It’s time for our biannual reminder to go to your annual town meeting.
Despite what C-SPAN might have you believe, the most important functions of government are not necessarily at the federal level, and they’re definitely not defined by one’s political party.
Rather, we believe the most important level of government is at the local level, and it doesn’t get much more local than sitting in a school gym on a Saturday morning to discuss the merits of a town’s road maintenance budget.
If you’ve never been to an annual town meeting, it is a unique experience. While some of the more boilerplate items pass with little to no discussion, there are always one or two articles that will spark some pretty thoughtful conversation.
Take South Bristol, for instance. After electing two new select board members at the polls on Monday, March 13, residents will have the chance to weigh in at the open portion of the meeting the following day about whether the town should make the positions of town clerk, treasurer, and tax collected appointed rather than elected and if they want to enact a six-month moratorium on future aquaculture leases. Not only that, but they will also consider the education and municipal budgets, which together total a little over $3 million.
Article 22 is likely to attract debate as the townspeople determine if they should fund the full request made by Central Lincoln County Ambulance Service ($174,989.13) or the lesser amount ($96,586) recommended by the select board and budget committee. The implications of both proposals could be significant, not just for South Bristol residents or the private ambulance service, but for the other five member towns that make up the ambulance service board.
All of this will likely be dispatched in two hours or less!
It is easy to complain about the state of the federal government today. We elect people we hope will represent our interests, but ultimately we’re so far removed from the process, it feels as though our voices aren’t being heard.
That is not the case at annual town meetings.
You and your neighbors are responsible for deciding how your local tax dollars are spent. Show up and do your part.