At the meeting it was stated that 79 properties had abatements, totally @$980k , in 2017.
Andrew LaPointe(Sunday, September 23 18 06:46 am EDT)
How big of a bribe was paid to make the topstone taxes disappear
Jim Sullivan(Friday, September 21 18 05:22 pm EDT)
Sara, that is an excellent question and unlike our uncooperative city officials we will do my best to try to get an answer for you. If you watched this week's disgraceful City Council meeting you will realize that any questions I pose in writing to the City Manager does not have to be answered. So there is no guarantee of a written response. However I can and will ask for any documentation listing how many property tax bills were abated (not to be confused with property assessments reduced) over the past few years. That they have to produce or say there is nothing to produce. I will submit that request on Monday and it may take up to 10 business days for them to respond or they could ask for more time if they wish citing lame excuses like "requiring legal review" or "requiring consultation with assessor" which is what I have been dealing with presently trying to get information regarding both abatements for the Topstone property (property tax bill and property valuation abatements). When I get the answer (whatever that answer may be) I will publish it on the website for all to see. Sara, I am very glad that you asked this question because it will now show all of our readers the difficulty we now more frequently have obtaining information for our articles from City Officials. This from a government that continues to claim publicly that they are open and transparent.
Sara Tyler(Friday, September 21 18 05:03 pm EDT)
Jim and or your readership I was wondering if there is a way to find out how many property tax bills are forgiven annually? It was stated that it's not unusual. I was very surprised to hear this statement. Thanks in advance for the information.
Paul(Wednesday, September 19 18 11:36 pm EDT)
Top Stone Tax abatement
After going to the meeting to night and asking the assessor some questions I believe the building was not worth the 670,000 but it's worth more than 175,000 in my opinion. I would fine it hard to justify that number when in 2007 the present owners bought the building for 495,000 which I have to assume they though was a fair price which was twice its highest sale price ever they must not have done their homework. But they believed it was worth what they paid for or they would not have made the investment I believe the assessment should be what the paid for it FAIR MARKET VALUE. Then it was appraised at 595,700 this figure I believe was over what the building was worth but why did the wait 11 tears to five the abatement?
The meeting in my opinion would have been more productive if the lawyer had not been there the question I asked was answered after the meeting ended.Not buying the excuse that the council was interfering with anyone job, but we're just trying like the rest of us to get to the bottom of the issue.
Hope they consider a Board of Assessors with public input.
Donk(Wednesday, September 19 18 05:11 pm EDT)
Richard, perhaps Nancy Merrill could find some roof grant money for such a historic building in Claremont.Maybe we could have a fund raiser?
Richard(Wednesday, September 19 18 01:09 pm EDT)
Judith Nessett the assessing representative the owners of Topstone Holdings LLC hired to prepare and file their abatement claim to the city claimed dinner filing that the roof is bad and there is no heat in any of the upper floors. Only the bottom floor can be rented out. If this is true than the building is not up to code and City Councilor Nick Koloski lied in his testimony to state officials. I believe he also lied about not knowing anything about the abatement because he wrote about it in his testimony and he seems to have intimate knowledge about how the owners of the Topstone property conduct their business. More than any ordinary tenant would.
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, September 19 18 11:58 am EDT)
New article. Koloski & the Topstone Building.
For full details go to the Topstone Property Tax Assessment Page of this website.
Barbara(Wednesday, September 19 18 08:53 am EDT)
Tonight at 6:30 PM at Claremont City Hall the City Council will be meeting about the Topstone property tax debt forgiveness giveaway costing taxpayers over $222,000 and I suppose somebody will talk about the 74% property assessment reduction our generous city officials also gave Councilor Nick Koloski's landlord. If you are outraged at this abuse of government authority need to show up tonight and voice your concerns to your elected officials on the City Council. If they don't listen and if they don't take firm action. Such as firings of the assessing firm and the City Manager then we as the voters have to do what is best for Claremont and vote all of them out of office at the next election. It is time for the voters to stand up and be heard please be one of them tonight.
Kathy(Wednesday, September 19 18 04:03 am EDT)
The special city council meeting about the Topstone property scandal is tonight and our local newspaper the Eagle Times still refuses to acknowledge it. It is not in today's edition. Bricker's closing was also ignored. Who knows how many other important stories have been quashed by this newspaper. Everyone should just stop buying this newspaper because the real news is never in it.
Todd(Tuesday, September 18 18 04:33 pm EDT)
The whole thing about the Topstone property and Nick Koloski’s involvement smacks of corruption. Anyone who doesn’t think that Koloski’s connection to the property isn’t the reason for the special treatment is deluding themselves.
Mary(Tuesday, September 18 18 03:41 pm EDT)
When this idea to forgive almost a quarter of one million dollars of property taxes to one property owner came about it should have been discussed at a city council meeting with a public hearing. These city officials forget whose money they are playing around with.
flyonthewall(Tuesday, September 18 18 03:05 pm EDT)
He used to do pick ups and deliveries at certain mile markers on I-91.He's clever enough to run circles around Mc deezNutts.
flyonthewall(Tuesday, September 18 18 03:01 pm EDT)
McNutt can whine about TwinState Property all he likes,he won't see a penny.Twin state is Twin Scam and you've all been had by Frank Sargent.He upped stakes and moved to Florida last year.He's probably working some angle down in North Carolina about now.
Did any of you ever consider doing a background check on Frank?
In the 80's he was the biggest drug dealer in the area.I believe he told me that a local prosecutor was a big customer.You know these lawyers and their egos,just can't stay away from the stuff.We're talkin go fast stuff,not the opioids that have come into fashion recently.
I think he did a dime in the Fed for that one.Another year or 2 when he stiffed Katrina victims as a contractor.
Greg(Tuesday, September 18 18 02:08 pm EDT)
The taxpayers were just raped by our city officials for a second time in regards to the same property. Was it good for you?
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, September 18 18 01:57 pm EDT)
Excellent question regarding IRS Form 1099-C Cancellation of Debt because the forgiveness of the $222,725.09 becomes taxable income to Topstone Holdings LLC. We hadn't thought of that. I have just submitted a Right to Know Law request to City Manager Ryan McNutt asking that very question. I will publish the answer once I receive it as we are now very curious about that as well as we are sure our readers are too.
Tom(Tuesday, September 18 18 01:45 pm EDT)
Make no mistake; crooked government is back at Claremont City Hall.
want to know...(Tuesday, September 18 18 12:37 pm EDT)
Will Topstone receive a 1099-C?
Industrial Property Owner(Tuesday, September 18 18 11:30 am EDT)
During this past Wednesday’s City Council meeting, City Manager Ryan McNutt lamented about Twin State Property Maintenance that owns 14 properties throughout the city. One of these properties located at 139 Main St. is apparently a safety hazard to the public with an uncooperative property owner. Mr. McNutt said that the company owed approximately $100,000 and called the owner “one of our biggest scofflaws”. I find it interesting because the owners of Topstone Holdings LLC owed more than double in back taxes, equally uncooperative in regards to the payment of property taxes and environmental cleanup of the property yet city administration officials treat Topstone Holdings LLC with kid gloves and admiration. To the point that the temporary assessor expunges $222,725.09 of Topstone Holdings LLC’s property tax debt, interest and penalties in addition to granting them a 74% property assessment reduction beginning this tax year. In my personal opinion, the only difference I can see between the two owners is Councilor Nick Koloski’s business relationship with the owners of Topstone Holdings LLC. That of leaseholder, the largest tenant in the Topstone building and the possibility of some type of management role with the building. I say the possibility because Councilor Koloski announced a few years ago at a prior Council meeting that he was the key holder to 45 Crescent St., owned by Jon Calkins, one of the owners on record of Topstone Holdings LLC. City administration officials and Councilor Koloski swear that this is nothing more than a coincidence but their words just sound hollow and insincere. To my knowledge, no other property owner in Claremont has received the special privilege treatment experienced by Topstone Holdings LLC. Certainly not the property owners who lost their homes through the tax deeding procedure because city administrative officials and city councilors did not show these property owners the same consideration shown to the out-of-state property owners that make up the partnership of Topstone Holdings LLC.
Ralph(Tuesday, September 18 18 10:57 am EDT)
I read the minutes to the city council meeting about the drive by looting property assessments from 2000 and noticed at the bottom of the last page that Jim Sullivan inquired at the citizen’s forum about the cost of MRI to the taxpayer. He was standing up for the taxpayers way back then. What the hell are our elected representatives doing for us today? Just sitting there like a bunch of idiots with their fingers up their butts while hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars is given to Councilman Nick Koloski’s landlord. Yeah there’s nothing crooked about that deal.
Alicia(Tuesday, September 18 18 10:39 am EDT)
Councilman Scott Pope received the teaching award that of course made front-page news in the Eagle Times today. However, more important news like the two Topstone abatements are not worth a single word of newsprint. It shows where their priorities are for the so-called news staff. Talk about a puff piece for Pope, the way it is written his inflated ego makes it sound like he is running the technical center and the director is taking orders from him. I am surprised Pope can fit his head to the door it is so delusionally inflated.
Richard(Tuesday, September 18 18 08:35 am EDT)
In my opinion, Joe Lessard is a terrible assessor. I remember the drive by assessments and how he socked it to all the property owners around Claremont. I remember how the property assessments went down with the next legitimate assessments. I never liked MRI. When Bob Porter was the city manager, practically every department seemed to be managed by MRI employees costing the taxpayers beaucoup money. Bad times and we are going right back there again.
Cheryl(Tuesday, September 18 18 07:57 am EDT)
The Eagle Times has still not done an article on the Topstone Holdings LLC property tax debt abatement of almost a quarter of $1 million. Now the Sullivan Report uncovers an additional secret abatement of the property assessment variety this time for Topstone Holdings LLC giving them a 74% property assessment reduction with the quarter of $1 million gift. One of the recipients of these magnanimous gifts from the City of Claremont is the property owner for the Eagle Times. Councilman Nick Koloski works for the property owner in some capacity as the key holder and I understand property manager for that building on Crescent St. The Eagle Times editor and the local reporter, who I am told is his wife, and special correspondent Patrick Adrian, whose wife works for the city in the Planning Department are all acting deaf, blind and mute to this issue. Heck even the sickening politically correct E- Ticker News wrote a short halfhearted article about Wednesday’s upcoming Council meeting that the buried in the back of their current weekly edition. Conflicts of interest should not enter into the picture as to what stories are published and what stories are buried. The Eagle Times has sunk to a new low and has become part of the fake news media crowd. I would suggest anyone who has a subscription to not renew it when it comes due. That is what I intend to do.
Erik(Tuesday, September 18 18 07:41 am EDT)
Wow! A $222,000 gift from the city wiping away their tax debt, a 74% reduction in their property tax assessment that will lower their future tax debt, free environmental cleanup of the property in the works, it must be good to have a city councilor for a tenant and maybe a property manager as well. Claremont corruption at its worst.
Jim Sullivan(Monday, September 17 18 04:04 pm EDT)
The Topstone Saga continues! Wait until you see what City Officials did now! Full details on the Topstone Property Tax Abatement page.
Mike(Friday, September 14 18 01:40 pm EDT)
Mike(Friday, September 14 18 01:38 pm EDT)
I understand that Scott Sweet reigned as Public Works Director? Everyone is jumping ship seems like.
Jim Sullivan(Friday, September 14 18 01:05 pm EDT)
Claremont's Mostly Uncensored Page, a local Facebook page dedicated to Claremont New Hampshire, is having a field day regarding the secret $222,725.09 Topstone Holdings Inc. property tax debt abatement clandestinely enacted by Claremont City Officials on August 31, 2018. The administrator of the page gave us permission to publish a few of their political cartoons regarding the Topstone property tax debt abatement. They are very funny. Check them out on the News Flashes page.
Gerald Moriarty(Friday, September 14 18 11:58 am EDT)
Good thing the council delayed the job performance of the manager.I think that he should be shown the door.This is a lot of money to not be brought before the council.Too much
Jim Sullivan(Friday, September 14 18 10:48 am EDT)
Just came back from Claremont City Hall. I tried to get the property assessment tax cards for both of Topstone Holdings Inc. properties. I wanted to see if one or both of the properties had received a property assessment abatement of any kind on top of the $222,725.09 property tax debt abatement. When I went to the Assessing Office it was locked up tight with a big sign on the door that says it was closed today but there was no date on the sign. Convenient! Begs the question whether the Assessing Office will be closed through Wednesday since it is in the midst of controversy.
Jim Sullivan(Friday, September 14 18 09:41 am EDT)
New article. Regarding Valley News article in today's edition about the Topstone Holdings Inc. property tax debt abatement. Full details on the News Flashes page.
Gerald Moriarty(Thursday, September 13 18 05:27 pm EDT)
The first thing that I would like to see is this assessor getting the boot.
I don't know if Steve Snelling is still around but you couldn't ask for a more honest man.I would rehire him ASAP.
Jim Sullivan(Thursday, September 13 18 03:27 pm EDT)
COUNCIL TO HOLD SPECIAL MEETING REGARDING TOPSTONE HOLDINGS LLC ABATEMENT!
Full details on the News Flashes page.
David vickers(Thursday, September 13 18 12:09 pm EDT)
someone do something about the tyrant town manager of Claremont. according to him the water meters arnt faulty and city residents all lie. these same meters new jersey removed as faulty and robbing there citizens
Steve(Thursday, September 13 18 11:00 am EDT)
45 Crescent St., Claremont, NH 03743
Phone: (603) 543-3100 or (800) 545-0347
News Editor: John Gregg, 603-727-3217
Poopsycle(Thursday, September 13 18 10:49 am EDT)
Could someone post the phone number for Eagle Times newspaper?
Michael(Thursday, September 13 18 06:28 am EDT)
Unbelievable! The Eagle Times and the Valley News did it again. No mention of the Topstone Holdings Inc. property tax bill abatement. The Council spoke about it last night and it was the most controversial subject of the night. It was also the most interesting topic. The media blackout continues. The two newspapers should change their publication's name to the Chicken Times and the Valley Government Sanctioned News. At least then people would know what they were buying, truth in advertising laws and all that.
Katherine(Wednesday, September 12 18 10:23 pm EDT)
I did not like Scott Pope's attitude about the whole Topstone abatement matter. He wanted no part of it and he seemed very angry about it even being discussed in vague terms. He is a city councilor and he is supposed to be representing the public's best interests. What is his problem?
Tom(Wednesday, September 12 18 09:26 pm EDT)
The councilors are clearly feeling the pressure. Mayor Lovett requested a council vote to rescind the rules to add two items to tonight's meeting agenda. One of those items was a brief discussion on the Topstone abatement of taxes for almost 1/4 of $1 million to establish a special meeting to discuss this matter fully. Joe Osgood helped by holding the council's feet to the fire to call that special meeting. The council agreed to meet next Wednesday to hash this all out. Mayor Lovett says the public will be able to speak at that time. Little was said about the incident and Scott Pope acted as if he wanted to bury the whole thing for his good buddy Nick Koloski by saying the whole thing was politically motivated. None of them breathed one word about Jim Sullivan, AJ Maranville or the Sullivan Report as they were the ones responsible for exposing these heinous actions and breaking the story to the public. I think they are all scared of Jim and AJ. I can't wait for next Wednesday.
nunya(Wednesday, September 12 18 04:43 pm EDT)
It has been 1 year and 3 mos.since I have paid Claremonts taxes.I will not feather the nests of teachers firemen or cops,as well as office do nothings at the expense of my own family's well being.I am saving for a move to Tennessee.When the time comes I will strip out every copper wire,and every copper pipe.I will put my furnace in self-destrct meltdown mode until it's a molten puddle of metal on the floor.I will smash every sink and toilet on my way out the door.
Good luck Claremont.I voted for every candidate that claimed decency,but I have yet to see one that couldn't be bought.This is not corruption on periphery,this place is rotten right to the core.As a person I cannot in good conscience support
this corruption with one more penney.
Linda(Wednesday, September 12 18 12:05 pm EDT)
Tired of the City of Claremont passing off a high tax bill to small property owners and writing off large corporate owners tax bills, aka, Topstone and also hiding their faulty water meters overcharging some property owners double what they owe and treating them like criminals. Most are seniors on fixed incomes either have to pay up or get a tax lien on their houses.. or move.. like I had to., yet still tryin to pay off a mortgage. Cant rent house because they charge me a fee to do that too. Will go bankrupt and the town will steal my house too, like they have many others in town. Wonder why all three of my kids left the state and have sworn, never to live in Claremont NH. Too much corruption, hiding the facts of how overcharging small property owners is forcing them out of town. City officials know theses things are going on, yet no one will speak out against these wrong doings or they will lose their jobs. Look what happened to the assessor, Snelling, I think, he said property owners were unfairly taxed and he was fired, I don't care what their excuse was, truth is, he was telling the truth Claremont City Hall, did not want known. How can a small town like Claremont pay higher property taxes than Hanover NH?
Tom(Wednesday, September 12 18 07:14 am EDT)
The people who pass themselves off as members of the local press these days are cowards. They cower at the very thought of reporting anything politically incorrect. Their willingness to not report important news such as this $222,000 corporate cash gift to the largest property tax payment avoider in Claremont makes them all part of the fake news crowd. Yes, fake news is a thing.
Ken(Wednesday, September 12 18 02:58 am EDT)
Not surprising. The BJ Bricker closure still has not graced their pages either so I guess it never happened. The Eagle Times and the Valley News have joined the fake news establishment. The E-Ticker News has been a member of the fake news establishment since their first edition. Citizens of Claremont have to rely on social media and the Sullivan Report for the real local news.
Sarah(Wednesday, September 12 18 01:38 am EDT)
The Sullivan Report broke the story about the nearly quarter of a million dollars abatement of property tax debt for the owners of the Topstone property on Monday. Here it is Wednesday morning 1 : 36 AM and I just read both online Wednesday's editions of the Eagle Times and the Valley News and not a word about this scandalous turn of events. Is a cover up underway?
Michael(Tuesday, September 11 18 04:52 pm EDT)
Jim Sullivan has been actively corresponding with other members of the Claremont's mostly uncensored page on Facebook. Answering some questions about the Topstone Holdings LLC abatement for over $222,000. One person asked if anyone knew the identities of the owners of Topstone Holdings LLC. Jim Sullivan replied with the following quote “the names and addresses of three of the owners and/or managers of Topstone Holdings LLC. Steve Bushey from South Burlington Vermont. Jon Calkins of Windsor Connecticut. Frederick Lowen of Hinesburg Vermont. It is entirely possible that there may be other owners”. Reading Jim’s contribution to the discussion sparked a memory that I confirmed online. Jon Calkins owns 45 Crescent St., where the Eagle Times offices are now located. Councilman Nick Koloski has publicly stated many times that he is the manager of that property. Could Councilman Nick Koloski also be the manager of the Topstone property if he is already managing one of Calkins' properties?
Richard(Tuesday, September 11 18 03:43 pm EDT)
I do not like all the cozy connections with Assistant Mayor Allen Damren and MRI, Councilman Nick Koloski and Topstone Holdings LLC and how the city secretly operates in general.
Bob(Tuesday, September 11 18 03:42 pm EDT)
I remember Mr. Lessard’s time here as the assessor as well. Back then, I did not like his demeanor or the way he conducted himself. I cannot believe he is back to plague Claremont property owners again.
Michael(Tuesday, September 11 18 02:02 pm EDT)
My parent’s house was one of the victims of Joseph Lessard’s special brand of property assessment. He assessed my parent’s home for far more than it was worth. I was in the service them so my older sister assisted my parents with the property abatement forms. It was a struggle but they did receive an abatement but it was a lot of work and effort to correct Mr. Lessard’s mistake. Everyone who did not file for an abatement was screwed by the city and unfairly paid more in property taxes than they should have paid. I hope he is not going to do the city reassessment for that will be a disaster for everyone.
Todd(Tuesday, September 11 18 01:36 pm EDT)
Does anyone know if Nick Koloski had anything to do with this? I thought he was the manager of the Topstone building.
John(Tuesday, September 11 18 12:19 pm EDT)
I seem to recall that our Assistant Mayor Allen Damren formerly worked for MRI. Did Allen play a role in MRI’s return to Claremont?
David(Tuesday, September 11 18 11:22 am EDT)
This whole abatement thing for the Topstone property has the smell of corruption around it and the stink will not go away. Perhaps it is time for the state to intercede and cleanout City Hall administrators by firing them and replace them with qualified honest competent staff members like they did in Chelsea Massachusetts years ago. Just so long as they don't hire anyone from the Municipal Resources Inc. we should be alright.
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, September 11 18 09:25 am EDT)
I just sent the following email to Right to Know request for information to Claremont City Manager Ryan McNutt regarding the Topstone Holdings Inc. abatement. He has already confirmed receipt of my email request for information. I will share the City's response once I receive it.
One other thing. I also received an email from Mayor Charlene Lovett and according to her she was not aware that this abatement had occurred. Suggesting that the City Councill was not aware that the temporary Assessor secretly wiped out all the tax lien debt for Topstone Holdings LLC and removed all the tax liens from the lot with the building on it. Since I'm the one who broke the news to them we will never know if City Administration Officials ever intended to either tell the Council or the public what they had secretly done!
Here is a copy of my information request. Take a look at what I am asking.
I'm requesting the following information under the Right to Know Law.
1) A copy of the Topstone Holdings LLC abatement request document if the owner submitted one to either the City Manager or to the City's Assessing Office or any other municipal department.
2) The legal standard to authorize the $222,725.09 abatement to Topstone Holdings LLC is "just cause". I am requesting an answer to the following question. Specifically, what was the "just cause" that justified this $222,725.09 abatement?
3) Does the City Council have the authority to rescind the abatement granted to Topstone Holdings LLC by Joseph Lessard, the temporary Assessor for Claremont? If so, what is the procedure?
4) Ryan, did either you or anyone else connected with the City Government (City Administration or City Council) either order or suggest to Joseph Lessard to authorize the $222,725.09 abatement for Topstone Holdings LLC?
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, September 11 18 09:22 am EDT)
Shawn, after I published the article I emailed the entire membership of the Claremont City Council, the Claremont School Board, the News Editors of the Valley News and the Eagle Times and the area reporter of the Union Leader a copy of the article and all the published documented proof. I asked the press to please publish their own news story about the Topstone Holdings Inc. property tax abatement to inform their readers. Now none of them can plead ignorance. The true test will be what they do with that information. Will they address it or will they try to bury it? Time will tell.
Shawn(Tuesday, September 11 18 04:05 am EDT)
Since the local press consisting of the E-Ticker News, Valley News and Eagle Times have yet to realize that B J Brickers Restaurant has closed despite the Sullivan Report article quite a while ago and the very obvious for sale sign on the restaurant’s huge sign on Washington St. the most traveled street in Claremont. How long will it take for any of them to follow up on this scandalous tax bill wipeout for the out of town folks that own the Topstone property? My guess is forever.
Jim Sullivan(Monday, September 10 18 08:20 pm EDT)
Apparently, there is some confusion amongst some of our readers regarding whether or not this $222,725.09 property tax debt abatement has been finalized or not.
Yes it is! I verified everything this morning when I spoke with City Clerk Gwen Melcher. On August 31, 2018, Temporary Assessor Joseph Lessard (an employee of Municipal Resources Inc., the firm contracted to perform the City’s assessing duties, at least for now) authorized the $222,725.09 abatement and the $222,725.09 tax debt previously owed by Topstone Holdings LLC has already been completely written off by City Administration Officials secretly without informing the public. All of the tax liens are in the process of being removed from the Topstone Holdings LLC parcel that the building sits on and all that was actually collected from the property owner this past August was $8,000.
Terry(Monday, September 10 18 07:57 pm EDT)
Can’t pay your taxes no problem give McNutt & Company $8,000 and all your tax debt troubles go away. I am thoroughly disgusted with our city manager. I hate to say this but I can’t help but think of the possibility that other monies may have changed hands if you know what I mean.
Mike(Monday, September 10 18 06:18 pm EDT)
What the heck are these idiots at City Hall thinking? Everyone in Claremont is struggling to pay their property taxes and an investment group from out of town is given a $222,000 tax break out of the taxpayer’s pockets by a temporary assessor who played fast and loose with property assessments before in Claremont. No one else has ever gotten anything like that before because that is not property assessment reduction were talking about this is cold hard cash.
Jim Sullivan(Monday, September 10 18 05:01 pm EDT)
Unfortunately Joe what occurred is perfectly legal provided that the reason constitutes "good cause". Whether or not city officials will ever state their reasons is another matter. Industrial Property Owner raised a good point stating that the Council has already set legal precedent to seize properties under the tax deeding protocol for non-payment of property taxes. Inability to pay and now with the Central St. property environmental issues with the property are no longer reasons to not take the property. Forgiveness of those property taxes owed to the City was never a consideration for relatively small amounts of money in comparison to the $222,725.09 abated by the assessing consultant. Where is the fairness and equity for the property owners /taxpayers of Claremont?
Industrial Property Owner(Monday, September 10 18 03:48 pm EDT)
A $222,725.09 property tax abatement in a very small tax poor communities like Claremont New Hampshire is unthinkable and frankly reprehensible. It is not surprising that this dastardly deed was performed in the seclusion of City Hall away from the scrutiny of the public. What possible reason could justify such a thing? Inability to pay? It certainly did not stop the City Council from agreeing to take several properties over the past few years requests of two different city managers. Environmental issues of the property? That too has not stopped the City Council from taking possession of troublesome properties. In fact, it just happened very recently in regards to that property on Central Street. Therefore, there is no legitimate reason for this incredible property tax abatement. It smells of the old boy politics of Tammany Hall. Councilor Koloski’s connection to the property cannot be ignored. Neither can the many political favors bestowed upon him simultaneous with the years he served on the city council. Political favors you ask? To name a few. A waiver to do produce a professional site plan to the planning board as all of the businesses must do if the business is going to constitute a change of use for the property. Placing Keno on the ballot so Councilor Koloski could promote gambling within his establishment. Now changes to food vending laws instigated by Councilor Koloski, who just so happens to own a hotdog stand. This property tax abatement shows the cancer that is forming within our city government made up of city officials who care nothing about the taxpayers, as they are more concerned about themselves and certain special interests. It is time to clean house.
Joe McGee(Monday, September 10 18 03:46 pm EDT)
Can a criminal complaint be filed for this theft and deception?
I have no desire of supplementing the income of Topstone building owners.
What is the owners name and contact info?
Steve(Monday, September 10 18 03:27 pm EDT)
What the hell! Nick Koloski's landlord can't pay their property taxes so they get a $222,000 plus tax break while the rest of us have to pay high property taxes. Then the city grunts are diligently finding this property owner a bunch of grant money to clean up their ecological spill or whatever the hell they got going on there. This isn't fair to the other taxpayers at all. Special interests from out of town get the VIP treatment while the rest of us have to pay higher taxes because of this one property owner. I would not be surprised to find out that Nick Koloski's fingerprints are all over this.
Jim Sullivan(Monday, September 10 18 01:34 pm EDT)
DID CITY OFFICIALS SECRETLY WRITE OFF $222,725.09 WORTH OF TOPSTONE HOLDINGS LLC’S TAX DEBT TO THE CITY OF CLAREMONT?
Go to the Topstone Property Tax Abatement page of this website using the tabs above for full details.
Spread the word about this article. Every citizen and taxpayer of Claremont should read this article.
Tony(Wednesday, September 05 18 11:51 am EDT)
Steven, You missed the point of this page. None of these people would make the wild accusations and statements made here if they had to identify themselves. It is just a Troll Feeding Station. Not real news, or well never without a horrible slant against people who might have slighted a couple of failed former elected officials. Read it for what it is and it can be entertaining. Also is a fine example of the ignorance and bigotry so rampant in Claremont. Go to the facebook pages about claremont which require a name. You will get less Troll drool and more current events.
Steven Plourde(Wednesday, September 05 18 11:24 am EDT)
I have been reading the last 2 weeks of the Sullivan Report of the public forum section. I see that no one puts there last name in when they write a review even if it good or bad. In reading the people's remarks it seems that the people who live in this town are very unhappy with many things. If you are citizens of Claremont N.H. then you should step up and address these situations instead of complaining about them. You can not control many situations so with other resources from ideas and help from others could help solve some of these issues so everyone get involved instead of complaining with out helping. Also when people do not put there last names who know if you are even living in Claremont.
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, September 05 18 09:40 am EDT)
Topstone Building update! Full details on the News Flashes page.
Robert(Sunday, September 02 18 12:32 pm EDT)
The problem is most of the tax dollars are going to payroll for overpaid and definitely underworked city and school employees that are not held to any standard of accountability whatsoever. Their benefits packages are outrageous as they are far too generous compared to is generally offered to employees of regional private sector companies. I believe the Sullivan and Mr. Maranville people with the only possible solution to this problem that is to privatize as many of the services as possible to reduce the cost of city and school services to the Claremont taxpayer. There is no other way.
Mike(Sunday, September 02 18 10:02 am EDT)
You know things are going downhill when city officials begin begging in the newspapers for donations. First, it was the Fourth of July fireworks and then signage for the pedestrian bridge to commemorate the ex-city manager and now its stone columns for the refurbished gates for the cemeteries. Before you know it city councilors and the city manager will begin an adopt a street or sidewalk program to get our streets and sidewalks paved and plowed. If you do not adopt your street or sidewalk, then wait until spring thaw and then drive around all the potholes on your street without destroying your car if you can.
William(Saturday, September 01 18 02:14 pm EDT)
I am very disappointed with Mark Chase's job performance. At the podium when he addresses the Council he always seems out of sorts. Ill prepared to answer questions and frankly out of his depth. Police Chief is not a volunteer position where one could slide by with ignorance or incompetency. This is the top job in the Police Department that is tasked with protecting and serving all Claremont citizens and the public in general. Crime appears to be on the rise and public officials seem to be colluding to hide that fact from the general public. Several of Chase's police officers have either quit or they have been terminated for their bad behavior. It seems to be a Police Department in total chaos and those in charge of overseeing the Police Department are all casting a blind eye to the obvious problems. I believe it is time for a qualified Police Chief to take the helm and that man is not Mark Chase.
Richard(Saturday, September 01 18 10:39 am EDT)
Make no mistake government officials in Claremont want to hide the truth from us when it comes to bad news. Ryan McNutt, Charlene Lovett and Allen Damren are leading the drive to implement and maintain this cover up policy. These local officials and several of their colleagues want Claremont to appear to be a little perfect community where nothing ever goes wrong. A little utopian community. The secrets that the police department keep from the public is just a small portion of the much larger problem. Imagine how worse it will get once they hire that information officer. I have watched the meetings about this topic and the plan is to have all information flow through that one person so they can control what information is released and the political spin that will be placed on that information. The devious tactics our local officials want to use to control the citizenry by using the press as a tool is called propaganda and disinformation. It worked well in Nazi Germany during World War II.
Jennifer(Saturday, September 01 18 07:56 am EDT)
I will never trust anything Chief Mark Chase or anyone else from our police department ever says again. The way this department handled the near hanging of a local boy, and the fatal shooting left a very bad taste in my mouth. Then there was the incident of the illegal search and seizure by one of the former cops involved in the fatal shooting. This is enough to create justifiable distrust of the police chief and everyone else working with the force. It is time for a new police chief, preferably someone not associate with this department.
Lisa(Friday, August 31 18 06:54 pm EDT)
After denying anything happened for the past few days the Police Department and city leaders finally fess up and admit the truth. Three home invasions perpetrated by one individual is information the public should know about for their own safety. But the truth doesn't fit into the prim and proper whitewashed world of the city manager,Mayor Lovett and the rest of her politically correct city council. I wonder how many other crimes are being committed in the city that our Police Department and city leaders are covering up.
Jim Sullivan(Friday, August 31 18 05:32 pm EDT)
The City of Claremont issued a press release today. Full details on the News Flashes page.
flyonthewall(Friday, August 31 18 12:26 pm EDT)
I just don't understand why the council or McNutt feel that Claremont real estate is booming to the degree that the revenue needs captured every other year?
Claremont real estate has barely budged percentage wise.Nobody in their right mind buys in Claremont.Those that do get it at discount prices,and you know why?
because property taxes in Claremont are far higher than any of the surrounding areas.If you want a free pass I suggest you paint with lead paint and insulate with asbestos.Look what it does for Koloski and the Topstone building,FREE!
If it was truly that toxic they wouldn't allow an eating and drinking establishment,would they? Pretty good case against the city should anyone come down with cancer.The city is allowing business to continue in a hazardous site.Criminal if you ask me.
Matt(Friday, August 31 18 11:47 am EDT)
This property assessment scheme of Mr. McNutt's is very disturbing. The city did not have to spend the money for at least a few more years but everyone from the city manager to everyone on the city council wanted to spend the money this fiscal year to do reassessments now this year because they all believe the property assessments are going to increase by a lot. I think whoever is hired is going to increase property assessments all over the city whether they really should be raised up or not to give the city leaders their desired outcome. Lower tax rate, higher tax burden snuck in through the raised up property assessments and the tax-and-spend train can keep chugging along down the track without any slowdown. I don't think we should be spending $5 million in the downtown area but that's going to happen no matter what because the council makes the decision not the taxpayers and they all want to do it. I think more is coming with other spending plans and the taxpayers are really going to get it socked to them.
Tom(Friday, August 31 18 11:21 am EDT)
This new city government sure seems corrupt doesn’t it?
Jonathan(Friday, August 31 18 10:13 am EDT)
It looks like the city manager is trying to find a way to use public funds to clean up the hazardous waste for the property owner of the Topstone building. He and the councilors only seem to want to do that for special friends. I find it disgusting.
Victimized Homeowner(Friday, August 31 18 07:13 am EDT)
Rumor has it City Hall and the police department are refusing to answer questions about the home invasions and burglaries around Prospect Street. I want to tell you that this happened right to me right at my residence.
Jim Sullivan(Thursday, August 30 18 04:40 pm EDT)
Amanda, thank you for the excellent question. According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services website, as of today nothing has happened since June 6, when the Department received a letter from the owners of the property stating in writing that in regards to the Topstone Building and necessary hazardous cleanup, “there is very little cash flow and consequently no funds to facilitate additional work”. Because of your inquiry, I have decided to look into the matter further by emailing an inquiry of my own to the NH Department of Environmental Services asking some questions about the situation including if an actual plan is in place to clean up the hazardous materials or not. I will publish their response once I receive it. Once again thank you Amanda for asking the question and I hope to have an official answer for you and all of our readers quite soon.
Amanda(Thursday, August 30 18 04:15 pm EDT)
Does anyone know if a hazardous cleanup plan is underway for the Topstone building?
Jeff(Thursday, August 30 18 02:51 pm EDT)
Our city government has always taken advantage of the taxpayers one way or the other. If our city manager and city council are planning to deliberately raise property assessments all over the city to intentionally reduce Claremont’s property tax rate they are taking extreme advantage of the taxpayers. If our city leaders plan to expand the Downtown TIF District before those new property assessments take effect to divert those new revenues within the expanded district into the Downtown TIF District bank account then that is in my opinion a plot to defraud the public that is underway. This is probably why McNutt, Lovett and Damren are having so many secret meetings City Hall. They are busy planning money raising schemes for the city that picks the taxpayer’s pockets clean.
Joel(Thursday, August 30 18 12:28 pm EDT)
The other day in the newspaper one of the consultants the school board hired for the superintendent search said right in the paper that the applicants the board will have to choose from will not look that great when they see him. Terrific. I guess the same can be said for city manager applicants.
Kevin(Thursday, August 30 18 11:06 am EDT)
With Labor Day weekend coming up I would be leery of going away for the weekend and leaving my home unattended with all the burglaries and home invasions going on in Claremont. Unless you have a very sophisticated burglary alarm system you may be taking one heck of a chance that your personal belongings may not be here when you get back. For God sakes don't post on social media that you are going away for the weekend that's like pitching a sign in front of your house that says rob me I am not home. I have no faith in our local police department to adequately serve and protect because the level of experience that you would find in most police departments is absent from Claremont's Police Department. Fortunately for us our family are coming to us this year and I am grateful for that. Be vigilant.
flyonthewall(Thursday, August 30 18 10:44 am EDT)
As far as new assessments,you can never change the real value of anything.
The value of anything is what somebody is willing to pay for it.If the assessments are higher than what houses can be sold for,then the assessments are wrong.
When these revaluations come out,I'm sure Mr.Sullivan will make everyone aware of the appeals process.Should City Hall be inundated with appeals,they will have to change course.The idea is to be proactive with your neighbors concerning home values.Don't expect things to be done for you because you are too busy.You are your own agent.Nothing ventured,nothing gained is applicable in this appeals process.
Charles(Thursday, August 30 18 09:19 am EDT)
I do not like the idea about reevaluating all the properties in the city this year when it was not supposed to be done for a few years from now. I cannot help but think that the intent is to raise up all the property assessments well past fair market value to drop the property tax rate to make Claremont look better in comparison to other New Hampshire cities and towns. It is a ploy to trick people to move here. I also think Jim and AJ figured out their plan about expanding the Downtown TIF District so the tax income from the extra property assessment for those 1,100 properties all goes into the Downtown TIF District account instead of the regular city account. These are the actions of an unethical municipal government led by the likes of McNutt, Lovett & Damren.
Ted(Thursday, August 30 18 07:50 am EDT)
I am very concerned about this whole Downtown TIF District expansion possibility. I know the city is not proposing the Downtown TIF District expansion yet but what really concerns me is that Jim asked the city manager point-blank if that was part of the plan and the city manager refused to answer Jim’s direct question. If the answer was no than the city manager should have been emphatic about it to take away all speculation. That makes me believe that it is part of the plan and Jim and AJ figured it out before hand. If the city center map becomes an overlay for the Downtown TIF District then my house and my parent’s house both become victims of the expansion and what we all believe will be devastatingly high property assessments after this accelerated property reassessment is complete and that will greatly increase our annual property tax bills. My parents and my wife and I already pay a large portion of our income to support our local government city, school etc. Paying more because the property assessment went up is like a hidden tax that nobody sees because the property tax rate goes down. It is very devious and it is unfair to the property owners. Our elected officials are supposed to be protecting us but instead all they seem to want to do is spend obscene amounts of money to satisfy their close colleagues and special interests with influence at the expense of innocent working families.
Terry(Thursday, August 30 18 07:09 am EDT)
Still nothing in the Valley News, the Eagle Times or the E-Ticker News about the closure of BJ Bricker’s Restaurant. You would think one of their reporters would get a clue with the huge lettering on the restaurant’s sign saying for sale or lease. Now there is a crime wave on or around Prospect Street, burglaries and home invasions and absolute media silence about all of it. For all we know there could be similar crimes in other sections of Claremont that are also being squelched by the Claremont Police Department so as not to upset the delicate sensibilities of Mayor Lovett and her squeamish city council. Their need to control all the information that is circulated in the news to put the best possible face on everything is disturbing. I wonder what other bad news they are suppressing? They want to hire an information director to control all the news from the city and school local governments. It is called propaganda and it is used to control the masses, that’s us people. It looks to me like city officials have already started controlling the news to keep the public at large in the dark about anything that is not city government approved for release. Thank goodness, the Sullivan Report and social media are not under the controlling influence of these government officials who would like to control what we see, here and think. It is definitely time for new leadership.
Chris(Wednesday, August 29 18 04:57 pm EDT)
I know Ryan McNutt was the city council’s second choice to be city manager but it looks like they were scraping the bottom of the barrel when they hired him.
Cheryl(Wednesday, August 29 18 04:01 pm EDT)
I do not understand why the spree of home invasions and burglaries did not make the front page of the Eagle or the Valley News? Do City Hall executives have that much control of the press?
David(Wednesday, August 29 18 02:05 pm EDT)
It does seem that crime is getting worse in Claremont and the quality of police officers is not up to snuff. I say that because Claremont is a training ground for rookie police officers who then leave to go to other communities that pay more money. Green police officers will not solve crimes we need sharp-minded detectives for that and quite frankly I do not believe they are very spectacular either. Claremont may be coming a haven for criminals. Our police chief does not have the air of confidence around him that his predecessor did. I have lived in Claremont since 1954 and I remember some great police chiefs but Chief Chase will not be remembered for being one of them.
Dennis(Wednesday, August 29 18 01:57 pm EDT)
Mrs. Lovett is the Mayor of Claremont. She is the one that is supposed to set the tone for the city council and she seems to have absolutely no idea what she is doing during the meetings. She is always looking to Allen Damren for assistance and he is as much of a dunce as she is. The city manager is not any help either as he just sits in the corner grinning like the Cheshire Cat, probably thinking how much he is getting paid to do absolutely nothing because the councilors have set such low standards for his job performance.
Terry(Wednesday, August 29 18 01:17 pm EDT)
I spoke with Claire Lessard the other day at the senior center. I know she is a new city councilor but I never realized how incredibly stupid she really is. I asked her about several city issues and she had no in-depth knowledge about any of them. I seemed to know more about these issues than she did. I can’t believe the public elected someone so ignorant to represent them.
Katherine(Wednesday, August 29 18 11:48 am EDT)
Talk about Claremont’s public image. Can you imagine Nick Koloski hawking hot dogs downtown? God knows what he would try to do to attract attention to himself and his weenie wagon. I have no doubt it will happen just like I had no doubt when Nick was pushing for Keno gambling that he wanted to do that in his bar and now his bar is a Keyo gambling establishment. Nick is for Nick and for no one else. Whenever are the people of Claremont going to wake up and kick his sorry butt off of the city council? We need people to represent us on the city council not themselves.
Scott(Wednesday, August 29 18 11:32 am EDT)
Andrew O’Hearne is also trying to become the wheel again at the Statehouse by running for state rep. Last time he hardly ever went to a meeting to cast votes but he wants the job again. I think some of our elected representatives are power-hungry narcissists and they cannot be trusted under any circumstances. In regards to the city owned property that will be demolished next door to his investment property. I do not know if he had a hand in making that happen or not but it is one hell of a coincidence if he did not. I am not so sure I believe in astronomically statistical coincidences.
George(Wednesday, August 29 18 09:33 am EDT)
I don’t like all the government favors and giveaways Mdm. Lovett and her council cohorts are authorizing for members of council and others who have developed a close rapport with the councilors and the city manager. These favors and giveaways usually involve our tax dollars like it’s their own piggy bank to do with whatever they want. I think it’s time for the voters to clean house on the council.
Todd(Wednesday, August 29 18 08:25 am EDT)
Nick Koloski is a disgusting human being. He tries to make himself look like this great humanitarian and the imbecilic reporters in Claremont eat it up with a spoon. I looked him up on the County Registry of Deeds website and he still has not paid off any of his back taxes that he owes to the state. I do not know how he can stay in business. I agree with a previous poster that this whole food truck thing is just so Nick can get a prime spot for his weenie wagon at a cut-rate discount price since he is a local VIP at least in his own mind.
Richard(Wednesday, August 29 18 07:58 am EDT)
It seems like City Manager Ryan McNutt is cultivating cozy relationships with city councilors and members of the business community using our tax dollars to pay for his networking efforts and moving forward his political agenda. It seems our less than illustrious Mayor Charlene Lovett and her always close by flunky sidekick Assistant Mayor Allen Damren presumably share Mr. McNutt’s political agenda. I wonder if they use code words or a secret handshake when they hold their clandestine meetings at City Hall. A secret happy dance when things go their way? What happens secretly behind the closed doors at City Hall stays at City Hall at least sometimes.
Sharon(Wednesday, August 29 18 07:38 am EDT)
Barbara thank you for bringing this to the public's attention. There has been no newspaper coverage of this at all and it should be front page news. More of the news suppression policy of McNutt, Lovett and Damren. Claremont is not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows like these three want everyone to believe by controlling what the people know and what they don't know. The E- Ticker News is their best cohort followed closely behind by the Eagle Times and the Valley News. The only local news sources that they cannot control is the Sullivan Report and social media and thank goodness for that.
Barbara(Tuesday, August 28 18 08:41 pm EDT)
Has anyone heard anything about the two home invasions and the four burglaries that occurred in the Prospect Street area over the past week? I guess the cops are keeping this hush-hush because crime is on the rise in Claremont and Mayor Lovett and the councilors and the city manager only want good news circulated and bad news buried so deep that no one knows about it.
Matthew(Tuesday, August 28 18 06:44 pm EDT)
I do not like the idea the TIF district expanding all over creation in Claremont. I live on Park Avenue and my home would become part of the downtown TIF district invasion and it would be subject to excessive property assessment increases to dig the city out of the hole our city officials put us in with their out-of-control spending. I know that Mr. McNutt and the Council have not announced anything yet about the downtown TIF district but it does make perfect sense when you see everything else that they are working on. The downtown renovation project and the citywide property reassessment project at least a few years ahead of schedule and now this change of what constitutes the downtown to spread it over a large area of the city. It is being done incrementally and expanding the downtown TIF district seems to be the next logical step in their master plan to turn Claremont into a clone of any congested Massachusetts bedroom community municipality. I moved away from that and now it's coming here in the idiots at City Hall are intentionally bringing it here and they are going to ruin Claremont forever in the process. I am beyond upset.
Alex(Tuesday, August 28 18 05:58 pm EDT)
I am what I guess you would call a closet reader of this website. I have always read it right from the beginning but I have never written a comment before now. I work in Claremont and one of my coworkers heard about the article from one of our customers and read it on his electronic device. I did the same once I had a break and I have to say I am very disappointed with all the backroom wheeling and dealing that goes on at City Hall. It is disgraceful how are untrustworthy city leaders conduct business in our name with our money to benefit colleagues and friends who have somehow gained political influence with the city manager and presumably the city council as well. You hear about these sort of things at the Washington DC level but not at the local level. I thought this new administration with the new city manager and under the leadership of Charlene Lovett would be different. They are just as bad as their predecessors under the previous administration as they charge ahead to move their political agenda forward and cost the Claremont taxpayers millions of dollars for worthless programs that will only line the pockets of a select few. I have known Charlene for several years, our daughters went to high school together although not in the same class. I am very disappointed in her and I do not think I can ever bring myself to trust her again. My wife and her friends and she feels the same way. It's a real shame you think you know people but sometimes they just let you down. Thank you to the Sullivan Report for exposing the truth. If it was not for the Sullivan Report the city leaders would have gotten away with it without any of us ever knowing what they were secretly up to.
Rep. John O’Connor(Tuesday, August 28 18 03:37 pm EDT)
I will be voting to uphold the Governor’s vetoes and this is why .
I’m the 2 terms I have been a State Representative, all I have heard from the business community is we have to get control over the electricity rates. By vetoing these bills,we will be taking steps to accomplish this. Is it perfect ? Of course not, but it’s a start in the right direction.
I have learned in my short time in Concord,that it is impossible to make everyone happy as I am sure my decision will upset a few people but economic development is Claremont’s number one priority and hopefully with this action it will at the very least stabilize electricity rates.
Just thought you should know where I stood . I welcome any and all feedback.
Deb(Tuesday, August 28 18 03:17 pm EDT)
I always liked Charlene Lovett; not anymore. I thought she had the people’s best interest at heart but I think all she is trying to do is use her Mayorship to social climb. I do not think she expected the backlash from local environmental activists in regards to the legislation that the other Mayors want to see enacted by overturning Gov. Sununu’s veto. The fact that the other Mayors are lobbying for the bio mass special interests against the best interests of average citizens who will have to pay higher electric rates if they succeed in overturning Gov. Sununu’s veto is proving problematic for Mayor Lovett. I think Mayor Lovett wants to be a player at the state level and I do not think she cares whom she steps on to do it. The thing is she does not want to upset anyone in Claremont because of her political correctness and her need to be loved by everyone. She has a quandary and I think she is going to be stuck with having to turn down her fellow Mayors if she ever wishes to be reelected in Claremont.
Gail(Tuesday, August 28 18 01:40 pm EDT)
No wonder why Ryan McNutt didn’t name any names when it came to the owners of the properties. Thank goodness Jim and AJ noticed McNutt sidestepping the issue by limiting the information revealed and did their own checking. I don’t trust anybody at city hall these days and that includes the city councilors.
Rick(Tuesday, August 28 18 01:31 pm EDT)
I liked the stunt Jim pulled on the city manager. I think McNutt’s immediate reply proves that he has something to hide. I think Jim and AJ hit it right on the head when they said in their article that the quick response could have been to stop Lovett and Damren from either admitting something or lying about something in writing that Jim and AJ would use against them later. I think the Downtown TIF District will get expanded and I agree with Steve, God help anyone who owns property in the expanded TIF District or in the old TIF District because their property assessment is going to go bang zoom to the moon to bailout the city’s debt and pay for the new parking downtown. The sad thing is most of the downtown parking will probably be used by welfare families that will be living in the new apartments downtown, whose only contribution to our great community is lots of kids to the school district.
Steve(Tuesday, August 28 18 11:08 am EDT)
I think the city leaders do plan on expanding the Downtown TIF District to cover over the whole city center district. I feel real sorry for anyone who owns property in that area of Claremont because I think the property assessments are really going to shoot up through the roof there to bring in more money to the Downtown TIF District. I think this is a big financial scam to rip off the taxpayers to pay for the tax-and-spend policies of these fruit loop city officials we have these days.
Walter(Tuesday, August 28 18 10:54 am EDT)
I am angry about the wall on Main Street. If the wall in common is owned by the developer for the Goddard building then they sure and hell can afford to fix the wall themselves. Why the hell is the city manager making the taxpayers foot the bill? This stinks to high heaven.
Tom(Tuesday, August 28 18 10:13 am EDT)
It seems no matter who we elect to the city council at least some of them have a hidden agenda usually to benefit themselves using taxpayer’s money to do it. Nick Koloski is the prime example receiving favor after favor from the city from waiver of a business site plan to placing keno gambling on the ballot so he can turn his restaurant into a gambling hall. The hands-off approach the council is exhibiting in regards to the Topstone building that owes more taxes than anyone else does in Claremont but still remains in the owner’s hands. Of course, city councilors will say that the presence of Nick’s businesses in the Topstone building has nothing to do with their decisions but I am not stupid enough to believe it. Now Nick is pushing for changes to food vending policies to help food truck and food cart vendors. Nick owns a hotdog cart. He also kept going on and on about how the city should lease out spots for food vendors and how great a location the Broad Street Park is, I think he wants to put his wiener wagon there because it’s always all about Nick. I think the only reason why Nick runs for Council is for all the special favors he can receive for using his vote to go along with whatever the city manager wants. I am wondering now if of the other city councilors are trying to get into the act. Andrew O’Hearne and his life partner and ex-councilor bought an investment property on the cheap. Now the city owns the property next door and instead of selling the building as is the city is going to use our tax dollars to do all the expensive demolition and cleanup work on the property to turn it into a yard. Is this so Councilor O’Hearne and his hubby can scoop the property up from the city for a song and make more money on their investment property? These kind of shenanigans should irritate the hell out of all taxpayers.
Erik(Tuesday, August 28 18 09:41 am EDT)
Incredible article. I watched the council meeting on television with my wife and we did not notice any of the revelations that the Sullivan Report uncovered. Jim and AJ are just so knowledgeable about the city and school that they make the elected officials on both boards look ignorant by comparison. Now that I have read the Sullivan Report article I can see that these things are very obvious if you are paying close attention and notice when certain information is withheld and go find that information yourself. I agree with IPO that this scenario that the Sullivan Report suggests might be real and is exactly what is happening. They are all like cogs working separate but together like a finely tuned antique clock. I recall hearing Allen Damren say in passing that he and Charlene Lovett met privately with the city manager on several occasions. I have known Allen for many years he is a low-key narcissist always having to show off his intellect but now I see that the really is a fraud and not all that smart at all. I think Allen name-drops those meetings to have everyone think that he is a wheel in Claremont. It’s pretty sad when you think about it. There is no reason for all of the secret meetings unless they are trying to pull the wool over the public’s eye. After reading today’s article I no longer trust Charlene, Allen or the new city manager. I believe that they are lying to all of us through omission and that violates the trust we put in them as our city leaders. I think it is time for another turnover of leadership in our city government. This bunch does not have what it takes.
Industrial Property Owner(Tuesday, August 28 18 07:49 am EDT)
I realize it is conjecture to assume that Ryan McNutt, Charlene Lovett and Allen Damren are having secret meetings (although Mr. Damren publicly admits they are routinely doing so) to craft their own political agenda that seems to benefit colleagues and special interests to the detriment of the local taxpayers. However, the puzzle pieces that the Sullivan Report have brought forward fit together so neatly that nothing is contrived. After reading today’s article, I honestly believe that an incremental plan has been set in motion to do the very things declared in the article. It is fairly sophisticated and very well thought out. Expand the boundaries of the downtown. Overlay the Downtown TIF District over this expanded Downtown area. City Council approval of a $5 million bond issue for the ill-conceived Downtown Revitalization Project utilizing TIF financing. Creating expanded revenue for the Downtown TIF District through increased taxation from the ahead of schedule conducted citywide property revaluation on 1,100 properties instead of just 200 properties in the newly expanded Downtown TIF District. Thus reducing the ongoing deficit and perhaps pay the annual payments on the soon to be approved $5 million bond. I also find it very hard to believe that the projects Mr. McNutt chose to complete with tax dollars are random coincidences. I believe Mr. McNutt is practicing the you wash my hand and I will wash yours method of municipal management that I and I am sure others find utterly distasteful. In my opinion, he has accomplished nothing of any measurable value during his employment in Claremont and his intentions for spending large sums of taxpayer’s money in the near future strongly suggest to me that a new City Manager is needed.
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, August 28 18 06:29 am EDT)
New article – Synopsis of August 22 Council meeting. We uncovered lots of interesting information fully detailed in the article that no one knows about. The article is on the News Flashes page.
Terry(Monday, August 27 18 06:53 pm EDT)
Still no article about Bricker's from any of the local press. You would think the for sale or lease advertisement on their huge sign would be a clue to these lamebrain reporters. I guess not. Good thing we have the Sullivan Report to let us know what is going on.
Tom(Wednesday, August 22 18 09:14 am EDT)
Thank you Jim. Right on top of things as per usual. I wish I could say the same about the other local reporters.
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, August 22 18 07:13 am EDT)
Yes, Tom. I emailed an inquiry to the City Manager a few days ago asking what the cost might be and who will pay them. It generally takes a week or so to get a response. When I do, I intend to share those responses (whether they are straightforward answers to my questions or evasive non-responses) with our readers. Thank you for asking.
Tom(Wednesday, August 22 18 06:50 am EDT)
One thing I am wondering about is how much it will cost the taxpayers to fix all the road damage on upper Main Street because of all the rainstorms we’ve had. Because the road is all ripped up because of the construction project, the damage looks quite extensive. The E- Ticker News showed some pictures in their latest addition but their article left much to be desired. Then they usually do, as they are nothing more than sugar coated politically correct articles that are more in line with political propaganda than anything that even vaguely represents journalism. Their reporters never ask the tough questions, as they seem to be afraid that it may upset local politician’s sensibilities. Heaven forbid. Has the Sullivan Report considered looking into this?
Sarah(Wednesday, August 22 18 06:32 am EDT)
Several weeks ago the Sullivan Report informed us of the story of Claremont postal worker Eileen Flannery, who saved a customer from being taken advantage of by a scammer by over $18,000. Today a similar article is in the Eagle Times written by it's Editor Bill Chaisson, several weeks after the Sullivan Report published their article. So far the Valley News and the E- Ticker News have yet to report this heartwarming story. This week the Sullivan Report informed their readers about the impending closure of BJ Bricker's Steak and Seafood Restaurant, I wonder how many weeks it will take before our local press has an inkling that this happened. The quality of news reporting in Claremont is at an all-time low. If it was not for the Sullivan Report the public would not be as well informed as they are.
Jennifer(Tuesday, August 21 18 12:22 pm EDT)
The Sullivan Report broke the story about Brickers Restaurant closing two days ago and the reporters at the Valley News and the Eagle Times still don't have a clue. Typical.
Jim Sullivan(Monday, August 20 18 01:20 pm EDT)
New article. Long time Washington Street business is closing its doors permanently. For full details go to the News Flashes page.
Richard(Wednesday, August 15 18 11:07 am EDT)
Wow I did not realize that the Council had become filled with so many tax-and-spend liberals! If Claire Lessard and Nick Koloski had been present at the meeting it would have been a different outcome because they both sure love to spend the taxpayer's money with abandon. I am very disappointed with Mayor Charlene Lovett. I voted for her when she went to Concord as she ran on the Republican ticket. Watching her in action as Mayor of Claremont there is no doubt in my mind that she is a true blue Democrat through and through making her a RINO in disguise. She has lied to the public about her political leanings so what else is she lying to the public about? I am also extremely disappointed with Abigail Kier as she was touted as a fiscally conservative candidate. Compared to whom? All Kier ever wants to do is spend money and raise taxes and that is the textbook definition of a liberal Democrat, the very opposite of a fiscal conservative. Mr. McNutt is also a big disappointment as he has not accomplished anything of significant value or even insignificant value for that matter during his time here as Guy Santagate's successor. I disagree with naming a bridge after the former manager because the things they credit him with are politically spun and fictionalized to an extensive degree making it a tall tale instead of fact and the man was simply doing the job we handsomely paid him for and he did a terrible job not worthy of praise. So my theory is if a city manager with terrible job performance lasting about 15 years or more warrants a bridge named after him then when McNutt leaves we should name a sewer manhole after him. Seems about right don't you think?
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, August 15 18 09:18 am EDT)
Two new articles.
1) August 8 Council meeting synopsis.
2) Propaganda Officer hiring put on hold.
For full details go to the News Flashes page.
Mike(Tuesday, August 07 18 08:34 am EDT)
The Sullivan Report gave amazing suggestions about the direction the city and school government leaders should go to create quite a bit more new revenue without raising taxes and doing these things would eventually lower the tax rate and the tax burden in Claremont. What do our city and school officials recommend? It's always more spending and higher taxation. I say the Sullivan Report has it right and our city and school officials need to wake up and start doing their recommendations.
Jim Sullivan(Monday, August 06 18 12:36 pm EDT)
Two new articles today.
1)Sullivan County property tax rate may drop in 2019.
2)Change the paradigm - Part #2.
For full details go to the News Flashes page.
Richard(Thursday, August 02 18 11:48 am EDT)
Mayor Lovett and the other councilors all seem to agree with the city manager that expanding Claremont's welfare population will somehow bring economic development to Claremont. It is totally insane but they are willing to spend millions of dollars of our tax money to put this crazy plan into action. That alone disqualifies them from being considered capable stewards of our local government.
Kevin(Thursday, August 02 18 11:34 am EDT)
Mayor Lovett certainly is obsessed with political correctness and erecting a phony facade to an unsuspecting outside world of Claremont as a community of great success and economic vitality. a fraud perpetuating a lie and her colleagues on the city council and the school board in concert with city and school top administrators are all willing collaborators. The information administrator or whatever they intend to call this new position will be nothing more than a bureaucratic puppet disseminating false information to an unsuspecting public.
Ted(Thursday, August 02 18 09:34 am EDT)
School and city officials seem obsessed with covering up their mistakes and shortcomings with a new propaganda information officer they want to hire as a shared position. Fixing long-standing problems does not seem to be a priority. Claremont's biggest problem is pathetic leadership.
Michelle(Thursday, August 02 18 08:11 am EDT)
I spoke with Jim Sullivan yesterday at Walmart about the Eileen Flanery story. The postal worker who went above and beyond her normal duties to save an elderly resident from being scammed out of thousands of dollars. I told him it was a change of pace article for his website and he said the reason why they published the story is because Eileen deserved recognition and in his opinion if left up to the Eagle Times, Valley News and the eE- Ticker News it is unlikely anyone ever would've heard this heartwarming story. Jim said that the report is that the three publications generally do not perform any investigative reporting. Basically they report what they see and hear at meetings or use local government press releases as the source for a story or report about a fire or a vehicle accident. This story was something the publications would've had to have had submitted to them even have a chance of being released to the public. I believe Jim is right about that because it has been two days now since the Sullivan Report released the story and the only other place I have seen this story is on the Claremont's mostly uncensored page on Facebook. The Sullivan Report was credited for releasing the story. The local press still has no interest in this marvelous story. Really sad.
Jonathan(Wednesday, August 01 18 05:44 pm EDT)
I have no confidence in the present day school administration. The SAU #6 school board seems to want higher standards as they terminated the previous superintendent but they're hiring of this interim superintendent suggests that they are not willing to hold themselves to the same higher standards. This has me concerned about higher taxes to come.
Chris(Wednesday, August 01 18 12:00 pm EDT)
Helpwanted.com airs radio advertisement about a fictional lackluster employee/manager named Dave. With the phrase, don’t hire a Dave. It seems that here in Claremont’s municipal and school governments the only people that are hired are Dave’s and that is why our community is in the sorry state that it is in today.
Sarah(Wednesday, August 01 18 11:36 am EDT)
Mr. Pfeifer told the press and the public that he was retiring in June but it seems he had a job already lined up when you consider the timing of the research job prior to his taking the superintendent job in November. Somehow the Eagle Times thought he retired in 2014 which makes me think that the board members that hired Mr. Pfeifer also all thought the same thing. If Mr. Pfeifer did omit certain periods of his career you have to wonder why. Does he have things to hide?
Jennifer(Wednesday, August 01 18 10:26 am EDT)
Do not forget that Cory LeClair was an unsuccessful finalist applicant for position of President of the River Valley College and she refused to become the Interim Superintendent. This leads me to believe that she has plans to leave SAU #6 as soon as possible.
Industrial Property Owner(Wednesday, August 01 18 10:05 am EDT)
To put things into perspective I did a little research and calculated a rough estimate on a $2.5 million school bond, 30-year repayment schedule at 2 percent interest. Annual repayment to start, roughly $176,375. Currently that translates to a $.25 property tax rate increase. I am not recommending that we accept the state building aid as no clear plan is in place. The administration is so poorly mismanaging the school district they are presently uncertain of what classes to teach or how to reverse the disturbing trend of declining enrollment. The Claremont School Board bears the brunt of the criticism, as they are far too cavalier about goal setting and requiring minimum standards for the administration and holding the superintendent responsible for any performance shortfalls. Perhaps this is the reason why the former superintendent is now the former superintendent; presumably, we shall never know the real reason for his ouster. It seems the SAU #6 School Board is not off to a good start with their recent hire. I am concerned that they will use the same search committee and process to hire the permanent superintendent and that will place us all out of the frying pan and into the fire so to speak.
Todd(Wednesday, August 01 18 09:12 am EDT)
Maybe Cory LeClair is worried she might be the next to go once the contract for the interim superintendent is signed. $2.5 million is a heck of a lot of money and I do not believe that the Claremont taxpayers can afford that right now. What I am concerned about is the absence of a plan for the technical center and the ignorance of the administrators including that of the business manager in regards to the funding schedule for state aid. This is not a volunteer effort on their part. This is their jobs and they are all being handsomely paid in salary and benefits to do it. No one seems to be held accountable for lackluster work. Low expectations yield lackluster results.
Gail(Wednesday, August 01 18 07:36 am EDT)
One day after the Sullivan Report reveals the SAU #6 version of events about the administrators refusal to accept $6 million of technical center building aid from the state if front-page splash article appears in the Eagle Times written by the editor no less. I sincerely doubt that the Eagle Times showed any initiative of their own and sought after the story. I have a sneaking suspicion that the acting superintendent Cory LeClair instigated this article after she read her damning email to Mr. Sullivan on the Sullivan Report. The article is pretty much a puff piece to do some hasty damage control. LeClair says she has no idea why the SAU #6 board never discussed the matter. Really? You were the assistant superintendent in the prior administration for God sakes! I believe she subtly tried to throw superintendent McGoodwin under the proverbial school bus by implying that he unilaterally made the decision to keep the school board in the dark while she pleads ignorance. Former Claremont school board member Alex Herzog, who leveraged his voting record of strongly supporting the administration in all matters into the technical center director’s job, deemphasized the absence of a plan and blame was subtly thrust upon the former technical center director. LeClair and Herzog tried to frame themselves as inheriting a mess with no plan for the technical center, declining enrollments and no idea as to what classes should be taught within the technical center. LeClair’s plan? Go to the school board on August 15 and ask if they want to pursue state aid funding in the next round of dispersals in a few years. Then formulate a plan of action. LeClair and Herzog also admitted to their ignorance regarding Newport school official’s attempt to disengage from the joint agreement with Claremont in regards to enrollment and facility usage that I believe ties directly into the state funding received by each school district. Neither LeClair nor Herzog appear to be on top of things and this puff piece article in the Eagle Times has all the earmarks of a rush job attempt to perform damage control to save their jobs. On a personal note, just from the perspective of my husband and myself the Sullivan Report articles seemed to be the talk of the town yesterday. I first heard about it at work, Valley Regional Hospital. Employees and patients were speaking about the technical center funding, the interim superintendent and the wonderful thing the Claremont postal worker did to that elderly resident. My husband works out of town he did have breakfast at McDonald’s before starting his commute. He said everyone there was pretty upset about the technical center and suspicious of the new interim superintendent the school board intends to hire. If LeClair or Herzog heard similar comments this may have been the stimulus for the puff piece article in today’s edition of the Eagle Times.
Richard(Wednesday, August 01 18 02:03 am EDT)
The state had a schedule for distributing money to communities, If the SAU #6 administrators in charge were competently doing their duties they would have expected the state's offer and been prepared to either accept or reject the offer after a complete public review with the school board. As it stands there apparently was not a smooth transition of management at the technical center and a clear plan for the facility is not in place. There is only one possible conclusion, the previous administration, which except for the superintendent and the technical center director is still in place, is incompetent. I think it is time to implement the Sullivan Report's recommendation to restructure the management hierarchy and eliminate the superintendent's position entirely. Kick the Unity school district to the curb as I presume that Claremont taxpayers are subsidizing their education expenses and become a stand-alone independent school district. Then Claremont citizens can chart their own destiny as far as federal and state regulators will allow us to do so. I am also skeptical about our new interim superintendent, assuming that a contract will be signed. I used Google and presumably found the same articles that Mr. Sullivan had. Interesting reading. My take, he is a very polished, politically correct administrator, who usually says exactly what people want to hear. I question his sincerity and his loyalty. My reason, he abruptly left Littleton announcing his retirement citing unspecified health concerns. The Eagle Times reported him as retiring after leaving that position. How did the reporter get that information? Since the Eagle Times is well known for not doing any investigation on their own it is safe to assume that information came from the school officials who hired the interim superintendent. He said in the Littleton retirement interview that he would somehow keep a hand in the education field. He took a research job and within a few months leveraged it into a superintendent's position for the school district that he was researching. It seems he had no interest in the research position, a means to an end. He also withheld information regarding his termination at SAU # 17 and the lawsuit he filed against this employer from SAU # 93 school officials. It seems to me that he has no loyalty to anyone but himself. I cannot help but think that our school officials at SAU # 6 did a poor job at investigation of his past beyond a reading his presumably glowing resume assumably written by the applicant and whatever he may have told them during his interview. The Claremont taxpayers may come to regret the unprofessionalism of our school board members.
George(Tuesday, July 31 18 07:59 pm EDT)
I am wondering if the tragic story about the transfer student is legit or a work of fiction. Mr. Pfeifer was boxed into a corner and then he just so happens to have this sad tale of woe to throw out to the public at the perfect time to turn himself into a sympathetic character and presumably dampen the flames of parental anger and discontent. I am suspicious.
Educator(Tuesday, July 31 18 04:15 pm EDT)
You won't be doing anything in regards to Mr. Pfeifer's employment in Claremont.That is unless you want a nice big discrimination lawsuit against Claremont.Mr. Pfeifer will settle,but it won't be for peanuts.
Just because Mr. Pfeifer is generous with the overtime for union that work under him,this site will try to undermine that.Some of us are close to retirement,myself included.Overtime helps quite a bit with final pension determination.Mr. Pfeifer has our support!
Rick(Tuesday, July 31 18 02:55 pm EDT)
Jim and AJ proved the value of a Google search before making any important decisions.
Cheryl(Tuesday, July 31 18 01:56 pm EDT)
Kudos to Eileen Flanery. I never knew your name but I have also known you for many years buying stamps and whatnot from you. I always thought you were a nice lady and I am proud to know you.
Steve(Tuesday, July 31 18 01:16 pm EDT)
I do not know about the rest of you but I do not want to spend another $1.5 million on the schools right now. Let them make do with what they’ve got.
Tom(Tuesday, July 31 18 12:28 pm EDT)
It looks like school officials hired another lemon.
Katherine(Tuesday, July 31 18 11:50 am EDT)
Mr. Pfeifer seems to be a bit of a smooth talker with selective memory loss. What the Keene Sentinel uncovered in regards to Mr. Pfeifer failing to inform the SAU #93 school board about his controversial departure from SAU #17 and the fact that he unsuccessfully sued his former employers does not speak well about his character. I am now concerned as to what this will mean for SAU #6 moving forward.
Industrial Property Owner(Tuesday, July 31 18 10:05 am EDT)
Two excellent exposés in today’s batch of articles.
I agree with the acting Superintendent that a project that comes with a price tag of a $1.5 million taxpayer-funded cash match is nothing to be entered into lightly. However, I do believe administration officials overstepped their authority by not first consulting the duly elected Claremont school board before making any final decision in regards to acceptance or non-acceptance of state funding and the strings that come attached.
I must say Keith Pfeifer is certainly an interesting character. Preceding my retirement, I conducted numerous job searches and hired many people over the years. Job resumes and glowing referrals produced by the job applicant should always be taken with a grain of salt. Finalists should always be carefully scrutinized utilizing independent sources whenever possible. Availing oneself of an Internet search engines such as Google is an excellent tool to find relevant background information about a potential hire, especially a high-priced key-person employee. Interim employees should be scrutinized with the same verve as a permanent hire. In their article, the Sullivan Report raises the following salient point “It is unclear whether the SAU #6 School Board was made aware of Pfeifer’s “health issues”, that he had not actually “retired” in 2014 or the fact that Pfeifer unsuccessfully sued a previous employer!” Since this information should have given at least some of the board members cause for concern I suspect the search committee failed to do even a modicum of due diligence. Since it is a personnel matter, we will never know the truth but it seems reasonably certain that the search committee members relied solely on applicant’s resumes and any other supplemental information attached to said resumes. Considering the fact that Mr. Sullivan found this information within a mere matter of minutes does not speak well of the work ethic of the membership of the search committee and the SAU #6 school board. It is unlikely that the SAU #6 board members would ever publicly admit to making a mistake so they will in all probability stay the course and hire Mr. Pfeifer. Let us all cross our fingers and hope for the best.
The Toyota article is well appreciated, as there are few tangible signs of business growth in our local economy.
The human-interest article was very touching. I have no idea how Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville uncovered this little gem but I am so glad that they did. My wife knows Eileen from her many years of serving the public at the Post Office counter. She says that Eileen has a great love and affection for people in that she is not surprised that Eileen would quietly do something like this to help someone from being swindled. People like Eileen make Claremont such a wonderful place to live.
Rebecca(Tuesday, July 31 18 09:29 am EDT)
A flurry of articles from the Sullivan Report today. Comparative with the offerings from the E – Ticker News, the Valley News and the Eagle Times the Sullivan Report imparted the most informative and interesting news. A welcome change from the whitewashed, politically correct fare that fills the pages of the other publications. Three of the four articles have information that none of the other publications reported. The difference between lazy reporting and professional investigative journalism. This is why the Sullivan Report is my favorite source for local news that matters.
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, July 31 18 07:56 am EDT)
Four new articles today!
CLAREMONT SCHOOL OFFICIALS DECLINE STATE FUNDING FOR TECH CENTER – THE REST OF THE STORY!
SAU #6 SCHOOL BOARD HIRES KEITH PFEIFER AS INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT! WE FIND INTERESTING BACKGROUND INFORMATION THE LOCAL PRESS MISSED!
CLAREMONT TOYOTA DEALERSHIP SEEKS TO RELOCATE AND EXPAND!
CLAREMONT NH POSTAL WORKER FOILS SCAM ARTIST!
For full details go to the News Flashes page.
Tony(Monday, July 30 18 02:32 pm EDT)
Fortunately none of the rantings here will come to any real impact. As long as you keep satisfying each others needs here in the fringe blog, the city will continue the path to depopulate the unproductive retires and tax complainers.
Educator(Wednesday, July 25 18 01:37 pm EDT)
I've seen people on this website trying to bring down the unions for years now.Many of the union members of the past have reached retirement and have moved on to greener pastures,without so much as a hick-up in their pension checks.Pension checks that are much higher than your current paychecks I might add.
It just shows how foolish it is to work a non-union job or career.Health insurance and pension checks at 55 rather than your what 67 now?
Sarah(Wednesday, July 25 18 12:13 pm EDT)
We are spending way too much money for local government services in Claremont. The unions control the city and the school district and they are squeezing the taxpayers out of every dime they can. If the ideas expressed in the current Sullivan Report article were put into practice it would be an amazing start in the right direction for our community.
Industrial Property Owner(Wednesday, July 25 18 10:24 am EDT)
Love the paradigm shifting recommendations for the Claremont school district. I did a little online research today. At last count the Claremont school district had 1,793 enrolled students, a $34.9 million budget and taxpayers paid $16,851.84 to educate each student. In a small community with New Hampshire's highest property tax rate and a population with a significantly lower than average median income the status quo is no longer viable. Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville are once again ahead of the curve with their innovative suggestions to reconfigure the Claremont school district's managerial structure and redesign the educational delivery system into something that will produce a superior outcome for the attending students.
David(Wednesday, July 25 18 08:29 am EDT)
The Claremont school board needs to start thinking out-of-the-box like Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville. These suggestions are terrific and I believe it would go a long way to lower our tremendous tax burden and turn the Claremont school district into a model for other school districts to follow. Claremont has an opportunity to be a leader in education we should take advantage of it.
Amanda(Tuesday, July 24 18 07:27 pm EDT)
Claremont does not need a superintendent. That report from the Washington think thank is quite conclusive, superintendents are useless. It is time for a management restructuring and implement the new programs the Sullivan Report suggest to create a better education environment for our children and better outcomes for their future.
Katherine(Tuesday, July 24 18 05:58 pm EDT)
Educator represents everything that is wrong with Claremont. Unionized public employees working for either the school of the city have an extremely inflated sense of entitlement. They have worked the system to take control of the city and school elected bodies and essentially controlled both sides of employee contract negotiations. This resulted as the largest contributing factor to Claremont's dubious honor of having the highest property tax rate in the entire state of New Hampshire. Greed and political manipulation is what drives these union employees to take advantage of the working class citizens of Claremont. They do not care about the elderly or the young families with children who are all struggling to keep their homes because of the constantly increasing property tax burden. I want mine and to hell with you and yours is their motto. It is time for a change and Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville have given us some wonderful options to start the process of taking back our city and school governments from those who would do us financial harm for their own selfish purposes.
Educator(Tuesday, July 24 18 05:40 pm EDT)
Claremont deserves exactly what they pay for.While Manchester and Boston teachers are making 1.5x-2x what Claremont teachers receive,why would you expect more of the teachers?
A Ford Focus doesn't perform like a Lexus.We all know why
The same can be said for nurses of the area.The good one's are outta here! You people need to start making more money in order to pay your employees the going rate.Nurses are looking for a 25% pay raise.Teachers will be looking for the same.Cops and Firemen are next.Just trying to keep up with the Jones's.
Crystal(Tuesday, July 24 18 04:31 pm EDT)
You guys came up with some amazing ideas. My son graduated Stevens High School nine years ago. He had great difficulty with math and my husband and I found the teachers and staff to be of no help whatsoever. Fortunately we had the means to hire a private tutor to give our son the skills to pass his math classes. If it was not for the tutor it would have been a much different story. The children of Claremont deserve better than what they are presently getting for an education. Your suggestions are exactly the type of thinking Claremont needs to set things straight. Thank you for sharing them and I hope the school board will embrace them in the spirit that they were given and do what is best for the children.
Gail(Tuesday, July 24 18 04:25 pm EDT)
I think bestowing more authority on school principals to save tax dollars is an excellent idea. Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville are correct that a superintendent and other top administrators do nothing to enhance the learning experience of students. That is the teacher's job. These excellent ideas should be pursued.
Richard(Tuesday, July 24 18 03:12 pm EDT)
Great suggestions. I used the link to read the Brookings report and the authors make a very solid case that superintendents are irrelevant. They do not add any enhanced value to the education of students so why should the taxpayers waste precious dollars on what amounts to be a useless high-priced bureaucrat. I think the school board should get to work on these recommendations ASAP.
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, July 24 18 02:05 pm EDT)
New article. Change the Paradigm – Part # 1! Recommendations to improve the quality of education while reducing the burden for the taxpayers. Full details on the News Flashes page.
Steve(Wednesday, July 18 18 03:59 pm EDT)
Educator’s comments sound self-serving. Expanding municipal and school staffing and building new facilities is simply growth by government expansion, which will be devastating to the taxpayers of our community, many of whom are classified as working poor. Those who have local government jobs tend to be fairly well off in our community but the same cannot be said for everyone else. Mr. McNutt’s plan seems to be import any kind of people we can get whether they be welfare, low income or indigent refugee population. Hell of a plan and the imbeciles on the city council all seem to be throwing their full support to Mr. McNutt and his terrible plan.
Todd(Wednesday, July 18 18 01:53 pm EDT)
While some may be well-meaning most of the city councilors elected over the past decade are there for their own purposes. Either a self-esteem booster, an ego thing or a political agenda that is more than likely not in the best interest of the Claremont taxpayers. The days of well-educated city councilors are long gone, by well-educated I mean very knowledgeable regarding municipal rules, regulations, finances and the true needs of the city. Today the city councilors simply sit there until they are told to vote the way the city administration wants them to vote. Most of the votes are unanimous with only a few councilors willing to give token resistance to anything that is not the best interest of the citizens of Claremont. Nicholas Koloski is a prime example of the type of councilor representative that Claremont does not need.
Educator(Wednesday, July 18 18 01:43 pm EDT)
It appears that Mr. McNutt is trying to grow the population of Claremont,which in turn means jobs.With the relocation of refugees throughout the country this probably means some will be coming to Claremont.We will need to hire teachers and staff in all subjects for new English as a second language students.
We may even have to build additional school facilities and staff offices for administrators.I'm sure fire and police,as well as social services will need larger staffs as well.
These are well paying jobs with great benefits.This is a great growth strategy for Claremont.
Kathy(Wednesday, July 18 18 11:52 am EDT)
I never realized how much it cost to educate Claremont’s school-aged children. Apartment dwellers do not bring in enough tax revenue through their rent to come even close to the price it costs taxpayers to educate their children. I suspect it is a little better with homeowners but I am sure there is still a deficit. Mr. McNutt’s plan to double or even triple the size of Claremont’s population will destroy the finances of Claremont families. As well paid, as Mr. McNutt is I am sure he is well beyond the point of caring because it will not affect his paycheck. Few in this community are as well insulated as he is with extremely large salary and compensation packages. I am very disappointed in Mr. McNutt and with Charlene Lovett, Allen Damren, Scott Pope, Nick Koloski and Abigail Kier where all have been part of the city government for quite some time and they continue to make bad decision after bad decision that are causing huge consequences for the Claremont taxpayers.
Tom(Wednesday, July 18 18 10:49 am EDT)
Face it folks we are screwed. Charlene Lovett and Allen Damren are the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the City Council with Ryan McNutt performing the duties of the Mad Hatter. Anyone looking at this downtown project with an unbiased rational eye would quickly recognize the deficiencies in the plan so well spelled-out in recent Sullivan Report articles. My point; tax-and-spend lunatics presently run Claremont’s city government.
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, July 18 18 10:36 am EDT)
Mayor Charlene Lovett emailed thanking me for pointing out which Planning Board Members are in violation of state law disallowing them from serving on other appointed municipal boards and commissions. She stated in her email that they are now working to correct the situation.
Industrial Property Owner(Wednesday, July 18 18 09:40 am EDT)
Excellent exposé. The Sullivan Report continues to be the premier source of local government news. The underlying costs to the community for low-income housing are simply astounding. The Claremont taxpayers cannot afford this misguided attempt at economic development. The unified gung ho attitude of Claremont’s municipal officials both administrative and elected suggests large gaps in their knowledge base regarding the ramifications of their actions or perhaps they are so desperate to accomplish something they do not care what it will do to the taxpayers in years to come. Claremont has always had a leadership problem but it has grown worse in recent years. Something to contemplate for the next election.
William(Wednesday, July 18 18 08:52 am EDT)
Every time city officials recommend a new proposal of any kind, the taxpayers always get the short end of the stick. Of course, city officials will never admit to that instead they concoct a story of how the proposal will greatly benefit Claremont, which is never the truth. This whole Goddard Block project is a Claremont municipal government boondoggle disguised as workforce housing. The Sullivan Report already proved that upon completion of this project anyone qualified to live in the Goddard Block would be dirt poor earning well below the average income for the immediate area. The city manager the mayor and their cohorts are all willing to spend millions of taxpayers’ dollars to fix the downtown infrastructure to accommodate a large influx of welfare residents. This latest Sullivan Report article shows the danger to the taxpayer because the school budget expenses will skyrocket with an influx of many new students and the school district will receive additional zero dollars in new revenue from the buildings where these children will live. If the council gives the Goddard Block owners the maximum number of years for tax relief then it could cost the taxpayers $16 million or more over 13 years just for the Goddard Block. What happens if the owners of three or four more buildings follow their lead and fill up their empty upper floors with welfare families? How many more millions will it cost Claremont taxpayers to fill up the downtown with people who are draining Claremont’s limited resources? This is not economic development folks by any stretch of the imagination.
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, July 18 18 07:03 am EDT)
New article.July 11 Council meeting synopsis. Proposed tax break for Goddard Block. Full details on the News Flashes page.
intheknow(Wednesday, July 11 18 03:09 pm EDT)
The good jobs are low income/new immigrant related within government.No companies are moving so far north with the highest electricity rates in the whole country.Never mind the heating costs and property taxes,or New Hampshire weather in general.The best you can hope for is jobs within government.
George(Wednesday, July 11 18 02:11 pm EDT)
It's true, our city leaders have all the wrong priorities for Claremont and the taxpayers will be spending millions of dollars we don't to fulfill their mad visions for our city. Adding low income people to Claremont's population is foolhardy to the point of insanity. It makes absolutely no sense but our city leaders seem hell-bent of making their sick dream a reality. The sad thing is there is nothing we can do to stop them until another round of elections comes around. Who knows what madness they will inflict on us until then?
Joel(Wednesday, July 11 18 11:10 am EDT)
If the agenda to the Council meeting tonight is any indication it suggests that Mr. McNutt and the city council are about to give the owner of the Goddard block a nice big tax break as a reward for bringing in more welfare housing to Claremont. Our city leaders are insane.
Jennifer(Wednesday, July 11 18 10:47 am EDT)
What I don't like are all the closed-door meetings. Charlene Lovett and Allen Damren want to have them all the time as if they have things to hide. It just doesn't make me want to trust either of them. As far as Mr. McNutt goes I think he is an incompetent boob that convinced the city councilors that he had a little talent and that he would be a good little boy and do exactly what the city councilors tell him to do. I believe Charlene and Allen are the real ones calling the shots and Claremont is going to be in big trouble because the voters elected too power-hungry citizens without a clue as to how to lead to be in charge.
Jerry(Wednesday, July 11 18 08:46 am EDT)
McNutt was the Council second choice after the other man changed his mind about taking the position. The only the accomplishment he has done is evict everyone from the Goddard building for safety reasons that set the stage for welfare housing and a $5 million Claremont taxpayer funded project to bring in even more welfare housing. Then McNutt does the exact opposite by ignoring several health hazards at the Topstone building where Councilor Koloski has all of his businesses. Not good.
Rachel(Wednesday, July 11 18 08:30 am EDT)
Does anyone think that Ryan McNutt is a good city manager? At the meetings he just sits there like a bump on the log rarely engaging in conversation. When he does talk they are brief and very vague statements because I think he doesn't know what he's talking about most of the time and he doesn't want people to figure out that he doesn't know what he is doing. Mayor Lovett and Assistant Mayor Damren are only interested in creating the impression that Claremont is on the move in the right direction. They focus on frills like the train station, the bus service and the farmers market that the taxpayers are all now supporting. They and their cohorts on the city council keep withdrawing more and more money from the city's cash reserves to prop up the budget spending and soon all that money will dry up in the tax rate will rise at a rate no one's ever seen before because the city manager and the city councilors are out of control. Now they want to spend over $5 million of our tax money on a dying downtown to put in welfare housing and maybe a few new businesses downtown that will pay minimum wage jobs. Again creating the illusion of success when there really is a many to be had. Enough Is Enough!
knowbody(Wednesday, July 11 18 08:18 am EDT)
What you fail to realize is the value of that 7.5 acres of rich farmland can be assessed for a lot more rich tax revenue for the highwayman.
Wait 'til the farmer gets his tax bill.
Steve(Wednesday, July 11 18 07:48 am EDT)
I think the farmer knew that McNutt is a weak city manager and he stood firm and faced with McNutt's inexperience and his milquetoast demeanor. Reading those minutes indicate the city will only receive frontage along the river for the Riverwalk and I guess most of that land is eroding into the river in exchange for 7.5 acres of rich farmland. Hell of a deal for the city isn't it? Does anyone in this godforsaken city still believe that the city manager and today's city council are the best choices to be running city affairs?
Jeff(Tuesday, July 10 18 03:49 pm EDT)
I remember that it was supposed to be a nearly even swap of land acreage for acreage. The biggest chunk near the ballfields in Monadnock Park to create more recreation opportunities. It looks like Mr. McNutt negotiated a great deal for the farmer and a terrible deal for the city with the city only getting the land for the Riverwalk and if the erosion is really that bad then there will be budget costs to be considered in the future. Mr. McNutt is not a great negotiator and a terrible city manager.
Chris(Tuesday, July 10 18 02:35 pm EDT)
Talk about terribly inaccurate minutes keeping, absent members voting. In all the years that I served on elected bodies, I never heard of such a thing. If Norma Limoges were still the Clerk for the Council this type of unprofessionalism would not occur. I watch the Council meetings today with disgust because it has turned into a three-ring circus with a bunch of bozos and no ringleader. Sad.
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, July 10 18 08:23 am EDT)
Hush-Hush land swap! For full details go to the News Flashes page.
Todd(Tuesday, July 10 18 02:33 am EDT)
Koloski has always been shady. Look at all the business liens he has against his bar but he is still in business. The Stone Arch Bakery had only one lien from the state and it was immediately shut down at both its Claremont and Lebanon locations but not Koloski’s bar. Look at the special protection and perks the Topstone Holdings owners are receiving from the city officials in regards to their back taxes and environmental issues with their building. It should be condemned and all the tenants evacuated liked what happened with the Goddard building but they have special VIP status like Koloski or could it be through Koloski. This makes the city and the mayor and the councilors all corrupt in my eyes.
Gary(Monday, July 09 18 04:25 pm EDT)
I do not like the double standard in Claremont’s municipal government that continues to prevail to this day. The Goddard Block is condemned and evacuated for safety reasons, a new owner comes in right away to buy the property for a song, and then the developer is showered with government money to fix the place up for low-income housing. Now a $5 million project will soon begin to set the stage for more low-income housing projects downtown. The Topstone building should be condemned but the same folks who shut down the Goddard building ignore the environmental issues that puts the health of everyone that enters that building at risk. Councilor Nick Koloski has all of his businesses inside the building and if no one thinks that matters then they are not looking at this thing rationally. The owner of the Goddard Block received stern, harsh treatment from Ryan McNutt. This no-nonsense no second chances approach led to the eviction of all the tenants. Ryan McNutt is treating the owners of the Topstone property with a velvet glove approach and public funds are used to try to deal with some of the environmental issues for a building that is still owned by a private LLC. This is wrong for so many reasons but it is the way business is conducted these days in Claremont. Mayor Lovett and Assistant Mayor Damren have already given this unethical approach their blessing and the rest of the councilors all seem to be falling in line except for just a few. It will be interesting to see how this all comes out of the wash. Different standards for different people smacks of corruption.
John(Friday, July 06 18 09:03 am EDT)
Unfortunately, I agree with you. It is the evolution of real estate.
Claremont will never drop its tax rate. The powers that be are always crying poverty saying they never have enough money. An example of that is the request made by DPW for a million dollars and only getting a quarter of that.
The SAU always claim to have a “bare bones “ budget. I wouldn’t expect that to change, no matter who the Superintendent is.
So what’s the alternative?
Improving the infrastructure to justify the high tax rate. People won’t complain about paying high taxes if they see their money being invested in the community.
Those that expect the State to ride to the rescue are mistaken. The State will not help Claremont until it helps itself and looking for “handouts” is not the way to do it.
The tax payers should get ready to pay up, in 10 years you will look back on today’s tax rate and get nostalgic about the “good old days”.
Tony(Friday, July 06 18 08:19 am EDT)
Higher taxes. Yes that will help clear away the deadbeats and non productive home owners (elderly) soon. Then the gentrification can begin. Taking the slum lords out of business will be easy with simple code enforcement when the time is ripe, and then the housing stocks can be renovated into the bedrooms for young professionals from the upper valley.
Involved(Thursday, July 05 18 04:05 pm EDT)
Rick, the low income families invited into Claremont are the jobs.Support jobs for low income families are among the best of the area.How many companies in the surrounding Claremont area are starting people at $50k salaries with health insurance,paid sick/vacation time,retirement bennies at 55?
Low income families and recovering drug addicts are a cash cow friend.Get on board!
Rick(Thursday, July 05 18 08:27 am EDT)
I fear the tax rate is going to explode over the next few years with all the money they want to spend all around town. Spending $5 million on a dying downtown is nuts. Doing it to import more families on public assistance is insane but this is the master plan of our city leaders. The longer these city leaders stay in power the higher our taxes will go.
Tom(Wednesday, July 04 18 04:29 pm EDT)
The problem with the city employees is easy to determine. Most of them do not live in Claremont so they do not pay the high property tax as we all do. So they do not care about Claremont just that their paycheck clears and their insurance and other benefits are all up to snuff. Doing nothing is easier than actually doing something and they do not care about Claremont to want to do anything to make the city better because the pay is the same if they do a mediocre job or a phenomenal job. Since the new city manager is not exactly setting the world on fire the standards are pretty low so the city employees follow his lackluster performance example.
Linda(Wednesday, July 04 18 02:08 pm EDT)
I always liked Scott Pope. He was one of my son’s favorite teachers. However, I have to say is not the man I thought he was. On the city council, he did the bidding of the city manager and the special interests. When he resigned abruptly from the city council, then tried to come back, and then slinked away I thought he was not much of a man. Now he is back on the city council and he is falling into the same bad habits from before. He is representing special interests and not the average citizens of Claremont. Nick Koloski is there for himself and I believe Charlene Lovett, Allen Damren, Claire Lessard and Abigail Kier all have their own personal agendas far removed from what is best for the public. I do not even know where to begin with Ryan McNutt. He just seems out of his depth as he does not seem to have the knowledge or experience to do the job of city manager even marginally well. I believe a complete turnover is necessary inside City Hall as the employees have been there for too long and they have become far too complacent to ever change Claremont into the marvelous community it can be.
Madison(Wednesday, July 04 18 12:48 pm EDT)
Mayor Lovett is a phony as are most of the other members of the city council. I agree with Katherine that Councilors Stone, O’Hearne and Zullo are the only three worthwhile councilors we have. I thought Kier was an excellent choice but she has proven to be just as big a tax-and-spend councilor as the rest and she seems to be on the verge of becoming a Lovett protege, in other words bad news for the Claremont taxpayers.
Laura(Wednesday, July 04 18 12:16 pm EDT)
I blame Mayor Lovett. She is trying to micromanage everything and this is the result. She is trying to keep a lid on everything especially with all the secret meetings but Jim and AJ are phenomenally good at ferreting out information and they are well known in the community for disseminating that information freely for the public good.
David(Wednesday, July 04 18 11:32 am EDT)
Many people thought the previous city administration was corrupt but I think this new administration is even more corrupt. They may not be stealing money but they are certainly abusing their authority and manipulating the municipal government to benefit one of their own. If they are willing to do it for one of them their will do it for all of them.
Walter(Wednesday, July 04 18 11:19 am EDT)
The Topstone building owes the largest amount of back taxes than any property in Claremont and the city manager and the councilors all treat the owners with kid gloves. Councilman Nick Koloski has his businesses located in the Topstone building. Toxic hazardous materials are right in the building right where his businesses are. City officials lie about the cooperation from the owners. City officials use their influence to use public funds to try to fix the environmental issues at the property. Excuse me but I always thought that public funds were supposed to be used for public purposes not for the benefit of private individuals. Our tax dollars should not be used to try to help a private owner deal with his building issues or to keep a Councilman in business. This whole thing stinks to high heaven.
Matt(Wednesday, July 04 18 10:44 am EDT)
I watched last week’s Council meeting and I was left with the impression that the owners of the Topstone building were finally stepping up. I thought that was great. Now I find out that it was a total lie. Not great. Thank you Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville for setting the record straight. I hate being lied to and when I am lied to I never trust the people that lied to me ever again. Lovett, Damren, McNutt and Merrill are all people that I no longer trust. Koloski was already on the list.
Katherine(Wednesday, July 04 18 09:45 am EDT)
The voters need to remember who is really representing them on the Council and who isn’t. In my opinion, O’Hearne, Stone & Zullo are the keepers and the rest of them all need to go. We need councilors representing the taxpayers not the special interests.
Charles(Wednesday, July 04 18 09:32 am EDT)
I agree with IPO that Koloski is the major obstacle to solving the Topstone problem. I believe his presence on the Council is for his own benefit and not for his constituents. Jim and AJ showed proof positive the Mayor, Assistant Mayor and the City Manager for what they truly are, untrustworthy politicians helping one of their own namely Koloski another political bum. If the other councilors have any scruples they will join forces and take the property with the tax deed and paid a clean it up and put her back on the market so the city can start getting taxes for the property again. The same with the Central Street property.
Industrial Property Owner(Wednesday, July 04 18 08:57 am EDT)
Another excellent exposé from the Sullivan Report. The city councilors continue to blunder along making one bad decision after another as a result of a reoccurring absence of germane information necessary to make sound decisions and the councilor’s willingness to move forward without a proper grasp of the situation because of blind trust in municipal administrators. Ignorance is not conducive to success. Of course, the city councilors have another bad habit of procrastinating when faced with difficult decisions and the problems intensify to crisis proportions because of the professional management vacuum in Claremont’s current city government. The contract renewal with United Partners is the result of a one-sided contract negotiation. I do not believe Mr. McNutt knows the first thing about contract bargaining, as he seems to be on the losing end every single time. Since he represents the citizens of Claremont his shortcomings puts us in the unfortunate position of higher taxes, fees, etc. as a result of his inept management and the refusal by the city councilors to recognize the self-evident poor job performance of Mr. McNutt. In regards to the Central Street and Mulberry Street properties subject to tax deeding, the environmental issues of the property are a concern. However, the property taxes, penalties and interest are accruing at an alarming rate and nothing will change as both properties essentially have absentee owners. The owners of the Central Street property are in the wind and the owners of the Topstone building are doing nothing to remedy the situation despite the lies propagated by a few city officials for whatever personal political agenda they are pursuing. The documented proof uncovered in the latest Sullivan Report exposé makes it self-evident that the owners of the Topstone building will not repay the property taxes or clean up hazardous materials on and within their property. In regards to both properties, outside influences will have to intercede to solve these problems. The city should take the properties now, begin the process of remedying the environmental issues of all three parcels and attempt to sell the properties to place them back on the tax rolls. Councilor Koloski should not influence any decisions made regarding the Topstone properties. I am of the opinion that he has either directly or indirectly influenced all past decisions and the countless delays by city officials to do anything. For the good of the community that must stop immediately.
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, July 04 18 05:49 am EDT)
A correction to yesterday's article has just been published. Full details on the News Flashes page.
Sharon(Tuesday, July 03 18 07:18 pm EDT)
Wow! I watched the city council meeting with my husband and daughter and all three of us thought that progress was underway for tax repayment and toxic hazard abatement for the Topstone building. I trusted our new city manager and our mayor and assistant mayor. I see I was wrong to do that because they all shamelessly lied to everyone. Scruples are not part of their DNA. Thank you Sullivan Report for exposing the truth. The Topstone property owners owe the city almost $250,000 but in the past two years they only paid $3500 of their late taxes. The city manager said the owners were paying back the late taxes. Only $3500 in two years, what a load of malarkey. I would have written something else but I don't want to swear on this forum. Their cooperation with the environmental problems of the building are also a sick joke. Their permit lapsed in 2015 and they stopped taking test samples and turning in the paperwork also in 2015. Taxpayers money paid for the grant that paid for the study that came up with the 504 page report. Mrs. Merrill from the planning office wants to put monitoring wells around the perimeter of the property to take the responsibilities away from the property owners. Sure let the taxpayers pay for all the sample collecting and monitoring. Mrs. Merrill does not care because she does not live in Claremont so she does not have to pay any property taxes here. Now the owners of the Topstone building are crying poverty and they say they have no money to pay for any monitoring or cleanup of the property. This also means they have no money to pay the late taxes. So it looks like we are at a stalemate because Mr. McNutt will not hold the owners of the Topstone property to the same standards that he held the former owners of the Goddard building. Is Councilman Koloski using his political clout to run interference for this property owner? Perhaps because Councilman Koloski's businesses are inside the Topstone building right where it looks to be ground zero for at least some of the contamination. No one should be receiving special favors from the city government especially when it's our tax dollars that are paying for everything. I think it is time for a new city manager and a new group of city councilors. Preferably city officials who will ignore the special requests from the special interests parties that continue to take advantage of the normal taxpaying citizens of Claremont.
Jack(Tuesday, July 03 18 07:05 pm EDT)
Rumor has it that Councilor Nick pays no rent on his multiple establishments.
No wonder he is still in business he is in partnership with the city.
Is there any other business owner that is able to conduct business rent free in Claremont?
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, July 03 18 02:04 pm EDT)
New article. June 2 City Council meeting synopsis. Shocking new information about Topstone Building not stated at Council meeting! For full details go to the News Flashes page.
FDR(Friday, June 29 18 11:41 am EDT)
Well at least Claremont can clearly see that the Republican delegates are the ones who do not take representing the city seriously.
Rep. John J.O’Connor(Wednesday, June 27 18 09:36 am EDT)
In a recent article in the Eagle Times it accused me of missing a large number of votes. In an age of “fake news”, it was refreshing to see the truth reported in the media.
This past legislative session I missed a number of days due to illness’s
As we all know it was a long, cold,bitter winter and like a lot of Claremont citizens I suffered from a multiple of illnesses which were adversely affected by extreme cold.
That is the most explaining I have done in a very long time but I feel the citizens of Claremont deserve an explanation.
During my time at the statehouse I have consistently voted on the bills that directly affect the citizens of Claremont over my own well-being which led to the severity of the illness.
As Patrick Adrian points out on that Facebook page that censors all opinions that they don’t agree with, I had the option to call the Clerk and request an excused absence, which is true. As an adult, I never felt the need to notify the Republican leadership of my absence. Leadership has the authority to pull bills at anytime, if they know they do not have the support for a certain bill, they will pull it for consideration till a later date. That seems unfair to me and I was not going to let my illness be used in a political game.
By the grace of God and excellent care from my wife,I have recovered from my illnesses. Some will say it takes a lot of nerve to seek re-election, I agree it does take a lot of nerve.
It takes the kind of nerve that stands up to the Governor because he disagrees with your position on the “Right to work” bill,
It takes a lot of nerve to stand up to your party leadership because you agree with the other side on important domestic issues.
It takes a lot of nerve to stand up to the numerous lobbyists and special interest groups that run rampant in the Statehouse.
It’s because I have a lot of nerve that I was able to do these things.
It’s because I have a lot of nerve I seek re-election.
Terry(Wednesday, June 27 18 08:27 am EDT)
I have always thought that the city's finance director is inept. Whenever a question is asked one of the city councilors she very rarely knows the answer and it is always rounded off numbers that no one ever substantiates except for the Sullivan Report. I remember AJ Maranville speaking before the councilors with proof that the city was running three different sets of books for the community center and all of them had different numbers in them. They called it a computer glitch and the councilors were satisfied with that answer. If this had happened within a corporation there would have been an immediate firing of the finance director and a complete audit to make sure no money was missing. The low standards at City Hall thanks to Mayor Dumb Blonde Lovett and City Manager Do-Nothing McNutt are costing the taxpayers big-time.
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, June 27 18 07:45 am EDT)
New article. For full details go to the News Flashes page.
David(Tuesday, June 26 18 08:48 pm EDT)
Steve, you are right about it being impossible to represent Claremont when the elected representative rarely shows up for a vote. My point is that Mr. O'Hearne has the same absentee problem as Mr. Gauthier. Whatever excuses they give are relevant the fact remains that neither person bothered to show up for votes when they held the representative seat.
Steve(Tuesday, June 26 18 06:29 pm EDT)
It’s not Rep. Guathier’s attendance record that is concerning, it is his excuse.
In his own words, he felt he was not receiving adequate compensation and therefore representing the citizens of Claremont was not worth his time.
I voted for Mr.Guathier because I thought he was the best person to look out for the interests of this city but it’s impossible to do that when you are not there.
David(Tuesday, June 26 18 02:16 pm EDT)
Steve, if the attendance of your state representatives is your primary concern then you may want to rethink your vote for Mr. O'Hearne. During the 2016 legislative session out of 236 votes Mr. O'Hearne only cast 100 of those votes and was absent for the other 136 votes. That means Mr. O'Hearne only voted 42% of the time. Don't believe me? Look it up yourself on the state website.
Steve(Tuesday, June 26 18 12:56 pm EDT)
That’s probably true . What disturbs me is what I read in today’s Eagle Times about 2 of our Republican State Representatives missing so many days.
Representative O’Connor stated he was ill, considering the recent winter and flu season that is understandable. Representative Guathier (my Representative) basically stated he was not being compensated enough. One is acceptable, the other is not.
I am sure Representative Guathier knew prior to being elected the time that would be necessary to adequately represent his constituents. He continued to state , he will go to sessions but not committees.
It seems,it’s at these committees ,where the real work gets done and if Mr. Guathier is unwilling to attend then I am unwilling to vote for him.
I will cast my vote for Councilor O’Hearn so Mr. Guathier doesn’t have to miss any more days of work.
longfellow(Tuesday, June 26 18 09:15 am EDT)
but you know as well as I do that Private entrepreneurs and government employees are quite different beasts.
Let's be honest,government workers would screw up a wet dream Steve.They are just way too lazy,and way too greedy to make a success of anything.
Steve(Monday, June 25 18 07:43 am EDT)
“Break up even venture “ ... are you serious?
I own 4 / 4 unit buildings in Claremont and my investments are flourishing. Half my tenets are section 8 and I won’t lie, it’s been hell at times. But now I have decent, respectful tenets who are extremely happy to have a roof over their head.
If I can make a sizable income with just 16 units imagine the money the city can make with 100 units ?
Owning public housing is like printing your own money.
longfellow(Sunday, June 24 18 04:38 pm EDT)
with all due respect,being a landlord is a barely break even venture.We have buildings where owners have simply walked away from mortgages and Claremont taxes,as well as extremely high electricity rates,not to mention high oil bills due to harsh New England winters.As far as business ventures being a landlord in Claremont is one big losing proposition.The tenants are undependable for various reasons,ranging from drug addiction to a job market that contains only the bottom rungs of the success ladder.The well paying construction jobs disappear when the snow flies.The rent bill doesn't.
The section 8 cross section isn't much better.The egress,electrical,and general codes are very expensive to create and maintain.The rents can't reflect the expenses of maintaining and heating a building in Claremont.
NYC is one of the largest low income landlords in the country.They own a ton of properties.Despite this,the run at a $5 billion annual deficit made up by income and sales taxes of the city.It is no profit maker there and it's no profit maker here.
I would love to hear just 1 example of low income housing being a profit making success,just 1.
I'm not complaining Steve,I'm moving.Perhaps you could buy my place and break it up into rentals.I've stopped caring what Claremont does when I saw policy direction is a race to the bottom.Good luck with that
Steve(Sunday, June 24 18 01:28 pm EDT)
All I see you doing is complaining, do you have any solutions?
There are many decent city owned housing developments across the county. My point is, eliminate the middle man. City run housing developments are money makers.
Come up with a few ideas instead of just criticizing.
longfellow(Sunday, June 24 18 08:49 am EDT)
should we also get into selling groceries,competing with Market Basket? The city could really thrive on SNAP card profits.Perhaps health care is another?
I'm no Libertarian,but I believe certain aren't what government should be doing.Show me government run housing,anywhere on the planet,that isn't to coin a term of Trumps,a "shithole".You can't because there are none.
By centering,on purpose,a community that focuses primarily on low income housing you will just chase out the paying customers.Low income occupants don't generate any revenue for the betterment of a town.They do quite the opposite.Schools,crime,and decay will be the words of the day.Industry and upstanding responsible folks will have been long gone.The Claremont government itself will become a low income recipient,dependant on federal and state dollars to keep fire,police,and school doors open.
I suggest you google Harvey,Illinois.That is the future you are suggesting for Claremont.I'll be packing with a little more zeal,after having heard the agenda from you Steve.
Steve(Saturday, June 23 18 12:17 pm EDT)
I didn’t mention the low income/ welfare situation because there is absolutely nothing that we can do about it, it is what it is.
Claremont has been known as a welfare town. Whether that is fair or unfair doesn’t matter, the facts indicate that a large majority of its citizens receive some kind of social service.
The city should embrace that and build city own housing.
Let Claremont get into the real estate business and become the landlords to those they help.
The city should build housing projects and capitalize on those in need of quality housing.
Seems the only people that are making decent money are the landlords that provide low income housing, it’s time for the city to start making money instead of begging for it.
longfellow(Saturday, June 23 18 07:50 am EDT)
Steve, I notice you didn't address the low incomes that Claremont enjoys.
The taxation of Claremont's citizenry has run out of runway.They have nothing more to give.Nothing complicated or cyclical about that.
Steve(Friday, June 22 18 07:03 pm EDT)
There will always be those that give more then they will ever receive. It doesn’t seem fair for childless couples to pay, basically a school tuition for someone else’s child, but that’s the system we have.
The real estate evolution has always been unfair to the elderly but the silver lining has always been the huge payout on their real estate investment.
It all comes down to choices and decisions. If an elderly couple can no longer afford the home that they raised their kids in, sell it and enjoy the windfall.
It’s the cycle of real estate life.
longfellow(Friday, June 22 18 03:19 pm EDT)
Steve, what about seniors that didn't have children?
How do you think they feel about paying to educate other people's children?
I'd be fine with an exemption for the school side of my tax bill,considering I didn't have kids and am not going to at this late date.
Neither seniors,nor young families in Claremont have the means or job income to continue paying ever escalating Claremont taxes.Just wait until half of the town is gone,cause it's Claremont's future should you choose to remain on the course it's been on.
For Sale signs all down my street.
Steve(Friday, June 22 18 03:04 pm EDT)
I hate to say this but society is to blame for seniors losing their homes and it’s not right for them to look to the city or state for handouts.
A generation ago, family’s took care of family. If there were 6 kids in a family, each week on payday, they would band together and financial support their parents.
Some children paid thier parents taxes or their rent. That rarely happens now adays.
Poor elderly citizens is not something new, the lack of financial support from their children is.
Richard(Thursday, June 21 18 03:07 pm EDT)
There are many seniors in Claremont trying to remain in their homes but feeling the crush of ever-increasing property taxes with each passing year. It is an absolute disgrace that Claremont does not provide the same tax relief that other surrounding communities within Sullivan County do for their elderly citizens. The greed of the city councilors to take extra money from low-income seniors to support their tax-and-spend addiction is beyond contempt. The councilors give no second thoughts to throw tax dollars at lost causes or foolish poorly thought out spending initiatives when it benefits either one of themselves or others within their elite clique of municipal union employees, non-profits and other special interests groups. Charlene Lovett is a terrible mayor because she is leading Claremont down the wrong path and the other city councilors are all acting as co-conspirators to these gross injustices heaped upon all Claremont citizens that are not in the councilor’s eyes seen as either well-heeled or politically connected. The seniors and our veterans deserve better. The average hard-working citizens of Claremont deserve better. If we are ever to have a fair government representative of our values to start electing representatives to the council that share them. The nine representatives that we currently have on the council do not share the general public’s moral code, ethics or values. The continually lie to us and hide the truth of how they are really spending our money and how they are taking advantage of our citizens on a daily basis. If it was not for the Sullivan Report and the efforts of two former city councilors that operate said website then the public would never be aware of the scandalous acts perpetrated by our elected leaders. When two former city councilors care more for the citizenry than the nine currently elected to the public office then something is dreadfully wrong. Claremont desperately needs new leadership maintaining policy and the day-to-day affairs of our city government.
Chris(Thursday, June 21 18 08:51 am EDT)
Found out this morning that Councilman Nicholas Koloski is running a Keno Hall out of his bar. No wonder why he wanted the councilors to put Keno on the ballot and then he was so coy about how he might not want it himself when all the time he really did. Once again the councilors help out one of their own. In case you're wondering who, it was Charlene Lovett, Allen Damren, Scott Pope and I think Abigail Kier that did it with the other councilors that are of no longer on the city council. Our city leaders do not care about us at all the only care about themselves and the special interests they represent to keep them in power.
Marie(Wednesday, June 20 18 01:59 pm EDT)
The biggest obstacle to economic growth in Claremont is the city and school government officials. Their bad management practices are destroying any chance for prosperity in our great community.
Dan(Wednesday, June 20 18 12:39 pm EDT)
The seniors and veterans of our community deserve our gratitude and support. It is positively reprehensible that our city manager and nine elected city councilors would conspire to deny our seniors and veterans something that their neighbors and other communities within Sullivan County receive as a thank you for this service and residency. With the high taxation in our community far above and beyond those of other municipalities in Sullivan County, one would think that Claremont councilors would give the maximum tax credit to the veterans allowed on the law. You would also think that the councilors would give the seniors above average property assessment exemptions with more relaxed income and asset restrictions to counterbalance Claremont’s property tax rate that is the highest in the entire state and the relatively low-income levels of the local citizenry. I agree with other comments I read earlier that the average citizens are belief the notice of our city councilors because except for being a cash machine through taxation there is nothing else the average citizen can do for the councilors. This current leadership needs to go.
madashell(Wednesday, June 20 18 11:30 am EDT)
I stopped paying my Claremont property taxes 1 year ago now.I'm saving for low tax,weak public union,nice climate Tennessee.I will never give them another dime.Grass is 3 feet high,and I don't care.Plan on stripping the copper and putting the furnace on melt down on my way out.
Good Luck Claremont
Rick(Wednesday, June 20 18 10:33 am EDT)
The city councilors of today are cowardly weasels. To save public face they spend all our savings to continue their spending spree to kick the can down the road as far as it can go before any difficult choices will need to be made. By then it will be too late, as bad management will eradicate all other options. Cutting the budget or raising taxes will be the only options available. A tax increase will be the answer because the voters elected too many councilors with the attitude of everything in the budget is sacred and nothing can be cut for any reason whatsoever.
William(Wednesday, June 20 18 09:31 am EDT)
Hiding the true cost of Claremont’s city government spending by ever-growing savings withdrawals is a temporary solution at best. Mr. Maranville and Mr. Sullivan are quite right that the money will eventually run out. What then? I have watched the city councilors squirm at the thought of cutting the paltry sum of only a few thousand dollars from a budget of over $17 million and act as if they were cutting off one of their limbs. I do not see any of them stiffening their spines anytime soon. They will see tax increases as their only option and it will be time for the taxpayers to pay the piper for the bad acts of their out of control tax-and-spend elected officials. Just before that day comes, quite soon, I am afraid; I suspect that Mr. McNutt will announce his resignation. Perhaps he already is sending resumes out to other communities seeking a city manager, as he knows that the jig is almost up and he has no idea how to fix Claremont’s problems without making hard choices that he and his colleagues on the city council cannot muster the courage to do on their own.
Tom(Wednesday, June 20 18 08:34 am EDT)
The city councilors of today are big phonies. You cannot believe anything they say because they stand for nothing. They crave the limelight and they represent special interests that continually take advantage of the taxpayers to satisfy their selfish desires. Unfortunately, the special interests in Claremont are never satisfied, the more you give them the more they want and the city councilors are very willing to give it to them using the taxpayer’s money without restraint or regret.
Jennifer(Wednesday, June 20 18 08:19 am EDT)
The councilors have no issues with spending taxpayer’s money on welfare housing to the benefit of developers, generous compensation packages benefiting municipal union employees, spending programs such as bus transportation to benefit politically connected non-profits with handsomely paid directors and anyone else closely affiliated with Claremont’s municipal government. Alternatively, average citizens such as veterans and seniors with true need receive short shrift treatment from the same councilors because these average citizens have no special influence or political power to benefit the councilors. Greed, social climbing aspirations and self-interest are the motivating factors to the actions of our present-day city councilors. Tragic but true.
Todd(Wednesday, June 20 18 07:38 am EDT)
The city council loves sweeping things under the rug. There is such a big lump under the rug now that some may wonder if Jimmy Hoffa is under there. Tomorrow night the folks on the city council and the school board will co-conspire to hire an information officer, slang for propaganda minister reminiscent of Nazi bad boy Joseph Goebbels
himself. The bad news folks, it’s going to cost the taxpayers nearly $100,000 per annum to pay someone to cover up and whitewash everything our local officials do that they don’t want the citizens to know about.
Joanne(Tuesday, June 19 18 02:36 pm EDT)
It is embarrassing how little respect and compassion our veterans and seniors receive from Claremont’s elected leaders. Mayor Lovett and Allen Damren and Nicholas Koloski and Scott Pope always talk about their love for Claremont in the course of council meetings televised in the homes of community residents. In my opinion, they do it for the sake of their reelection to stay in power because their actions of authoring veterans only 25% of what is available and creating extra stringent qualifiers to exclude many seniors who would qualify for assistance in other more progressive and generous communities. The city councilors we have today are loathsome creatures that serve only their own self-interest and the self-interest of the special interests whom they represent. Mayor Lovett and Allen Damren and Nicholas Koloski and Scott Pope are among the worst.
Sarah(Tuesday, June 19 18 01:23 pm EDT)
Claremont lives in an information vacuum much like a country under a dictatorship regime. The local press cannot be trusted as they routinely write government friendly articles that never criticize anything about the city or the school governments. This is not how true journalism is supposed to work. The only example of true local journalism is the Sullivan Report.
Barbara(Tuesday, June 19 18 10:59 am EDT)
I am so appreciative of the Sullivan Report for sifting through the red tape, government documents and the constant stream of lies from municipal bureaucrats and politicians alike and reporting the truth that the local press is too afraid to publish.
George(Tuesday, June 19 18 08:22 am EDT)
I am really worried about what the city manager and the city councilors are doing to the taxpayers and ratepayers of Claremont. They lie so easily to us while they are spending without restraint and increasing the tax burden and the water rate burden without concern for those who have to pay it. Withdrawing close to $1.6 million from the city’s savings account to cover nearly 10% of the city’s operating expenses for FY 19 is reckless and unprofessional management and the city manager and the city councilors do it without hesitation. They are more concerned with politics, their public perception, political future and in the case of the administrators their future employment then they are the future burden they are placing upon the taxpayers when the cash reserves run out and the cost of their unrestrained spending proclivities permanently finds its way into the municipal budget. A $2.23 increase on the property tax rate will be devastating. Equally devastating is the 18% annual water rate increase that Assistant Mayor Damren and Councilor Pope sought to hide from the public under the guise of a comment of no new increase. The 18% annual increase was approved years before as they and some of their colleagues well know and is automatically taking effect in FY 19. Our city leaders cannot be trusted to tell us the truth. Thank you Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville for continuing to serve your city with your informative and truthful news articles.
Kathy(Monday, June 18 18 11:17 pm EDT)
It is disgraceful that Claremont's mayor and city councilors have such low regard for our communities senior citizen and veteran population. Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville have once again done a tremendous community service by exposing the duplicitous nature of our elected representatives. The mayor and the councilors are perpetually self-congratulating and self-aggrandizing themselves and each other in the press and during televised public meetings to elevate their social status and their perceived phony persona of altruistic benefactors to Claremont's citizenry. The truth is the local citizenry is beneath their notice and the needs of the populace are regarded as inconsequential. The public is simply a means to an end, a funding source perpetuate the political agenda of these despicable city officials. It is disgraceful that other communities in Sullivan County offer a more assistance to their seniors and veterans. Lies and manipulation seem to be the order of the day with this present-day version of the city council and municipal administration. Change of leadership is in order.
Jim Sullivan(Monday, June 18 18 05:16 pm EDT)
Two new articles just published.
Full details on the News Flashes page.
Dan(Monday, June 18 18 09:10 am EDT)
The last thing Claremont needs is more welfare residents for the taxpayers to become responsible for. How is this economic development? What the hell are these idiots at City Hall doing?
Robert(Wednesday, June 13 18 04:34 am EDT)
What the hell is wrong with McNutt, Lovett, Damren and the rest of the councilors? Whenever is a welfare housing project something to cheer about? They all rammed this thing through with zoning changes and other concessions that other developers before them never would have had a chance in hell in getting. Calling this project a workforce housing program is a big fat lie and thanks to the Sullivan Report we all know that our city officials cannot be trusted about anything. It's time to clean house at city hall.
Todd(Tuesday, June 12 18 07:43 pm EDT)
Is McNutt trying to turn Claremont into a welfare community? That is what Claremont has been called for many years but Claremont has always been more than that. McNutt seems to be trying to make that myth a reality. What is wrong with the city councilors? Why are they letting this dingdong get away with this? The school district is finally getting a long-overdue administration makeover I think it is time for the city to have one of its own. Starting with the city manager and the councilors were going along with this cockamamie idea that section 8 housing will save Claremont.
Cheryl(Tuesday, June 12 18 05:00 pm EDT)
I remember what it was like in the 80's when all the lowlifes dwelled within the upstairs apartments in the downtown. I was a teenager then working at one of the local downtown pizzerias with my sister and we saw it all. They would throw trash on passersby and some of the ladies were plying their profession trying to lure men upstairs to their place for a price. Some would flash their breasts to coerce men upstairs. There was always people on the sidewalks just hanging around all day causing trouble. My sister and I never walked down Pleasant Street after work because the lowlife Romeos were always trying to hit on us with their lewd comments of what they wanted to do to us. Our father always picked us up from work because of the unsafe environment. Police and local officials did nothing except wring their hands and say they were helpless to do anything. Finally city officials had enough and changed the zoning rules and eventually the downtown apartments emptied out and things got better. Now we have new leaders that are trying to change things back to the old way and it is going to make a horrible mess. The last thing Claremont needs is a makeshift red light district district like they have in the big cities. God the people running Claremont are idiots.
This downtown repurposing of commercial real estate into low income housing is a big job generator.
We all know that businesses are not going to relocate to freezing cold New Hampshire.The new businesses formed are so small they aren't worth mentioning.It's the jobs in government and education,as well as in law enforcement that brings one success.Nothing beats a guaranteed pension and health insurance coverage for entire family for life,nothing!
These are the jobs you should be shooting for as individuals.The stability as well as sheer income isn't matched in the private sector.Heck,even the developers are hip to government monies available.
Don't beat 'em,join 'em
I myself am close to retirement and am a very young 53.My pension will be calculated on my last 3 years of service.I've opted to work through my vacation time and even pick up some overtime when others are on vacation or sick.At 80% I expect a $100k per year pension and at 55 I can go anywhere in the world.
So,the message is get a job in government.If the local taxes bother you commute.I commute from Cornish and have a beautiful home there that the taxes are only $2500 per year.So yes,you can have your cake and eat it too.
George(Tuesday, June 12 18 03:39 pm EDT)
Transforming the downtown into a McNuttville-esque haven for an increased population of welfare recipients is insane. Importing more low income residents will not benefit Claremont at all. What next hookers on every downtown corner right next to the drug dealers? Do the buffoons operating the city even know the meaning of the word workforce housing or economic development for that matter? What a disaster.
Tom(Tuesday, June 12 18 01:08 pm EDT)
What the hell is McNutt and Lovett thinking? Section 8 housing is nowhere near the same thing as a workforce housing. Pope, Koloski , Damren, Kier and all the other idiots on the Council ought to know that. These imbeciles are just destroying Claremont and they are taxing us all to death to do it.
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, June 12 18 12:13 pm EDT)
New article regarding the Goddard Block and the important things that City Officials didn't tell the public. For full details go to the News Flashes page of this website.
David(Wednesday, June 06 18 12:01 pm EDT)
The citizens sank over $10 million of taxpayers money in the downtown district and the payback benefit never happened. I remember reading an article in the Sullivan Report that showed how the cost was over $3 million for the taxpayer bailout. This is all thanks to the last city manager and all of his cronies on the city council. This is the same group that shut down the JSL building and the outdoor swimming pool to make way for the new community center that also never lived up to promised expectations. Now we find out that the JSL building is not actually in that bad of condition and probably the outdoor swimming pool did not have to be closed either. The city officials continue to lie to us and they continue to make very bad decisions that cost the taxpayers tons of money to clean up their mistakes. The Sullivan Report is right the only new person in the mix is Ryan McNutt. So far I have to say I'm not impressed. All he is doing is reworking the same bad ideas from before. For example spendable $5 million for the downtown shopping district. What are we going to get for that? Probably lots of welfare people that will fill our schools up with kids and maybe a few part-time minimum wage jobs. Woo hoo! It seems no one with common sense is in city government today. I thought Mr. Zullo would be more like his wife because she has brains and the courage to step up and make the tough choices for positive change. Mr. Zullo is just sitting there in the council chambers and doing absolutely nothing to bring about positive change for the city government. I am also disappointed with Andy O'Hearne and Jon Stone because they all promised to be different and all they are doing is the same thing that their predecessors did tax-and-spend and follow the city manager's lead no matter how wrong it is.
Walter(Wednesday, June 06 18 10:06 am EDT)
The voters have to get more choosy with their candidates. School Board seems to finally be on track with representatives who represent the people instead of the unions and other special interests. The city council is still the exact opposite because they pander to the unions and the special interests at the taxpayers expense. The biggest violators are Charlene Lovett, Allen Damren, Scott Pope and Nicholas Koloski. Abigail Kier and Claire Lessard are lightweights pander to these groups as well but they may not know it because neither of them are too bright. I do not trust either Andrew O'Hearne or Jonathan Stone because they are former cops and they are probably there to represent the police union and the other city unions. That leaves Jeremy Zullo and he might be all right because his wife Rebecca is doing such a fantastic job on the school board. Jeremy might be well intended but he is not accomplishing anything so far. He is a weak city councilor that may be out of his element. Our city manager is also a lightweight. I do not think he has any idea how to fix Claremont's problems so he sticks with what he knows housing. He was a housing administrator before he became a town administrator at his last job. I do not like what he's trying to do with the property assessments because that is a sneaky way to increase the tax burden and the city spending while at the same time lowering the property tax rate to make it look like this are managing the city's finances well. They are not only are doing is increasing spending by almost $1 million in share without any of that money going to roads where the investment should go. The priorities are all wrong and the councilors are all on board with the wrong priorities. We need more turnover among the city council with more good people coming forward that will represent us instead of the unions in the other special interests who are running the show right now.
Michael(Wednesday, June 06 18 08:48 am EDT)
Let's face it most of the city councilors are not exactly Mensa candidates. I would be amazed if most of them could even read their council information packet and understand half of it. Wishing for them to solve Claremont's problems is a waste of time. Everyone thought Allen Damren was going to be the Savior of the city. He's not. He is making matters worse with his no budget cuts stands because every dollar spent is valid and can never be cut. He makes matters worse by coming up with slick accounting tricks to hide how the city's finances are in real bad shape. Covering up serious problems solves nothing. All the city councilors are doing is delaying problems until later when the problems will be much worse. Charlene Lovett looks like she would be a great mayor. All she wants to do was mugged for the cameras and get her name plastered in the press just like the do-nothing glory hound Nick Koloski. The rest of them are just wooden figures who sit there waiting to vote with the rest of their colleagues usually for more spending and higher taxes. At the present time I do not think we have one good city councilors out of the nine. I thought Jonathan Stone and Jeremy Zullo would make a great team much like Sullivan and Maranville or Lacasse and Picard did when they were on the council. Boy was I wrong. They talk a good game but that's all it is talk. They make no recommendations for changes to help the taxpayers. All they want to do is keep the status quo or to spend more money and that is not helping the taxpayers. I'm very disappointed in both gentlemen.
Chris(Tuesday, June 05 18 09:04 pm EDT)
This new council and city manager is no different than the last ones. They spend money and raise taxes and the money is wasted on foolish things and never spent on the things that matter like good roads. Hiding the bad mistakes and hiding the tax burden with our cash reserves shows what slimeballs they all really are.
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, June 05 18 06:14 pm EDT)
New article. City Officials using accounting gimmicks to hide true tax impact of their spending of your tax dollars. Full details on the News Flashes page.
Gail(Thursday, May 31 18 01:42 pm EDT)
The owners of the Topstone building are apparently receiving similar special treatment as Councilman Nick Koloski. When a local bakery went behind on their rooms and meals tax the state quickly shut down both locations of the business here and in Lebanon and put the bakery out of business. Councilman Koloski has a long string of nonpayment liens placed against his business and he is still in operation years later. Councilman Koloski has other liens as well with no consequences. Councilman Koloski's nonresident landlord has not paid taxes for many years and owes an exorbitant amount of back taxes to the city of Claremont. Citizens owing a very small amount are cast out of their trailers and other small abodes for modest sums of money owed to the city. Councilman Koloski's landlord is allowed to continue to own and operate their building with no consequences while continuing not to pay property taxes to the city. The taxpayers of Claremont having to make up the difference with higher property taxes. The property owners are ignoring the environmental issues that is supposedly stopping the city from taking the property. The state DES has not received a renewal application or test samples or reports on those samples and no consequences to the property owners. The Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission paid for a study of the environmental problems of the building with a grant at no cost to the property owner. I doubt other owners of buildings in Claremont could ever get such a deal on their own without close connections to city officials. The Brownfield Grant is funded with taxpayer’s dollars. The people conducting the building environmental safety study could not access space within the building occupied by a commercial tenant in the property.and conduct their air-quality safety studies. I wonder if it was Councilman Koloski who denied access to his business enterprises that occupy most of the occupied space in the building. The state DES is requesting more study from the property owners who never paid for the first study at all. The property owners still do not pay any property taxes and are not complying with any of the terms that they agreed to with the state DES about testing the building, etc. The city health inspector is receiving these letters of noncompliance but the city officials that should be safeguarding the health and safety of everyone that enters the building, eats and drinks there, etc. continues to ignore the problem and do nothing. I wonder if this is so Councilman Koloski's businesses are not disturbed or required to relocate to another location for safety hazard reasons. Are Councilman Koloski’s needs superseding the health and safety of Claremont citizens? I applaud Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville for acting so swiftly to inform the public and the city council and city manager about this important matter. I also would like to thank NH State Representative Francis Gauthier for sharing this information with Mr. Sullivan. All of your efforts are appreciated. It is a shame that the only people that seem to care about the citizens of Claremont are not members of the current city council. The tax deeding issue is coming up again. It has been delayed more than once. Reading the Sullivan Report it is my understanding that Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville have stayed right on top this issue as they continue to try to determine if the Topstone building owners will receive another free pass and be allowed to continue to not pay their property taxes for at least another year while city officials do nothing to eliminate the environmental issues so they can take the property and sell it at auction as they have with so many homes of poor people in Claremont. Wealthier nonresidents are treated differently than working-class citizens. It is not fair and it is a disgrace.
Jennifer(Thursday, May 31 18 09:13 am EDT)
The Sullivan Report is doing a stellar job reporting critically important local news that the Eagle Times, E – ticker News and the Valley News all choose to ignore. It is as if they are all in collusion with government officials in Claremont to spread propaganda to their readers instead of legitimate journalism that sometimes can and should be critical of government officials. The Sullivan Report's in-depth review of Mr. McNutt's budget proposal and their breaking news articles regarding the Junior Sports League Building, the precipitous downturn of the regional waste disposal and recycling market and its potential negative impact on Claremont and their article regarding the city's continued failure to address safety concerns inside and outside of the Topstone Building that may be putting Claremont citizen's health at risk were all incredibly enlightening. Information that everyone living and working in Claremont should know that public officials and the local press are trying to suppress. I want to personally thank Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville for their hard work and dedication and let them know that it is greatly appreciated by many in our fair city.
I just read the newsflash article that a friend of mine suggested I check out.I was diagnosed 2 mos. ago with stage 3 lung cancer.I never smoked in my entire life.I have however spent a lot of time working in and around the topstone building.This might explain the lung cancer.I will be in touch with lawyers as soon as possible.I will be naming City of Claremont in the suit as well as the owners of topstone.These people are receiving very nice paychecks to protect the public at large.It appears they're cashing the checks without doing their jobs.I will be suing all parties involved
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, May 30 18 02:27 pm EDT)
New article. New revelations regarding Topstone Building. Full details on News Flashes page.
John(Wednesday, May 30 18 12:35 pm EDT)
Mr. McNutt and Mrs. Walter know how to maneuver figures around too. I just looked at the budget proposal on the city website and the two of them are pulling almost $1.6 million from the city’s cash reserve account to keep the tax rate increase down. Even with all that all the new spending in the budget is still going to increase the tax rate by $.82 for the next year if the city council sticks with their rubberstamping approval of all the department budgets. I think that $1.6 million will eventually be added to the tax rate over the next couple of years. They are just playing money games to keep the taxpayers in the dark while they continue to spend and spend Claremont taxpayers into bankruptcy. I am also disappointed with the new city councilors. I knew Councilor Lessard would suck because she has always been pro-tax-and-spend without any consideration to what it does to family budgets. I did not think that some of the others would be different but it seems they are all the same as the incumbents that continue to make that decision after that decision that ends up costing taxpayers more money every year.
Tom(Wednesday, May 30 18 10:42 am EDT)
Allen Damren is the one who has me concerned. His raise the revenue bottom line by about a quarter of $1 million to lower the tax rate impact on Mr. McNutt’s budget that increases spending by almost $1 million seems like a taxpayer swindle in the making. He gives no particulars about which revenues he is increasing or why he thinks Mrs. Walter and Mr. McNutt underestimated their true value. I am worried that the cowards on the city council will jump at the chance to pass $1 million in spending without raising the tax rate too high at least for now by passing Mr. Damren’s recommendation. They will worry about next year next year when the revenues do not materialize but the taxpayers will be the ones to suffer the consequences.
Todd(Wednesday, May 30 18 10:01 am EDT)
Rebecca Zullo is kicking ass on the school board but her husband Jeremy barely whimpers out a few questions on the city council. Rebecca is a rock star but Jeremy does not seem to even be a good wannabe groupie.
Diane(Wednesday, May 30 18 09:07 am EDT)
I thought Jon Stone, Jeremy Zullo and Andrew O’Hearne would change the way the city council conducts their business. I thought that budget cuts and an end to the frivolity of spending tax dollars willy-nilly for foolish endeavors report to an end. So far, during the budget debate if you can even call it a debate as no opposing views are verbalized it is simply a race to finish the review and add nearly $1 million to the budget. Spending $100,000 now and $5 million later to resurrect a historic anachronism that will increase the school taxes with more kids to educate is nuts. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a solar array that will only generate about one quarter of the plants power leave in the citywide open to cost fluctuations for both the water and sewer plants because the city manager took the responsibility away from the contractor is also nuts. However, it is great for the contractor. This no-bid policy of picking one company and negotiating a deal behind closed doors is also nuts. The city councilors just sit at their seats looking down at any citizens who voice opposition and their continue the tax-and-spend policies that are destroying the livelihoods of every citizen in the community that is not an overcompensated and well insulated employee of either the city or the school.
Matt(Wednesday, May 30 18 08:38 am EDT)
I have never written comments to this website before because I never thought I had anything important to say. This time I do. I have lived in Claremont most of my life since age 9. I am 67 now, retired. I worked in the janitorial services profession. My last job lasted 32 years. My employer bid on cleaning contracts and it was sometimes my job to sit in on the bid opening procedure to find out who won the bid and to write down what each competitor bid for the job. The process was simple. The city manager or town administrator or selectmen or municipal department supervisor opened the bids with other municipal staff members as witnesses. Each bid was read aloud with the company name and price and then one bid was chosen as the winner. Generally speaking, it was the low price. I cannot believe in this day and age that any local government would stoop to change a process to a way that would make backroom dealing and corruption easier to do. I cannot believe city councilors would abide by such a thing. I admit when I was working I was not paying attention to the goings-on at City Hall. I do remember when Mr. Sullivan was on the city council as he and Mr. Maranville and Mr. Whipple and Mrs. King were pegged as the bad boys and girl of the city council because they were not going along with all these changes and spending increases that have all now proven to be very bad for the taxpayers and citizens of Claremont. Mrs. Lovett and the new city councilors need to change that purchasing policy right away so that it is a done the old-fashioned way out in the open and in public with all the bids opened up and the low bid the winner. The taxpayers deserve honesty, integrity, and transparency with the handling of their hard-earned money that is taxed out of their wallets and purses every year.
Industrial Property Owner(Wednesday, May 30 18 07:00 am EDT)
An amazing exposé of the regional waste industry, Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville have performed yet another highly valued public educational service through their greatly appreciated investigative journalism. I watched the Claremont budget hearings with great interest and was completely unaware of any abnormal problems in regards to disposal costs. Public Works Director Scott Sweet gave no indication during his budget presentation that disposal costs were heading astray. He very matter-of-factly told everyone that Claremont is well protected from market fluctuations via the contract set to expire the end of December with a one-year renewal clause that would offer continued protection with perhaps modest disposal cost increases. City Manager Ryan McNutt and Finance Director Mary Walter concurred offering no sign of’ disagreement. Now that I am aware of the devaluation of specific classifications of recyclables and other market pressures driving up disposal costs for recyclables and municipal waste I have a far different opinion of the matter. I wholeheartedly agree with the logical and quite reasonable conclusion arrived at by Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville that the regional waste industry is in crisis mode and disposal costs are rising out of control. What I fail to understand is how Mr. Sweet, Mr. McNutt and Mrs. Walter can possibly be so ignorant about this imminent catastrophe for Claremont? I can only arrive at two possible conclusions. 1. They are all lazy, incompetent imbeciles incapable of effectively managing Claremont’s municipal government. 2. They are intentionally hiding bad news from the city councilors and the public to keep Mr. McNutt’s budgetary agenda on track. Either scenario paints them as either unfit and/or possibly untrustworthy.
It is self-evident that Casella Waste Systems has achieved market share akin to a monopoly in the waste disposal field. The first-hand experiences of the municipalities of Laconia, Concord, Nashua and Hooksett over the past several months should be a cautionary tale for Claremont. Our community most certainly does not have any price protection as Mr. Sweet, Mr. McNutt and Mrs. Walter would have us so erroneously believe. In fact, this ludicrous price protection myth they are perpetuating is really an outrageous gouging of the local populace by a very large corporation aided by local officials trusted to protect the best interest of Claremont’s citizenry. Other communities negotiated far better prices for waste disposal than Claremont. Clearly, the city’s purchasing policy of inviting bids but only choosing one vendors submission to look at and then negotiating a price with that company is not working to provide necessary municipal services at the lowest possible cost. It does however appear to be helping the profit margins of the successful contract recipients. I recall Mr. Santagate and his puppets on the city council instituted this new policy. The reason why I recall is because Mr. Sullivan was a member of that particular council and he put up a valiant effort to prevent its passage. Mr. Sullivan said it was essentially no bid policy at all and simply created an environment for secret backroom dealing regarding the awarding of large municipal contracts. Unfortunately, Mr. Sullivan’s valid concerns fell on deaf ears and this travesty of a new policy passed with I believe only one nay vote cast by Mr. Sullivan. Mr. Scott Pope was a member of that city council and one of Mr. Santagate’s unthinking puppets. I am thoroughly disappointed that Mr. McNutt has embraced the city’s purchasing policy as evidenced with his awarding of the solar array contract for the municipal wastewater treatment plant. Mr. McNutt’s email to Mr. Sullivan indicates that he shares Mr. Santagate’s philosophy on this important topic and it makes me gravely concerned that Mr. McNutt will not be the person to change Claremont’s municipal government as many of us hoped. Mr. McNutt seems more attuned to retaining the unsustainable status quo. I see my comments are running long so I shall address this issue at another time. Suffice it to say in summary that Claremont’s leadership leaves much to be desired and something must be done regarding the exorbitant waste disposal prices that Claremont taxpayers are currently burdened with because of a poor bidding processes and what appears to be either dreadful or nonexistent contract negotiations taking place behind the closed doors of City Hall.
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, May 29 18 05:49 pm EDT)
New article. Claremont City Officials ignore NH's recycling/waste disposal cost escalation crisis! Full details on the News Flashes page.
Industrial Property Owner(Sunday, May 27 18 05:02 pm EDT)
For those of you who may be unaware the Assistant Mayor, Allen Damren has his own Facebook page. He writes sporadic entries when he tries to foist his propaganda and spread his influence unto those who read his words. His latest offering contains a long section devoted to the present municipal budget approval process. Two of his comments are worth repeating.
The first, his belief that none of the nine city councilors will vote in support of City Manager Ryan McNutt’s proposed $.82 per thousand of city valuation property tax increase. I am not as convinced as Mr. Damren is for I believe there are far too many big spenders on the city council at the present time. I watched the entire budget review process on television and from what I witnessed I firmly believe that not one of the city councilors have the political will to trim anything more than inconsequential small amounts from the proposed municipal budget, generally less than $1,000 on any given budget line item. Hardly enough to affect the tax burden. Mayor Charlene Lovett has plainly stated her intention to take these small change budget cuts and add them to the street paving budget line. Tax burden reduction is not her goal, the other nine city councilors appear to share her philosophy of budget increases as their main priority, and the unreasonable property tax burden is not a concern to any of them at all.
Mr. Damren’s second comment worth mentioning is the conniving accounting trick that he intends to propose that will lower Mr. McNutt’s $.82 per thousand of city valuation property tax increase by $.41 based upon the city’s current valuation. Mr. Damren proposes increasing the bottom line of the municipal revenues by $290,000 without devoting a single word in his Facebook commentary to describe where all this new revenue is allegedly coming from. Mr. Damren’s rationale, he writes is his determination to not vote to weaken any of the city’s public safety functions. I believe he is being somewhat disingenuous because I believe his philosophy is much more intractable and Mr. Damren will not vote in favor of any significant budget cuts because he will only give wholehearted support to spending increases. Mr. Damren’s accounting trick will lower the property tax increase of this proposed municipal budget today. However if the alleged $290,000 revenue windfall does not materialize either another large withdrawal from the city’s cash reserves will be in order or the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration may increase Claremont’s municipal property tax rate to compensate for any imaginary sources of revenue contained within Claremont’s City Council approved FY 2019 municipal budget. Resorting to accounting trickery is not sound management practices.
Robert(Sunday, May 27 18 08:49 am EDT)
McGoodwin said in the Eagle that he was hiring a lawyer to negotiate a fair severance pay settlement. I don't know what there is to negotiate because his contract already says what he gets six-months salary and 12 months health insurance. That's a hell of a lot of money and McGoodwin is still not satisfied. I hope the school board doesn't give him an extra payday on top of that at our expense and then covers it all up by sealing the meeting minutes so that we never find out what they did. They should tell McGoodwin to go to hell.
SNL(Saturday, May 26 18 08:10 am EDT)
good quoting of the Valley News. Why did they beat you to the Press? I thought you were the only pro's araound
Tom(Friday, May 25 18 04:17 pm EDT)
Finally! It is so refreshing to see a school board that represents the best interests of the citizens instead of the best interests of the school administration. Now the school board can make some realistic cuts to the budget without hurting the education of our children. There is a lot of fat in the budget they can be removed.
Jim Sullivan(Friday, May 25 18 08:41 am EDT)
SAU #6 School Board decides to terminate Superintendent's contract as of June 30! Full details on the News Flashes page.
Jim Sullivan(Thursday, May 24 18 11:57 am EDT)
New article. Synopsis of May 23 Claremont City Council meeting. Full details on the News Flashes page.
www(Wednesday, May 23 18 05:57 pm EDT)
3 more bite the dust 2 on pleasanty st 1 on maple ave lets dump mote money in there so we can build up that area good job mcnutt
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, May 23 18 03:05 pm EDT)
Unlike the Sawtooth Building, the JSL Building is not in the Historic District. This means the Historic District Commission has no authority regarding the JSL Building.
ssspoiler snake(Wednesday, May 23 18 08:06 am EDT)
I hope that the Historical Society can find something very special about the JSL Building,much like they did the Sawtooth.They should be given very strict(expensive)parameters for the restoration of the building.Should cost millions!
Industrial Property Owner(Wednesday, May 23 18 06:06 am EDT)
Fantastic exposé of the JSL building condition discrepancies. Our new city manager believes that the building is in good condition, which flies in the face of everything his predecessor and his administrative staff described. I agree with the contention of Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville that a third-party inspection of the property is necessary to determine its true condition and the cost to renovate the building back into service. All of Mr. McNutt’s administrative staff is compromised because it is unlikely that they will wish to reverse their original assessment and face public scrutiny and the ruination of their reputation if they intentionally misled the public in the year 2014. It will not matter if they were following orders or the acting out of some misplaced loyalty, lying to the public is unforgivable. At this point, none of their opinions or conclusions can be trusted. Mr. Burr and Mrs. Merrill have the most to lose in all of this, as they are the highest-ranking members of the prior administration who possibly gave fraudulent information to close the building. The roller-skating rink gave many young children in Claremont great pleasure and if the building was closed for the sole purpose of advancing a political agenda their actions are reprehensible and worthy of job termination. Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville raise an excellent point regarding the similarities between the saga of the JSL Building and the sad tale of the municipal outdoor swimming pool. The city administration wanted both facilities closed to concentrate all resources on the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center to make that a success. Now several years later we all know that the new community center is a grandiose financial failure as is every other project initiated by the prior municipal administration. Unfortunately, it is the same administration today with a new city manager, who is unwilling to terminate the many staff members under his supervision with a dismal job performance record. Until he is willing to make some difficult choices and change key positions at the top of his administration Mr. McNutt will continue to do what he has done thus far ramble along affecting only minor changes while accomplishing nothing of importance.
Tom(Tuesday, May 22 18 07:51 pm EDT)
It looks like the old city administration with the help of the new Fire Chief pulled a fast one on the City Council to close up the JSL because the Parks and Rec Director did not want to manage the building. You guys raised a good point about the outdoor pool. They may have done the same thing to close that by lying about the bad condition of the pool. It may not have been as bad as they said. Jeff Barrett may have been right all along. Rotten SOB's. The kids lose the outdoor pool and the rollerskating rink so the adults can have a taxpayer subsidized adult health club. Sometimes I really hate this community. I don't hate the working class citizens I hate the elite A holes that take what they want on the taxpayers dime and they take advantage of everyone in the process. What really gets me mad is the councilors let them get away with it time and time again. They're either that dumb or they are in collusion with them.
Jim Sullivan(Tuesday, May 22 18 04:46 pm EDT)
New article just published regarding the JSL Building. For full information go to the News Flashes page of this website.
Tony(Tuesday, May 22 18 04:30 pm EDT)
Glad to hear you are Packing up to move. We need people who can pay the taxes, not deadbeats.
Packing(Tuesday, May 22 18 09:03 am EDT)
$5,000 surge in interest revenue the city received this last year paints a pretty grim picture for Claremont.It is indicative that people are falling behind in property tax payments.In the land that boom forgot incomes are stagnant.There is 0 room for property tax increases without running more people out of their houses.Why don't these people get it?
Chris(Monday, May 21 18 02:36 pm EDT)
I love the latest article. It was very well written and informative. The ticker, Eagle Times and Valley News just cannot compete when it comes to in-depth investigative journalism. Quite frankly I do not believe any of them knows the meaning of the word journalism as they continue not to engage in the practice of their own profession. Slanting news in favor of government entities and duping the public believing that what they write is the truth is not journalism but propaganda. The Sullivan Report is the public's only source of true journalism. I learned more about the city manager's budget submission by reading this article on the Sullivan Report then I did watching most of that Saturday meeting. I will say I am extremely disappointed with our city councilors as none of them are trying to make any substantial cuts to the budget. The taxpayers are not well represented.
SNL(Monday, May 21 18 10:51 am EDT)
That's cute, This entire blog is the work of bitter, small minded voted out ex officials! Apparently you can't see the nose on your face.
and with the protection of this blog, I can be anyone, and say anything.
Laura(Monday, May 21 18 10:02 am EDT)
Somebody is upset about the exposure and criticism of city official's spending proclivities. Belittling commentary is the work of angry, small minded people.
SNL(Monday, May 21 18 09:00 am EDT)
(Sunday, May 20 18 03:04 pm EDT)
Donald Trumps performance is a very big disappointment. I spoke with him several times during his election campaign. He stayed on his message of balancing true needs with the public’s ability to pay. He represented himself as committed to holding spending down and intending to reduce the size of government spending. His attitude during this budget review is the complete opposite of her campaign promises. He goes out of his way to ask each department director if he or she would like more money to operate his or her department with a clear desire to increase budget spending wherever he can. It is upsetting to find out that some citizens will say or do anything to get elected. He will never receive my support again.
You just met Populist Politics.
Jennifer(Sunday, May 20 18 03:04 pm EDT)
Abigail Kier’s performance on the city council is a very big disappointment. I spoke with her several times during her reelection campaign. She stayed on her message of balancing true needs with the public’s ability to pay. She represented herself as committed to holding spending down and intending to reduce the size of government spending. Her attitude during this budget review is the complete opposite of her campaign promises. She goes out of her way to ask each department director if he or she would like more money to operate his or her department with a clear desire to increase budget spending wherever she can. It is upsetting to find out that some citizens will say or do anything to keep a seat on the city council. She will never receive my support again.
Terry(Sunday, May 20 18 08:40 am EDT)
Claremont's tax rate is too high as it is and the clods at City Hall and on the City Council are all chomping at the bit to spend $5 million on a dying downtown. They have no idea if this project is going to help but they want to do it anyway. Sullivan and Maranville have got it right when they asked the question what will the taxpayers get in return for that investment. Their answer is the correct nothing of real value. A little more parking downtown perhaps but at one heck of a high price. A few new mom-and-pop junk shops that hire minimum wage help if they employ any help at all. Then there are all of the apartments for the welfare families to migrate to Claremont and live-in. The kids will fill our schools, raising the taxes for the schools because the schools will need more teachers, maybe more classrooms, etc. A police presence might be needed if crime in the downtown area increases. As far as I'm concerned it is all negatives and no positives. It would be wiser to spend the $5 million elsewhere like may be on the roads. But that would be far too intelligent of an idea for the idiots managing Claremont's city government to understand.
David(Saturday, May 19 18 04:30 pm EDT)
I watched the long budget review on CCTV last Saturday. I was very disappointed with the city councilors. Mrs. Kier only seemed interested in adding more spending to the budget asking the directors if they needed more money to operate. Mrs. Lovett tried to find nickels and dimes in the budget that would not amount to any big budget cuts because she wants to put any savings she found into road paving. Looking to cut one thousand dollars or less only a few times in the entire budget review amounts to practically nothing. She suggested only a few minor cuts that the councilors agreed to that will not come close to pay to pave a small parking lot let alone any road in Claremont. Mr. Zullo asked a few questions about spending but he made no recommendations for budget cuts. The rest of the councilors all seemed happy with the managers spending plan that adds almost $1 million to the budget. The voters screwed up again electing the wrong people to represent us.
Richard(Saturday, May 19 18 09:02 am EDT)
Payroll is the taxpayer's biggest expense of the city budget. The benefits are too generous and they are bleeding the taxpayers dry. prime examples are health insurance and retirement benefits. City councilors do not care because they are too closely tied to the union employees. Look at today's councilors, two Ex-Claremont police officers, a call firefighter, an ex-assistant superintendent of schools and a Claremont schoolteacher all sympathetic to the unions. Other councilors are also sympathetic to the union employees to the detriment of the taxpayers, a much largest constituency that our city leaders continue to ignore and take advantage of because they are more interested in representing certain special interests. Until true representatives of the people are elected this will never change.
Sarah(Friday, May 18 18 05:27 pm EDT)
The councilors have always been willing accomplices to whatever shenanigans the city administration wants. The taxpayers or the ratepayers always get the short of the stick. Voters are also partially to blame because they elect representatives that only want to represent certain segments of the populace, especially the unionized employees. We had good city councilors several years ago but the voters unwisely did not support them. Now Claremont has the highest tax rate in the state because the intelligent fiscally conservative councilors are no longer representing us as they were replaced with councilors who are in the pockets of the local unions and the special interests. It also seems there is no end in sight to the skyrocketing tax rate because the present day councilors cannot stop themselves from spending oodles of taxpayer’s money whether it’s for something legitimate or something extremely cockamamie it doesn’t really matter to them.
Scott(Friday, May 18 18 03:46 pm EDT)
Assessing isn’t the only swindle. How about the streetlights scam that is not producing the big savings just like the community center and the downtown municipal parking garage electricity usage after LED lighting upgrades and what about the solar panel array it’s only going to pay for about a quarter of the wastewater plants electricity and cost ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for a modest return. Then as Sullivan and Maranville cleverly pointed out the management contractors get one hell of a deal because now they are no longer responsible for rising electric rates at either plant. The ratepayers are being screwed, the company installing the solar array got the job without a legitimate bid process and the management contractor may increase their profit margin on the contract. Everyone wins but the ratepayers, typical Claremont. The councilors once again failed to protect the citizens opting instead to represent the special interests and let them take advantage of us citizens who are ratepayers.
Amanda(Thursday, May 17 18 04:11 pm EDT)
This property revaluation is nothing more than a giant flimflam. I’ll bet the city leaders have a preset number in mind to raise the city’s total assessment to and they are going to divvy out the assessment increase they want on all the properties so they can drop the tax rate to hide the tax burden. It also sets city officials up to spend more money next year because the tax rate will be lower but the tax burden will be a hell of a lot higher. It is an insidious scam that would never be set into motion by honest, ethical government officials. The fact that all the councilors and the city administrators are all willing to move forward with this property revaluation speaks to their lack of character. It is time to clean house and get all new leadership.
Kevin(Thursday, May 17 18 03:07 pm EDT)
Of course they do but the thing is despite their rhetoric Mayor Lovett and the other councilors do not give a damn about anyone but their cronies. Unionized employees and the special interests always get top consideration while the rest of the populace gets none. City and school leaders only see us as a funding source for their political aspirations and spending agenda.
Linda(Thursday, May 17 18 02:55 pm EDT)
Doesn’t the city councilors realize that you cannot keep withdrawing large amounts of funds from the city emergency cash account for everyday bills because eventually the money will be all gone and then the property tax rate will rise up quite a bit to make up the difference? Don’t they care with this is doing to family budgets? The stress and pressure they are putting on family dynamics because of dwindling available cash for other family needs?
Erik(Thursday, May 17 18 01:48 pm EDT)
I am upset about the Community Center losing more and more money and costing the taxpayers more with that annual subsidy. The numbskulls on the city council all seem serene about the whole thing. Maybe they like the taxpayers subsidizing their health club membership because make no mistake the community center is really a health club for Claremont’s elite. The entitled prigs, who run the city like their own fiefdom. City and school unionized employees and certain citizens representing local special interests that all take advantage of the working class citizens of Claremont.
Robert(Thursday, May 17 18 10:52 am EDT)
What about the property assessments that the city manager is fast tracking? The computerized statistical analysis is a fraud to greatly increase property assessments to greatly decrease the property tax rate. It is a gimmick that we all experienced before under the past manager that added over $100 million to the city’s overall property value during a deep recession. It was total BS and I remember the Sullivan Report saying that it was. Finally, the property assessments became so divorced from reality that the state DRA interceded and forced a revaluation that lowered property values down to reality eliminating that $100 million excess assessment that was cheating practically every property owner in Claremont. This is the $100 million that the city manager, the finance director, Mayor Lovett and the other councilors all mourn the loss of as if it were a close personal friend or relative. The new city manager, also hailing from Taxachusetts, is trying to start the whole process over again with this computerized revaluation to presumably regain those lost millions of inflated property assessments. Unfortunately, the councilors we have our all on board because they want to continue spending lots of money and the only way they can do it is by lowering the tax rate to hide from the public the true cost of all their out-of-control spending. They are ruining the city for the working-class residents who are only seen by the city councilors and administrators as cash cows to be milked mercilessly.
Tom(Thursday, May 17 18 10:40 am EDT)
I am not happy about the CDA getting off the hook by no longer having to pay $20,000 a year for economic development services their organization receives from the city. I know they are city offshoot organization but still they should have to pay their fair share like everyone else. It is more of the ole boy’s club mentality when the taxpaying public is screwed because of backroom dealing at City Hall. I thought a new city manager and some new councilors would change things but it is just different faces at the helm doing more of the same shenanigans behind our backs.
Mark(Thursday, May 17 18 09:08 am EDT)
I don’t like the idea of pulling money out of the rainy day fund to temporarily cut $.55 from the tax hike. So much is being withdrawn from the cash reserve account that this soon will be nothing left except much higher taxes for everyone. I am very disappointed with our city councilors. All they seem to do is spend money for things that give Claremont very little bang for their buck.
Steve(Thursday, May 17 18 08:46 am EDT)
About $1 million of new spending and no new roadwork projects to show for it because none of those million dollars is going for roadwork maintenance and reconstruction. Wrongheaded thinking from lamebrain city councilors, city department directors and a new city manager. People need to speak up before it is too late because McNutt, Lovett, Damren and the rest of the clods do not know what they are doing.
Jennifer(Wednesday, May 16 18 05:27 pm EDT)
The spending preferences are all wrong. The roads in Claremont are horrendous. Hiring more consultants and starting new expensive projects without bidding out the contracts is insane but they have the support of Mayor Lovett and the other eight city councilors. The voters must wake up and begin to elect representatives with more common sense.
Todd(Wednesday, May 16 18 05:08 pm EDT)
McNutt is nuts and so are the city councilors who hired him. He wants to add almost $1 million of new spending to the budget and not one penny of it is going to fixing up the deteriorating roads. He wants a property reassessment so he can hike up all the property assessments. It’s more like a secret tax that lowers the property tax rate but costs everyone a hell of a lot more in the tax bill because their property assessment went up and that means they pay more not only for the city but for the county and the schools too. Then for his next stupid human trick, he wants to sink $5 million of our tax money into the dying downtown. What will we get for it? Minimum wage jobs and more welfare families to take care of, as if we don’t have enough already. The idiots on the council hired a real winner here, but then they all seem to be on board with this cockamamie plan too. I thought the new councilors were going to change things but they seem to be just as bad as the ones they replaced. The Claremont taxpayers are about to get royally screwed.
Industrial Property Owner(Wednesday, May 16 18 03:51 pm EDT)
Articles such as today’s is the reason why the Sullivan Report is so valued by the citizens wishing to be completely informed about local government affairs. There is a wealth of information in the budget exposé that should give residents much for food for thought. I must say I am greatly disappointed with Ryan McNutt. He is turning out to be a younger version of his predecessor, sharing similar views of local governance. Tax-and-spend policies is not what Claremont needs at this present juncture. Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Maranville make an excellent point in regards to the ROI (return on investment) for the taxpayers for this proposed $5 million plus downtown revitalization project. A few low wage scale jobs and apartment dwellers producing increase student population in Claremont’s local schools does nothing for economic development but it certainly has many negative ramifications for the local tax rate. Analyzing this proposed investment rationally without bias only arrive at one conclusion, this will be a very bad investment for Claremont taxpayers. Another costly government project with pie-in-the-sky promises that will never materialize such as those that were made with the Downtown TIF District and the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center, that both require ongoing taxpayer cash infusions because cost estimates that were used to sell the taxpaying public on these projects were unrealistic at best and fraudulent at worst. Of course, that would depend upon your point of view. I will review this information in more depth and comment further at another time.
Gail(Wednesday, May 16 18 01:51 pm EDT)
Amazing article. My head is still swimming from all the detailed information in the article. I am going to read it again tonight when I get home so I can absorb all the information. I will comment again later because I have some deep concerns about our new city manager and city council being up to the challenge because all they seem to want to do is spend money and cross their fingers and hope for good results. That is not management that is wishful thinking. Claremont deserves better leadership than what we've got.
unstuck(Wednesday, May 16 18 01:50 pm EDT)
I'm just about at the 1 year mark of not paying Claremont taxes.I haven't heard anything from city hall.i figure on 2 more years.The gras in knee high and the paint falling off the house looks a sight! I'm done caring about Claremont with the greed the civil servants have shown.Looks like this new manager is just as bad as the last.Good luck collecting any more money from the broke folks of Claremont,they are out of gas friend.
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, May 16 18 12:49 pm EDT)
New article just published on the News Flashes page. An in-depth examination of Claremont City Manager Ryan McNutt's Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal. It is a long article with lots of information, as it took some time to examine these municipal budgets with a fine tooth comb.
Tony(Tuesday, May 15 18 03:29 pm EDT)
Good to see the low turn out and poor community forum input.
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, May 09 18 05:28 pm EDT)
City Officials postponed the refuse tax deed agenda item until the Council's May 23rd meeting. We will see if Municipal Administration Officials include a list of the properties they will recommend that the Council not take possession of through the tax deeding process in the May 23 Council information packet. We will also see if the building containing Councilor Nick Koloski's bar and other businesses makes that list once again!
Jim Sullivan(Wednesday, May 09 18 12:49 pm EDT)
I received a letter dated today authored by Claremont City Manager Ryan McNutt. This was a response to my NH Right to Know Law Request for Information for a copy of the list of properties that the McNutt Administration was going to recommend that the City Council not take under the tax deeding process.
McNutt's response; "The Refuse Tax Deed item will be removed from the May 9 Council agenda". The City Administration did not release the document listing the properties they do not wish to seize through the tax deeding process. So those properties still remain a secret.
Todd(Monday, May 07 18 05:38 pm EDT)
The councilors really screwed up this time. Both of you have been saying for months how the councilors need to familiarize themselves with correct protocol and procedures and they ignore that good advice and continue to wallow in their ignorance. Now the worm has turned and it is time for them to pay the piper for their arrogance and stupidity. I cannot wait to read about what the councilors really think about the city manager. It might not be flattering.
Jim Sullivan(Monday, May 07 18 04:23 pm EDT)
Gail, the McNutt Administration published the Claremont City Council information packet for Wednesday’s meeting on the City website today. Missing from the information packet was a list of the multiple year tax delinquent properties that the administration is going to recommend that the Council refuse to take under the tax deeding process. As promised we have submitted a request for that information under the NH Right to Know Law to the City Manager, his executive assistant and we also carbon copied Mayor Charlene Lovett.
Several interesting things in this information packet but one in particular I wish to mention now. Reviewing the April 11, 2018 meeting minutes, the Council went into a nonpublic meeting session regarding the City Manager’s quarterly evaluation. When the Council exited the meeting, they adjourned without sealing the meeting minutes. According to NH RSA 91 – A: 3 III, unsealed nonpublic meeting minutes are available to the public after 72 hours. The public meeting minutes state that City Councilor Scott Pope took those nonpublic meeting minutes. I have submitted an official request for those meeting minutes with the intent to publish them on this website once we receive them. I included in the request incontrovertible proof of the legality for this document request. The NH RSA stating that unsealed meeting minutes are available to the public after 72 hours and a copy of the public meeting minutes before and after the nonpublic meeting, which irrefutably shows that the Council did not seal the meeting minutes, thus now making those nonpublic meeting minutes a public document subject to public inspection by anyone making a request, which I have officially done. I submitted this official request to the City Manager, his executive assistant and I also, carbon copied Mayor Charlene Lovett.
It will be interesting to see if Claremont City Officials comply with the law and provide a copy of Councilor Scott Pope’s meeting minutes or if they will try to get creative to subvert the law. Several possibilities spring to mind such as trying to retroactively insert a motion to seal the nonpublic meeting minutes into the official record claiming a typographical error or some other cockamamie lame unbelievable excuse. Perhaps Pope, a schoolteacher, will claim his dog ate the meeting minutes, or perhaps claim that he never actually took any meeting minutes, or that he lost them, etc. Of course, they could also foolishly decide to illegally redact the meeting minutes or illegally edit those meeting minutes after the fact.
We hope Claremont City Officials will have the decency and the integrity to comply with the law and provide us with Councilor Scott Pope’s unaltered meeting minutes. Time will tell.
Tony(Monday, May 07 18 03:33 pm EDT)
Glad to see you have kept this no names required. That way the slander and outrageous misinformation can continue with no way for victims to respond. Good thinking to completely revamp your page, but leave the one thing to add truth to you page turned off.
Jim Sullivan(Sunday, May 06 18 02:25 pm EDT)
Excellent question Gail. We may know the answer to that question as soon as Monday when the City Council meeting information packet is published on the City website. It should include an itemized list of all the addresses of the properties that the McNutt Administration is recommending that the Council not take possession of through the tax deeding process for failure to pay property taxes for several years. Rest assured we will file a Right to Know Request if for some reason that document is missing or if it fails to identify each of the parcels not to be seized. City Officials could easily do that for example by identifying the properties by only using map and lot numbers when the capability to search for property ownership via map and lot number has been removed from the City's GIS System. Especially since that method has never been available via the Vision Appraisal website, the only other online source for this material). Gail, do not worry because we want to know the answer to that question ourselves as do our readers and we will make sure that all of you know the truth once that information becomes available.
Gail(Saturday, May 05 18 03:10 pm EDT)
Nice to see you back, we missed you.
The agenda for the next city council meeting has the council scheduled to refuse taking certain property tax delinquent again. Is Council man Nick Koloski's landlord going to get another years free ride from paying his property taxes again continue to keep their building without paying property taxes? This good old boy network is getting old and I am tired of the taxpayers getting stuck with the bill all the time. I had hoped that Mr. McNutt would be different but he is just a dimwitted version of his predecessor. Perhaps because the city councilors we elect want to maintain Claremont's good old boy /one hand washes the other with political favors political system.
Mike(Saturday, May 05 18 02:20 pm EDT)
Good timing with your return. McNutt just doesn't get it. Another Taxachusetts tax-and-spend bureaucrat who can't control his spending urges. Lovett and the other incumbent councilors are all salivating with anticipation at the thought of spending more of the taxpayers money on things that will not bring prosperity to Claremont or lower the insanely high property tax burden.These brain-dead bureaucratic drones only know one thing spend, spend, spend! The newbies on the Council are not showing any signs of intelligence or differences of opinion. I hope that will change with the budget review but I am not holding my breath. I have seen it time and time again when the candidates promise anything and everything to the voters so they can get elected and then once they are there all the false promises that they made a.k.a. lies go right out the window. I am upset with this tax increase the city manager wants but I am more concerned about the councilors adding more spending to the budget to bring the tax increase up even higher. I look forward to reading your articles so I can better educate myself about how our elected officials are stabbing all of their constituents right in the back. At least those constituents who do not have these councilors in their pocket like the city's unionized employees and a few of the nonprofits like the maker space outfit they get the building for practically nothing and tax breaks on top of that and the nonprofit running the bus service that will probably get a nice big handout from the taxpayers again this year. It is just sickening to see how the taxpayers are so shabbily treated by their elected leaders.
Jim Sullivan(Saturday, May 05 18 08:55 am EDT)
I would like to thank everyone for their comments. We will be doing an in-depth article regarding the City Manager's proposed fiscal year 2019 municipal budget. While the Valley News did a superior job over the Eagle Times regarding the reporting of the highlights of the budget proposal, both reporters barely scratched the surface and missed several interesting and / or disturbing items within the budget proposal. We have been perusing the electronic copy of the budget proposal that is available on the city website and on Friday I purchased a hard copy of the budget proposal from the city. We will now closely analyze the material, cross-reference it with other data that we have in our possession and then provide you all with a detailed analysis of our initial findings. We will also need to submit a Right to Know request to the City Manager's Office for information and clarification of several things we found already. Once we receive this information we will publish a follow-up article to keep our readers fully apprised of what is really going on with their tax dollars because we all know from past experience that the local press will neither take the time or initiative to do any legitimate investigative journalism regarding this budget proposal nor will they print a single word that might be construed as critical or harsh in regards to any local government officials or any of their proposals. What passes for conventional journalism in Claremont these days is really public relations style politically correctly worded press releases disguised as news reports. This is why we do what we do, to inform the public about the important things that they should know about that for whatever reason local government officials and the conventional local press choose to either suppress or ignore.
Steve(Friday, May 04 18 08:15 am EDT)
I am happy to see that you are back in business. I missed not getting the truth about city and school affairs. Both of you do a wonderful service for the public. Will you be doing an in-depth article about Mr. McNutt's new budget?
William(Thursday, May 03 18 02:16 pm EDT)
It is so good to see you once again publishing articles. It is important now more than ever with the city manager's new spending budget. I think he is clueless about how to fix the city's financial problems. His answer seems to be spend money and don't stop until things are better. He does not seem to realize that more spending and higher taxes will make matters worse not better. I fear he may get his way because there are few city councilors with any common sense. The incumbents are all gung-ho about spending more and more money for things that do nothing to make Claremont better. I watch the meetings on CCTV and I cannot believe my eyes and ears as to how stupid our elected representatives are. They cannot conduct a proper meeting or act professionally and they are so purposefully ignorant about municipal finance and rules and regulations that it is staggering. It is no wonder that Claremont continues to wither and die because of mismanagement and overspending. Please keep us informed about this new budget because I agree with Todd the reporters in Claremont are all in bed with the city and school leaders. The do not want to rock the boat and they just write whatever they are told without any investigation into what is really true. Please keep up the good work. The Sullivan Report is a local institution of truth that Claremont cannot live without. Thank you.
Todd(Thursday, May 03 18 12:33 pm EDT)
Nice to see you guys back on the job. I suppose you saw the papers today about the big tax hike the city manager wants to shove down our throats after telling how good it is for us. I don't think he has any idea what he is doing and neither do any of the city councilors. The blind leading the blind or should I say the ignorant leading the ignorant. Will you guys be doing a story about this budget proposal too? I doubt the reporters at the Valley News and the Eagle Times told us everything that the taxpayers need to know about this budget proposal. You guys always do a better job of drilling down and getting at the truth.
Sarah(Thursday, May 03 18 08:52 am EDT)
Welcome back. Your readers have missed you. The other reporters for the Claremont beat do not scrutinize government officials as well as you do. In truth, they do not scrutinize government officials at all. This is why the Sullivan Report is so important to the citizens of Claremont.