Another Idea for Improving Town Meeting: Phone It In
The Tax Payers Alliance has more info on improving town meeting. A two or three percent turnout at town meeting of 7,000 registered voters is a poor showing. In an effort to improve this, we would like to suggest a toll free number for voters to call, with a caller I.D. package to identify voters, two voters in a household, they are allowed two calls. This is a system used on ABC's "Dancing with Stars," where viewers vote for their favorite dance couple. It seems to work quite well. In our fast paced world, this could be the answer to getting voters to vote, not only at town meetings, but all elections. Instead of two or three percent of the town deciding the town's fate the count would be much higher and represent a broader view of opinion (no excuse now about getting a babysitter).
Here are the Alliances picks at upcoming town meeting. Article 1. We urge a 'yes' vote for applying the herbicide "Sonar" to Lost Lake. The benefits are obvious. Article 2. We would urge the demolition of Fitch's Bridge (only) to save the town liability problems. Article 3. We would urge a 'no' vote on the fire station based on the proposed size, location, only two miles from the West Groton firehouse. Also, the funding mechanism seems to be like a shell game (move it here, put it there). We think a better location can still be found. The town is already straddled with debt over the high school and Surrenden Farm. Article 4. We think the Lost Lake people have spoken, as well as previous town meeting (no sewer system). We can't understand why town administration won't listen. Even though the administration just wants to establish a Lost Lake sewer district, it's like beating a dead horse.
We would urge all voters to attend the Jan. 26 town meeting and decide if you want to pay $8 million over the next 22 years. It should be a short town meeting - only four Articles.
Robert S. Stephens
Tax Payers Alliance