"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Public Does Have A Right to Know

A quick note on a few recent comments about possible petitions for Special Town meetings. I don't support what I have been told may be coming, but just as citizens have the right to petition for a Special Town meeting, the public also has the right to know who signs these petitions.

If there is a proper petition, it will be posted here on the blog.


Fred Van Magness said...

In reading about what a potential petition might say and request, I not inclined to support such a move at this time. It is my feeling that the BOS, as the elected leadership body in the town, should find a way to improve the process and meet the needs of the town overall. A better process would be for the BOS to hold a couple of meetings at 7PM to gather input on how best to proceed with the overall goal of determining how best to approach the objective of determining the best uses for all town property, rather than this type of petitioned process. For example, the BOS might consider appointing a longer term Permanent Building Committee with the specific task to explore and plan effective uses for town own buildings and property. This committee would be made up of qualified people and not folks with preconceived opinions (if any could be found). The committee could explore what the overall needs are, what facilities could be improved to meet those needs, and then plan out a thoughtful proposal to address those needs. After all, it seems to me the BOS is stretched in being able to handle this as an added task. I also find it troubling that this petition may ask the Town Moderator to staff the petitioned committee if it is approved, as well as be part of it. Since I do not know the "new" current moderator, I will reserve judgement on his skills to appoint or lead, but after last town meeting (my first), I am more than a little hesitant to cede control to the unknown. However, at this point, I am not in favor of the proposed use of a Special Town Meeting to run off in an undefined direction with no limits. Bad idea !!! Let's all look inward at the process and find a better way to reach the end goals without resorting to this type of unconstrained petition demand. Just one persons unbiased opinion.....

Anonymous said...

Odd that the same group who was vehemently opposed to any community center on the Lions club property, siting many issues with the most noted self-claim that the property is all wetlands and can't support a community center, now want to design and propose what they want! Is it a want or a need?!

Still IMHO, the proposed site adjacent to the school makes the most sense of any proposal thus far! Now to only have community dialogue to determine what the majority does or doesn't want, but what would be the proper forum?

A taxpayer said...

Well at least there's discourse, although opinions are just that. .

Anonymous said...

"what would be the proper forum?"

Were you at town meeting?

Tom Howard said...

Thanks, Anonymous at 11:15 and Mr. Van Magness for lending some worthy thoughts for consideration. I agree that the Special Town Meeting is a bad idea with the potential to "run off in an undefined direction". Fred's suggestion of determining a process to identify the best uses for all town property could serve us well to immediately begin a thorough investigation and report with regard to the present condition, immediate needs and future capabilities of two buildings that have served us well, but that might not warrant any major investments in the future - the former Lions Club and the present Recreation Department buildings.

Anon at 11:15 is right about the proposed site adjacent to the school making the most sense. The Recreation Strategic Plan, Blue Ribbon Commission and Village Vision committees' work shows a natural progression toward that site. Let's not dismiss all the hard and thoughtful work that has gone into this process so far.

Let's instead pick up where we left off; further refine the most recent plans; create a logical phasing plan and continue planning for the long-term good of our community.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

Funny thing about comments- someone sends a negative comment anonymously that criticizes someone by name- and is surprised when it gets rejected!

Fred Van Magness said...

In response to Mr. Howard (I respectfully disagree with his comments), his statement that follows...."Let's instead pick up where we left off; further refine the most recent plans; create a logical phasing plan and continue planning for the long-term good of our community" was not what I was suggesting or intending. Refining the most recent plan may fit well with the agenda of some, but the plan was flatly rejected by the town. Let's not beat up a dead horse. Some may feel that phasing could be a real strategy to win support. Wrong, IMO. What is needed is a realistic review of the Lion's Club and a modest cost proposal to upgrade it for use. It functions well. There is absolutely no need or compelling outcry from the community for a new edifice as a community center and/or gym. Period. My point was not to pick up where "we" left off, but rather to start anew on more realistic options. The Taylor property should not be the home of another town building where adequate resources exist elsewhere. Feels like it would be a good candidate for maybe repurposing the building along with a Town Common to bring the entire community together. We need a clean sheet of paper.

Dave Rossetti said...

Young people are not moving here because we have a basketball hoop, swimming pool, or a card table. Young people are moving to where they can support themselves with employment. Unless you are a policeman there are very few "livable wage jobs" here. Most of us are self-employed as that is the only way one can pay their bills. Good luck with the ridiculousness of incurring more debt. The year round tax payers do not support this never ending waste of resources. If you need a "rec center", move to Meredith and help pay for it there. Otherwise enjoy what we do have to offer; low taxes, beautiful geography, and a multitude of out-door activities that few communities can claim.

Tom Howard said...

Mr. Van Magness, I purposely used the word "instead" to delineate my ideas from yours. As for "agendas", mine is not an agenda, but rather a belief in what I feel is a worthwhile investment in the future of our community. Regarding the Lions Club, the term "putting lipstick on a pig" comes to mind (no offense intended to any pigs reading this).

Phase I in my mind is constructing that portion of the most recent plan that includes the function rooms and the commercial kitchen. Location in the village is consistent with the Village Vision. Our senior meals program will only continue to grow, so we should provide a facility to accommodate that growth in terms of kitchen capacity, septic system capacity and a more comfortable and inviting space to share meals. The function rooms would also accommodate other programming presently conducted at the Lions Club and would provide space in close proximity to our schools for after school programs. The Lions Club building could be re-purposed for other Town business or sold.

At Town Meeting, we (the voters in attendance) "flatly rejected" spending $6M on a plan that was not completely vetted (before or during the meeting) and included three components (function space; recreation department offices; multi-purpose gymnasium), not all of which were supported by everyone - hence the proposition to phase the project.

After suggesting that we review the town's various facilities, you suddenly have jumped to a conclusion in the same day that the Lions Club functions well and is worthy of continued investment.

Mr. Rosetti, thanks for always signing your name to your comments. I, too, am a year-round resident taxpayer; I, too, am self-employed. However, I have invested substantial time and effort to help Moultonborough be a better place to live; and I am willing to invest in facilities that serve our populations in a variety of ways. No, I do not need a rec center, but I do believe that a multi-purpose community center will pay dividends to our community.

Eric Taussig said...

Without getting into the merits of a Special Town Meeting and the two articles in the petition being circulated, it seems clear that two things occurred that should be remembered: (1) the CC proposal was overwhelmingly rejected at the Town Meeting by the voters. (2) At least three BoS members said that they would not support the resurrection of another CC proposal.

Two separate issue remain: (1) the future of the Lion's Club, and (2) the Taylor property.

The lease on the Lion's Club is coming up for renewal and the facility is clearly in need of rehabilitation. The septic system is so bad it requires pumping four times a year, etc. Rehab of the building is needed since it appears the building is a deteriorating asset of the Town. The entire arrangement between the Lions and Town needs a thorough reexamination. A pro-forma lease renewal would be a wrong move by the BoS.

The Taylor property appears to be a wasting asset of the Town without a rational public purpose. It seems like a good idea to use the Taylor Property as a Town Common or Green and turn it into a useful park for the public. Perhaps moving the bandstand over from the Lion's Club might make sense; perhaps some walking paths between the school and Rte 25 with a crosswalk might also make sense, but certainly a Town Green with benches and perhaps a fountain, etc. might beautify the village and make it a more attractive usable asset to attract retailers.

As the gargantuan CC is a dead issue as far as the voters are concerned, what should be done is to utilize and preserve the existing Town assets? With regard to the Lions Club that should mean (1) revising the purpose of the structure and determining how the building and land should be used; (2) rehabbing the structure and appurtenances; and (3) converting the Taylor property into a Town Green/Common/Park to beautify the village area.

Eric Taussig said...

My comment regarding the Lion's Club and Taylor Property was submitted one minute after Mr. Howard's latest comment. I obviously did not see Mr. Howard's comment before submitting my comment.

With regard to Mr. Howard's latest comment, I could not disagree with him more. The Town meeting rejected the six million dollar Community Center (CC) on the Taylor Property PERIOD. It did not reject it because it was "a plan that was not completely vetted (before or during the meeting)..."

The Lions Club is functional now. It needs repurposing and rehabilitation on its existing footprint to address the needs of the Town's population, not just recreation activities. The community gardens work well. Location is not an issue and clearly the voters are not interested in a gargantuan CC with a gym, etc. at any location.

Tom Howard said...

Mr. Taussig, you seem confused. Not sure which way you voted at Town Meeting because you acknowledged at public hearings that you were on the fence. The fact that you were prepared to offer amendments to the warrant article tells me that you, for one, were willing to consider the proposal under certain circumstances. That sounds like the proposal had not been adequately vetted.

Our opinions of the Lions Club are diametrically opposed. A building committee comprised of professionals in the construction, architecture, and engineering fields...something along the line of Mr. Van Magnuss' suggestion...might study and report on the actualities.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

Yet another sad letter to the editor today. Not going to waste time responding, but the writer not only insults the BoS and elected officials, but most of the town folk as well. The only " hysteria" emanates from the letter writer and his nonsensical rants.