Epsom Public Library:
“Take Your Child to the Library Breakfast:” Saturday, February 18th
9:30 am. Celebrate with a special Dr. Seuss themed breakfast,
stories and a craft. Children will receive a free book, stickers and
bookmark! Reservations are suggested! Sign up at the circulation
desk or call the library at 736-9920 for more information. If you
would like to donate food or drinks for the breakfast call Mrs.
Movie matinées continue
at the Epsom Public Library with the showing of The Secret Agent on
Wednesday, Feb 15 at 1:30 PM. This “thriller” is an adaption by the
BBC of a Joseph Conrad novel. Set in 1886 Victorian England, it
tells the story of Anton Verloc, an unassuming shopkeeper, who,
unbeknownst to anyone close to him, also works for the Russian
embassy as a spy. He is given an assignment that he hates and not
following through would mean his identity as a spy would be
Epsom Food Pantry
Hi everybody. Well,
again another busy week for Ken and his crew. And for we who do
paperwork, we too have been busy.
Ken bought us a new
refrigerator this past week. It’s a beauty. It’s all refrigerator,
no freezer, and it gives us more room for milk, eggs, and fresh
veggies. Come summer, with the new one and the old one, we will be
able to store our veggies in a cool place.
We also had a nice
delivery from the school with more canned goods and stock for the
Pantry. Also, Herb and Donna Hodgdon brought in food for the Pantry.
Thank you so much everybody. It will be put to good use.
Ken also said a gal from
a Concord Church gave him a case of mac and cheese. When I went to
the mail today there was a very very nice check from the Dorcas
Guild of the First Congregational Church of Pittsfield. You know
people, I do not know what we would do if it was not for the
wonderful church groups, not only Epsom but our dear friends in
Pittsfield, who work hard at their fairs and money making events
and they never forget us.
We are indeed so
fortunate and deeply grateful to all these folks.
Until next time,
Letter To The Editor
Dated January 20, 2017,
Donald Trump through Presidential Executive Action removed the
individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act. It will now fall
under its own weight. When the Heritage Foundation (conservative
think tank) came up with original principles of ACA, they concluded
“no mandate” scenario would render the Act useless.
The phony “repeal and
replace” put forth by Republicans will: end coverage for preexisting
conditions; end ability of kids to remain on parents policy until
age 26; eliminate critical payments to rural hospitals; remove
discrimination protection for women’s healthcare; remove 18% max
profit limit for health insurance companies (health insurers enjoyed
on average 25 to 28% prior to ACA). No doubt, once again health
insurers will be denying coverage/canceling policies to suit their
profit goals. Block “grants” to states will dramatically lower the
coverage pool. Downshift costs to states.
Hence, from January 20,
2017 forward we have “Trumpcare.” What a “brand!”
Epsom Selectmen’s Office Updates
The BOS has proposed a
warrant article to establish a fund for future work on the Meeting
House and other town owned buildings. It is the Board’s hope to
finally be able to open at least the lower level of the meeting
house for use by our residents. The fund will also be used for major
repairs to other buildings that may arise so as to not impact the
The Board was
disappointed that we fell 12 votes shy of the 60% needed for the
proposed new Town Office Building last year. We have a long history
of attempts to build a new Town Office. A warrant article is on the
ballot to put away funds that can lessen the impact to the tax rate
when we are finally successful.
Our former Assessing
firm, Avitar, fulfilled their contract at the end of December 2016
and the Board voted to award our assessing contract to M&N Assessing
starting January 2017.
The Board has been
reviewing all the surplus properties owned by the town and sold 2
parcels in December. Proceeds from these and future sales will help
to lower what needs to be raised by taxes and will also put these
properties back on the tax roll to generate tax revenue for the
town. We enlisted assistance from local realtors and the Board
would like to keep utilizing their services and expertise as it
helps with sales of the properties and results in higher sales
prices. There is a warrant article which asks for the authority to
list our sale properties through a real estate agent.
There was a change in
personnel at the town office this year. After many years of service
to the town, John Dodge, Chair of the Planning Board resigned and we
wish him well! Also, Debbie Tibbetts, Assessing Assistant resigned
and went on to new adventures. The Board thanks them for their time
and services to the Town!
This year we have updated
some of the job descriptions for our staff. During some of our
regular meetings we had scheduled time to meet with all of our
Department Heads and staff to conduct the annual review of job
Mr. Crowley recently
donated his family’s collection of old Town Reports. It is
interesting to compare the reports! Here is a “bit-of-history” – in
1913 the Town paid out $202.76 for the “Gypsy and Brown-Tail Moth”
accounts and $65.05 to paint the “Gypsy Moth Nests”.
The Library circulated
2,250 books. The High School tuition was $400.00. There
were 4 Road Agents, one for each district!
To my constituents in
Allenstown, Epsom, and Pittsfield,
This week, my committee
heard three bills about retiree health benefits. I didn’t notice any
constituents in the crowd, but almost a hundred people showed up,
and many of them testified in opposition. HB624, which simply
clarified the laws to allow retired judges to participate (at their
own expense) and updated a number of references, had no opposition.
HB653, requiring retirees over 65 to contribute to their health care
coverage was strongly opposed by retirees and active employees
alike. HB645, ending retiree health coverage for future hires and
converting current and future retirees to a defined contribution
health plan, was equally opposed by employees and even less
attractive to the committee, because the burden would be placed
primarily on the older retirees who would have to research and apply
for private coverage.
HB631, creating a cash
balance version of the defined benefit plan for new employees, had a
lengthy hearing as many committee members were unfamiliar with the
variants of pension plans that have been considered in the last few
years. This plan looks like a 401(k), in that members see their
balances increased by their contributions and growth, but all funds
are mingled and professionally invested, the state guarantees a
minimum return, gains above this are shared with the members, and
members who leave prior to retirement can take the funds with them.
I can’t see this bill passing immediately, due to its complexity,
but it neeeds serious consideration.
We also heard a number of
other, more minor bills, including HB593, which yet again tried to
move some positions in the Department of Corrections from Group I to
Group II (police, fire, corrections). New positions are created in
Group I even if equvalent, existing positions are Group II by either
statute or grandfathering senior personnel.