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Forum, May 1: Vote No on Changing Hanover Town Meeting


Monday, April 30, 2018
Vote No on Town Meeting Change

If approved by voters on May 8, Article 7 on the Hanover warrant will change the town’s form of government from traditional Town Meeting to SB2. On March 28, the town received a petitioned warrant article to be placed on the ballot asking voters to adopt SB2. During its meeting of April 2, the Selectboard voted unanimously to not support the article, citing two major reasons.

First, this important decision is deserving of all the diligence needed to make an informed choice. A change of this importance calls for an in-depth look at alternatives and their potential impact, along with extensive public input and education. No such analysis was presented by the petitioners, nor could one be done by the Selectboard given the time constraint. Such a study was done, however, by a town task force in 2004, which did not recommend a change to SB2.

Second, the budget adoption process under SB2 is problematic. Currently, the Selectboard develops a budget with oversight from the Finance Committee, through a series of public hearings. The proposed budget is then presented at the evening “business” portion of traditional Town Meeting for discussion, possible amendment and final adoption. Under SB2, the business portion of Town Meeting would be eliminated and replaced by a deliberative session held several weeks before Town Meeting Day. Under SB2, the proposed budget would be presented for discussion and possible amendment at the deliberative session. The resulting budget would then be voted on as part of the all-day balloting on Town Meeting Day. Studies show that deliberative sessions are not well-attended, thus leaving the process vulnerable to manipulation by a small group.

The business meeting portion of Town Meeting is where we come together as a community to celebrate the past year, to recognize citizens who have made important contributions and, yes, to discuss important initiatives. My guess is that even if you do not attend many of the business sessions, you value the ability to do so. Let’s make sure this one is not our last.

Vote no on Article 7.

Peter Christie

Hanover

The writer is the chair of the Hanover Selectboard.

SB2 Is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Hanover has responsive and good governance. It already offers hearings during the budget process. While adopting SB2 may at first appear to be a democratic move because it allows voting on the budget by Australian ballot during the day, it actually is not because it allows a small group of likely disgruntled citizens to disrupt the budget process and force the town to change its well-thought-out budget and create an alternative that will not meet the town’s needs. Voters would only see the town’s alternative budget and the town’s original budget amended by the small interest group. Hanover’s citizens would be wasting the time of the very town officials whose salaries they pay.

Towns in our area that hastily adopted SB2 have been trying to get rid of it and find it difficult because it is so hard to explain.

Vote no on Article 7 and support the good governance we enjoy.

Mary Ann Cadwallader

Hanover

In Celebration of Taxes

The rush is over. Taxes are filed, and 2017 finances reviewed. Whew!

Now, I hope you’ll join me in reflecting on all the good that comes from this tedious yet invaluable civic responsibility: Clean air. Clean water. Interstate highways. Safe food and medicines. Universal access to public education. America’s glorious national parks and forests. Disaster relief and space travel. Defense at home and abroad. Veterans benefits. Social Security. Research that has led to the internet, cancer treatments, semiconductors, solar power and so much more. Access to modern, innovative hospitals. Support for the most vulnerable among us with prenatal care, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare.

All this and more is possible because we pay taxes. None of us could provide this wealth of services, innovations and protections alone. And our work is far from done. The next time you hear someone propose cutting taxes or complain about paying them, ask them which of the above they’d like to go without. Look what we are accomplishing together.

Now, take a moment to feel proud ... and be glad it’s over for another year.

Ellis Robinson

Grantham

Support for NRA Boycott

I fully agree with Sarah Crysl Akhtar’s suggestion to boycott businesses that give discounts to members of the National Rifle Association and companies that support legislators who are beholden to the NRA. (“Time for Grownups to Take Action,” April 24).

Is there someone out there who has a comprehensive list to help us support this effort? Please print it. Most of us don’t want to take guns away from anyone; we just want a little common sense to prevail.

Claire Gardner

Newport