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Meredith examines changes to its form of government

May 19, 2010
MEREDITH — Selectmen will examine options for revising its form of government from changing the date of town meeting to looking into a charter system.

The board received a citizen's petition at the 2009 town meeting asking the town to examine having a charter or any other potential changes to town government.

According to communications between town attorney Walter Mitchell and Administrative Services Director Brenda Vittner, the petition does not require the selectmen to take any action.

The board does have the option of determining if a charter is best for the town and taking steps to form a charter commission. Another option is to form a committee to examine other possible changes in government and voting structure, such as having town meeting on a weekend instead of a weekday.

Town Manager Phil Warren said the New Hampshire Municipal Association does have representatives who could speak to the town on charters and the formation of a change of government committee.

"I'd like to see that full range studied," said Selectman Miller Lovett, who said he would want the process to include publicity and public hearings to generate as much public input as possible.

Warren said another option might be to have a larger committee that consisted roughly of half town officials and half residents.

Board Chair Chuck Palm said people have inquired why the Board has not taken action on the petition. Palm said it had been a busy year for the town and the Board did not have much opportunity to examine the options.

Palm suggested that the selectmen take the next two weeks before the next workshop to examine all options, take notes, and submit any suggestions or ideas to Warren to be discussed later, including different forms of government and how many people could be on a committee.

Options from then on could be examined in public meetings.

Varney Smith
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