Sunday
Aug112013

IHM Chapel Grand Opening Announced

The following is the press release:

The Saint Benedict Center, administered by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, joyfully announces the first High Mass in the recently completed IHM Chapel in Richmond, N.H. The Mass will take place on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, August 22, at 9:30 AM. A reception in the Center’s Saint Joseph’s Hall will follow. Call 603-239-6485 or visit catholicism.org/contactus for directions or further information.

The Mass will be a Solemn Mass in the traditional Latin Rite (“Extraordinary Form”) celebrated by Monsignor Daniel O. Lamothe, who will also preach the sermon. Father David Phillipson, the Center’s chaplain, and Brother André Marie, M.I.C.M., the Center’s Prior, will serve as Deacon and Subdeacon respectively. The Sisters of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will provide the music for the ceremony. A Knights of Columbus Honor Guard will add to the solemnity.

The Solemn Mass is the most elaborate form of the traditional Roman Mass a priest may offer, complete with incense, bells, processions, torches, numerous altar servers, and Gregorian Chant.

The ceremony is free and open to the public. Modest dress and decorum befitting a sacred place is required.

Brother André Marie, Prior of Saint Benedict Center, made the following comment: “This ceremony has been a long time in the making. Now that it is upon us, our hearts are grateful to God the Father for this opportunity to adore Him through His Son and in the Holy Ghost, as we honor the Immaculate Virgin Mary in the traditional rites of Holy Mother Church. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our loyal benefactors, who have supported us amid many contradictions, all for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. The Brothers and Sisters of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the many families associated with Saint Benedict Center, our school children, as well as all our visitors and guests, will now have a more worthy edifice in which to worship God ‘in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:23). We also take this opportunity to thank the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, for his pastoral solicitude in defending and promoting the rights of the Catholic faithful to worship in the traditional rites — those beautiful and timeless ceremonies to which we are so attached. The intention for which this Mass is offered will be for all the benefactors, living and deceased, who helped us build this chapel.”

A few interesting facts about IHM Chapel:

  • Thanks to just over 400 donors, we have raised about ½ million dollars to date.
  • There are almost 5000 stars on the ceiling, hand-applied by volunteers. Seven are from northern-hemisphere constellations and four southern. These are all thematic in honor of the Redemption, Resurrection, the soul, triumph over evil, and members of the Holy Family.
  • The pews are from St. Kieran’s Parish (Archdiocese of Pittsburgh), which was closed in 1993.
  • The pulpit is from Star of the Sea Parish (Archdiocese of Boston), which was closed in 2004.
  • The altar and side shrine pedestals are from Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke, MA, whose chapel was closed.
  • The altar rail, refurbished by local artisans, is from Kansas.
  • The sanctuary gates are from Europe by way of Phoenix, AZ.
  • When all the interior appointments are completed, the chapel will have carved wooden statuary from Portugal, other statues from Peru, and materials and trims from Italy and India. A studio in Spain and artisans from Poland and Romania have also worked on the project.
  • The sanctuary boasts an original oil-on-canvas of Sister Lucy’s “Tuy Vision” by Renate Rohn of Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Planning for this chapel commenced Christmas of 2000. Ground was broken on August 14, 2012.
  • Among the unique memorials are the following:
    • A genuine Cedar of Lebanon in honor of Brother Francis and Sister Mary Bernadette.
    • A pew in memory of a Catholic military man, who was killed in action in Korea.
    • Stars in the ceiling for family members who have fallen away from the faith.
    • The wood for all the trim was donated by Cersosimo Lumber in memory of Tony Cersosimo.


In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Brother André Marie, M.I.C.M.

Tuesday
Jun182013

Richmond man fighting town, courts, over property rights

Kyle Jarvis of the Keene Sentinel reports:

RICHMOND — A Richmond man continues to push ahead in a court battle with the town over elected officials’ denial of his request to build on his property.

Nicholas Bosonetto sued the town last year after the zoning board denied his application for a building permit that would allow him to construct a new home for his family on their 40-acre lot at 71 Prospect Hill Road. After a judge ruled in favor of the town in Cheshire County Superior Court, the N.H. Supreme Court did the same. The Supreme Court also denied a motion to reconsider. In August Bosonetto took his case to federal court. Last month, a federal judge again sided with the town, but Bosonetto has again filed a motion to reconsider, and says he’ll take his case as far as it can go.

Bosonetto lives on the property with his wife, Jill, and their eight children.

The suit stems from the Bosonettos’ request for a permit to replace and relocate a single-family mobile home dwelling, one of four on the property, which was originally denied by the board of selectmen. The Bosonettos share one of the homes.

Bosonetto appealed that decision and requested a zoning board review by entirely alternate board members, which upheld the selectmen’s ruling.

The zoning board based its denial on several factors, including that granting the permit would counter the town’s master plan, which discourages building on substandard roads; potentially cause financial hardship for future buyers and the town since the property is located on a private road; and that granting such a permit could complicate efforts to sell the property and could make the town responsible if an accident happened on the road, even if the residents signed a waiver of liability.

Bosonetto argued that the board’s decision never identified a single zoning ordinance on which to base that denial, and that he and his family were discriminated against by town officials due to their support of the St. Benedict Center, a conservative Catholic group that had since resolved legal standoffs with town officials. Jill Bosonetto is a member of the organization, and the couple’s children attend school there.

He also argued that they have lost rental income as a result of the town’s ruling because the mobile homes are functionally obsolete and he cannot build sheds or barns to support farming there. The family has “suffered tremendously because there are nine people (now 10) living in a 2-bedroom house with one bathroom,” Bosonetto said in court documents.

But the Supreme Court ruling noted Bosonetto failed to move for a rehearing before the zoning board in a timely fashion, and therefore could not appeal its decision.

Bosonetto then took his case to U.S. District Court, where Judge Joseph N. Laplante ruled in May that “the defendants have conclusively shown that the res judicata effect of the state court decisions bars the Bosonettos’ claims in this action.”

Bosonetto’s federal complaint sought injunctive relief and monetary compensation from the court, based on “unconstitutional taking of property rights, due process and equal protection violations against the plaintiff” by the town of Richmond and selectmen Chairwoman Sandra Gillis.

Res judicata prevents litigation of a matter already judged and no longer subject to appeal.

Bosonetto’s claims include questions as to why the town refused to issue him a building permit despite the fact that it previously issued eight building permits to three previous owners of the same lot dating back to the 1960s.

Bosonetto said selling the property isn’t a viable option.

“To who? You want to buy a property you can’t build anything on?” he asked. “That’s the next thing; I’m taking (the town) to tax court because they increased my taxes by 30 percent. I had an independent appraisal done, and my property isn’t worth (expletive).”

Bosonetto said he hasn’t had a chance to defend his constitutional rights in court.

He said the federal court’s ruling says he should have brought his constitutional claims to state court. Bosonetto said he did that, but was not allowed to argue those claims based on his failure to file his zoning board appeal on time.

“I have a right to argue my constitutional rights somewhere,” he said. “If they refuse to hear it, what constitutional rights do I have? Where do I go?”

Gillis said town officials thought the federal ruling would be “the final nail” in the case’s coffin, but are now preparing to continue the battle if Bosonetto’s motion is granted.

“He’s questioning the judge’s judgment, which of course, he is allowed to do,” she said.

Gillis said she’s frustrated that taxpayers have had to foot the bill to the tune of $37,000 in defense of the town’s ruling in state court alone.

“And that’s not counting any legal fees for the defense of this particular motion in (federal) court, and so yes, it’s very frustrating, because we felt it was adjudicated when it went to the state court.”

But Bosonetto, who said he worked for the Southwest Regional Planning Commission as a professional planner, will continue on. After moving to America from Argentina in 1984 following the Falklands War, where he says he survived persecution, Bosonetto got a job, taught himself English, and became a citizen.

“I came to this country because I wanted to live in a free country, where the government wouldn’t come me,” he said. “I’m going to keep fighting, because I think it’s a worthy fight. I’m fighting the judicial system now.”

 

 

 

 

 

Monday
Feb252013

Taxes, Gambling and Fees…

With the budget season underway we are now starting to get a clear picture of how our local, school and state government is proposing to spend our money – and most importantly how they plan on taking it! 

Gov. Hassan released her proposed 2014-2015 budget last week.  The proposed $11.1 billion budget is a 10.2% increase from the last biannual authorization of $10.0 billion (see pg.20).  The quick table below shows the proposed budget breakdown:

 

FY 12-13

FY 14-15

 % Increase

GENERAL GOVERNMENT

$908,867,111

$963,915,687

6.1%

ADMIN OF JUSTICE AND PUBLIC PRTN

$1,065,049,497

$1,185,685,714

11.3%

RESOURCE PROTECT & DEVELOPMT

$484,832,135

$562,561,150

16.0%

TRANSPORTATION

$1,081,741,430

$1,110,427,915

2.7%

HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES

$3,796,419,789

$4,380,521,164

15.4%

EDUCATION

$2,724,172,136

$2,879,904,808

5.7%

Grand Total

$10,061,082,098

$11,083,016,438

10.2%

 

As you can see the largest spending increases are for the court system (11%), health/social services (15%), and environmental protection (16%).    The Health and Social Services now consume 39% of the state budget – and has been expanded to cover the Obamacare mandates.  Surprisingly, transportation is the big loser here with only a minimal 2.7% increase.  Considering the state of our roads and bridges, it is surprising that transportation is close to the bottom as far as funding goes. 

Of course a 10% increase in taxes and fees will have to be taken from the following sources:

  • $3.5 billion from Federal Funds (32% of budget)
    • This amount will probably create a small decrease based on the upcoming sequester.  The budget makes no contingency for this upcoming shortfall and will create a situation where the state will either have to cut the budget or raise more taxes and fees.
  • $4.6 billion from unrestricted taxes and fees for use in General & Education Fund (42% of budget)
    • Assumes 21% increase in real estate transfer tax fees.
    • $40 million from increase of the tobacco tax
    • $80 million from casino licensing fees (not yet passed by legislature)
  • The remaining $3 billion will be raised from fund-specific taxes and fees which can only be used for program specific funds (26% of budget)
    • Highway Fund - HB 617 would raise the gasoline tax by 67% from 18 to 30 cents per gallon.  Diesel tax would go up 6 cents.  Vehicle registration would increase by $15.
    • Turnpike Fund - A proposed raise in turnpike tolls.
    • Liquor Fund – A proposed beer tax increase has been voted down.

So you can well expect taxes and fees to increase in order to fund the 10% expansion of state government. 

As the chart below clearly shows nearly 25% goes to education, 25% to government/police, 39% to health services and a measly 10% to transportation.  Transportation is the one category that actually creates jobs, builds infrastructure that everyone uses, and supports industry and the economy yet it is almost an afterthought. 

source:  NH State website

Tuesday
Feb122013

Petition Article for New School Tax Formula 

The Monadnock School District deliberative session was held on Saturday Feb. 9, 2013.  The meeting was delayed until 3:00 PM due to the two feet of snow that the blizzard of 2003 dumped on us.  About 130 people actually made it out to vote.  The Keene Sentinel reported that the participants at the meeting were primarily from the Towns of Fitzwilliam, Swanzey and Roxbury.

The proposed budget for the 2013-2014 school year will be $32,409,110.  Of this amount $18,898,834 will be raised through local property taxes with the remainder coming from grants, fees, state-aid and other sources (including almost $1 million from federal grants).

Perhaps the most contentious article to be on the ballot this March will be how the school tax is distributed between towns.  According to the Sentinel article, this petition article has been brought by the taxpayers of Roxbury, who feel they are unfairly taxed.  Currently, the amount to be raised in taxes ($18.9 million) would be divided among the six towns that comprise the Monadnock School District – remember that Sullivan is leaving.  The current formula is based on a town’s school enrollment (50%) and each town’s total property valuations (50%).  The petition article would change the formula to 75% enrollment and 25% property valuations.  The formula is better explained through the chart below.   

The chart shows average daily school enrollment (ADM) based on town of residence for 2012 (Sullivan has been edited out).  For example, the Town of Richmond sends an average of 93.3 children to various elementary schools and 47.12 children to high school.  In total Richmond is responsible for 7% of all school children in the Monadnock School system.  Roxbury is the smallest town and accounts for only 1% of enrollment in the schools.


PreSch

Kind

Elem

Middle

Total-Elem

High School

Total

% of total

Fitzwilliam

4.01

18.86

135.43

50.21

208.51

95.45

303.96

17%

Gilsum

0.08

9

50.86

15

74.94

28.46

103.4

6%

Richmond

4.29

9.66

57

22.35

93.3

47.12

140.42

8%

Roxbury

0.27

2

11

1

14.27

10

24.27

1%

Swanzey

11.68

63.52

424.86

141.96

642.02

291.39

933.41

52%

Troy

2.62

25

144.39

47.69

219.7

86.7

306.4

17%

Total

23.2

137.02

854.52

291.21

1305.95

585.98

1811.86


 

The other part of the school tax formula relies on town valuations.  This figure is the total amount of all taxable property within a town.  The following chart shows the 2012 valuations for all the towns in the school district.  As you see below the total value of property within Richmond amounts to $93.12 million.  Swanzey on the other hand is the second largest community in Cheshire County, has lots of residences and commercial properties, and has a valuation of nearly $585.9 million.  The total of all the evaluations in the school district is $1.1 billion dollars!  Richmond’s proportion of the Monadnock District-wide valuation is 8%.  Roxbury on the other hand is only 2%.

Town

2012 Valuation

% of total

 Fitzwilliam

 $        250,687,722

22%

Gilsum

 $          65,386,727

6%

Richmond

 $          93,126,613

8%

Roxbury

 $          25,978,456

2%

Swanzey

 $        585,861,401

51%

Troy

 $        128,629,595

11%

Total

 $    1,149,670,514


 

Now, you may notice a similarity between the % of school enrollment and tax valuations:  i.e. Swanzey accounts for 52% of the school kids, and has 51% of the valuations.  Richmond similarly has 8% of the school population and 8% of the valuations.  The reasons why these numbers are so close is that they are related.  The more residences in a town, the more children and the bigger the tax base.  The only time these numbers don’t match is when a community is rich or poor because a wealthier community has a higher valuation.

The final chart shows a comparison of how next year’s budget would affect each municipality based on the 50/50 and 75/50 formulas:

 

50/50

75/25


 

Tax Rate

$/student

Tax Rate

$/student

Tax difference on a $150k house

Fitzwilliam

        14.54

 $      11,993.58

        13.59

 $  11,211.90

 $     (142.17)

Gilsum

        16.47

 $      10,412.49

        16.48

 $  10,421.36

 $            2.10

Richmond

        16.08

 $      10,665.91

        15.90

 $  10,548.07

 $       (26.65)

Roxbury

        13.09

 $      14,012.60

        11.42

 $  12,221.41

 $     (251.01)

Swanzey

        16.53

 $      10,373.78

        16.57

 $  10,402.00

 $            6.74

Troy

        20.64

 $         8,665.49

        22.74

 $    9,547.86

 $       315.27

 *NOTE: These tax rates are for analysis only.  Actual rates will be determined by DRA.

From the above chart it is clear that the change from a 50/50 formula to a 75/25 formula would not affect most towns.  Gilsum and Swanzey would see a typical tax hike of less than $10/year.  Richmond would see a typical tax savings of $26 a year.  The big winners would be Roxbury and Fitzwilliam which would see a typical tax savings of $251 and $142/year.  The big loser would be Troy with a massive hike of almost $315/year.  (NOTE:  these numbers will vary based on final tax rates compared to current tax rates)

The average cost per student under the current formula is $11,020 (town portion only, it is about $18,000 once all funding sources are considered).  It is clear that Roxbury pays about $3,000 more per student and Troy pays $2,300 less than the average.  Other towns are close to the average.

Under the 75/25 proposal Roxbury would still be paying about $1,200/student more than the average and Troy $1,200/student under the average.  However, Roxbury is such a small town that if a family with 3 children moved in it would mean a 10% increase in enrollment.