I'd like to see the facts to back up mayor's statement on rent

To The Daily Sun,

From an article in The Laconia Daily Sun on Feb. 14, 2015: "Mill Society looks to volunteers to raise funds for repairs & operations," by Michael Kitch. Attorney Pat Wood suggests that the Mill could save money, "by persuading the City Council to forgive the $6,000 in property taxes levied on the rented space in the building. Wood anticipated that the society might require financial assistance from the city, perhaps as much as $50,000 a year, for a limited period of time." What Pat Wood is suggesting is that the taxpayers of Laconia pay $6,000 in property taxes for the two law firms who are renting space from the Mill Society.

In another article in The Daily Sun Jan., 13, 2015: "At City Council, Mayor Addresses 'Disinformation' About Belknap Mill" In this article Mayor Ed Engler says that the two law firms renting space in the mill are not paying an "unfairly low rents". He claims that both tenants, "could relocate for comparable, if not lower rents, than what they pay at the mill." I'd like to see some facts to back up that statement. "He pointed out that until recently there were three tenants at the mill and the annual rental income was $35,000." If each unit pays a third of the $35,000 that would mean the Mill Society is getting $225 a week for each rental before the cost of property taxes. Deducting the $6,000 for property taxes the Mill is getting $186 a week for each rental. If the Mayor and City Council are having non-public sessions on the Belknap Mill, how can the public have the correct information?

What the mayor fails to mention is that the Mitchell Municipal Group rents from the Belknap Mill Society and is also Lacoina's City Solicitor, which is a conflict of interest.

If the Belknap Mill Society wants money from the Laconia taxpayers, then all the Mill's records should be public records subject to RSA 91-A Right to Know law. That would include the costs related to the rentals, including the costs for electric, heat, water and sewer if these costs are included in the rent.

David Gammon


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If students fail to learn, what is to become of our society?

To The Daily Sun,

If you happen to see a news article pertaining to an academic program at a local school or any report about classroom goals and achievements, please call me. Frankly this type of reporting will never happen — more likely because there isn't too much positive news to relate.

A statewide report says that 66 percent of students are failing at AYP (which means Adequate Yearly Progress) in math and reading skills. Minor children failing at school is a problem most people accept, without noticeable comment or remedy. We are a society that thrives on game events. Often games at school garner more enthusiasm, vitality, interest and participation than any classroom grades or activity.

School games, for too many parents and grandparents is a cult, which happens both locally and nationally. Read any newspaper and see that news coverage on all sports events is extensive, nary is there any mention of academic goals or yearly progress reports (if there is any.) Laconia High School passing percentile grades in math is somewhere around 20-22 percent.

With all hullabaloo about sports programs you'd think the dismal AYP report would resonate with principals and administrators to raise a red flag and face the fact that their schools are failing. It seems to me, significant change is not in the works. We will continue to fail and bite the bullet.

I guess if games of no residual importance or no lasting value, rule the day, so be it. If students fail and the system continues to fail, what is to become of our society and elusive prosperity? We will surely rue the day we exulted mere games over solid and life-enduring educational achievements.

Leon R. Albushies


  • Category: Letters
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Dave Pollak (3-10) 260 COUNTY BUDGET

To The Daily Sun,

In an example of irresponsible and thoughtless governance, the Belknap County Convention voted an across the board 5 percent cut to its support for the so-called outside agencies which include Lakes Region Child Advocacy, Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid, Genesis Counseling Group, Community Action Program, Belknap County Conservation District, Belknap Economic Development Council, and the UNH Cooperative Extension.

Our representatives were elected to be responsible stewards of the county's finances. They were not elected to blindly cut without any thought of the results — including the loss of vital services and jobs. They attacked those who are the most vulnerable among us. They will reduce needed services and make it harder to grow our economy which is already facing massive demographic and economic challenges.

Representatives from BEDC were present to testify about the broad range of services they provide. Two of our elected representatives have said that when they first took office they had wanted to eliminate support for the BEDC. But, they had seen the economic benefits provided and had since changed their minds. Despite this, the convention chopped away. The convention didn't even give the other agencies a chance to present evidence of the work they do before slashing their support.

The process went something like this: Representative Vadney suggested they cut 1 percent. Representative Howard raised him to 10 percent. Chairman Tilton asked them to wait and set up a subcommittee before acting. Instead, Rep. Vadney modified his motion to 5 percent and it passed. That's not deliberative government. That's mindless cutting just for the sake of cutting. It's disgraceful.

Dave Pollak


  • Category: Letters
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County support of Conservation District is a wise investment

To The Daily Sun,

In Belknap County, what would our lives and opportunities be without clean lakes, productive farms and forest land, and the mountains around us? The Belknap County Conservation District (BCCD) is focused on the ground — literally. For the past 69 years, our leadership, partners and volunteers have worked in the soil — teaching best practices of soil conservation; on the lakes helping to improve water health and reduce contaminants; and in all communities, aiding town officials with technical support.

Continuing support for soil and water conservation in the 2015 County budget is a good investment.

Every dollar in BCCD funding generates $2 to $3 in matching funds for products or services benefiting the people of Belknap County. Long-term benefits of these conservation measures pay dividends for years to come. With level funding since 2010 to fund 1.5 staff people and with some per diem assistance, the cost to the county is low.

Here are some examples of our contributions:

— Alton: Provided technical assistance for investigation of sediment laden stream emptying into Alton Bay. BCCD staff serves as a director on the Belknap Range Conservation Coalition.

— Barnstead: BCCD Supervisor served as an educator for a school wetlands field trip, BCCD staff keeps local officials advised of important natural resource updates, and BCCD hosted a well attended Septic System Health workshop.

— Belmont: Obtained a grant to assist with the Shaker Regional School District Sugar House project and provided and additional funding toward the project.

— Center Harbor: BCCD staff participated in the Inter-Lakes Ecology Day, and is investigating a citizen complaint of sediment entering Center Harbor Bay.

— Gilford: BCCD obtained several grants to both study and address stream bank soil erosion within Gunstock Brook.

— Laconia: Extensive work in the past two years focused on the three main urban streams (Jewett Brook, Durkee Brook, and Black Brook) that feed into the Winnipesaukee River system.

— Meredith: BCCD serves on the Lake Waukewan and Winona Lake Advisory Committee, and led a multi-level partnership to ensure the Route 3 gateway to Meredith retains a magnificent view and in agricultural acreage forever.

— New Hampton: BCCD provided outreach to landowners within the Pemigewasset River Corridor on the benefits of forested land conservation within the Merrimack River Watershed – listed by the U.S. Forest Service among the top five watersheds in the nation to experience the most change in water quality due to an increase in housing density.

— Sanbornton: BCCD led the partnership that implemented water quality improvement measures for Hunkins Pond, worked with a landowner to assist with land conservation, and assisted the town in public outreach regarding water quality improvement best management practices in the Black Brook watershed.

— Tilton: Provided information land use information to the town for siting a municipal structure, and worked with the selectmen to identify illegal dumping of fouled waters.

We believe that continued support to the Belknap County Conservation District is a good low-cost investment for today and the future. Please support full funding for BCCD.

Belknap County Conservation District Supervisors

John Hodsdon, Chairman – Meredith

Earl Chase – Barnstead

Ken Kettenring – New Hampton

Dean Anson – Laconia

Donna Hepp - Belmont

  • Category: Letters
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Be sure to write Brett Currier in for selectman on Tuesday

To The Daily Sun,

I urge Gilmanton voters to vote "No" on Article 22. A "Yes" vote would mean an increase in taxes.

Brett Currier is your best candidate for selectman. Brett is a longtime resident of Gilmanton. Brett has experience. He is fair, and most of all, he cares about how your tax dollar is spent. Brett Currier is a write-in for selectman, so be sure to write Brett in Tuesday, March 10.

Don Guarino


  • Category: Letters
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