Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Councilors not Following the Peoples Directive


Back on September 20, 2011, the Town Council at that time voted 6-0 to place on the November 8, 2011 the question of whether or not the people wanted to vote on the Municipal Budget every year.  The following is taken directly from the minutes of this meeting:

Town Council Meeting Minutes Page 10 September 20, 2011
Latest Revision as of 10/4/2011 9:32:58 AM

VOTE (2011-178) Councilor Bowie, seconded by Councilor Bickford moved to adopt the following Order Advisory Referendum:

 WHEREAS, the Town Council of the Town of Lisbon, pursuant to Section 8.21 (b) of the Charter of the Town of Lisbon, has the general authority to submit proposals to the voters of the Town to be acted upon on a referendum basis; and

WHEREAS, THERE IS A DESIRE ON THE PART OF Council to determine whether or not the voters of the Town of Lisbon wish to consider, at a subsequent referendum vote, a Charter change which would require referendum vote approval by the voters of the Town’s Municipal Budget.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDERED by the Town Council of the Town of Lisbon that an advisory referendum be submitted to the voters of the Town of Lisbon at the municipal election scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, 2011, the advisory referendum to read as follows:

 Do the voters of the Town of Lisbon wish to vote on an amendment to the Town Charter that, if enacted, would require voter approval at a referendum election for each annual Municipal Budget?

Order passed – Vote 6-0-1. (Abstained: Cote)

As you can see this is not just a normal conversation but it is written in legal terms in order to keep it legal.  It was written by the former Town Attorney, Roger Therriault.  The way I read the highlighted section (in red), if the voters approved the Advisory Referendum Question, the Town Council would then prepare a Charter Change which would require a referendum vote approval by the voters on the Town’s Municipal Budget.  The people spoke loud and clear with a vote of 2025 to 514 in favor of voting on the Municipal Budget.

The previous Councils have never honored or taken any action to allow the people to vote on the Municipal Budget.  What previous Councils have done is everything in their power to prevent this from happening. This current Council needs to take immediate action to correct the injustice done to our citizens and put this on the June ballot.

Councilor Bickford answered a question from the audience at the last Council meeting; stating the Advisory Referendum Question was NOT binding.  However, the minutes of the Town Council meeting of September 20, 2011 say differently.  The previous Town Council made it a legal and binding action by having the Town Attorney prepare the action for the question to be placed in the minutes in such language makes it binding.

It is time; this Town Council acknowledges the wishes of the people and honors the majority of voters in accordance with the September 20, 2011 minutes.  The Charter needs to be changed immediately and placed on the June ballot so the people have the right to vote on the Municipal Budget.

Let’s see if the current Town Council has the integrity to admit an injustice has been done to the people and take action to correct it immediately.

Larry Fillmore 

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