Thursday, April 23, 2015

UPDATE ON OUR ABILITY TO VOTE ON THE MUNICIPAL BUDGET!


I realize that it has been a long time since the people voted on whether or not they wanted the right to vote on the Municipal Budget.  Back in November 2011, the Town Council put a non-binding referendum question on the ballot.  The result was 2025 citizens’ voted YES and 514 voted NO.  

Prior to the election, the Town Council had agreed to take action in accordance with the results.  However, that Council had absolutely no intentions of honoring their word.  Since the 2011 vote, all Councils have done everything they can to prevent the people from voting on the Municipal budget.  One of the previous Councils went so far as to change the Charter to keep the people from voting on the Municipal instead they lower the requirements to seek a Special Town meeting in order to vote on the Municipal budget.  This requirement is to form a committee of 5 citizens, prepare a petition, gather significant number of signatures, have the town attorney to review the petition (after the signatures are gathered), verify signatures, setup a date for a Special Town meeting.  If the Town attorney does not like the wording of the petition, it has to gather all the signatures again.  The petition process has to be accomplished in 20 days.

How anyone can state, with a straight face, this is the same as checking a block on the ballot is beyond me?  So they had to come up with another method to stop the people from voting on the Municipal budget.  This new method was to state the 2011 vote was non-binding and therefore the Council was under no obligation to honor the results even though it was very clear what the citizens of Lisbon wishes were.  Numerous citizens have requested the Council at the time to please honor the wishes of the people and each time the Council refuses to the result of the 2011 vote.

At last Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting, I requested that the current Town Council put a binding Referendum Question asking the people:  “Do you want to vote on the Municipal budget by Departments.”  Chairman Pesce said the Council would look into it in July.  Since, I was not asking for a Charter Change, there should have been no objection to adding it to the June ballot?  This request was submitted in time to get on the June Ballot.   However, in order to delay this process Chairman Pesce has moved any action until after the June election so that it would be another year before any action could be taken.

I believe the people, during the Public Hearing on the School and Municipal budgets, can tell the Council to include this binding Referendum Question on the June ballot.

Larry Fillmore