To The Daily Sun,

Last week, Raymond Howard ‘s letter to the editor included the statements “with Gunstock near bankruptcy,” there is danger of “another bailout.” Nothing is further from the truth. His statements show an ignorance of the facts and an ignorance of how a business is run.

He recounts events of nearly 20 years ago when Gunstock, under the aegis of the then delegation, was regularly getting money from the county tax coffers. The delegation took steps to rectify this situation. Their investigations and actions resulted in the formation and appointment of a commission to run Gunstock as a business. After the commission took over, not one dollar was provided to Gunstock from county tax receipts. In at least the last 12 years, Gunstock has transferred money to the county tax funds yearly while building the Gunstock that we have now — an outstanding and profitable resort which annually brings large amounts of business into the county.

This has been accomplished with the help of the delegations in office at the time of expansion of the resorts’ facilities and revenues. The delegation has approved bonds on behalf of Gunstock to enable Gunstocks expansion in accordance with sound business practices (Gunstock cannot borrow on its own behalf because it is owned by the county). Every investment made with the proceeds of these bonds and with Gunstock generated funds has shown an excellent return and continues to do so. Further, Gunstock regularly pays down those bonds in both principal and interest; not one penny of tax revenues is spent. Every annual accounting review performed by a certified accounting firm has found these bonds to be a conservative debt load for Gunstock. Further, these reviews have NEVER even hinted that Gunstock might be close to or on the way to bankruptcy as Mr. Howard claims. That is a scurrilous charge and shows Mr. Howard’s ignorance of the true situation.

In fact, Gunstock is in good financial shape and growing. It will continue to do so as long as Mr. Howard and his small group of delegation members do NOT have their way in seeking large annual payments from Gunstock and keep baselessly attacking Gunstock and its present management. In fact, Mr. Howard would like to get rid of Gunstock rather than work to make it even more successful than it has been and eventually provide even more significant annual contributions to the county tax coffers. Mr. Howard has no alternate plan for Gunstock. He basically just wants to get rid of it.

Mr. Howards' attacks on Gunstock are but one manifestation of his lack of knowledge and understanding. We all want to control and, where possible, lower the tax rate. But to do that mindlessly, for its own sake is wrong and goes against every tenet of good government. Let’s not have the kind of havoc that people like Mr. Howard bring to the county delegation or in the state government in Concord.

I am a Republican but find Mr. Howard’s views and actions wrong headed and counterproductive. Mr. Howard is NOT good for Alton, is not good for Gunstock, is not good for the County and is DEFINITELY not good for the state. A middle of the road Democrat such as Ms. Larson is far preferable to this form of extremism.

John Morgenstern


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(1) comment

Common Sense

Everything the author said here is true. Thank you for your letter!

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