To The Daily Sun,
After stumbling across the letters section of the paper the other day, I happen to notice the letter entitled "Time to reduce administrative costs for Gilmanton School' and felt compelled to comment.
For one, I am the homeowner to which this letter refers. My husband and I bought this property in 2002 and have made improvements to this circa 1836 home ever since. Our love, blood, sweat and tears have gone into this home, but it is our time to move on ... to build the dream home we have always wanted. In that light, I feel compelled to assuage any concerns that may have arisen due to this letter in question, specifically the "fancy" and "expensive" part.
My husband and I have remained steadfast in providing a wonderful space for the school employees at a very reasonable cost and, although my husband takes great pride in the carpentry work he does, he would likely not describe the work done here as fancy. We have worked hard to maintain our home and take great pride in our gardens and landscaping, but to go to the extent to call it fancy, well I suppose that may be subjective, but just plain not true. Yes, we are trying to sell, but please do not make this an opportunity to throw your hard working school employees under the proverbial bus.
As far as security issues, we haven't the faintest idea what that is about. We live here, so if there is or ever were a security issue, we would know about it. The office is provided locks for all the doors and windows, including an extra lock for the superintendent's office. We have inspected the things that need inspecting, and lighted emergency signs and fire alarms are hardwired into the building. I have two small children and it is well within my and my husband's best interest to keep them safe.
The SAU office moved into the space occupying the first floor of our home shortly after we purchased it and made significant improvements to accommodate the office in 2002. I understood at the time, the SAU employees needed the extra space in order to function properly and efficiently. The cramped quarters at the Town Hall proved inefficient and underserved the needs of the work environment. It is also my understanding that options to house the office at the school were evaluated as well and found it also to be lacking in space.
Additionally, I understand that presently, a Space and Needs Committee is at work in order to meet the overcrowding issues at the school. With that said, I cannot see how moving the SAU office to that location makes any logistical sense. Whether you agree or disagree with the presence of an SAU office for the Gilmanton School, from what I can see, hear and take in, it is certainly needed.
And lastly, while I understand the concerns tax burdens have on many citizens, it would be against everyone's best interest as a community, to start eliminating needed services our tax monies provide without first fully understanding the role of a particular service. To simply say it is unneeded is inherently unfounded. This stands true in terms of what our school provides as well as our what our roads crew, fire and police force provide.
Sara Woods Kender
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:06
To The Daily Sun,
Recent letters have referred to my comments at the June 16 public hearing regarding the legality of the request for bonding by the Belknap County Commissioners. At the hearing I read to the delegation the portions of the RSAs that prohibit bonding for the purposes intended. My comments were quickly followed by another representative who said she favored the advice from the bond counsel over mine and then by Commissioner Philpot who said that "the bond counsel did not object to the bond request". The vote followed and failed by a 7-9 vote.
I was skeptical and didn't think any bond counsel would endorse the use of bond funds for the purposes stated in the bond request. So I have obtained a copy of the advice by the bond counsel. There are nine items of advice. They are limited to requirements for appropriate notices of the public hearing, minutes of public hearing and and commissioners' meetings, debt limit certificate for county, and certificate regarding county's outstanding debt. They do not address at all the proposed uses of the bond funds. It appears that the bond counsel was not asked if the planned uses of the bond funds were legal. So the statement that "the bond counsel did not object" is accurate (but misleading).
Determination of legality of uses for bonds is not complicated. It is spelled out in simple language in the law. RSA 33:3, Purpose of Issue of Bonds or Notes: This RSA says "a municipality or county may issue bonds or notes for..." (a lengthy list of types of uses) "...of a permanent nature..." . It goes on: " ... A municipality or county shall not issue bonds or notes to provide for the payment of expenses for current maintenance and operation, ...".
Leasing a temporary building for three years is not "of a permanent nature". Paying over 10 years for a use of something for three years is not only poor fiscal management, it is illegal.
In many forums in which I've been involved at federal, state, and municipal levels, this topic has come up many times, often by a new legislator. It has generally been accepted that "permanent" is satisfied by ensuring that the item bonded has a useful life longer than the term of the bond.
RSA 33:3-c, Issue of Bonds for Preliminary Expenses: In great detail, it allows for certain planning and design items, which would include that being proposed, a schematic design; however, it also says that the bonds "shall mature over a period of not more than five years unless they are issued at the same time as bonds or notes for the public work or improvement for which such expenses were incurred...".
In other words, it is okay to use bond funds for planning and design work if it is part of the bond that is approved to finance the facility itself. This procedure is done frequently. But preliminary design by itself, to get the conceptual design, must be done out of operating funds. That is what Belknap County has done to date. But if it is necessary to augment the accepted conceptual design done by Ricci-Greene, to perhaps reduce the estimated cost, it has to be funded with operating funds or with bonds from the overall project funds.
It's very easy to see the entire RSAs. Google NH RSA 33:3.
But no proposal by the commissioners for these purposes came up during the lengthy operating budget deliberations from December 2013 through March 2014. (according to newspaper reports, the ideas in the June 2014 bond request were already established in late 2013).
It is disappointing that the commissioners would propose something without reading the relevant law that authorizes bonding. It is disappointing that seven representatives, including two lawyers, would vote for it in spite of having the law read to them just prior to the vote.
NH Representative, District 3
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 09:59
To The Daily Sun,
We are happy to announce our new spring clothing line for the entire family. We are located just two doors north of Franklin City Hall at 332 Central St.
We are a nonprofit ecumenical organization with a 501(c)3 status. This store has been in operation for the past 14 years. Our mission is to serve the needs of the Twin Rivers communities with clothing and household needs at a minimal cost to our customers.
Through the generosity of our donor's invaluable contributions of clothing, household items and the many hours given by our 17 volunteers, we are able to provide more affordable clothing and essentials. Besides providing material goods there is an atmosphere of friendliness and respect to all who enter the store. In the past we have been able to give back to the communities monetarily as sales flourished.
The store hours are Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10a.m.-1 p.m. We can be reached by Phone at 603-934-2423. Please help us to continue this valuable ministry.
Thrift Clothes Closet Volunteers
Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 10:22
To The Daily Sun,
I'm running for County Commissioner against Dave Devoy. Although commissioners do a lot more than manage the jail, that issue makes your choice a stark one.
Mr. Devoy wants to wants to spend our money to renovate a jail that from a structural, programmatic and security perspective should be replaced. He wants to release more prisoners on electronic monitoring than our jail superintendent thinks is safe, and he wants to house female inmates in the commissioners' conference room.
I agree with those who think we should build the most cost-effective new facility that will do the job and have the lowest possible effect on our tax rate.
My wife and I have lived in Laconia with our four kids for the past 10 years. For nine of those years I've been teaching at Lakes Region Community College where, among other things, I also participate in the strategic planning process and have been elected president of the Faculty Senate. In addition, I spent a year at Laconia High School teaching math and English. I coach youth lacrosse and I referee high school soccer and lacrosse. I like to read and garden and ride my bike and I'm an avid basketball player who appreciates the new floor in the Community Center.
Before moving to New Hampshire, I practiced law for five years and spent about a decade before that in the construction industry most significantly as a project manager in New York City. This is my first try at politics.
Listening is important to me and I have respect for opposing viewpoints which I try to understand as much as possible before making decisions which I think are made well by gathering evidence and applying rational analysis.
Corrections, to me, is an important component of the social fabric. Therefore, I hope to help get the county through this deadlock so that we can provide the best possible service to our residents. However, being a taxpayer and having been in the construction industry, I also understand the value of a sharp pencil. I don't want my taxes to go up any more than anyone else does.
Finding the right balance between cost and service to ensure that the quality of life in our county continues to improve while remaining affordable is critical. I will bring a willing ear, an open mind, a clear head, and that sharp pencil to the job.
I hope to hear from you.
Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 10:16
To The Daily Sun,
"Anyone wanting to advance an agenda should try thoughtful persuasion, not personal invective and bullying tactics. Nothing lowers the level of conversation more than raising the voice" to quote Stanley Horowitz.
When Mr. Wiles writes of a "tyrant's lawless power .... hoards of progressives ... relentless and cunning ideological driven mania ... serfdom for the citizens ... sucking on the teat of the nanny government ... " his attempts at debate or discussion will always fail.
We are encouraged to check out the ACLJ site. I would venture a guess that most of Mr. Wiles' letter is "cut and paste" from this same website. If this is the substance and the tone, I certainly wouldn't waste any time and certainly any money on people who can't disagree without becoming disagreeable.
By the way ... President Bill Clinton made 140 recess appointments, and George W. Bush made 171. Obama's first term has seen a paltry 28. Only Obama's are "unlawful?" Maybe you think one senator showing up for five minutes means Congress is "in session"? Just asking.
Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 10:13