To The Daily Sun,
Rep. Michael Sylvia apparently needs to be reminded that it is he and other past and present members of the Belknap County Delegation who are 100 percent responsible for the looming spike in the county’s budget. Perhaps he doesn’t recall the public hearing discussing the 2017 budget process during which the proposal to return $600,000 in surplus to the towns by (then) Rep. Brian Gallagher was put forth and subsequently approved by the Republican majority. I attended that meeting and sat immediately behind county commission Chairman Dave DeVoy as he implored Rep. Gallagher that doing so was ill-advised and that those funds could best be applied towards repairing the roof of the county complex, a much-needed project.
Purportedly, the return of the surplus would result in “tax relief” for the citizens of the county. Having just paid my local tax bill, I’m still waiting for my “relief” and the portion of that tax bill that went to Belknap County was minimal, as is always the case.
For the past several years, I’ve witnessed Rep. Sylvia and his like-minded cohorts accuse the county commissioners of everything from misrepresentation to incompetence in order to justify their irresponsible positions. They have continually ignored the advice of the county’s auditors and financial advisors as it relates to maintaining minimum recommended levels of fund balance. Instead, they have engaged in a systematic attack on county operations, forcing the commissioners and department heads to reduce services and constantly transfer funds within the existing budget. This flies in the face of responsible budgeting and good public policy. Need we be reminded of the delegation’s initial refusal to fund the operations of the new community corrections facility and their insistence that there was already enough money in the budget to do so? As Rep. David Huot recently pointed out, if Rep. Sylvia wants to continue to play a blame game, he needs to look no further than his mirror.
- Written by Edward Engler
- Category: Letters
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