Greenland Select Board candidate Stephan Toth

Stephan Toth
Stephan Toth

Name: Stephan Toth

Education: Bachelor of arts, University of New Hampshire

Occupation: Property management specialist

Political or civic experience highlights: 1) Current Greenland Planning Board member. 2) Senatorial appointment to the Seacoast Commission on Long Term Goals and Requirements for Drinking Water and recently provided water testing kits to Greenland residents as part of the Seacoast Private Well Initiative. 3) Leading advocate in the formation of the Greenland Energy Committee to lower costs of electricity. 4) Former Greenland Conservation Commission member.

What are your top three priorities if elected?: As your selectman, I will continue to advocate for our hard-working police, fire, teachers, and town employees to ensure Greenland continues to provide the efficient, effective services that we have come to expect. As you may know, our town recently went through a reevaluation that put our town's worth at $1.4 billion. While this year's budget has already been decided, you can be confident that I will pursue responsible, fiscally conservative policies to protect our town's investment in our public services. I will continue ongoing efforts to restore our town's financial standing and strong bond rating now in jeopardy due to a recent, failed financial audit caused by outdated budgeting software and a loss of talented individuals who have helped manage our town's finances in year's past. Lastly, I believe that Greenland is uniquely positioned to diversify our tax base and shift the burden off residential taxpayers, and I look forward to pursuing these opportunities if elected.

What is the biggest challenge the town is facing and how would you address it?: Since the first settlers arrived in Greenland in the 1630s, our town never grew beyond 1,000 residents until the 1950s. As of the 2020 census, our town stands at 4,076 residents. Many individuals still believe that we have a volunteer fire department. This is not the case. Our fire department has seen a 17.7% increase in call volumes in the past five years. Our police regularly pull overtime and our town employees have seen an unprecedented increase in requests for services. Meanwhile, our town failed a financial audit due in part to using outdated and inappropriate tax software for municipal accounting, just recently upgraded our computers, and still cannot livestream deliberative sessions or even accept credit card payments. Our town's rapid growth and the retirement of experienced employees over the past decades have resulted in a massive loss of institutional capacity to provide basic services to town residents.

To prepare for the coming decades, our town must make responsible, sound investments in technology modernization and department resources. Addressing inequities where a solid waste operator makes more per hour than a paramedic in our town is one place to start. The current board has made strides towards implementing a modern HR policy, fair compensation package, and plans for the modernization of town facilities that have outlived their expected life by over 20 years. I hope to continue these efforts and improve our town's quality of life.

What else should voters know about you?: I am a current elected member of the Greenland Planning Board, and have worked hard to maintain our town's semi-rural atmosphere and ensuring it remains an inviting place to live and work. During my time, I was able to work on updating our town's MS4 policies to meet updated EPA requirements and introduce regulation to address safety requirements for the commercial application of EV charging stations in our town.

I have also been in contact with Clean Energy NH and believe that undeveloped town land next to the Coakley Landfill superfund site could potentially house a 5MW solar farm that could bring in an additional $100,000 in income to the town per year. If elected, I look forwards to continuing to pursue this opportunity for our town. I was also a leading advocate in the formation of the Greenland Energy Committee, which has a warrant article on this year's town ballot to allow the town to negotiate better rates and lower the cost of your electric bill.

You may have seen me this past December handing out water testing kits at the Greenland Central School as part of the Seacoast Private Well Initiative. This is thanks to the great work of the Seacoast Commission on Long Term Goals and Requirements for Drinking Water who worked to ensure this event occurred. I am proud to be a senatorial appointment of this commission and to have the ability to work with your local state legislators and New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to address water quality issues in the Seacoast region.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Greenland Select Board candidate Stephan Toth