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Keyser: Soccer or Town Meeting?

With selectmen in both towns discussing holding Town Meeting on the same day, it has caused comments from those who have soccer games that day.

Well, we lucked out with Irene, but keep your fingers crossed as another storm is sitting out there and could be a problem later in this week.

However, there are things going on in the towns that have gotten comments from several folks on both sides of the issues, so let’s get right to them.

At a recent combined meeting of the selectmen from both towns, . It was discussed by the boards and several selectmen did see that it might work, as now and then items that concern both towns are listed for action at these town meetings.

Now, the boards are asking for input from the town folks on the possibility of having meetings on the same day. The boards will discuss comments and other info pertaining to changing town meetings so they are on the same day.

It was no surprise that as soon this possible change in town meetings was posted on Patch.com, several residents listed the fact that soccer games are held on Saturday and that many adults who supervise the games and support the sport would be unable to either be at games or at Town Meeting.

It appears to come down to the point, that while soccer games are very important and a vital spot for the children of the towns, the running of town business is very important as well. One of the issues that can come up is how to spend funds to improve playing fields for all the sports played in these towns.

It comes down to simply putting aside soccer for a day and being part of voting on how the town business is handled and speaking on issues that affect you and your family.

And do not figure that the seniors of town, who will attend the town meetings, will handle the voting on town issues. One thing to remember here is that there are now more seniors in these towns then there are children in the school system. That could have an effect on how votes on certain items are cast - either for or against.

The comment from one person that soccer schedules are set up by a regional league and not by the local towns should not mean this is something that can’t be changed. Town rules should still take precedent over regional issues.

And I still hearing a lot of comments on the . Right now folks get one barrel a week, but possible plans may change that free unit and have folks buying bags for trash from the town.

I suspect that more meetings are needed to show the town folks just how the new plan can save the town funds. Right now that doesn’t seem to be the plan that most folks are in favor of putting place.

Ok, that is it for this week. Hope the possible storm never makes it here. Bye, bye.

Michelle Bailey September 04, 2011 at 06:06 PM
April Showers bring May flowers. I’d rather be sitting inside at Town Meeting during a dreary April rain storm, than a bright flowery May afternoon. Saturdays in May are not good days to conduct town business, for anyone. Please consider an early April town meeting date as a way to engage more residents to participate in Town Meeting. In 2010, Wenham had about 2,700 registered voters, 716 voted in the election from 8-noon and 233 came back at 1pm to attend the annual town meeting (less than 10% of voters.) Out of the last 10 years, attendance has hovered between 219 – 466, with most in the 250 range. Why? 1. Saturdays in May are primetime for spring clean-up, church activities, sports, family gatherings, and weekly errands for working folks, not town affairs. 2. In the years of large attendance, parents did attend for the issues that matter to them…school funding. In 2008, a record 466 voters came to Town Meeting overflowing the gym. If there are issues that matter to seniors, they are not turning out to vote in large numbers at town meeting. 3. Besides sports, the first day in May is also the Kentucky Derby, SAT Test, and many First Communions for family members to attend. There are too many competing interest in May.
Jay Burnham September 05, 2011 at 11:45 PM
Michelle...you seem to forget one very important issue: The Town Budgets are voted at the May Town Meetings. We barely get the Regional School District budget in time for the MAY Town Meetings... Just how would you propose to solve that problem with an earlier, APRIL Town Meeting?
Michelle Bailey September 06, 2011 at 12:21 AM
Jay.... Mass General Law says: The regional school district is required to adopt an annual operating and maintenance budget for the following fiscal year not later than 45 days prior to the earlier of either 1) the first date of the annual town meeting of any member town or 2) March 31; but in no event can the date be earlier than February 1. G.L. c. 71, § 16(m). Sounds like we notify the School Committee of the new town meeting date and expect them to comply. Actually, it is usually the towns that are finalizing their budgets late as the School Committee traditionally approves it's budget on March 31.
Tracy September 06, 2011 at 01:12 AM
School budget has *always* been ready far before the towns' -- as you said, March 31. The big gap between then and May town meeting has been one of the ongoing budget problems. Thankfully, town leaders have indicated they don't have a problem with preparing an earlier budget for an earlier town meeting. Neither towns nor schools should be held hostage by the state not being able to get its budget numbers together until the last minute...

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