FEBRUARY 19, 2010
Please vote "YES" on Town ARTICLE 22 and School ARTICLE 6
To the Editor:

These two articles deal with issue of who should be responsible for the determination of the default budgets. Let me start by stating up front that the determination of a budget is NOT the construction of a budget. 

The town meeting form of local government is as hands-on as can be had anywhere. It gives the voters a great deal of access to the decision making process. Our specific implementation of the SB2 form of town meeting presently takes the determination of the default budgets out of the voters' hands to some respect. Article 22 on the town ballot and Article 6 on the school ballot has been submitted by petition to bring the fiscal considerations of the voters closer to the default budget determination process.

The computation is laid out in state statute; therefore, no one responsible for the determination can change the formulas used to develop a default budget. It is the data that goes into the formula that is open to question. This is where the Budget Committee comes into play. 

The Budget Committee is a body of sixteen voting members. Twelve are elected at-large, two are appointed by the water precincts and two are appointed voting members representing the interests of the two major governing bodies (the School Board and Board of Selectmen.) The twelve at-large members are direct representatives of the voters, and the two water precinct members pretty much vote as at-large members because the most items considered by the committee do not have an impact on the precincts. In short, the Budget Committee acts as your eyes and ears on the budget process. 

The Budget Committee is very rigorous in their dealing with data and adherence to the determination process. It is no less qualified to determine a budget than either of the two major governing bodies. Please consider that they are also elected officials and meet the same high qualification standard to serve that other elected officials do.

Why the Budget Committee?  Because they have a vested interest in the voice the voters, plain and simple. 

Please vote "YES" on ARTICLE 22 on the town ballot and ARTICLE 6 on the school ballot,

Bill Gordon


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