above ground with secondary containment adequate to contain 110 percent of the container's total storage capacity.

14. Storage of fertilizers, unless such storage is within a structure designed to prevent the generation and escape of contaminated runoff or leachate.

15. Excavation or mining within four feet of Seasonal High Water Table. This prohibition applies to future excavation of existing sites as well as future excavation sites.

Additionally, the zoning ordinance already prohibits the following additional uses on every lot, in every district in the community: Blast furnaces, fertilizer plants, processing of ammonia, chlorine, petroleum or explosives, rendering plants, slaughter houses, smelters, tanneries.

Many of these uses have been incorrectly identified in various articles and letters as currently allowed on the aquifer.

Candace Daigle

Belmont Town Planner

  • Category: Letters
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