Candidate for Selectman

Over the years I’ve given the Board of Selectman lots of grief, I think it’s time for some of my own medicine. So if you haven’t heard, yesterday I added my name to the ballot as a candidate for Selectman.

Everyone who seeks elected office has an agenda and I’m no different, but you shouldn’t be surprised to hear mine is taxes. If the current rate of tax increases continues we will see a drastic change in our demographic. Chichester risks becoming a “school only” community where families move here to school their children and leave after, leaving only those who can afford the higher and higher taxes. Gone will be the middle class farmers, mechanics, small business owners and families who have lived here for generations. Chichester will loose it’s identity and history and that’s not what I want for my family or yours.

We are not without other problems but they pale in comparison, if we can control taxes those problems will work themselves out.

Should I be elected I look forward to continuing to serve Chichester in this new capacity, but I cannot do this alone. I’m asking for your vote but also your continued support and guidance going forward. As your representative and voice in local government I need feedback and the Board of Selectman cannot efficiently govern without it.

As always more info is available at chichestertaxpayers.com, pass that information on to anyone who might be interested.

I’m available anytime if you have questions, you won’t always like my answer but I will listen to your concerns and always speak honestly.

Even if you won’t be voting for me please come vote anyways, voter apathy is why we find ourselves in the position we’re in, your vote does make a difference!!

Thanks,
Jason Weir
736-7762

Penalties & Interest on Unpaid Taxes up 218%

When you can’t pay your taxes, (1) the town charges you interest, (2) places a lien on your property and (3) takes your property and sells it.

(1) In 2005 interest paid on back taxes was $30,020, in 2014 that number has increased to $95,623 a 218% increase.

Year	Penalties & Interest in Unpaid Taxes
2005	$30,020
2006	$40,449
2007	$35,931
2008	$55,324
2009	$56,743
2010	$85,599
2011	$85,677
2012	$80,498
2013	$56,227
2014	$95,623

(2) Now for tax liens – after a year of unpaid taxes the town places a lien on your property. Between 2005 and 2012 liens have increased by 64%

Year	Tax Liens Issued
2005	42
2006	54
2007	60
2008	73
2009	77
2010	62
2011	65
2012	61
2013	69

(3) 2 years after the lien is placed the town issues a tax deed and sells your property to recoup taxes owed + interest & penalties.

Between 2003 and 2012 no properties were taken for taxes. In 2013 and 2014 4 were taken, the first in 10 years. You can expect this trend to follow the others, with significant increases going forward. This has only started, more tax deeds are coming!

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Notice a trend here?

1. Taxes increase (faster than cpi, cola, wages, inflation or other measurement)
2. Residents have difficulty paying their taxes (#1 interest)
3. Taxes increase
4. Residents can’t pay their taxes (#2 lien)
5. Taxes increase
6. Town is forced to take and sell the property (#3 tax deed)

Information is power – educate your family, friends and neighbors, let them know that Chichester as we know it will be taken from us if we don’t step up and stop it.

The Board of Selectmen and School Board work for us, they get their authority to spend money from us. We are the legislative body and nothing can be spent without our approval, not one penny!

Come to these meetings and exercise your vote (http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=480).

Will you wait to act until it’s your neighbor’s house, your parent’s, yours?

Jason

How does Chichester Compare?

Selectman Debold made a comment at Thursday’s School Board meeting regarding Chichester having the 50th highest tax rate in the state. I gathered the following information from the Department of Revenue Administration regarding population, valuation and tax rates for all 259 NH towns and compared them to Chichester.

For a local comparison I used our neighboring towns of Allenstown, Barnstead, Epsom, Loudon, Northwood, Pembroke and Pittsfield. Here is what I found, watch Chichester move up the list.

Population – Chichester has the lowest population of the 8 local towns, almost half the size of the next closest. We rank 118th statewide, meaning there are 117 larger towns in NH.

Town            Population   State Rank 
PEMBROKE	7096	     45
LOUDON	        5335	     63
EPSOM	        4645	     77
BARNSTEAD	4605	     79
ALLENSTOWN	4326	     89
NORTHWOOD	4252	     90
PITTSFIELD	4082	     91
CHICHESTER	2550	     118

Valuation – Chichester has the second to lowest valuation of the towns compared and ranks 139th, only 138 towns have a lower valuation than Chichester.

Town            Valuation            State Rank
PEMBROKE	$586,793,797	     67
LOUDON	        $541,896,571	     72
NORTHWOOD	$477,041,569	     86
BARNSTEAD	$468,920,936	     87
EPSOM	        $414,878,590	     100
PITTSFIELD	$268,085,597	     135
CHICHESTER	$256,954,429	     139
ALLENSTOWN	$245,729,936	     147

Town Tax Rate – Here is where things start to come off the rails, we have the lowest population and next to lowest valuation but a higher town rate than 4 surrounding towns, only 101 towns statewide have a higher town rate.

Town            Town Rate         State Rank
ALLENSTOWN	$11.66	          12
PITTSFIELD	$10.00	          19
PEMBROKE	$6.64	          76
CHICHESTER	$6.07	          102
BARNSTEAD	$5.30	          128
EPSOM	        $4.75	          154
NORTHWOOD	$4.29	          169
LOUDON	        $3.79             195

School Tax Rate – It gets worse, our school rate is higher than 4 surrounding towns, only 54 towns statewide have a higher school rate.

Town            School Rate       State Rank
PEMBROKE	$17.68	          17
ALLENSTOWN	$16.81	          28
NORTHWOOD	$16.07	          41
CHICHESTER	$15.12	          55
BARNSTEAD	$15.06	          57
PITTSFIELD	$14.58	          68
EPSOM	        $12.51	          115
LOUDON	        $11.96	          130

Total Tax Rate – More of the same here, we have the 50th highest overall tax rate. What’s most alarming is we are only $3 away from being in the top 20. This could happen this year if we don’t change course, adding $750 or more to your tax bill.

Town            Total Rate   State Rank
ALLENSTOWN	$33.78	     3
PEMBROKE	$29.70	     21
PITTSFIELD	$29.13	     28
CHICHESTER	$26.80	     50
BARNSTEAD	$23.96	     101
NORTHWOOD	$23.90	     104
EPSOM	        $22.26	     136
LOUDON	        $20.81	     158

Per Capita Tax Burden – I saved the worst for last, of the 8 towns compared we are tied with Northwood for the highest taxes per capita – each man, woman, and child in Chichester represents more than $2600 a year in taxes. Only 104 towns statewide are higher.

Town            Per Capita      State Rank  
NORTHWOOD	$2,664    	104
CHICHESTER	$2,664	        105
PEMBROKE	$2,420	        138
BARNSTEAD	$2,398	        142
LOUDON	        $2,069	        185
EPSOM	        $1,952	        205
PITTSFIELD	$1,891	        211
ALLENSTOWN	$1,885	        212

I hope these numbers illustrate that we are spending beyond our means and significantly more than our peers. We know from this post (http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=415) that tax rates are going up, how much they go up is within your control – come to Town Meeting and School Meeting and help control spending (http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=480).

Questions? Comments? Contact me anytime.
Jason
jasontoddweir@gmail.com
6037367762

For those interested here is the data for all 259 towns

2 Saturdays Cost You 8 Million Dollars

Here is a copy of a letter to the editor I submitted to both the Concord Monitor and Suncook Sun. Anyone who knows me knows how impossible it is for me to keep my thoughts to under 250 words – well I’m not limited here and thought more explanation was needed.

Do you pay a tax bill, have kids in school, want your roads plowed or expect the police and fire departments to come when called? These things cost money, lots of it.  On March 7th and 14th Chichester residents will authorize the Selectman and School Board to collect and spend almost 8 Million of your dollars, over $3000 per resident.  Read that again, you and I must authorize all money to be spent, if we don't it cannot be spent.  Are you concerned with your ever increasing tax bill, come and vote. Think something is being ignored and needs attention, come and vote.  The budgets aside, there are other items that will be voted on that need your vote.

At Town Meeting (3/14) we will be voting on a decreasing budget, plus changes to the Road Agent Position and the Budget Committee.  I'm sure the roads and new ambulance will be discussed at length as well.  At School Meeting (3/7), we will vote on another budget increase, more control of the SAU budget, and a new Teacher's contract, which no doubt will be a significant cost increase by itself.

These items will increase your tax bill by hundreds if not a thousand dollars or more. You might be surprised to know that less than 100 people attend most of these meetings.  Your vote counts, you can make a difference.  Is $8 Million worth a few hours of your time in March?  I hope so.  For more information please visit chichestertaxpayers.com or contact me directly jasontoddweir@gmail.com

Jason Weir
Chichester

So how about these other items.

Changing the Road Agent position from being elected to being hired by the Selectmen, similar to the police chief and other town employees. Why you may ask should I as a voter give up my right to choose and trust the Selectmen to do the job for me. The main reasons for this change for me are as an elected position there are no required qualifications or education, no relevant work experience needed, no job interview, background check or anything else. Anyone, regardless of their background or experience can get elected as our Road Agent. This position manages a budget over $500K, has millions of dollars worth of equipment, manages employees, outside contractors and large construction projects. Another reason why I support this change is accountability, an elected Road Agent is almost unaccountable to the selectmen, they are very restricted to how much they can manage the position. The Road Agent cannot be treated as a regular employee and such the selectmen can claim little responsibility in managing the Road Agent. Should we give these responsibilities to a good politician who can get elected and have no accountability or someone truly qualified for the job? There should be a clear job description, required qualifications & education. The job should be posted, resumes collected, and interviews held. Then and only then should the best candidate be hired. Ask any current or prior selectman and I bet they would agree, this has been a continuing problem for 20 years or more and it’s time we fix it.

Institute a Municipal Budget Committee, this reverses the current roles of the budget committee and the board of selectmen. Currently the budget committee is advisory only and takes that role in developing the town budget. This change would require the budget committee craft the budget along with the selectmen and department heads to determine budget needs. In addition a municipal budget committee would have the responsibility along with the school board, principal and teachers of crafting the school district budget. This is a significant change and allows a single entity to bring both the town and school budgets under the same microscope and apply the same mindset to both budgets. This committee would include membership from both the board of selectmen and school board, for the first time requiring they work together in the best interest of the tax payers.

SAU Budget, I anticipate a warrant article that would move the SAU budget from a line item in the school’s budget so a separate warrant article to be voted on it’s own merit. Currently voters have little to no input into the generation of or control over how the SAU’s budget is spent. This change would bring it front and center and hopefully give the SAU some incentive to be accountable and control costs.

A New Teacher’s Contract will be presented and voted upon as well. Last year voters rejected the proposed contract due in part to the significant raises included. These raises were seen as far above the norm and unreasonable. Hopefully the school board and teachers union have revised their expectations and will bring a more reasonable request before the town. We should know more details of the new contract by budget hearing on 2/5

Questions or Comments? Please contact me.

Jason Weir – jasontoddweir@gmail.com – 736-7762

Town Budget Cuts

Last night the Board of Selectman along with the Budget Committee proposed 7% in reductions to the 2015 town budget. This amounts to a decrease of $250,000 from what was requested, and reduced the operating budget $147,000 from $2.10M to 1.96M. These cuts will deeply affect our three largest departments, Police, Fire and Highway. Should the budget pass, the Highway budget would be reduced by $220,000, meaning less road reconstruction, putting the Road Advisory Committee’s plan even further behind. The Police would not be purchasing a replacement cruiser, a $24,000 savings, instead running and maintaining the entire fleet one year more than anticipated. The Fire Department would not be replacing their oldest ambulance, a model year 2000 which will have been in service for 14 and now 15 years, how many of you have vehicles you depend on that old?

The driving catalyst behind these cuts was our ever increasing tax rate (see http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=415). These cuts were not seen as “wants” or “nice things to have”, they are legitimate needs and pain will be felt by the town in their wake. That being said, we felt a need to address our tax burden and the amount to which it costs people to live in Chichester.

Here lies the problem, these cuts affect your taxes by a little over $1.00 per thousand, or $250 a year on a average home. We cannot do this alone, we need the School Board to be part of the solution and do their part to reduce their budget as well. I’ve asked the Board of Selectman to approach and work with the School Board to that effect. No longer can the Town and School work in a vacuum independently of each other. We cannot balance the tax rate on the town budget alone, especially noting that the School’s budget is almost 3 times as much. Should the School Board do their part and enact similar cuts, it would turn that $250 savings to $1000 for the average tax payer.

I encourage all that can to attend the School Budget workshop tomorrow night @ 5:30 at the school (see http://chichestertaxpayers.com/?p=480), if you cannot attend please call or email the School Board Members and express your desire for them to reduce their budget in similar fashion to what the town as proposed.

Benjamin Brown			Harold Losey, Jr.		Sally Kelly
bbrown@sau53.org		hlosey@sau53.org		skelly@sau53.org
(603) 798-4116			(603) 798-4055			(603) 798-5806

Jason

2015 Budget Season Dates

Upcoming dates of importance

1/13/15 – 6:00PM, Selectman & Budget Committee Meeting @ the Town Hall.

1/14/15 – 6:00PM, Selectman & Budget Committee Meeting @ the Town Hall (if needed).

1/15/15 – 5:30PM, School Board meeting @ the School (budget workshop).

1/21/15 – 6:30PM, School Board meeting @ the School (regular meeting).

1/27/15 – 6:00PM, Town Budget Public Hearing @ the Town Hall (cancelled due to snow)

2/3/15 – Deadline for Citizen Petitions to be included on the Town Meeting warrant.

2/3/15 – 6:00PM, Town Budget Public Hearing @ the Town Hall (public input).

2/4/15 – Deadline for Citizen Petitions to be included on the School District warrant.

2/5/15 – 6:00PM, School District Budget Hearing @ the School (public input).

2/9/15 – 6:00PM, School District Budget Hearing @ the School (if needed, snow date).

3/7/15 – 9:00AM , School District Meeting @ the School (most important to attend).

3/14/15 – 10:00AM, Town Meeting @ the School (most important to attend).

Please attend as many of these meeting as possible – here is where we have 100% control over where and how our tax $$ are spent

Jason

2015 Legislative Session

Just some bills I’d like to see proposed in the 2015 Legislative Session

1. Budget – Reduce (preferred) or balance the budget without raising or creating new taxes or fees.
2. Right to Work – no employee should be forced to pay union dues (or fair share) as a condition of employment.
2. Constitutional Carry – Allow non-felons and those without a domestic protection order to carry concealed without permit.
3. Corporate Tax – Encourage business growth and migration to NH by lowering rates below neighboring states, partially offset with an increase in sin taxes.
4. Education – Transfer special needs student costs from local school districts to DHHS.

Random Thoughts

Establish a Fraud, Waste and Abuse Program where whistle blowers would receive a percentage (10% up to $100,000) of any budget reduction directly resulting from their reporting of a fraud, waste or abuse situation. Anyone who has spent time in or around any government entity knows there are significant opportunities for budget reductions here.

Establish a mechanism where towns\schools can create technology districts (similar to solid waste districts) where resources can be pooled to better serve the technology needs of our smaller towns and schools.

Thoughts?
Jason

Clear Message

I voted about 5:30 yesterday, the parking lot was full and there was a line out the door.

We had great voter turnout and a large number of first time voters. (numbers coming soon)

Chichester voted in stark contrast to the state as a whole, as seen in our results below.

This should be a clear message to our local officials that we want a smaller, fiscally sound, liberty minded local government.

A government of bold leaders, free of cronyism, committed to making Chichester better. Let us remind them of this in the March elections.

Download (PDF, 113KB)

I do feel bad for our new moderator Nate as it took us well past midnight to get an accurate count the 1100+ ballots.

Jason

Letter to the Editor

Last week I sent the following letter to the Concord Monitor, Suncook Sun and Hooksett Banner – so far only the Sun has printed it.  I thought I might post it here to get a little more exposure.  Please vote on Tuesday.

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Lack of Leadership from a Tax and Spend Liberal

Richard DeBold is a nice guy, has a nice family and served various roles for 20+ years.  He’s a veteran, a retired state employee and easy to like.  Qualities great in a neighbor but they hardly qualify him for the Legislature.

In 12 years he’s presided over a 44% tax rate increase, he’ll blame the School but the town’s portion has increased 59%.  The budget has increased 30%, and the amount raised by taxes is up 64%, while our valuation increased by just 15%.  His tax and spend policy has fostered a 70% increase in our tax bills.  Have our roads, buildings, or services improved enough to justify the increase? How many more homes need to be sold at tax sale?

As Selectman he appointed a planning board that resists tax positive business growth.  Instead of an inviting business environment our zoning actively drives business away, resulting in numerous lost court battles. Businesses don’t want to come to Chichester and this failure falls squarely at the Selectmen’s feet.

DeBold hired a controversial Fire Chief who was later fired, rehired in another capacity before successfully suing and settling out of court for wrongful termination, only to be fired a short time later for theft. This shows gross lack of leadership and his inability to make hard decisions.

As Richard moves on from Chichester towards better things, ask yourself, what’s his legacy? A couple soccer fields, a trail to nowhere and a 70% increase in our tax bills shouldn’t get your vote.

Jason Weir
Chichester