This should be the last post in this series as my last official meeting was back in January at the Public Hearing for the School District Budget. Officially, I “retired” and did not run for re-election for a fourth term back in March.
Three terms of three years each – I think I have fulfilled what I believe to be my civic duty as far as being an elected official is concerned. And at the same time, I fulfilled my promise to TMEW that I’d not seek office again (but to be truthful, I do ask from time to time, mostly kiddingly, if she’d let me out of that promise. And she give me “her look” – heh!).
So, the usual numbers of the budget that the BudComm were trotted out with just a few questions along the way. And then the Public Comment session arrived and the School Board Chair, Chris McDonough stood up to talk about his Petition Warrant. He and a few others want a bona fide football stadium and wanted $62,000 for a study of the area and preliminary plans for a multi-million complex – for a village of 7,400 people. He admitted that the reason for the Petition Warrant was that it was “too late in the process” during the budget season to have put it into process.
WIDE EYED responses to that assertion. He’s the flippin’ CHAIR! He could have, at ANY time during the process, put it into play.
Chairman “End Around”. Chairman “Taxpayers will never have to pay for the football program”. Chairman “It’s the Tractor again”. Chairman “Keeping up with the Jones”
Actually, that would be keeping up with Laconia – and made, if I remember right, the claim that it would help bring more people into town. I’ve explained the tractor budget bit before. The “End Around” really is an end around the budget process (which that $25K tractor was as well as other things that year). Written, too, was the sad saga of how football was finally snuck into the School District budget (“just a club sport!”, “now we need school recognition (only) to play other schools”, “early donors are no longer supporting us”, a petition warrant to get money, and then finally into the actual budget (which also caused ALL formerly volunteer positions to get paid), and then a lack of interest within Gilford resulted in a blended team with Belmont).
And now, “Never cost taxpayers a dime” has morphed to a multi-million dollar Taj Mahal for such a small town as us. For a football team that can barely field a team.
And Chairman “Rah, rah, sis boombah!” said “it will only cost $62K for the architect (who was formerly donating his time – what happened???)” to do “more detailed plans.
Yeah, that “free” lasted long, didn’t it? Just long enough to go for the gold and suck out more folks’ wallets. I’m not going to go over the whole, long “discussion”; suffice it to say that when his Vice-Chair stood up at the podium and said this was a non-starter, then a couple other members said “no way” along with several other members of the public, the die was cast.
I did ask Chairman “I wanna spend other peoples’ money on MY bright idea” the following question:
WHY is it that any time that anyone thinks they have a Big Bright Idea, they automatically think that the taxpayers have to pay for it?
I followed it up with:
If YOU think that this is such a great idea, why aren’t you putting your OWN money into the study? If this really IS so cool because you got 39 people to sign it, why don’t you put your money where your mouths are – that’s ONLY $1700 odd each. Leave the taxpayers out of it.
I got the hairy eyeball at that. But others hammered him on it as well. The BudComm voted it down, 9-0. The School Board voted it down as well (and THAT was a surprise!). Although I missed both Deliberative Sessions, it seems that the Warrant was changed as the dollar number went from $62,000 to $0.
Good. Mission accomplished. Boondoggle avoided (at least this time).
Nice way to end my BudComm chapter.
And thanks for listening, folks!