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Planning ahead is cheaper & better than not planning at all, Belmont

To The Daily Sun,

I am writing this letter because of the decisions our town fathers made regarding the Belmont Mill. There are a lots of professionals in our town, and so you would think that the town fathers would reach out to them to get some kind of consensus as to how to approach the mill problem. I am happy to say that Donna Hepp has come up with a logical solution: Study all the buildings first before you put articles in the warrant.

I have read Article 6, 7, and 8 and I will be voting "No" on all three articles until the study on all the town-owned buildings is completed. I would recommend that we all vote "No" on those three articles.

As far as the Municipal Facilities Capitol Reserve is concerned (Article 26), they had $500,000 in that fund two years ago and they were asking the taxpayers for an additional $125,000 that was voted down. Now they have $428,646 and they are asking for another $50,000. I am asking myself where was the $71,354 dollars spent? Why would you need an additional $50,000 when you already have $428,646 that sits in the reserve for years and earns little to no interest? The additional $50,000 in my opinion is a bad investment I will vote "No."

I have, for the past 17 years, brought the very important question of protecting our water supply by removing the industrial zoning designation over the aquifer and find another location for industrial development in our town. At the present time we have eight potential pollution sites that have been approved by the town Planning Board and some by the state of New Hampshire. They are all on top of our water supply (the aquifer).

Furthermore, we as a town are required to produce a Master Plan every 10 years. Who is working on that? We have no growth plan, so anybody with deep pockets can come to Belmont and buy a large parcel of land and put up lots of houses. Then your taxes will skyrocket. I introduced a warrant article on the issue of a growth plan a few years ago and it received a majority vote but was summarily dismissed by the Planning Board.

These issues I am discussing are nothing new I have brought them up many times in the past. It is more successful to anticipate a problem than to react to a problem. Planning ahead is cheaper and better than not planning at all.

George Condodemetraky

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SB-2 system offers chance for more Bristol voices to be heard

To The Daily Sun,

Voting on issues that face a town is a civic duty that for hundreds of years has been done in a traditional town meeting format. There have been changes to who can legally vote on these issues in the hundreds of years but not to the format in New Hampshire until Senate Bill 2 was adopted in 1995. Pursuant to New Hampshire RSA 40:13 any town, school district or cooperative school district that raises and appropriates funds at an annual meeting can adopt a process whereby all warrant articles are given their final vote by official ballot. Should the town of Bristol voters vote to adopt this approach it will make the annual decision making on budget and warrant a two session format:

• Session 1 — a public meeting to discuss and amend the proposed warrant, and then about a month later
• Session 2 — to vote on the warrant at the polls.

There are many people touting pros and cons to this change, but I believe that SB-2 is the answer for Bristol for the following reasons:

• SB-2 offers a way for more Bristol voters to take part in matters that affect the town
• On average, only about 100 or so Bristol voters, who include officials, employees and committee members, are attending town meeting.

• Voters have time between first Session Deliberative Meeting and second Session Voting Day to review warrant, research issues and prepare to vote.
• With traditional town meeting most people have intimated not having any idea of the warrant articles and information until the meeting and feeling pressured to vote one way or another by those proponents or opponents to an issue or article.

• Allows voters who are away to vote by absentee ballot.
• Many Bristol voters are away in winter and cannot participate in decisions because they cannot physically attend traditional town meeting.

• Polls being open typically from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. allows for more flexibility to voters to participate.
• Many Bristol voters are working, own businesses, have childcare issues or have other family obligations that keep them from attending a sometimes day long Saturday town meeting.

• Allows voters the privacy of the voting booth to exercise their vote.
• Many Bristol voters have expressed feeling intimidated by voice or hand vote process at Town Meeting and some have actually been accosted for positions taken at town meeting causing them to forgo participation.

It is time for more voices to be heard for the choices that need to be made in Bristol. Please vote "Yes" to SB-2 at the polls on March 14.

Janet Cote

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