As I See It
Friday, June 25, 2010

Another one bites the dust
Burger King joins the growing list of Goffstown business closures 

After nearly 30 years of serving up burgers and fries to local residents, Burger King in Pinardville is gone.

Joining other well-known businesses such as Jutras Signs, The Village Eatery, the Everything for a Dollar store and ATA Black Belt Academy, among others, that have recently closed their doors here (or just left town), Burger King's departure from Goffstown this week is just another indication of our depressed local economy.

But what's especially troubling about Burger King's closure is that this was no "mom and pop" operation.  Rather, we're talking about a huge corporation operating restaurants across the globe.  Worse, Pinardville's Burger King was not owned by a franchisee, but was a corporate store owned and operated directly by the company itself.

I called Burger King's headquarters in Miami, Florida to inquire as to why the restaurant had closed.  What I was told surprised me.  The company indicated that although stores are occasionally closed due to slow sales, such an occurrence is extremely rare.  Rather, in the majority of cases, the company closes a store because it is no longer profitable, and is actually losing money.  This was the case with Goffstown's Burger King.

I hope both the Board of Selectmen and the School Board are paying close attention to this one, because the Burger King closure is a glaring indication that Goffstown is not insulated from the huge global recession we're all experiencing.  These elected officials must finally get control of spending, streamline operations in every town and school department, and acknowledge that every single one of us is stretched to the limit just trying to keep our financial heads above water. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to losing money, Burger King isn't alone.  Many Goffstown residents have not only lost their savings, they've also lost their jobs and even their homes, and increasing taxes on us only exacerbates the problem.

Last week, the Goffstown Budget Committee, by a vote of 11-1-2, sent a clear message to the Board of Selectmen and the School Board: Bring in proposed budgets for next year that reflect a reduction of at least ten percent to their current budgets.

Such a goal is definitely attainable.  Admittedly, some departments will be hard-pressed to reach the 10% goal, and still others will find it virtually impossible.  But there are other departments and spending lines that not only can withstand a 10% reduction, they can easily exceed it.  And taxpayers not only need to see spending reduced across the board, they deserve it.  After all, the rest of us have had to reduce spending, in many case by a lot more than ten percent.  Why should we shoulder the burden alone?

So how did our two governing bodies react to this challenge?  Unfortunately, just as we have all come to expect.

During Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting, Phil D'Avanza had another one of his patented meltdowns, raising his voice while spouting his usual "sky-is-falling" rhetoric about catastrophic elimination of services, the destruction of the earth, the implosion of the sun, black holes swallowing up Goffstown, etc., etc, all caused by the Budget Committee's proposed 10% reduction in the spend, spend, spend mindset that D'Avanza has held so dear for so many years.

Over at the school board that same night, member Virginia McKinnon said it was not the job of the school board to listen to the Budget Committee (oh, really?), but rather to create a responsible budget.  Hmmm.  When has that ever happened?  

But not to be outdone (as usual), chairman Keith Allard reacted with one of the most ridiculous comments I've ever heard from him (or anyone else), when he wondered out loud which 10% of our students the Budget Committee did not want to educate.  

It's unbelievable we ever elected this guy.   

Although Goffstown businesses are suffering as much as we taxpayers, it appears to be "business as usual" for selectmen and the school board.

I hope I'm wrong, because I just can't afford to be right.


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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