Please write-in Guy Caron for Goffstown Budget Committee

LTE

By David French – Goffstown, NH

To the editor,
On this years Goffstown Ballot there are two open positions. I would encourage voters to write in Guy Caron for budget committee.
Guy has been a dedicated member of the budget committee for several years. Guy has the ability to bring not only knowledge of the budgeting process as well as a respect for all members views and thoughts. I have always been impressed with how prepared he is and his ability to ask the hard question of our public officials.
Please join me in writing in Guy Caron for budget committee on March 10.

Sincerely,
David French

Write-in Guy Caron for Goffstown Budget Committee

LTE

To the editor,

This year’s Goffstown ballot has two open positions for Budget Committee and I would like to encourage voters to write-in “Guy Caron” for one of those open positions. Guy has served on the Budget Committee for several years. He comes to each meeting prepared and knowledgeable on all the issues and has always kept taxpayers in mind when considering all motions. We may not have always been on the same side of an issue but I have always respected Guy’s ability to argue his point of view in a courteous and professional manner. Guy’s continued participation on the Budget Committee would be dual asset to the town and its taxpayers. On Tuesday, March 10th, please join me in encouraging Guy to continue with his excellent service by writing in “Guy Caron” for Goffstown Budget Committee.

Thank you,

Pam Manney

Goffstown, NH

Adopting a Town Manager – Vote Yes – Goffstown Town Article 15

LTE

Scott Gross

March 1, 2015

Why change our form of town government?  That’s the question citizens will face next Tuesday, March 10th when we decide whether Article 15 – adopting a Town Manager, is right for Goffstown.

As the 13th largest municipality in NH, with a population of over 18,000 citizens, now is the time to make a modest change in our local government.  By voting yes on Article 15, Goffstown will transition to a Town Manager form of government.  With this form of government, rather than a five member, part- time Board of Selectmen supervising the day to day operations of the police, fire, public works and parks departments, a town manager would now have these operational responsibilities under NH RSA 37.

With a Town Manager, our Selectmen could focus their time and energy towards larger issues such as enhancing economic development to lower taxes, focusing on long term capital and infrastructure needs, and revamping an outdated employee compensation and benefit plan.  Simply put, a Town Manager would be a more efficient way to manage our local government, and enhance accountability.

Many people have asked , is this a big change for Goffstown?  Actually it’s not.  Our two largest local governmental entities are the town and school district.  For decades we have operated under a school superintendent who manages the operations of our schools, and who directly supervises our principals and other administrators. I couldn’t imagine a system whereby our school administrators would each be directly supervised by the school board.  Essentially the town manager would be very similar to a school superintendent.

By voting yes on Article 15- Town Manager, many things will not change.  We’ll still have a budget committee to develop the School and Town budgets.  We will continue with all of the current committees in town, and we’ll still have a Deliberative Session and Town Elections so you the voter can decide on town budgets, labor contracts, planning and zoning changes and many other important issues.

Change is not always popular, but often it is necessary.  I realize that some are satisfied with our current system of local government.  However I hear an even greater voice in Goffstown wanting our government to be more accountable and efficient.  If you are one of those voices who would like to see a more streamlined local government, then I urge you to vote yes on Article 15.

Scott Gross

Former Selectmen and School Board Member

Goffstown NH – Please vote yes on Town Warrant Article 5


LTE

By Jeffrey Tate – Goffstown NH

Do you own a Goffstown home in zoning district R-1 or R-2?                      

Are town sewer and water available on or near your road?                            

If so, multifamily developments (meaning 3 or more unit apartments) are allowed in your neighborhood with a special exception.

What does that mean? The biggest hurdle that an application faces is whether or not the proposed multifamily “fits” in your neighborhood. The ZBA makes that decision- and depending on who is on the board the definition of what “fits” can be drastically different than what you as a homeowner believes.

What does NOT have to be discussed is whether a proposed multifamily building would reduce the property values in your neighborhood. A variance application has to address that but a special exception does not! 
What town petition warrant article #5 proposes is that a minimum lot size of three acres should be required to construct a multifamily development. The last multifamily development in zone R-2 was Crosswinds at the end of Larch St which was 5.5 acres. Highwood Villlage on St Anselm Drive sits on just under 10 acres, and Timberwood off Mast Road is around 20 acres. A larger parcel allows for appropriate development of facilities and does not detract as much as shoehorning in apartment buildings on small lots between existing houses.

Zones R-1 & R-2 are predominantly single family and we believe they should remain that way- not only to continue to attract buyers with a sense of community to Goffstown but to maintain the property values that these areas enjoy over similar neighborhoods right next door in Manchester.  

facebook_logoPlease like our page at https://www.facebook.com/events/634807419975397/

Remember to vote YES ON #5 on March 10, 2015 from 7am – 7pm!

Hand_ballot_box

Goffstown 2015 School Deliberative Session

The 2015 Goffstown School Deliberative Session is in the books. I would estimate there were about 36, to not more than 50, residents in attendance. Of that, maybe about 20 were not related to School personal, School Board or Budget Committee. Kind of sad, and a big difference from days gone by when you’d have 100’s in attendance.

For those attending, it was wonderful to touch base with old friends and watch the awards being passed out. A great video by GTV was shown commemorating the award recepiants.  Log onto the link above to watch the video. Presentation of awards starts at 14:15.

The School Board presentation on the School Operating Budget starts at around 27:13. More details can be found on the Goffstown School District website.

Bottom line: Tax impact of the School Operating Budget is $1.51.                               Tax impact of the School district default budget is $1.48.

Elected Officials attending were Senator Lou D’Allesandro and NH House Representatives Pierce, Griffin and Rouillard. Budget Committee members, Dubrulle (chair), Manney, French, Spoerl, Pierce, Mitchell, McCarthy and Lemay. Also Selectman, Adams and Lemay.

 

 

 

Understanding the Goffstown Budget Process

As a reader of my local paper, all I ask of folks writing letters to the editor is to fact check what they’re writing, I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Well, apparantly, one writer to the paper thinks it is.

They start off by railing against a statement I made during the Budget Committee’s vote on the Town Budget pointing out the fact not one resident attending the Budget Committee’s Public Hearing held on January 14, 2015 stood up to suggest the Budget Committee lower either the School or Town moneyed warrant articles, not one.  As a matter of fact, most rose to ask the Budget Committee (BC) maintain funding for specific programs such as milfoil erradication and the Introductary Transportaion Program. The writer continued on to state what their idea of what the charge of a Budget Committee member is (some may differ in that view ) and ended by name-calling one member in particular (apparently, I’m ignorant), and encouraging folks to attend the next public hearing (there isn’t one), and suggested folks attend the next meeting (which is the School Deliberative Session) in droves (I would like that) to advise me loud and clear how they feel (again, I would love to hear from the public about a range of issue pertaining to my membership on the BC). But, before they do I would list the following points:

First, the meeting set for January 31st is the School Deliberative Session that has one article on it, the School Budget (which was +$48,030 from the default budget) and voted on unanimously by the BC 12-0-0. Motion by Pam Manney to accept, seconded by Guy Caron. Motion passed.

Second, the purpose of the Public Hearing is to accept input from the public. That there is a strict legal process to said public hearings listed in NH RSA’s in particular RSA32:15, 16 & 17. Part of that law is that we post Legal Notices of Public Hearings via the local newspaper. The fact is, we want to hear from you. You, the public, are an important component of the process. We hear and listen to those that attend. It makes a difference and we, the members of the BC, take what you say seriously and use your statements as a basis to reopen the budget for further discussion. The fact that ones chooses not to engage is not our fault and actually hinders our ability to represent you and your wishes. So, attending does matter.

Third, that the Goffstown Budget committee is governed by strict laws found in RSA32, the Municipal Budget Law, which outlines the duties of a municipal budget committee.

Fourth, that all BC meetings are posted, recorded and minutes written. That all meetings held are public and recorded live as well as live-streamed on GTV.

Fifth, that the town of Goffstown has a website which posts notices of meetings and has a calendar that informs the public of important dates and provides information on items of public interest. For example: 2015 Election Information, a webpage that includes a link to the 2015 Town Warrant and other information a voter can go to to acquire information.

In the end, the fact a person doesn’t avail themselves of the opportunities to be informed, included and engaged in forming public policy is not the fault of the governing body and no amount of name-calling and bashing the ones that did engage will change the fact you didn’t.

Update: Not only didn’t people show up in droves to today’s session, they barely showed up at all, in particular, the letter writer, themself.

 

2015 Goffstown Deliberative Sessions

The Goffstown Budget Committee’s public hearings on the School and town budgets are in the books. (Here are the minutes – Public hearing (video), BC deliberation, (video). 2014 Minutes discussing budgets.) Not that many residents attended, I’d say about 30 with most concerned, primarily, with maintaining milfoil funds in the budget. Otherwise, not one person stood up to complain about any of the articles nor about the proposed tax impact of said proposed articles, which was kind of surprising considering that’s usually the norm. Because of the lack of public disagreement with the Budget Committees proposed budgets by folks attending the public hearing, the Budget Committee, procedurally, did not amend the proposed moneyed articles.

That could change, though, during the next phase of the budget process (Deliberative Sessions where the public is given a final chance to have a say about what goes on Goffstown’s School and Town Warrants. For example: John Smith is not a happy the tax rate will rise so he motions to cut the budget by a certain percentage. If that motion passes, the Budget Committee must revote to recommend or not recommend the amended article. Same goes for if Suzy Smith rises to motion to increase funding or add an item to an article. If the motion passes, the Budget Committee must have a revote. If it fails, nothing changes and their original vote remains. Same goes for the School Board and Board of Selectmen. If one of their articles is amended, each must have a revote to reflect their agreement or disagreement with said change. So, whether you’re for or against something, it matters that folks on either side of an issue attend and show their support for what they believe is important for our town.

The School Deliberative session is planned for Saturday, January 31, 10:00AM at Goffstown Area High School, auditorium. Snow date: February 2, 7:00PM.

The Town Deliberative Session is planned for Wednesday, February 04, 7:00PM at Goffstown Area High School, auditorium. Snow date: February 05.

I’ll be posting more info in the coming days, in the meantime, please log onto the links above, read some minutes, watch some videos and come prepared with questions and concerns to the upcoming deliberative sessions.