Get Your Facts Straight
By Leslie O'Donnell 03-30-17
It’s about as easy as it gets to point fingers as a way to grab people’s attention. It’s a lot harder to come up with fact-based solutions to things you don’t like.
So it was disappointing recently to find a web posting just before the March election criticizing Raymond for its buried hides (from a tannery closed more than 40 years ago) and listing candidates and public officials who allegedly had not kept current with their taxes.
We’ll say up front that we pay our taxes in full on time and we think everyone should do so. We understand the hardships in doing so first hand. And we know there are situations that arise that make paying taxes in full and on time just about impossible.
We also know that the Town of Raymond is acting in the best interest of its citizens – and following best management practices - in not taking properties for taxes that have hides or other hazardous waste buried there, or taking manufactured homes in mobile home parks for taxes, only to be left to foot the rent for the land.
Do unpaid taxes and buried hides mean Raymond officials are corrupt? Hardly. Some of them may not even have been born when the hides were buried. Environmental laws since then would prevent the kind of irresponsible behavior that resulted in the hide burial, but town officials, working with the feds in recent years, have dealt with a sorry situation the best they can.
As for tax bills – it’s best to understand that the major portion of property taxes in New Hampshire is from the local school district. That’s the New Hampshire way. We’d love to see our state legislators address the tremendous hardships caused by the Granite State’s system of taxation, where funding schools falls on town taxpayers, and tax bills arrive twice a year – including one just before Christmas. Dividing the twice-yearly bill into quarters or thirds wouldn’t solve the basic problem, but it sure would help.
Meanwhile, it’s great to see citizen involvement, but knowledge of the basic facts would really help. Doing research and figuring out how things work – New Hampshire is not like a lot of other states – is absolutely vital before you speak out.
It’s easy to attack, much harder to offer a solution. Raymond is a small town that strives to keep a rural feel. We know each other. We aren’t wealthy. Few among us are happy with our tax bills. But before you throw darts, get your facts straight, and be prepared to help, not harm.