GILMANTION — A group of townspeople have submitted petitions to have the town and School District return to the traditional town-meeting style of governing, Town Clerk Debra Cornett confirmed Tuesday.
She said the Supervisors of the Checklist have met and determined that the minimum number of signatures needed to put the measure on the 2015 town and school warrants has been met.
Gilmanton has been governed the Official Ballot Act — also known as SB-2 — since 2012. Under SB-2, which was enacted into state law in 1996, towns and school districts approve their budget and decide other matters through standard day-long balloting, compared to the traditional town meeting format where voters debate the budget and other issues then vote on them in a open forum.
Needing a three-fifths majority to pass, Gilmanton voters passed SB-2 by 10 votes. The result was 519 in favor and 328 opposed. The turnout in that election was 38 percent of registered voters, high by local election standards.
Under SB-2 voters also have to choose between a proposed town budget and a "default" budget that consists of the previous year's budget minus one time expenditures plus the cost of new contractual agreements.
According to a story written in early 2014 by the Union Leader, in 2012 there were 67 towns using SB-2 and 19 school districts.
Those who favor SB-2 argue that it cuts down on spending and takes the intimidation factor out of annual town meeting where, in most cases, townspeople can see who supports various measures. Advocates also said that, in a perfect world, voters would come to the deliberative session, discuss and alter the proposed warrant articles as they see fit, and then be well-informed about how they cast their ballots.
Those who are against SB-2 say not enough people attend the SB-2 deliberative sessions and on town election day are voting on items they don't completely understand.
It will take the same 60 percent majority of Gilmanton's voters to undo SB-2 as it did to enact it in 2012.
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 501