Monday, September 22, 2014

JUST MY OPINION! ----- by larry Fillmore

On the November ballot, residents will be asked to change our Charter once again.  I have no issues with Question 1 because I believe the Town Council should be responsible for hiring our Town Attorney after going out to bid.  However, Question 2 is restricting any bonds over a million dollars to a November ballot.  This means that no bond over a million dollars can be placed on the June ballot except as an emergency because there is fewer votes cast on the June ballot than November.

I understand the rationale behind this action.  It is because more voters turnout in November than June.   However, according to the Town website, in June 2014 a total of 1,922 ballots were cast compared to 1,709 in November 2013.  That kind of disproves the theory.   This was certainly not the norm because in June 2013 only 467 votes were cast.

I am not in favor of changing the Town Charter every time things do not go the way the council wants.  The Charter Commission and our Town fathers worked really hard to provide guidelines for us to follow and changing it without considering all other options is crazy.  There are other options that should be considered before approving this Charter change in Question 2.  Here are a few options, I came up with:

1. Work with the three party leaders to promote voter turnout in June.
2. Work on a campaign to promote more voter turnout in June.
3. Move the local elections; Councilors, School Board and Water Commissioners to the June ballot.
4. A combination of all three of the above options is the best solution.

Right not we have the following on the November ballot:

1. Federal Election.
2. Possible Federal issues.
3. State Election.
4. Possible State issues.
5. Local Election.
6. Possible Local issues.
7. Charter Changes.
8. Bond issues.
9. Referendum Questions

The November ballot will take approximately two to three hours to complete properly.  Most voters do not have the time to read every item on the ballot so they will vote irresponsible just to finish the ballot.  There are no voters who have the retention span longer enough to dedicate and reading every word so they just check a block to finish.  This is just as wrong as not voting at all.

The ballots in June and November need to be balanced so that a voter does not need to bring a sleeping bag to complete the ballot.  Moving the local elections and Charter changes to June will help bring in a higher voter turnout in June and will reduce the November ballot.

Changing the Charter without trying other options first is an injustice to the people and the town.  Trying to find solutions using alternative means is a much better process.

I am voting “NO” on Question 2 of the Charter Changes until all other options have been tried.

Larry Fillmore

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