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.