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.