New Sharon voters pass new election process
NEW SHARON - Residents filled the Cape Cod Hill School gymnasium Saturday morning for the town's annual meeting, moderated by Senator Tom Saviello.
Officers were nominated and elected in Article 8, bringing speeches from candidates followed by questions and discussion among voters. The lengthy process was the main reasoning behind a later article on the warrant, requesting voters to weigh in on a change in procedure.
Articles 50, 51 and 52, which voters agreed to skip forward to, addressed the process in which town officials are voted in. The articles asked the town to accept the use of nomination papers for office candidates and for elections to be held by secret ballot the day prior to the meeting.
"It helps to not clog up your meeting on Saturday," Treasurer Erin Norton explained.
The process would require each nominated candidate to obtain 25 signatures for their name to appear on the ballot, along with an option for a write in. Polls would be open the Friday prior to the meeting and winners of the election would be announced at Saturday's meeting.
"It will allow those who can't be present for whatever reason to participate in the vote," Selectman Chair Travis Pond said.
The article was passed 55-40.
This year's election procedure remained the same however, with Lorna Nichols reelected as Selectman for a three year term. The town reelected Erin Norton as treasurer for another one year term and John Pond as Road Commissioner for another year as well.
Pamela Griswold won an amended vote as Town Tax Collector, with the length of the position changing from one year to three. Her position as Town Clerk was also amended and passed to a three year term instead of one.
"We all know she does a good job. This will provide her more security," Pond said.
David Ames was elected Water District Trustee for a five year term.
An article was passed by voters to terminate the assessment of personal property taxes, which brought in a total of $14,515 in revenue for the town last year.
"There are a lot of folks who don't get things assessed and the selectmen are obligated to go around assessing all of that, which is costly," Norton explained. "It's more costly than the amount you get from doing the assessment."
Selectman Pond noted that many towns operate in this way. He assured voters that the Selectboard has done the leg work in researching this topic, including meeting with attorneys to be sure it is legal.
"We have dotted our i's and crossed our t's," he said.
A motion was passed to break for lunch at 11:45, with 28 more articles to get through. If approved in it's entirety, the warrant would include $893,000 in expenditures, down $24,000 from the previous fiscal year's budget.