To the Editor:
My name is John Dillon and I am a candidate for the Goffstown Budget Committee. I ask for your Vote on Tuesday, March 9th, 2010.
I believe that Budget Committee members should represent the taxpayers and provide critical input and oversight regarding the development of annual Town and School budgets. I believe the Budget Committee needs to offer voters better fiscal leadership.
I have become a candidate for the Budget Committee as a concerned citizen. I have lived in Goffstown for 13 years, and have owned a home on Wallace Road since 2002. I am a husband and father, and have extended family living in Goffstown which has helped me also become acquainted with the Meetinghouse here in the Village, the Roy Street Apartments in Pinardville, and Medford Farms along the Back Road.
Property taxes continue to rise in Goffstown at rates that are unsustainable, to levels that ignore hard and already strained financial realities for many of our neighbors. Many of us have seen retirement funds decimated, raises withheld, benefits reduced, jobs lost or less secure, and the list goes on.
The School Budget is especially a concern, at a whopping $36 million dollars, reflecting approximately 9% annual increases over the past decade alone, with only the slightest exception.
We own a quite modest home, but the taxes have quickly climbed year after year to well over $4000 annually. Thanks to uncritical Town and School budget planning, our taxes will soar by a minimum $500 in 2010. Thanks largely to the Board of Selectmen and the School Board, this is already a guaranteed increase, and voters are being asked to support even higher increases on Tuesday at the ballot box. It is very likely that many homeowners will see increases of over $1000 in taxes for the coming year.
Ever increasing and out of control spending is bad for all of us. As a matter of education, it sends the absolute wrong message to our children, namely that we are unable to take responsibility and face the hard decisions of cutting back when times demand. It is a fundamental failure of stewardship and leadership that mirrors our economic mismanagement on a national scale. The Goffstown taxpayer
- well, if you want to call it that - has its limits. We cannot continue to pretend that it is inexhaustible without doing damage.
As a matter of reputation, continued Goffstown taxing/spending, unchecked, threatens to knock our property values down into freefall. For example, the latest issue of New Hampshire Magazine highlights "dream towns" where taxes are low and services are measured. Instead of qualifying for such acclaim, Goffstown will sooner become a place that home owners no longer can afford and home buyers no longer desire. Such a result would be good for none of us, and it is completely avoidable by reducing Town and School spending, and the burdens on residential owners.
If I am elected to the Budget Committee, I will listen to all voter input, to reason and common sense, and to the demands of the changing economy in our community. There is a need for more citizen oversight and inspection of departmental and administrative budget lines from top to bottom. Past spending approvals must be revisited and re-justified in light of current significant economic declines, and the likelihood of much worse days ahead. The challenges of increasing our commercial tax base can no longer wait.
Ever-increasing school administration and teacher salaries cannot be sustained, nor should they
be, during these economic times. Essentially, town and school budgets should be corrected, probably across the board, to levels that reflect a significantly weakened economy and outlook.
These are just some of the thoughts and concerns I will bring to the work of the Budget Committee. I ask for you vote, and I would consider it an honor to serve.