To The Daily Sun,
A few weeks ago, I had written a letter to the editor in which I detailed an event that precipitated due to the lack of transparency from town officials in Gilmanton. This lack of transparency has never been so glaringly obvious as it was at the local Budget Committee meeting that was held on Jan. 5.
During this meeting and its respective public hearing, the proposed 2017 budget from the Board of Selectman was reviewed. However, despite a copious amount of prodding from the Budget Committee, the town administrator seemed oblivious and unable to accurately respond. Questions about expected revenues were met with hesitation, uncertainty and inaccuracy. The Selectboard representative was no better, as he sat with minimal involvement, consistently deferred to the town administrator, and offered little more than thoughtless murmurs of consensus.
Worse yet, this was the only meeting in which the Budget Committee had the opportunity to hear opinions from the public. However, because of the complete lack of information offered by the Selectboard in regards to the budget, the public was not offered the critical information it needed in order to form an opinion. Thus, the Budget Committee, which seemed equally as frustrated as the public, heard no valuable public opinion. Citizens of the town were left floundering, and have subsequently lost the opportunity to have a voice. With no concrete answers from the Board of Selectman, the information that citizens desperately needed was withheld, and in turn, the public's ability to have an influence in its own government was stolen.
To be clear, this is not to say that every official in town has the same level of incompetency that our Board of Selectman continuously displays. Our Budget Committee members who are voted into office, and who receive no compensation for what they do, tend to be a successful group of individuals. I am confident that they will evaluate the budget and give a fair proposal.
Yet it remains that our selectmen seem unequipped for the tasks their jobs entail. Regardless of whether their inability to manage the town is due to inexperience or incompetence, their ineffectiveness is both staggering and unacceptable. The Selectboard's inability to answer basic budget questions is a poignant reminder that once again, the public is prevented from having the opportunity to be thoughtfully involved in its own government.