To The Daily Sun,
Happy New Year to all Gilford residents! It’s time for your New Year’s Resolutions.
If you are a Gilford property owner and registered voter, are you happy with the level of your property taxes? There is only one practical way to take control of your property taxes, and that is to elect fiscal conservatives whenever you can do so. You will have your chance at the next town and schools elections on March 13. That may seem like a long time from now, but NOW is the time for you to start thinking about what you might be able to do to help control your taxes.
At the next election, there will be two vacancies on the School Board, one vacancy on the Board of Selectmen, and four on the Budget Committee.
If you have felt that the taxes for our schools are too high and keep increasing each year by too much, as the enrollment in our schools keeps declining, now is the time to commit to becoming a candidate for the School Board, which is, in my view, in dire need of members with a strong sense of fiscal restraint.
If you have ever felt that some of the decisions regarding land use issues in our town were contrary to the wishes of many neighbors of affected properties because of the membership of the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment, members of which are appointed by our selectmen, now is the time to commit to becoming a candidate for selectman (whether you are a man or a woman), and if you are successful, you can have a hand in determining the composition of those boards in the future, as well as the fashioning of the recommended town budget.
And although the proposed budgets for the town and schools are reviewed and adjusted by the Budget Committee, its ability to control expenses is limited by the fact that some members of the public who have vested financial interests often “pack” the deliberative sessions and add back significant amounts to the budgets proposed by the Budget Committee.
Our property taxes are determined by two components: (1) the assessed value of your property; and (2) the tax rate. There is little you can do to control the assessed value of your property, but you have a lot of control over your tax rate, if only you speak out and put your vote where your money is. The ultimate tax rate is practically determined by the voters when they vote on the budget and special financial request articles and for those who are to serve on the Budget Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the School Board, all of which have openings in the next election.
The simple but central economic issue is always present: we have limited resources (taxes) to allocate among numerous competing uses. We must live within our means, and that means making hard choices. Every household knows that there are practical limits on how much you can spend, depending on your income. The town and schools should concentrate on properly funding essential services, and reducing or eliminating wasteful or non-essential spending.
The only practical way to take control of your property taxes is to elect fiscal conservatives to the Budget Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the School Board at the next election. We need strong, fiscally conservative leadership in all those positions.
The filing period for each of these offices runs from Jan. 24 through Feb. 2.
Now is the time for you to make a New Year’s Resolution to step up and become a candidate. You can make a difference!
Norman J. Silber