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.
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