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County has more than enough funds to add employees to correction's staff

To The Daily Sun,

The following is a letter in response to one sent to me from a resident of Laconia, and it bears publishing for all to read:

Thank you for your most courteous and respectful email, including your concerns and thoughts about the Belknap County budget for the Corrections Department. Please note that since you live in Laconia, you do NOT live in my district, which encompasses only the towns of Gilford and Meredith. You should probably direct your concerns to the representative(s) that cover the portion of Laconia in which you live. That being said, I will share with you some of my reasoning.

I believe that all of the Representatives from Laconia voted for the increased budget that would have included additional funding for the Corrections Department. However, the Belknap County Delegation or Convention includes all of the state representatives from throughout the county, not just the ones from Laconia. But they were in the minority when the budget was passed before the March 31 deadline and remained in the minority when a supplemental budget request was considered — that vote failed by virtue of a tied vote.

Under the state budget laws, the county commissioners, with the concurrence of the delegation, have the authority to move monies from one or more line items in the approved budget to other line items in the budget that have been allocated at least $1, so they could request approval to transfer more money into the Corrections Dept. line items from other areas, especially those that typically in most years do not spend all the money allocated to those areas.

So, the narrative that is being circulated as far as claiming that the majority of the delegation is refusing to fund the Corrections Dept. adequately is a false narrative.

The county budget that was approved by a majority vote of the delegation provided for increases in spending but overall no increase in county taxes. The budget proposed by the county commissioners, which failed to be approved, would have increased county taxes.

I ran on a platform and promise never to vote for an increase in taxes, and that is a promise I have consistently kept, whether in the county delegation or in the N.H. House.

As a further aside, I am very empathic with your personal situation. In my own family, we have experienced a severe drug addiction that we able to resolve only through great effort and expense, and our loved one is now in recovery and has been in recovery for about 10 years. My wife and I attended weekly meeting of Families Anonymous, a 12-step program for family members of loved ones with an addiction, for several years, and it gave us a great deal of comfort and understanding, as well as useful strategies for helping our loved one overcome his addiction.

Addiction is a major problem, irrespective of an addict’s drug of choice, be it alcohol, opioids or other substances. I believe the so-called “War on Drugs” has been a very expensive, dismal failure, with many non-violent young people being incarcerated for possession of small amounts of drugs that have been deemed to be illegal. I am not sure what the overall solution might be, but I have no doubt that drug addiction is an equal-opportunity plague on our communities, state and country.

The “bottom line,” in my view, is that if the county commissioners really want to fund the additional positions in the new corrections facility, they have more than adequate tools to do so without increasing county taxes.

Thank you again for contacting me.

State Rep. Norman Silber

Gilford

  • Written by Mike Mortensen
  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 599

Legislature has chosen to err on side of caution regarding PFASs

To The Daily Sun,

A lot of local and regional news has been generated about the challenges of keeping our drinking water safe from the waste stream created by some manufacturing processes. I wrote recently about the subject, but I feel compelled to dig deeper into some specific cases because the New Hampshire Legislature has a bill moving through the process of passage that would direct the Department of Environmental Services to develop protocols even more stringent than those of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Most of us are suffering from an extreme information deficit on the subject the the bill addresses. A compound with the initials PFAS that represent a chemical entitled Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substance served to motivate the proposed legislation. Some may be aware for the well issue in Litchfield and Londonderry. PFAS was Identified as the cause of the contamination and were traced to a plastics manufacturer in the area.

The chemicals are a diverse group of man-made substances that are resistant to heat, water and oil. Studies indicate that they are widespread. Further, they are resistant to filtration after they develop plumes in our ground water. Although the site mentioned earlier was a manufacturing location, there are numerous sources. For instance, the firefighting foams manufactured prior to 2002 contained the chemical in significant quantities. Some other uses are in Teflon coatings, stains and water resistant sprays.

The Department of Environmental Services has been aware of the PFAS problem for several years. They have a plan in place to identify and control product waste streams. Best management practices are followed by manufactures and paperwork trail is maintained with MSDS procedures. In addition an inventory of possible sites requiring mitigation and/or monitoring has been created. On that list are landfills, airports, fire training facilities, metal plating factories and textile plants.

One of the focal points in New Hampshire is the mitigation that took place at the Pease Jet Port. The good news is that clean-up was paid for by the Department of Defense. The bad news is there is some debate about what is a safe level of the PFAS chemical as relates to our
water supply.

The Legislature has chosen to err on the side caution. The EPA has set the drinking water standard at 70 parts per trillion. The current bill seeks to lower that standard. Testing samples at 70 ppm is difficult; at a lower level even more so. The Department of Health and Human Services has been assessing results of voluntary blood test taken from those residing in the impacted areas. For those of you who want to dig deeper into the data, there is an on-line fact sheet issued by the EPA in November of 2016. You can access it by going on their website and entering: Ground Water and Drinking Water/Advisories.

Bill Dawson

Northfield

  • Written by Mike Mortensen
  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 527