Used to be voters assembled once a year to do the town's business by voting on a budget for each department of the town. You would vote on a budget for the school as well. A two hour discussion would break out on anything from street lights to road repairs. Then it was over.
As schools grew they became the largest employers in some towns and combined political efforts with the other municipal employees to really gouge the taxpayers if not enough regular town folk showed up.
Now we have a new menace – portfolio voters. There are no limits to which they will not go to get what they want – control of the town, and no growth. They are fixated on ridding their community of local residents who live in modest homes and creating an elite and expensive bedroom community out of the rural town they bought into. Maxing out the tax rate is the preferred method, along with snob zoning.
Once the most expensive school they can pass is bonded safely for twenty or thirty years they move on to other projects such as buying “conservation land.” A small cabal of interested persons or even officials in town start land shopping and schmoozing up people with property who can not afford the new taxes. There are no restrictions on their dealings as with real estate agents. There are a myriad of “environmental groups” eager and willing to help seal the deal.
Here is a recent land buying scam from Exeter. Make sure your town portfolio voters don't pull this on you:
The Town of Exeter Board of Selectmen voted, July 26, 2004, to purchase two conservation easements for a total of $805,000 plus closing costs. The deeds that were filed with the Rockingham County Registry granted titles of the easements to the Rockingham Land Trust (RLT) and not to the Town of Exeter. The deeds contained fabrications stating that the Board of Selectmen had voted that the titles be granted to the RLT. This was a total fabrication as is known by comparing the deed language with the actual votes recorded in the approved minutes of the Board. The sellers received $805,000 from the town and granted the titles to the Rockingham Land Trust.
One of our taxpayer activists noticed there are several potential irregular activities associated with these easement purchases that may also be occurring throughout the state as many communities are choosing their own willfully ignorant paths to buy up open space with tens of millions of dollars of new bond money.
Potentially irregular Exeter activities:
-- Filing of documents with Rockingham County Registry the parties reasonably knowing them to be false,(RSA 641:3?), to gain an interest in real property. (BK 4361 PGS 1927-1940) and (BK4399 PGS 1185-1201).
--Voting to purchase specific real property interests without naming the enabling statute.
--Ignoring recommendations from the Local Government Center counsel that specific purchases should go before the voters since RSA 41-14c had not been adopted in Exeter.
--Voting to purchase interest in real property without a posted Selectmen’s Public Hearing.
--Possible misrepresentation of purchased easement in that the Baglin easement was reduced in size between the time of the Board vote and the actual purchase. Vote 7/26/04; Easement area revised 8/15/04.
--An open space bond had been approved (Warrant Article # 12, March11, 2003) but the purchases were made by the Treasurer with “cash on hand” without the knowledge of the Board but, with the advice of an open space committee member and the town manager.
--Once informed of the deed fabrication on January 17, Board equivocation to deny and possibly obfuscate possible fraud; and continued misrepresentation.
--Three of the appointed Exeter Open Space Committee members are leaders of the Rockingham Land Trust. One of them signed the deeds for the RLT as President of their Board.
--None of the deeds were reviewed or signed by an elected town official. The town attorney acted as a Notary Public.
Nice insider deal isn't it? Our guy in Exeter, Alan C. Bailey,(contact us for his contact info) would love to fill Exeter voters in on what's going on there now. The local press as usual is not asking questions.
One bright spot is that Rep Cliff Newton of Rochester has some pending legislation that will address some of the ethical problems taxpayers encounter with “conservationists” land shopping with your money.
Here is a note he sent CNHT:
The first bill, HB1233-FN is Tuesday at 3:00 pm in room 302 of the Legislative Office Building. The bill being heard removes public officials from the exempted classes of the real estate practice act.
The second bill HB1301-Local will be heard on Thursday, January 26 at 10:00am in room 301. This bill requires anyone brokering land easement deals using public dollars to adhere to the ethics part of the real estate act.
Please attend and testify if you can.