Letter: Tired of Bow’s High Taxes

To the Editor,

Are you sick and tired of digging yourself out? No I’m not referring to the snow I’m
referring to Bow’s high taxes. Last year the overwhelming message from Bow voters is
that we don’t want to be buried in higher taxes. Unfortunately some of our elected
officials are tone deaf and didn’t get that message and proposed higher taxes again this
year. Luckily we have new candidates running for office who have earned the
endorsement of the Bow Taxpayer Group because they will listen to the voter.

Tax fighters Ben Kiniry , who is running for Selectman, is teaming up with Chuck
Douglas and Rob Holling who are running for the Budget Committee. These candidates
are dedicated to lowing Bow’s taxes and will fight against gimmicks and proposals that
will keep taxes high. Ben, Chuck, and Rob all know that it is essential to have lower
taxes if we want to attract new businesses and keep a stable tax-base which is
essential because our Bow Power Plant is constantly under attack.

March 10, 11, and 13 are Town Election, Town Meeting and School Meeting Days,
respectively. It is critical that you participate if you want your taxes lowered. If you listen
to some of our elected officials say in their meeting minutes, they’re hoping that you
don’t turnout this year. Well surprise them and turn out in large numbers. Get family
and friends to go. Going to the Town/School Meetings and putting a stop to excessive
spending could be the best time spent all year.

Last year, we actually had several dozen people leave the Town Meeting even before
the first vote. That is unacceptable and it is imperative that Moderator Imse take action.
The people’s right to vote supersedes any long drawn out presentation. If people feel
they need to leave but the meeting is moving too slow for the vote the voters have the
right to call the question and ask for the vote. If the moderator says that it requires a 2/3
vote to successfully call the question he is wrong because the voters can overrule him
with a majority vote. So it really only takes a majority vote to keep the meeting moving

Anyone who is not comfortable calling the question I will do it for them. Just ask me. It
will be my pleasure to make sure that you get your right to vote.

Van Mosher

Article 30 Annual Vote on Public Safety Building

For the third year in a row the multi-million dollar public safety building proposal is up for a vote at town meeting on Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. at the High School auditorium. Last year the project was rejected by a vote of 425 no to 257 yes. It failed to attain a two-thirds vote in 2013 as well.

This year the proposal is for $5,030,000 with five million of that to be bonded. With the current borrowing rate of 4.5% the 20 year bond interest will add millions more. Article 3 is followed by Article 4 which call for $35,000 to develop detailed Design Build specifications for the building which is to range in size from 20,000 to 25,000 square feet.

Article 5 then confronts the issue of what to do with the community building. It would appropriate $25,000 to hire “architectural , engineering and/or consulting firms to develop the cost of options to renovate the existing” building “or to construct a new community building.”

The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) from 2013 called for $200,000 to design a new community building. How and why there is a $275,000 difference for design costs is not explained. The 2013 CIP calls for $4,000,000 to build a new community building somewhere else after the existing one is leveled. Again, bond interest for 20 years will almost double that number too.

The Concerned Taxpayers of Bow have gained enough signatures to place Article 30 on the warrant for the Town Meeting. It reads as follows:

30. (By Petition) To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $550,000 to implement recommendations provided to the town to bring the fire and community building into conformity with correction of electrical deficiencies, asbestos removal and other fire safety corrections as set forth in the reports by Enviro Vantage, Cummings Associates, and Yeaton Associates, Inc. notwithstanding the decision of the building inspector on February 25, 2014, to require earthquake and other catastrophic standards to be imposed to an existing building. Source of funds shall be 1) the withdrawal of $350,000 from otherwise unappropriated funds, 2) the withdrawal of $100,000 from the Municipal Buildings and Grounds Capital Reserve Funds and the remainder raised by taxes. (Majority vote required).

The goal of the group is to remove the asbestos, fix the wiring and address the other issues raised by the Fire Marshal after he was invited in by the Fire Chief and Selectmen. This would buy years of time, bring the town into compliance, fix the stove and vent for community groups to use the building and meet the September 2016 deadline set by the Fire Marshal.

At a recent meeting of the Men’s Club on February 19, 2015, Selectmen Chair Jill Hadaway claimed the dollars involved were not the town’s numbers. She was challenged by Men’s Club member Chuck Douglas who said, “Jill the costs to fix were all obtained by Right-to-Know requests for the vendors the town selected to give it the cost to bring the building into compliance.”

This website offers you, the reader, the chance to see the source documents under the Key Facts heading.

The $550,000 figure to fix is based on the town’s vendors who provided quotes obtained by the tax group in a series of Right to Know requests:

• Asbestos removal was quoted by Enviro Vantage of Epping at $64,000 in a January 15, 2015 report to the town.

• Life and Safety upgrades were quoted a year ago on March 11, 2014, by Robert Cummings and Associates LLC to cost $177,500. His report includes the cost of repairing the hood and duct over the stove in the Community Center to meet NFPA 96 and the fire suppression system under UL 300 codes.

• Electrical compliance was provided to the town in an electrical engineering report by Yeaton Associates who had a range of $175,000 to $225,000 to bring the building into compliance. The tax group figured the mid point of $200,000 was a reasonable number.

• The balance of $108,500 may or may not be needed to fix items not covered by the above. If not needed it won’t be spent.

Sources of Funds

Article 30 only requires a majority vote because it is not a bond issue. The source of funds for the $550,000 is $350,000 from the “float” or excess funds the town keeps on hand unspent, $100,000 from the money parked under the heading Municipal Buildings and Grounds Capital Reserve Funds with the rest, if needed, raised by taxes.