JULY 2, 2010
Spending reductions must start NOW 

To the Editor:

During the coming year, “the economy” may well take a turn for the worse, perhaps much worse, given ongoing global financial instabilities, our federal government’s own unsustainable spending and unprecedented levels of debt, and our own state’s growing financial crisis. 

I expect this to mean more financial hardship and tax pain for Goffstown residents in the months to come. 

It is a responsibility of current Goffstown officials to prepare for likely worsening conditions.  For example, it seems to me that Goffstown will increasingly be on the hook for covering more costs that in the past were covered by the State.  This will leave even less of existing budgets for the status quo of Goffstown spending and services. 

Yet, there is no reason that Goffstown can’t be the best, or one of the best, in New Hampshire – especially in terms of how it protects its residents, citizens and businesses from government spending that is to some degree unreasonable, unsustainable and/or unwarranted, especially given this great recession.  Therefore, isn’t it most prudent for Selectmen and the School Board to direct their department heads and managers to under-spend even their CURRENT budgets? This is what I would like to see. 

I take it for granted that a prime responsibility of all department heads is to sometimes make tough decisions about personnel reductions and scaling back levels of service, at least when it is demanded of them.  I hope the Selectmen and the School Board are demanding under-spending of budgets of them.  Department heads are well paid by the taxpayers, and hopefully people who are most skilled at running cost-efficient and appropriately lean operations are rewarded with these positions, or in these positions.  These paid department heads and school officials are also in the best position to know how to best reduce their own department budgets, if/when it is demanded of them.  After all, it is a bottom line budget and the specific spending line amounts is always left to them to prudently expend as all sorts of conditions on the ground in their arena shift. 

But the key is DEMANDING it of them in the first place. 

In short, I hope our Selectmen and School Board and department heads are exercising their cost cutting muscles, because there is heavy work to do in reversing an unsustainable and self-damaging trend of burdensome property tax increases in Goffstown. 

Lastly, I disagree with those few people who claim Goffstown folks are unwilling to make personal sacrifices when it comes to government services.  I think it's true that some sacrifice or decreased demand for services is needed.  But I think we should all be more optimistic - that with good leadership and communication, Goffstown residents can and will embrace more sustainable and fiscally responsible budgets/programs.  I do not mean this in any way as a criticism of Selectmen or the School Board.  I just mean that if we’re in hard times, and harder times still are possibly or even likely to come, then we have to believe that people are open to less government spending.

John Dillon


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