To The Daily Sun,
As we see the political Town Meeting signs start to pop up within the community of Ashland, I find it difficult to comprehend why the Ashland Water and Sewer Departments have taken the initiative to expend user fees to cover the costs associated with the signs asking Ashland voters to vote "no" on warrant Articles 22-25.
Voting "yes" on these warrant articles will reduce the burden of taxes for all of Ashland taxpayers.
We live along a roadway with several other voters in this community who do not have water and sewer services offered by these departments. For the most part those of us who are not users of these departments do not get involved or attend the water and sewer commissioners' meetings. We do not ask anything of those departments and have not since the creation of the services. We pay for our personal systems to be pumped and have our wells tested as needed — again, at no expense to any of the users of these departments.
The time has come for a change. It's time for these departments to accept and pay their own way by accepting responsibility and paying for the infrastructure bonds that are being paid by the taxpayers. As a wise person once stated, it's time for the monkey to get off our backs.
During the 2014 Deliberative Session, a presentation was given showing that these departments combined had over $900,000 in savings accounts, whether it is with the town Treasurer or the Trustees of the Trust Funds. They indicate these funds are allocated for specific purposes/infrastructure. What about paying for the infrastructure that has already been built and financed through these bonds?
Ashland Warrant Articles 22, 23, 24 and 25 will mandate those departments to place $48,400 into a special revenue fund to offset the expense of the bonds that you the taxpayer (whether a user or not) are footing the bill for. If all taxpayers had the services they offer or were informed that in the near future it would be available to us, it may be easier to ask us all to pay our portion of the bill. This is far from the case. The registered petitioners of these warrant articles believe that the user fees should be appropriate to cover the expenses of the departments these bonds included.
The bonds that are currently on the town's books are not bonds for town roads, buildings or equipment. They are all for water and sewer infrastructure. All departments have infrastructure that needs attention. Take a ride around town, look at our buildings, our roads and our equipment. What would the costs of these bonds pay for within the infrastructure of the town? We cannot afford many of the necessities needed for the individual departments of the town because the taxpayers are carrying expenses that should be paid for by the water and sewer user fees.
There is a chance that the user fees may need to be adjusted to compensate for the additional expense. Those users of the system should be advised that the tax rate has consistently been adjusted to compensate for the cost of the bonds. The time has come for the users to pay their fair share.
Please consider voting yes for warrant articles 22, 23, 24, & 25.
Anne M. Abear
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 10:55
To The Daily Sun,
As we are all no doubt aware, March 11 is town meeting day in New Hampshire. This year, in addition to the usual elections, warrants, and articles, another really important race will be on the ballot, the Executive Council seat in District 1.
This Special Election is needed to replace Ray Burton, who, sadly, passed away last year. While we don't often hear about the Executive Council in news reports and everyday conversation, it is a vitally important part of the executive branch of New Hampshire's government.
The Executive Council approves all nominations from the governor for judges, commissioners, notaries public, justices of the peace, and commissioners of deeds. It approves all State contracts with a value of $10,000 or more, and it hears requests for pardons. All these responsibilities are critically important to ensuring that the New Hampshire government runs smoothly.
That is why I am supporting Mike Cryans in the Special Election, and asking you to do the same. Like Ray Burton, Mike began his career as a teacher, so he knows the challenges that educators face. His current career working for a non-profit that helps people recover from substance abuse issues proves that he is always looking to help those less fortunate. He knows the importance of the constituent services that executive councilors provide and is passionate about providing those services to the North Country.
Working side by side with Ray as Grafton County Commissioner, Mike has shown that he is a thoughtful, compassionate man, fighting hard for working class families. It is no wonder that the Burton family has endorsed Mike Cryans for the Executive Council seat in District 1 as the candidate who will carry on Ray's legacy.
Over the last 35 years, the District 1 has come to expect a councilor who puts constituents first, and party affiliation last. I believe that Mike will continue that tradition, and that is why I am asking you to join me in voting for Mike Cryans on March 11.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 10:51
To The Daily Sun,
Registered voters in the seven towns comprising of the Newfound Area School District should be careful in the voting booth on Election Day, Tuesday March 11th. Whether or not you wanted to increase the proposed budget of the School Budget Committee, it was increased by the majority of those present at the Deliberative Session on February 1. If that action distresses you, don't consider voting against the increased budget, for if the increased budget is defeated in the voting booths of the seven towns, we will be stuck with the default budget that is $319,120 HIGHER than that already increased budget! So hold your nose and vote "yes" on the operating budget given in Article 7 on your School District ballot
We do encourage you to vote "NO" on the Teacher Contract Agreement, Article 2 on your ballot. Over the next three years of this agreement, teachers, on average, will receive raises of $5,000 while only being held responsible for 13 percent of their health insurance. The majority of our district's tax paying residents will not see a raise in salary or Social Security, nor have the luxury of paying 13 percent of health insurance costs. We DISAGREE with this agreement as it does not respect the financial inabilities of most taxpayers.
Slim Spafford & Sherry Nelson
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 10:46
To The Daily Sun,
I am writing in support of Steve McCormack for selectman in Gilmanton. I feel we need a strong, independent voice in town.
I have known Steve since we went to Belmont High School in the 1960s. Steve was active in many extra-curricular activities in school. After graduation Steve joined the Army and retired with the rank of major. This in itself speaks of just the type of person Steve is.
Steve's track record as a military man and a senior field representative for the State of New Hampshire Employees Association has provided him with exceptional experience for dealing with people and problems. Steve is intelligent, articulate, energetic, hard-working, great sense of humor and is genuinely good with people. He is respectful of other the person's point of view and wants to research the facts before making a decision. Gilmanton would be well served to have him on the Board of Selectmen.
Steve wants to find ways to bring more business to Gilmanton in order to share the burden of our taxes. In addition, Steve wants to make our town services more efficient by listening to the town employees' ideas as well as our own and to give our residents a reason to be proud of this community. Let's return to our best instincts of community spirit and cooperativeness and elect a man who can help move us in that direction.
Vote for Steve McCormack on Tuesday, March 11.
Paula L. Gilman
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 10:42
To The Daily Sun,
Bristol taxpayers do you feel your taxes are too high? According to two elected members of our town government you need look no further than the Newfound Area School District's $21.8-million budget. These two town government members expressed just that sentiment at recent Budget Committee meetings.
In an attempt to set the record straight, I pointed out to one that fortunately Bristol belongs to a seven-town school district, and we are just one of these communities paying our share and our amount of payment to the school district, and our town budget were in fact pretty close in cost to the taxpayers.
Please note Bristol's school district apportioned amount according to the FY2013 MS-24 worksheet from the New Hampshire Department of Education Bureau of Data Management is $5,987,906.
It is also worth noting that the Newfound Area School District's operating budget number for last year was $ 21,775,989. The total proposed operating budget for our consideration this year is $21,802,569 which is a total gross operating budget increase $26,580 over last year.
The Bristol budget as recommended by the Budget Committee in FY2013 was $5,371,156. The FY2014 Budget Committee budget to be presented to the taxpayers at the Town Meeting this year will be $5,466,274 for an increase of $95,118. This increase is a much larger number if you compare it to the actual FY2013 Year-End expended amount which was $ 5,241,113. This basically leaves a surplus of over $200,000 of unspent money to be added to the town's unexpended fund balance.
This $200,000-plus is the amount mentioned in letters you may have read in several local papers recently. If this were a once-in-a-while occurrence I would congratulate all responsible for prudent spending. Some might think that this money might mean there would be extra money for unforeseen issues. But there is a vehicle for such occurrences as the town maintains an unexpended fund balance.
According to NH RSA 32:1 "The purpose of the Budget Committee is to assist voters in the prudent appropriation of public funds."
As stated by some running for elected positions in the town of Bristol, there seems to be a move afoot by some "radicals" to pretty much destroy our town by reckless spending cuts. I can assure you this is not my intention as a Budget Committee member. I, like several fellow members, attempted to address the budget vs. expenditure overages by proposing cuts to allow potential taxation dollars to remain in the hands of the taxpayers. Radical, doesn't seem so to me. We are concerned committee members doing what we are charged to do under the RSA noted above. I felt that this money should be back out into the local economy doing some good instead of sitting in the town coffers.
Because I see this belief in both Paul Manganiello and Andy O'Hara, I wholeheartedly endorse their candidacy for the Bristol Select Board. They will offer and even-keeled, common sense approach to Bristol's business. I also support David Carr and Kevin MacCaffrie for Budget Committee.
William "Bill" Cote
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 10:27