As I See It
Friday, May 28, 2010

Technically, selectmen were correct, but...
Board shows lack of interest, bordering on arrogance, over new roundabout concerns

At the very beginning of Monday's informational hearing about building a roundabout at Wallace and Mast, residents who attended were told by selectman David Pierce that the project is a done deal, is "going to happen", and that a "question and answer" period would follow the presentation on the construction of it.  The decision had already been made.

Well, OK, the Board of Selectmen, technically, was within their rights to do so, as two public hearings have already been held on this subject.

But those hearings were held last year, before we found out about the 13.84% tax increase we're about to be hit with.

Every resident I spoke to, some of whom attended and others who did not, all believed that the roundabout project was NOT a "done deal", and that Monday's hearing was intended to help decide that question.  And many were angered enough over the way Pierce started the meeting off that they got up and left.

I left, too.  Not because of Pierce's announcement or his attitude, and not because I thought this was a public hearing.  I already knew going in that the roundabout was a "done deal".

I left because it was quickly made crystal clear that nothing the residents in attendance had to say would change a single thing selectmen had already decided.  And that's not only contrary to the board's obligation to listen to the concerns of their constituents - and act upon them accordingly, but also because it went directly against statements made by chairman Scott Gross as seen in a Goffstown News article of May 20th.  That statement is the main reason I attended (albeit briefly).

The article states, "Selectman Scott Gross said at this point in time, the town will move ahead with this plan unless residents voice strong opposition to it." (see Roundabout proposed in Goffstown, Goffstown News, 4/20/2010).  That statement intrigued me.  I soon discovered, though, that it didn't matter if residents had strong opposition to it or not.

Yesterday, another Goffstown News article states Gross said after the hearing, "...communication with the public could have been better."

"Roundabout 'proposed' "..."
unless residents voice strong opposition to it"..."communication with the public could have been better"...

I can certainly see how residents could have misunderstood the intent of the hearing, and the fact that the board had already decided to go ahead with the project.  Selectmen should have understood that as well and not only reconsider their decision to go forward at this time, but should delay the project until another public hearing - with better public notice - can be scheduled to allow more public input that they received last year.

Let's not forget that the public hearings on this roundabout last year were held before we found out our 13.84% tax hike.

Selectmen need to realize that with this new tax increase, taxpayers certainly have much more reason for concern about spending over half a million dollars on another roundabout than they did a year ago.  They deserve a chance to reconsider their position on the subject, and deserve to expect selectmen to reconsider their decision as well.

Selectmen must put the project on hold and schedule another public hearing as soon as possible.  There's no doubt in my mind that if they do, the hearing this time will be packed with attendees, and my guess is that the vast majority will no doubt "voice strong opposition to it."  Maybe that's what they're afraid of?

Selectmen, DO THE RIGHT THING on this.  Your constituents are speaking loud and clear, both to you and in the media.  Listen to them. 



Roundabout moves ahead despite resident upset

Guy Caron can be reached via e-mail at:

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DISCLAIMER:  The opinions expressed by Mr. Caron are not necessarily those of the Goffstown Residents Association or its members.

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