Friends of Warner:
Today was Election Day and despite the winter storm, a fair amount of people showed up to cast their votes with estimates between 500 and 600. Four of 6 candidates were present, they being Janice Lawz, Clyde Carson, Judy Neuman and myself, Edward L Ordway Jr. The other two Mike Ayotte and Ginger Marsh were not actively present.
Sure it was a cold and windy day with continuing wind gusts, but of little consequence to those who were interested in the Town’s affairs. I personally became familiar with old acquaintances and made new friends as well as listening to what comments they had to offer through our general discourse, and these were the main ones;
- The cost of the new Fire Department
- Why the Town rejected the proposed building area down by the river eight years earlier.
- The eventual Total accumulation of taxes due next year, especially when their houses cost much more than $200,000.
- Why the Town has done very little to promote and actively seek business growth while blocking and or hindering those who were interested.
- The outrageous school taxes that many feel are getting out of hand.
- The perceived lack of leadership in the Town’s Administration and a deep frustration at the way things are not going.
- A very strong desire for change especially in business growth that would mean not only revenues but well-paying jobs also.
These questions and or comments were among many that were brought up, but the overall impression was of distrust towards the current administration. In all fairness, it must be noted that these comments spoken to me were only a cross-section of the populace that appeared to vote. And surely there must be differing opinions so these are not to be seen as the final mindset of the Town. However, this is what the Town’s leaders need to hear and to be considered and acted upon as necessary without delay and without the unending committees and discussions upon discussions, reports on reports and more money spent on surveys and “expert” opinions! The time to turn the spade is here and not next year or even ten years down the road.
The real issue is not really about a new Fire Station for we all know that it is needed, sooner or later, but the real issue is why the Town had/has not actively pursued a course of business growth when they should have known that it was a priority? New businesses mean revenues and investments and employment and provide ample opportunities for the wise investor to take notice of the Town. So why didn’t the past Warner administrations take this path when they knew that a new Fire Department would be needed but yet didn’t financially prepare for it? That is called putting the cart before the horse! So is it the FD’s fault? My answer would be no because the FD does not lead the administrations, it is the other way around!
So let me put the Warner FD aside for the moment and peer more closely at the current administration. There are two Selectman and one Selectwoman and one assistant to provide some guidance. Clyde Carson, John Dabuliewicz and Kymberlie Edelmann, the assistant being Jim Bingham, currently residing in Goffstown. These three with the assistance of Jim Bingham set the course for the Town and the committees act upon their guidance, of course with the usual back and forth discussions and roundtable debates! But in the end, it is the leadership that is held accountable as evidently seen by the Townspeople and attested to this day by myself, bearing witness to their words. So to blame the FD at this point is moot for the fault is not theirs entirely for the needs of the few will greatly enhance the needs of the many.
The business foundations should have been laid when the first plans for a new FD fell through and why it wasn’t could not be explained to me, even by a retired fire chief though he referred me back to a past administration. He articulated himself quite well and pointed out that at that time the cost would have been around $1.4 million though he was not absolutely sure anymore. And now, some eight years later the cost is to be $2.750 million and that is to be expected after such a length of time has passed. So once again, who is responsible for the lack of foresight, the Fire Department or the past administration? Or both? And who is to be responsible for the current one in the works, especially if things go wrong or IF the costs should unexpectedly increase because of unforeseen problems? (Despite promises of guaranteed costs) The administration? The FD? The construction companies? And who is to eventually carry the torch of success or the burden of failure?
Well, who gets the blame in Washington when things go wrong as they so often do? The Administration, of course! They are the elected leaders of this Town whom the Townspeople have entrusted their confidence to and when they fail to provide prosperity for the community as a whole as expected to do, is the Fire Department to blame or must they perform the role of scapegoats? In this case, they are being severely criticized and blamed for the upcoming additional taxes which are sure to come riding upon the next year’s tax bills, but isn’t that being somewhat unjust, a deflection away from the core root of this whole situation?
The Town’s leadership had utterly failed to provide a business foundation that could have greatly helped to ease the financial burdens which are being laid upon this people by preparing years ago, but it was obviously neglected by past administrations in favor of something more important which is why we have this dilemma as I heard often enough throughout this day. But also it would be entirely unjust to lay all of this at the feet of the current administration seeing as this has been an ongoing saga going back quite a few years!
So in all fairness to the FD, despite the varying viewpoints, and there are many, give credit to whom credit is due and may the guilt that is upon those who played the wrong cards at the Community Table be forgiven. These divisions that we have can only be healed when the proper parties admit to past grievances and the current parties accept the responsibilities needed to forge ahead and to properly plan the future with a carefully crafted financial plan and foundations built properly upon rock-solid enterprises. And only these would be able to strengthen the Town’s character, and truly create a Town worth being proud of, a Town that puts the needs and financial security of its people above the personal agendas and petty grievances which all too often sadly afflict many members of the community and eventually create deep cracks which over time become difficult to bridge.
So this Saturday, please make it your top priority to attend this particular Town Meeting on the 17th of March beginning at 9 am and listen carefully to all presented points and weigh all the answers given, carefully paying particular heed to the financial details and time frames and contract promises. Write down your questions in advance, be prepared to take notes as necessary and ask the questions that are hard pressed upon your minds. At the end, when all is said and done, we must make the final choice, we must choose the future for ourselves, our children and very possible our grandchildren. And if we have made wise choices, then we shall inherit praise and honor from our children and if not, we shall become the inheritors of scorn and ridicule from our neighbors.
Edward L Ordway Jr
Warner, New Hampshire