Thoughts on a Hassan ‘zero or minimal’ levy

Many of you have heard talk of imposing a zero or minimal levy for 2012 as a tax break for the Hassan taxpayers. This tactic will bring only harm to the taxpayers of Hassan, the taxpayers of Rogers and the community as a whole.
The operation of the township for the year 2012 is the responsibility of the residents of Hassan. Hassan’s fund balances will only carry the township midway through 2012, leaving a million-dollar gap between then and July of 2013. The township will still need snow plowing, road and building maintenance, insurance, fire protection, employee payroll, etc. for this period. These services will have to be delivered and paid for.
With a zero levy, two things will happen on Jan. 1, 2012:
1. Our expenses will become the responsibility of Rogers, and
2. We will become Rogers taxpayers.
Not only will we have a higher tax rate and a million-dollar shortfall to make up, but we will have dragged the Rogers taxpayers (including Hassan taxpayers that were annexed in 2010) into our unnecessary debt.
The sensible alternative to this is to accept the offer made by the city of Rogers and set the levy as proposed at the Aug. 15 Town Board workshop. This will give Hassan residents a four-year phase-in to the Rogers tax rate. It will allow for the township to exist until July of 2012. This will help create a smooth and peaceful merger and leave enough funds in the combined city to execute the existing Financial Management Plan delivering an additional approximately $282,000 annually in capital improvement road funds and equipment amortization directly to the needs of the township area in addition to police service.
Vote for the full levy Sept. 6 at the Annual Town Meeting at the Hassan Town Hall. —Dick Martin, Hassan