The state of NH requires that a town show 2/3 support to borrow money to finance civic projects. As an SB2 town, Wolfeboro has lowered the bar to 3/5 or 60%. That means that we can approve spending this year’s money by simple majority, but where it impacts the future indebtedness of the population, there must be more widespread approval.
Of course I’m winding up to the BMH controversy. The population has consistently and legally said that it doesn’t want to go into debt to do historic preservation. In this week’s Grunter Op-Ed piece, the writer goes to great lengths to show majority support, but fails to recognize both the threshold support required for such things, and the inconvenient 56% – 44% defeat of the original, and ultimate goal, of the preservation supporters.
So this week we are six-for-six. Six straight weeks of Brewster Hall editorial support. Well meaning citizens that want to express their reluctance in the only public forum available are systematically undermined by immediate argument from the editor.
This week he makes more hay with the assertion that an old building doesn’t have to meet modern building codes. I think James Cross made an excellent argument and gave actual recent examples that are on point. I know James Cross and have worked with him on a building committee. He is right and the editor is way out of his league on that issue.
While I don’t necessary agree with all of the figures that Jerome Holden put out, the argument put forth by the editor concerning the annualized cost of the failed $4 million plan over the last 120 years is bewildering nonsense. Besides, it seems to be based on the assumption that the town paid nothing during those years. Much of the last few decades the town paid rent to the Brewster Trust.
That’s what the beef was about – we were paying rent and no repairs or improvements were being made. Back then, the Brewster trustees knew the place was beyond repair and most people in town were fine with getting out of there. The town had Turner Engineers look at it and they said it would cost at least $5 million to repair.
So 25 citizens dangled the place in front of us for a dollar. They said that the $5 million was fluffed up by those that wanted to build a new town office. Then they put another petition warrant to make plans, again soft selling the ultimate cost.
The wheels came off the wagon when the actual $6.8 million number came out. Now it’s been a continuous case of damage control and “keep the dream alive” repairs. The bottom line is that there isn’t 60% support for properly fixing this old building and the sooner we make that plain, the sooner we can move on.