To The Daily Sun,
The tradition of the New England Town Meeting is a very powerful tool for controlling taxes. A town's Budget Committee and Selectboard can make spending recommendations, but the power of the purse rests with the town's residents. However, for a meeting to have an impact three essential ingredients are required, a cross section of the town present, ample opportunity for everyone to speak, and freedom for attendees to vote their conscience. All three were present at the recent Sanbornton Town Meeting.
The second highest town tax rate in Belknap County brought over 300 Sanbornton residents together to debate the town operating budget and warrant articles. Some items were debated more than others, but everyone who wanted was given an opportunity to speak, sometime more than once, and with two secret ballots no one had to worry that their neighbor would criticize their vote.
I would like to thank everyone who turned out for the meeting and those that stayed to the bitter end. I suspect not everyone was happy with the outcome of some of the votes, but in a democracy the majority rules. If we can get the same number of people at next year's town meeting, perhaps the selectmen and Budget Committee will get the message that there is a lot of dissatisfaction with Sanbornton town taxes and they should take that into consideration in the next town budget. If they don't then taxpayers can make adjustments themselves at next year's Town Meeting