Election Will Go Ahead
Ballot vote will happen regardless of Town Meeting results.
Even if voters turn down the proposal to fund the $30 million high school upgrade at Town Meeting on June 6, the ballot vote the following Saturday, June 11, must still be held, and supporters of the project will have another chance to make their wishes known.
So says Town Clerk Danielle Sicard, who sent selectmen a memo that was read at Thursday's meeting. It had been assumed that if the proposal failed at town meeting, the subsequent ballot vote authorizing the project would be cancelled. But Sicard said once the receipt of the exact wording is received at the Town Clerk's office by May 6, the official process of holding the election begins. Once the warrant for the election is posted, a minimum of seven days before the election, and/or when the absentee ballot voting has begun, generally three weeks prior to the election, the election cannot be cancelled without a court order.
"Should the appropriation of funds fail at the June 6, 2011 Special Town Meeting, and the ballot question pass at the election on June 11, another special town meeting could be called to again consider the funding for the project," Sicard said.
"The Department of Revenue has indicated that as long as the funding is for the "same project,' the debt exclusion will apply. Generally, this means that the project must be funded within approximately one year of the debt exclusion vote," she said.
Chairman Robert Kimball told the board, "If it fails (at the special town meeting,) and passes by a majority (at the election,) we have 90 days to call another special town meeting." He pointed out the article at the special town meeting must pass by a 2/3 vote.
"Don't assume if it fails on the 6th that's the end," Kimball said. "If you feel strongly about it, you must come out and vote."
Sicard also submitted a list of what it will cost the town to hold the regular town meeting ($1,956.25,) the Special Town Meeting ($8,757.50,) and the special election ($8,271.52.)
The special town meeting funding is higher because of the services needed from cable access and public safety, in addition to the normal school custodian fees. Extra chairs will be needed, as well as shuttle service.
The special election requires election workers, police, custodians, data processing, printing costs, clerical worker and salaries for office staff.
A second special town meeting, if held, would add to the cost.
Estimates for attendance at the Special Town Meeting range from 1,000 to 3,000 people, and the board is preparing to get together with all the required players, from public safety to cable access, in addition to all involved town staff and committee members, to prepare for the overflow crowd.
Sicard is expected at next week's selectmen's meeting to discuss the process.