Wake up Sunapee

The future of Sunapee is at stake.

The school building committee has been hard at work on plans for a new elementary school. I am deeply concerned about the possible negative impacts this will have on the town of Sunapee and its future.

Current projections show the cost somewhere between $25 and $30 million. The bond to pay off the school will be shared by all the residents of Sunapee, not just the people who live on the lake. In year one, the projected increase in taxes on a home valued at $300,000 will be almost $1,000. This is a nearly 30% increase in your taxes in just the first year. The tax increase will likely go higher with additional costs in maintaining the new school and grounds.

Other important needs in town such as resolving the water contamination issue (which will be expensive), roads, fire and police need to be considered and will raise taxes further. The recreation department has a plan in the works for a new Veterans Field which funds will need to be raised for as well.

At present, Sunapee has a very limited supply of affordable housing. This limited supply leads to a high cost of entry for young families looking to move to town. Add in the big increase in taxes to pay for a new school and Sunapee will become unaffordable for all but the wealthiest of families.

Is this the direction the town wants to go in?

What should be happening first is a 20 year master plan addressing all the needs of the town — not just the school system. A big part of the plan will include tax incentives for new housing development in town. This smart growth will address the shortage of housing making it more affordable for young families to move into town, which will then increase our tax base and the number of children going to our schools.

Gary Summerton

Sunapee, NH

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