Last month, the Board of Selectmen voted to approve a resolution to commence the process of charter revision. The Town Charter, which is linked HERE, is authorized by state law to be the primary legislation that provides for the governance of our community. The current charter was adopted on November 3, 2009, became effective on January 1, 2010, and was then further amended effective December 8, 2011. By the terms of the charter, a charter revision commission must be appointed ten years from the adoption of the latest charter, if not sooner. The town has received applications from residents who wish to serve on the commission, and a nine-member commission will be appointed at the Board of Selectmen meeting on April 25th. The state statutes that govern charter revision set forth specific timelines for the commission’s work.
There are many deadlines and details to the process, but most importantly, the commission must hold at least two public hearings on the proposed charter or amendments. The first shall take place prior to the beginning of any substantive work on the charter. The second shall take place after the draft report to the Board of Selectmen is completed but before it is submitted, after which the commission may amend the report. Once the draft report is submitted, the Board of Selectmen must hold at least one more public hearing on the draft report. The Board and the commission then confer regarding recommendations and possible amendments. Ultimately, any proposed changes to the charter will be put on the ballot for a vote in November 2019, and any amendments must be approved by at least 15% of the electors of the town. This process is of utmost importance to the overall governance of our town, so please watch for announcements on public hearing dates, and plan to participate by attending, listening, and sharing your input.