To The Daily Sun,
I believe that most everyone knows me or my reputation. There is no one in the last 10 years who has recommended more cuts to the Alton and Prospect Mountain High School Budget than me. I question every line and every penny. I have been a local pain in the butt to both the selectmen and the School Board. I am not afraid to say what I believe and let the chips fall. I do not have a political agenda. I have an Alton agenda.
Most important, I did not drink the "Kool Aid."
What I am about to tell you is that what my heart says is important, and that what we need is your vote and support to take care of our kids at the Alton Central School.
Last year Alton voters sent us a message which we heard loud and clear.
That message was: We will not spend $18 million because we cannot afford it. We have not spent all your money authorized in the capital expendable trusts. We do not need a new gym. We do not need a geothermal heating system. Our enrollment is no longer increasing, so we do not need to expand. We do not want a new building but we want to fix the one we have. We want some relief from the PMHS bond maturing. We need to get rid of the four modular classrooms. We need a fire suppression system that we have already expendable trusts have mostly paid for.
We are doing what you asked us to do. Instead of creating a wish list, adding in all the accessories we would like to have in a perfect world and then borrow the money whatever the amount, and ultimately hope you will unconditionally pay for it, we wanted to do it the right way this time.
Like any good business board of directors, like any fiscally responsible adult, we first asked, "What can we afford?" Just like you, we asked each other how much house or school can we afford to buy? What is our budget? What size school can we buy and keep to our budget?
We learned a few lessons from the last deliberative meeting. Spending $18 million for a new school is way over the top. That is the same as being able to afford a $400,000 house but instead applying for a $2 million mortgage.
My recommendation of a $7 million compromise, might have passed, but was zeroed out by Mrs. Tilly (75-49), from the floor. The vote was close, but still a ways from the 3/5 majority needed for a bond to pass. One of our most fiscally conservative citizens, Ray Howard, amended the $18 million to be reduced to $4 million which was also brought to a vote and lost by another narrow margin.
The bottom line of all this is the kids lost and were sentenced to spend at least another two years in old modular classrooms in need of replacement themselves.
That is how we came up with $4 million. You told us that $4 million might be doable if we can make a significant difference, have a plan that makes fiscal and economic sense, take care of all the critical problems in the school that we all agree on, and make sure our most financially vulnerable citizens can afford it.
We may not be the smartest pups in the litter, but we (the School Board) believe that we understand your charge and have made every possible effort to do what you want us to do: Keep our children safe.
First, get rid of the modular classrooms. We have used every penny we have to get rid of the two modular classrooms in the front of the building and move the kids inside. Unless you are willing to increase the average class size from 19 to 30 there is no more room at the inn. If you want your kids learning about health in the boys' locker room, watch them fall going to and from the modular classrooms during the winter, and have them remain the target of choice for some crazy person with an assault rifle, just raise your hands. If not vote yes for the renovation.
We have to upgrade the boys and girls bathroom in the 1956 wing, literally. It is an embarrassment, because it is the main public bathroom in the school, and because it is the bathroom closest to the nurse's office. This bathroom needs to be the most sanitized place for the public and most important for our sickest children. If anyone here does believe that fixing this bathrooms should not be a top priority I would like you to visit them and see for yourselves.
We need to spend the money in the fire suppression fund ($221,000), that you the voters authorized, instead of letting it sit there for another five years drawing 1 percent interest. New Hampshire fire code law states that if you have a fire suppression system (Anyone willing to raise his hand and vote against a fire suppression system in an elementary school, after mostly paying for it already?) you must have a fire alarm system. If you have a fire suppression system you must have a fire alarm system. It's the law. Does anyone here think the fire department need not be notified about a fire in an elementary school raise your hand? Seeing none ...
Next, as long as we have to rip out the ceiling for the fire suppression and alarm system it makes sense to replace the ceiling and lighting. It will never be cheaper and we can save almost 20 percent of the total cost instead of doing it piecemeal. You want us to save money and be fiscally prudent, then that is exactly what we are doing. We are putting in environmentally safe lighting and taking out the old inefficient florescent bulbs. We will get rid of all the unsafe exposed wiring on the walls and along the floors, add outlets, and essentially do what we want Northern Pass to do, "bury the power lines." If anyone does not think exposed wiring is a safety priority for our kids then raise your hands.
We need the administrative offices in one place centrally located instead spreading them a football field apart. Anyone who has worked in a business or been part of a management team knows that management is best centralized due to communication issues, response issues, leadership issues, and just plain common sense.
Here is how the bottom line numbers work out. The currently available interest rates to borrow $4 million range between 3.5-4 percent depending upon maturity and the loan provider which would be either a local bank or the N.H. Municipal Bond Bank.
The estimated tax rate impact should be between 32 cents and 59 cents per $1,000. As an example, for a $250,000 home the additional property tax will be about $80 to $147.50 a year.
Whether or not you think money will be cheaper next year, or the economy will be all our kids need to be in the same warm protected building today. Quality education begins with eliminating basic wants such as shelter and security. A protected, safe, secure, and toasty environment is the very least we should do for them.
We need your help in March to make this all happen. Please vote yes to renovating our Alton Central School — not for me — not for you — but for our kids.
Member, Alton School Board
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 11:13
To The Daily Sun,
I am writing in support of Mike Cryans for Executive Council for District 1. It is always a good feeling to vote for someone because you believe he is the right person for the position.
In my opinion he will place service to the people of District 1 above politics. He is a moderate on most issues and will represent and listen to everyone regardless of their personal politics.
I voted for the late Ray Burton for the same reasons. I believe Mike Cryans will represent all of us to the best of his ability.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 11:05
To The Daily Sun,
In Wednesday, Feb. 26's, issue of The Laconia Daily Sun, there was a reference to a letter that I wrote in support of Joe Kenney.
I apologize for my statement that Ray Burton supported only Republican candidates. Anyone following this election knows that Ray supported Mr. Cryans for Grafton County Commissioner. In my letter I did state, whether state or national election, he supported Republicans as much as possible.
As much as Mr. Cryans supporters want to use Ray's endorsement to help their candidate, let's look at the facts. Out of all of the towns and cities of Grafton County and all the towns and cities of Executive Council District 1, Ray supported Mr. Cryans, who represented Hanover, Lebanon and Enfield.
For all you other towns and cities that Ray always supported, I hope you go out and join me by voting for Joe Kenney.
It is true that at one time Mr. Cryans ran for the Executive Counciler of District 1? If so, I guess Ray supporters won.
L. Michael Hatch
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 11:02
To The Daily Sun,
A lot of people in the town of Bristol feel the public safety budgets are too high and that's why so many suggestions for budget cuts have been made at public comment meetings. Portraying members of the Budget Committee and Select Board as radicals who want to cut the budget in half is unfounded. Public comment has been made by citizens for such cuts, but not by any elected member of the Budget Committee. If we vilify the very idea of suggesting budget cuts then we are doing a disservice to the town, its people, and to the entire democratic process.
For the record this radical group of "elected members" of the Budget Committee suggested cutting the bottom line of the budget by as much as $200,000. This would not radically affect services, because that amount was less than what you overpaid in taxes last year that will become part of the fund balance. This is comparable to overpaying your federal income taxes for the year and waiting until next year to be reimbursed.
I don't agree with the incumbents' attitude of "this is the way we've always done it" or "don't bring your tax concerns to the town, because the school is the cause for your high tax rate." This is not any way to manage, lead, or build a budget.
If you want your elected official to not ask questions and rubber-stamp every request that comes in from each municipal department, then I am not your candidate. If you want someone who not only questions every line item, but the very structural challenges of each department, then I would like to be considered for the Bristol Board of Selectmen.
Candidate for Selectman
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 10:51
To The Daily Sun,
Just a couple weeks ago President Obama told Bill O'Reilly that there wasn't a bit of corruption at the IRS. Strange — sure looked that way when all those conservative groups and individuals were being targeted before the last election. Just a coincidence these folks didn't support Obama and his polices I suppose.
Funny though, because just last week Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen led a group of Democratic senators, being targeted by campaign ads in their own states, asking the IRS and other federal agencies to "crack down" on these groups. Nope, no sign of any corruption here, no undue political pressure, can't expect the rich and powerful to be accountable for their words and actions after all.
Although it does seem to me I heard Chuck and Jeanne and the others telling us we could keep our health insurance if we liked our health insurance. We could keep our doctors if we liked our doctors too. But that proved not to be true. Now the president's new line is you can keep them if you have the money to keep them. Now isn't that just a fine example of a Catch-22.
If Jeanne had taken the time to actually read the law before joining the rush to shove it down the throats of Americans millions of people could have been saved from a bad law. Too bad she went along with the powers-that-be and decided to protect her own political backside rather then protecting the people of New Hampshire and America
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 10:41