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Author Topic: LT - Spending Our Tax Dollars  (Read 920 times)
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GDouglas
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« on: December 01, 2007, 09:21:08 AM »

from the Londonderry Times

Letter to the Editor
Spending Our Tax Dollars
11/29/2007

To the editor:
I as a taxpayer try to prioritize what to support and what not to; we all have a wants and needs list in our household budgets and things get prioritized from there.

Having lived in Londonderry for most of my life, I have seen a change in attitude of how and what we spend. There are a number of things that affect budgets: inflation, contracts, rising fuel costs, etc., but one thing I see that needs to be fixed is the amount of money we are bonding.

During the budget cycle, which is under way now, the school will present to the taxpayers a proposal to replace the portable classrooms at South School. The proposal is a brick and mortar addition as well as some additional "wants." Over the last few years, the town has seen a decreasing school enrollment. Others have forecast the decrease in the state, with Londonderry being slightly ahead of the curve at approximately 270 less children.

The portables were just refitted with a new $75,000 roof to repair some structural damage, which is to be expected, given their age. One thing that bothers me is that we asked and received additional options and proposals from the superintendent. The School Board has made a "policy decision" on what they "want" and will not present the other options to the voters. The option chosen is the most expensive, coming in at $5.5 million. That cost could rise by $200,000 with the Conservation Commission's recent request to add an environmentally friendly "green roof" to the project.

We all have seen our tax rates jump in recent years as well as watched costs of heating, gasoline, and groceries rise, just to name a few. During this time we all need to look at spending less and conserving more where possible, and ask that our elected officials do what is best for the district employees, schoolchildren, and the taxpayers.

A stable tax rate without the "small increase" would go a long way for all of us, and I am sure most would agree the choices need to be made in our daily lives and that shouldn't be any different in the town and school budgets.

Is a $5.5 million portable replacement school upgrade needed now? Is a more cost-effective solution, given the current economic times, better? Should the addition be put off as school enrollment declines? Maybe these are difficult questions to ask, but many in this community have seen a large increase in daily expenses. Many of those people have also had to make difficult decisions in what is needed and what is wanted.

It is up to us to steer our community budgets while being smart about it, and not leaving all the decisions to our elected officials.

Sean O'Keefe
Budget Committee Member
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Glenn Douglas
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