Sunday, April 13, 2008

3/10/2008 Town Meeting

It's that time of year again. If it's spring, there must be town meetings. Here I am at Farmington's Town Meeting. It didn't last nearly as long as last year's. One of the big items on this year's agenda was the library budget. For the first time in the library's history, they were paying insurance benefits for the employees. Seems more than reasonable to me. Yet some people objected. There were some pretty heated debates in the budget committee and selectmen meetings that led up to the Town Meeting. Fortunately, it was approved. In this photo you see the budget committee on the left and town officials (town manager, head of the police department, a few selectmen, . . . ) on the right. They had the same guy as moderator. He's really good. He knows his Robert's rule of order, kept everything straight, knew practically everyone's name, kept his sense of humor, and got us through everything.

The state passed some law that mandated that certain issues be voted on by secret ballot. Even though it was pretty obvious what the vote would be, they voted by ballot because they had to. The issue was raising the taxes in order to have a balanced budget since they had approved more expenditures than last year's budget.

They have a pretty clever system to make this go quickly. The ballot box has obviously been around for a very long time, but for ballots, everyone got a white card approximately 3x5 that had "YES" on the left and "NO" on the right and a perforation down the middle. So you picked up your ballot, tore it in half down the perforated line, put the half with your vote in the ballot box and put the half with the side you weren't going to use in the trash can.

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