“Take-Aways & Think-Abouts“ - Larry Brown #MiltonNH


“Take-Aways and Think-Abouts“

-- Larry Brown

It was a good chance for us - Candidates and Public - to talk about real issues in a back and forth discussion.  Thanks to Chris Jacobs for his work as moderator.   Some offices are uncontested; others open by write-in.  Volunteers are still needed to create community and sustain local democracy.  (Case in point - we had no one to record that meeting.)  Volunteer.  You will get more than you give. The Voters Guides for School and Town will be out soon. Look for them.


School Discussion -- NH is dead last for Public College support. Its own web site sets $18,500 as an average Public School student cost but State Aid pays only $3,600 for “Adequacy.” Peg Hurd noted that our district is already working on partnership issues and has done so since Superintendent Sussman came on board in 2016. She has an MBA, 20 years of teaching and has negotiated two union contracts that bring our costs down.  Travis Corriveau noted his Milton “roots” (the East side of Three Ponds), that he was a graduate of a Regional High School - Noble, that his job skills have been with security/computer/technology based services, that he has done his own job site labor negotiations and that he will be ruthless in following through on the facts of contracts or partnerships.  (Lynette McDougall’s views and apology for her absence are on line).  Note: I’ve been part of district affiliation studies twice. Every partnership depends on willingness, capacity(s), course access costs, transportation costs, and its impact on school spirit/community identity.  No partner will sell “retail” student costs to us “wholesale.” We never lose local admin/building costs.


Town Discussion – Ryan Thibeault, with one term as Selectmen’s rep, is running for Planning.  He sees planning as critical for considering our town’s future needs. Jonathan W. Nute, presently a Hayes Cemetery trustee; is running for Planning Board as well as Cemetery trustee. Anne Nute, a Nute Library trustee and retired librarian, sees her skills as a good match for town Library trustee. I have four years service as the Library trustees chair.  We agree: support our libraries.  

Lisa M. Gautreau, who attends Budget meetings regularly, now has both interest and time.  Note: Some board seats are open by write-in now; others may open after 3/10/20.

For Selectman: Matthew S. Morrill (unable to attend due to his Reserve duty weekend) is a lifelong resident, runs his own business (plowed 42 hours “straight out” during our back to back snow storms) and has been married for over 10 years.  He and Ashley have two children and live in Milton Mills.  Chris read his remarks. He supports business to bring in tax revenue and improve “Downtown.”  This is his second year on the Planning Board. 

Humphrey Williams is retired from the Shipyard where he was the training unit supervisor. He is a TPPA board member. March marks the end of his first year on the budget committee. He has done his own review of town department budget numbers and believes those numbers show we can cut this year’s Town budget even more.

For me, Larry Brown, I don’t think 5 years of past numbers tells us that much about Town goals and costs for 2020. Here’s why: The Shipyard Training Unit is an Operations support unit that supplies training and materiel for maintenance, repair, and overhaul procedures set by “Best Practice” Federal/engineering criteria in a top down command structure subject to union contract salaries and work rules. 

I want that kind of work done “by the numbers.” It keeps our sailors safe. But - it does not matter that you can crunch a Shipyard number down till you’re just 10 cents short of Paradise. That is not the way Town government budgets work in New Hampshire.

For example:  on 2/8/20 the selectmen voted to reduce this years budget and warrant costs by $73,000. That money came from the unassigned fund balance-unspent money returned to the general fund from past years.  Right now we have 1.3 million dollars in that “bank” and it earns the town 3% interest.  A zero surplus budget does nothing to build the rainy day fund every town needs.

For example:  By Valentines Day DPW had used up 1200 tons of sand on snow storms that ended in ice. 500 tons is on order- that’s $60,000.  A zero surplus budget for DPW only works on zero snowstorms.

I’ve served on Town Boards and Committees for over 15 years.  I’ve been the Chair of the Budget Committee and served on all. I helped write Town Law as a State Rep. I know our Town budget, the work our Departments do, and the issues we face. I’ve seen cheap budgets, petty rivalries and destructive micromanaging come - and mostly go.  I support the good goals of our present Board and look forward to working with Ernie - his low key, informed competence is a welcome change. 

In the end, Town government is not the budget.  It is our “health, safety, and welfare,” it is the “prudential management” of our resources, it is community.  Issues change.  The Selectmen’s tasks stay the same - to plan for and negotiate those changes.  If that view of government and my experience make sense to you -- vote for me -- Larry Brown