Article #1: Some Contested Races

By S.D. Plissken | March 8, 2020

Article #1 is the list of the fourteen Milton Town offices to be filled and the candidates vying to fill them.

Uncontested Elections

Three seats (one one-year and two three-year terms) on the Budget Committee have but a single candidate, one three-year seat as Cemetery Trustee has but a single candidate, one two-year seat on the Planning Board has but a single candidate, another two three-year seats on the Planning Board have but two candidates, one six-year seat as Supervisor of the Checklist has but a single candidate, the Treasurer’s position has but a single candidate, and one three-year seat on the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) has no candidates at all.

There is little point in voting for (or against) any of the uncontested candidates. The candidates themselves bear no fault in having no actual competition for these offices. However, it should be a matter of great concern that so many offices can be assumed simply by filling out a form. It is worse still that when nobody does even that much, the BOS simply “selects” a winner. That is pretty much having offices and boards run by the selectmen, but with extra steps. All of this suggests strongly that there should simply be fewer Town boards, committees, and offices.

For example, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) were formerly a single board. One assumes they were separated so that the ZBA could function as a sort of “appeal” from the Planning Board’s delicious concoctions. But if the ZBA simply refers such appeals back to the Planning Board, as was the case in the Binker Brothers’ startup and the Mi-Te-Jo meetings, or if the same people sit on both boards, as has been the case, or if the BOS can threaten to ‘sic “its” various boards onto unoffending property owners, as Chairman Thibeault did recently to the new owner of the old firehouse, then having two boards is entirely pointless, even dangerous.

And now the BOS has recommended a warrant article that would hive off the Planning Board’s dubious Capital Improvement Program (CIP) plan to yet another board, whose seats will be entirely “in the gift” of the Selectmen. (Their interest perhaps arises out of the Planning Board’s failure to process the CIP plan in a timely manner – Standing Idle). All of this would seem to be giant steps in the wrong direction. It might be that if the Planning Board and the ZBA were recombined, the CIP plan simply discontinued (as it should be), and the number of seats on the recombined board were reduced, there might be enough candidates for an actual election.

Contested Elections

Only the offices of Selectman, Library Trustee, and Trustee of the Trust Funds have contested elections.

For Selectman

For the single three-year Board of Selectmen seat, there are three candidates: Lawrence D. “Larry” Brown, Matthew S. Morrill, and Humphrey Williams.

The Candidates’ Night recording was only partial, and its parts appeared in several places, so the candidate statements must be relied upon here.

Lawrence D. “Larry” Brown has held nearly every Town office, as well as having been for multiple terms Milton’s NH State Representative. He does not appear to have issued a statement on this occasion (nor has his usual signage appeared yet). However, at a Board of Selectmen’s meeting nearly a year ago, he gave a fairly comprehensive review of his views and career, which we then reported under the title Milton as Brigadoon. Mr. Brown held positions this last year as a Library Trustee, an Alternate member of the Planning Board, and as a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA).

At last year’s candidate’s night, Mr. Brown declared that he felt it would be impossible to reduce or even hold the line on taxes.

Williams, Humphrey - 2020Humphrey Williams held a seat this last year on the Budget Committee, as well as on the Milton Economic Development Committee (MEDC), and as an Alternate on the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). His campaign statement from the last election (Meet Mr. Williams) made much sense. His statement this year follows:

Humphrey Williams. I will work to insure the Select Board:

    • Takes the lead in creating a cooperative environment amongst the various boards and committees.
    • Establishes sound financial goals for the town – including setting spending limits & funding actual “needs” versus “wants.”
    • Works with Town Administrator, Department Heads & Employees to find Cost Saving Measures to reduce the operating budget.
    • Find ways to clean up downtown and bring in new businesses such as Restaurants, Deli or Meat Market, Sports or Recreation.
    • Maintains the scenic beauty and heritage of our community while creating new business and revenue stream opportunities.
    • Find ways to develop Commercial Opportunities in the Exit 17 and Exit 18 areas.

Mr. Williams has me right down to cleaning up the downtown and bringing in new businesses, and creating revenue streams. Those are tasks for the free market, rather than any government. Bring government taxes back down to earth, cut back on government committees, and the regulations and restrictions that they foster, and the free market could fix the rest.

Matthew S. “Matt” Morrill introduces himself here as a candidate for selectman – he has spent two years already on the Planning Board – in the following statement:

Matt Morrill for Selectman

Morrill, Matt - 2020I would like to introduce myself for anyone who does not already know me, My name is Matt Morrill, I am 32 years old and was born and raised in Milton Mills, NH. I graduated from Bishop Brady High School, and shortly after that, I entered the Military. I am still an active Army Reserve Member, after serving my country in the Middle East attaining the rank of Staff Sargent.

I have served on the Planning Board for the past 2 years, and I am aware of all the issues facing us as a small town in need of alternative tax revenue and growth, while still keeping the town a great place to live. I am a local business owner and the father of two children. My wife and I have chosen to raise our family in Milton Mills. My family has been part of the Milton Mills landscape for over 70 years. I have been active in some local organizations such as End 68 Hours of Hunger and the Recreation Department, and have led fundraising events for both organizations.

At this point in my life, I feel our town is in need of some changes. As a local businessman, I have concerns with the rate in which our taxes are accelerating. I feel that we need to seriously take a look at all our options for our children. Whether our students remain being educated in Milton, or if we decide to tuition them out to another town, I would like to be part of that process.

Our current school system is our most expensive tax burden, it is imperative for us to figure out what our options are as a town. If we choose to keep our children in town, we need to figure out a better system than just taxing our residents out of their homes. If we tuition them out, we need to find the best system to fit our children’s needs. I will come to the table with an open mind, and work hard to help figure this out.

My military background has served me well in the area of leadership, self mindedness, and making tough decisions. I would lead with the town’s best interest as my moral compass. I would stand behind my decisions, and work hard to make this town a great place to live. I have lived here my entire life, and would like to retire here and have my children have the ability to do so as well, if they chose to.

I hope you will consider me as your candidate to do so. We as a town need to make some tough decisions, I ask you for your vote, and hope you will help me get elected so we can make these changes together and make Milton Great Again!

Welcome, Mr. Morrill. Much of his statement concerns itself with School taxation, which is certainly our largest problem, but perhaps not within a selectman’s purview.

As for Town taxes, seeking “alternative” tax sources (such as some variant of income taxes) might imply maintaining current spending levels, while tapping some other poor souls, or different pockets of the same poor souls, in order to keep the game afloat. That would be just kicking an “accelerating” tax problem further down the road. But, perhaps I misunderstand.

Mr. Walden, a BOS candidate from last year, posted some further details regarding Mr. Morrill’s positions that enlarge upon his original statement.

Why vote for Matt Morrill?

    • Availability. As a local business owner He is Around town throughout the day, you’ll probably see him face to face quite often and he is always willing to speak with people about their concerns in a language that everyone can understand.
    • Proven Commitment to Improving the Town’s Image. Matt has been involved with various community projects and has never hesitated to donate his time or resources when the situation has presented itself.
    • A Commitment to Our Children. As a father with a family of his own, Matt understands that even though we all don’t agree on the direction of our school system we still need to make the best of what we have, Matt actively participates in and organizes events for school supply drives and programs such as end 68 hours of hunger.
    • Fiscal Accountability. Matt believes that we need to start tasking our department heads with decreasing their budgets by 2% a year annually in conjunction with spending more of YOUR leftover money at the end of the year on paying down the tax rate versus trying to spend it in deceptively worded warrant articles.

Matt, more than any candidate running for selectman is in touch with the pulse of the town and understands the real struggles and frustrations that families are having in town with the way things are being handled.

For Library Trustee

For the single three-year Library Trustee seat, there are two candidates: Lawrence D. “Larry” Brown and Anne Nute.

I have seen no statement by Ms. Nute, but one would hope her positions present a contrast to those of Mr. Brown.

(Subject to revision should statements become available).

For Trustee of the Trust Funds

For the single three-year Trustee of the Trust Funds seat, there are two candidates: Karen J. Brown and Anne Nute.

Ms. Brown is running as an incumbent. She is also running unopposed for Supervisor of the Checklist. She has long been Recreation Director.

I have seen no statements by Ms. Brown or Ms. Nute.

(Subject to revision should statements become available).

Author: S.D. Plissken

I thought he'd be taller.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: