One of the things that I am proud about the folks that opine here at GraniteGrok is not just that they spend their free time writing here, not just that when they write but that they write well, but that they all DO and not just write. Each of the authors here get off their butts and go and actively do the politics that they advocate for here on the ‘Grok. I am no different, as I actively engage at my local level. For those of you living in Gilford, I ask that you would please vote for Barbara Aichinger, Stuart Savage, and me when you vote next month in our SB-2 sanctioned secret ballot vote.
The following is the Letter that I have submitted to local media outlets:
My name is Skip Murphy and I am running for re-election for the Gilford Budget Committee. I am also endorsing Barbara Aichinger and Stuart Savage for the BudComm and for the following reasons.
Bev Buker correctly identified the spending problem in her Laconia Daily Sun 2/9 Letter “to work with the available money on hand” as for some in Town “the available money “ is never enough; the implicit demand is that the needs of Government trumps that of taxpayers’ need for their own hard earned money. What is rarely is addressed is the important point: what is the cost of Government doing more? Unfortunately, there are those in Gilford that don’t care – they just demand those services regardless of the cost (or the result). They seldom ask “can this service be done better at a lower cost?” nor, “what is the unit cost of providing that level of service”?
Terry Stewart in his Sun Letter (2/14) Letter, honed in on that lament – one cannot reduce budgets without some departmental budgets getting haircuts. I’ve heard the hysterics over the years that services will suffer if even the slightest of cuts are implemented but I’ve heard very few ever raise the issue of “Does Government have to have the best at the expense of taxpayer wallets?”. Two concrete examples are the buying a costly new fire engine vs fixing the current backup one to last a couple more years, and propping up the Planning Dept staffing even as its work load has plunged the last few years.
But the biggest problem is that Labor costs constitute the majority of our budgets and are amongst the highest of NH towns our size. My first meeting on the BudComm, I unveiled a salary study that showed that Gilford consistently paid highest salaries for all the Town related job descriptions of the 32 town surveyed. Nothing I have seen since has led me to believe that has changed. Even the School Board’s own Administrative Salary study found their costs were higher than similar districts. These costs lead directly to a larger tax due price that show up twice annually – unless someone fights to keep that in check.
That was one of the reasons I originally ran to be on the Gilford Budget Committee and why I am, again, asking for your vote to re-elect me to the Budget Committee. Much has been done and in conjunction with others, I helped achieved real financial structural changes benefiting taxpayers with starting the process of employees paying more for their healthcare as in the private sector and moving from COLAs to merit increases to name two specific examples. I’ve also been the only Member that has consistently, over the years, asked for large budget decreases to keep more of your money in your pockets.
I have been accused of having an agenda these last six years and I readily admit such: “why should Government spending rise faster than the ordinary family’s income?” Government does need to serve its citizens but never at a price that puts families second financially. That is why I ask for your vote for me as well as Barbara Aichinger and Stuart Savage; I need their help and I can promise that we will look out for your wallets!
Cross posted at GilfordGrok
Bev Buker’s Letter:
To the editor,
Just where are these idiots who told us that they were saving $94K a year by not filling a top position in the town? Just where have they spent this money? Could it be that they gave some raises and told no one? Could it be that they hired another cop that wasn’t needed?
So I ask you, why we need to raise money for this part-time worker, when it is already in the bank so to speak? It is time to change the whole Budget Committee and put some people in there that know how to work with the available money on hand.
Terry Stewart’s Letter:
To the editor,
I couldn’t help but respond to Bev Buker’s recent letter that suggests the Gilford Budget Committee members should all be replaced. I’d agree that she’s at least half right. The current Budget Committee was comprised of nearly a 50/50 split of those that wish to reduce spending and those that vote for and actually lobby for more spending. If Ms. Buker is truly concerned, then she and other voters should get involved and vote for the upcoming candidates that will attempt to rein in spending. I say “attempt” because the mission is almost stacked against them.
Everyone in town is “concerned about the spending”. Unfortunately, that ends when the reductions or cuts affect their own “Kingdom”. The examples are everywhere. Last year, the spoiled Community Band members worked the process to force us to budget $750 to fund their hobby. During this year’s budget process we had a near mutiny of the Conservation Commission because of staff reductions in the Planning Department. Now we have the recent whining from the Town Clerk to restore a part-time position.
Since the deliberative sessions are 99-percent attended by direct recipients (employees and spouses) of each respective budget, it’s not a mystery how spending cuts to “their own kingdoms” are easily restored. If the citizens of Gilford can’t wait a day to register a car or pay their tax bill, then we truly are hopeless. I would suggest that our small community could easily live with a Town Clerk’s office that is open three days a week instead of five. Especially with the Internet service that allows town transactions on the web. Any resident without Internet service could go right down the road and do these transactions on the library’s computers. This simple change could allow the Town Clerk to accomplish the requirements of her duties without the added position. The individuals I’ve discussed are good people with good intentions but
it’s simply human nature to view things through their own prism and protect their own kingdom.
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could set aside their own kingdom’s needs and do what’s best for the entire community? Wouldn’t it be nice if we put as much time into saying “yes we can make changes” instead of “no we can’t”? This is where the Selectboard and School Board are supposed to make the difficult decisions. Unfortunately, there are political agendas and ideology that gets in the way. More often than not, they cave as they did with the wasted money for the band and superintendent. They don’t have to fund the band, superintendent or the Town Clerk’s request. They can simply manage their intended plan and return the savings to the community. With good leadership, no one would even notice these and many other services weren’t funded. The band would play on, the children would still get educated, cars would still get registered and taxes would get paid.
If you are really concerned about removing waste from government then you should start by supporting candidates that have proven that they can make better choices. Unfortunately, several of our elected officials and upcoming candidates directly or indirectly receive money and benefits
from the budgets they will vote on. Do your homework and vote for the candidates who don’t have an agenda or “kingdom” to protect. Once your candidate is elected, you need to support them at public hearings and town meetings; otherwise, the budget is completely in the hands of those whose kingdom depends on it!