Where Any Good NH Governor Should Come From - A Municipal Budget Committee

One candidate for governor of New Hampshire has the financial resources (millions of dollars, largely his own) to plaster the airwaves with self-promoting propaganda, 30 seconds at a time.

The other candidate, Andrew Hemingway, can afford to run some ads during the last few days of his campaign, but he's counting on grassroots support by word-of-mouth from people who know him.

I know Andrew. I know him very well, having served with him as an elected official in Bristol -- he was the chair of the budget committee, when I was the selectman member of the committee. I want to offer these first hand observations and you can decide if this is someone you'd like to see as your governor.

Fact: In the years prior to Andrew's service as budget committee chair, the budget process was cumbersome and cantankerous. So much so, it was impossible to find 13 people who wanted to serve on the budget committee and there was open hostility between the budget committee, department heads and selectmen. Andrew set a tone of civility and respect that was infectious. He repaired the relationships with the department heads and selectmen, so that it became cordial and not confrontational. The committee had a full complement of 13 members. The end result was a reduced budget that was presented to Town Meeting that had the unanimous support of selectmen, department heads, the town administrator and budget committee -- to the penny. The body at Town Meeting decided to add money to the budget. Can you imagine?

Fact: Bristol had failed to implement the Capital Improvements Program, a state law, that it had voted to adopt in 1987. As a result, capital planning was chaotic, with adverse impact on the selectmen's ability to maintain a stable tax rate. Under Andrew's watch, the CIP was implemented and continues to this day. The tax rate remains stable.

Fact: During Andrew's tenure on the budget committee, Bristol's municipal tax rate dropped to it's lowest level in 20 years: $4.65. As Chair, he proposed a modified budget process that eliminated inflationary departmental requests.

Fact: As a key member of the Town's recycling committee, Andrew's innovative approach to problem solving was instrumental. After arguing about recycling for 30 years, Bristol commenced a "single stream" recycling program that continues to produce income to the town and cost nothing to implement. Today, 75% of all refuse is recycled.

There's more -- like the public access television station, weekly town newspaper, and website to provide greater transparency in government -- but I think you get the idea. Andrew is the only candidate who's really from New Hampshire, and the only one with experience, and success, at building cooperation, cutting taxes, and using common sense to protect us from government waste.

He gets the job done.

 

Bruce Van Derven

603-254-7427