Town Meeting--May 20

Posted on
May 13, 2021
First Selectman's Office
The Annual Town Meeting will be held on May 20 at 7 pm. We will meet at the Scotland Elementary School gym to elect a representative to the Regional School District 11 Board of Education, to approve (or not) an annual budget . a 5-year capital improvement plan, and a capital improvement budget, and to consider three new ordinances. The full agenda can be found here. The ordinances are here.

The meeting will be in-person, which used to go without saying, but not anymore. So here is the explanation: as of May 19, the governor has lifted the limitation on the size of indoor gatherings. This decision was guided by science--namely, the lower rate of covid cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and positivity rates. I have consulted with the Eastern Highlands Health District, who advises that so long as all attendees wear masks and we maintain distance between households, the meeting can be held safely. That's why we're meeting at the gym--it is the largest indoor gathering space in town, and can safely hold many more people than generally attend a Town Meeting.

Unlike the budget hearing held on 5/6, there will be no option for attending the Town Meeting online. That's primarily because we do not have the resources required to verify the identity and eligibility to vote of online attendees. In addition, while some towns have used online platforms like zoom for voting,the voting components of these platforms was designed for the kind of informal polling that takes place at conventions or corporate board meetings. They were not designed specifically for civic purposes. Especially given the current uncertainty around election security, I think it is important to ensure that our local elections are beyond suspicion. 

In the unlikely event that more people show up for the meeting than can safely be held in the gym, we will postpone the meeting and re-assess our options. While it would make for difficulties if this happens, I would be delighted in some ways if it did. Town meeting governance is direct democracy, and the annual meeting is your opportunity to have a voice in how your tax dollars are spent. It's also an opportunity to meet some of your neighbors.

The proposed budgets and ordinances are online (see links above) and  at the Town Clerk's office. Please take a look, and join us next Thursday at the grade school.