Goffstown resident Gatie Benner, the lady who led the opposition to Plan Pinardville  (Planned Pinardhood), has written this guest editorial to draw attention to the January 16, 2014 Public Hearing on the Goffstown budget.

Has your Goffstown Real Estate Taxes gone up anywhere between $350-$700 since last year? Can you afford such increases every year? Can you see your taxes doubling or even tripling in a short amount of time? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then please help me speak out.


Why has the 2014 proposed School Budget of $36.5 Million plus the proposed Town Budget of $28.3 Million equaling $64.8 Million, more than tripled since 1992? Back in1992, the combined town and school budget totaled to only $19.8 Million (per 1992 town report)


Back in 1992, the average annual income for people working in Metropolitan areas was  $27,051 (per gov news release) ; 17 years later, (per NH Employment Security) the per capita for 2009 was only $27,748;  as you see, income pretty much did not change in 17 years.  It appears that many average people are now earning the same as they were 17 years ago. If you are working and making a wage of $15 an hour or $31,200 a year, you are pretty darn lucky.


Reasons why our budget is out of control include: we are paying employees outrageous salaries; we offer many other benefits such as retirement contributions of 10%-27% of the employee’s salaries, contributions over $22,000 a year for one employee’s health insurance, cash backs of 55%+ of the insurance costs to employees that waive insurances, insurances for some employees that only work 20 hours, yearly longevity bonuses of $850-$3,250, in addition to regular retirement pay, we also give some people special lump sum retirement bonuses of $5,000-$20,000. We offer health insurances to retirees, we give tuition reimburse and give people raises once they receive a degree. We continue to offer raises of 3% or more and we pay for employees to have cell phones.


Did you know that with benefits, our Town Administrator earns more than $136,000. With benefits, we have School Principals earning more than $145,000 a year.  Our IT Director’s base salary is $86,340, our Town Assessor’s base is $78,075. One Assistant Principal’s base is $80,322, Special Ed Facilitators earn a base of $75,700, Curriculum Coordinator’s base is $76.700, and Guidance Coordinators earn a base of $67,700.


Per the minutes of the 10/21/13 Goffstown School Board Meeting, Goffstown average teacher base salary is $52,405 a year. In addition to this $52,405 salary, add the 14% we pay for retirement, add the $22,000 we could pay for insurances, longevity pay, taxes etc. and the net cost to employ this teacher is at least $86,420.


The Police subdivision chart of the Retirees (report of 2011) reflect that we are paying retirement salaries as high as $89,485.44 a year.  Per the Teacher Subdivision list (report of 2011) reflects that we are paying retirement salaries as high as $57,176.64. Please note that all of this retirement money is in excess to what these retirees get from social security.


How much longer can the person who earns $27,748 gross a year and the senior citizen that makes less than $12,000 a year, pay salaries and benefits that add up to $86,420+ a year?  This is over 3x the average person’s income.  How long will it take us to be taxed out of our home?


Please attend Selectmen, Budget, and School Board meetings.  Please speak up. Email and write to our Selectmen, School Board Members, SAU and the Superintendent of Schools. Tell our Governing Body to renegotiate all our employee’s contracts so we can : Stop the retirement bonuses, lower our town’s contribution to the employee’s retirement plans, lower our town’s contribution to our employee’s health insurance, stop longevity pay, stop the pay backs for the employees that do not take our insurance, stop the town’s insurance contributions to part time 20 hour employees and either cut salaries or freeze them.


Attend the Budget Committee Meeting at 7 pm on Thursday, January 16th  at Goffstown High School Auditorium.


I can not speak up by myself. I need your help. Let us do something before it is too late. We can not allow our Town to tax us out of our homes and we can not allow our Town to Go Bankrupt.