BOB LEMAIRE (left) discusses the language in the nonbinding survey in Article 29 with Mimi Dye (right), as Suzanne Ryan listens in the middle at the Wolfeboro Deliberative Session at the Kingswood Arts Center auditorium on Feb. 7. Dye succeeded in changing the wording on one part of the survey in order to produce a clearer result. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
February 09, 2012WOLFEBORO — In a little over four hours approximately 140 voters reviewed the 31 articles on the 2012 town warrant last Tuesday evening, Feb. 7, and, despite a number of motions to amend, ended up changing no money articles and revising only the wording in the three petition articles submitted.
By far the largest block of time was spent discussing four articles, all concerned with Brewster Memorial Hall: Article 19, which proposes to spend $200,000 on long-postponed repairs and improvements aimed at making the first floor safe for town employees and energy-efficient, and Articles 29, 30 and 31, which were submitted by petition. Article 29 is a nonbinding survey that asks five questions about voters' views of town offices. Article 30 proposes to raise $70,000 to move town employees out of Brewster Hall to leased space, and Article 31 asks for a 10-year plan to upgrade and repair town buildings.
No changes were made to Article 19, but the wording was changed in the other three articles.
Mimi Dye asked to clarify the intent of the fourth question in Article 29, "Do you favor rehabilitation of Brewster Memorial Hall with private funds?" and submitted wording to break that question down into three subquestions: 1) rehabilitation with taxpayer funds; 2) rehabilitation with private funds; and 3) rehabilitation with a combination of taxpayer and private funds. Her proposed changes were adopted.
For Articles 30 and 31, the authors of those petitions changed the word "direct" to "authorize" since Town Counsel Mark Puffer's opinion was that voters could not direct selectmen to do anything but they can authorize a specific action. In the case of Article 30 that was to lease outside space and move town employees into it, and in Article 31 that was to develop a 10-year plan.
For Article 31, author Suzanne Ryan also moved to delete her last sentence, "Until such a plan is complete and approved by voters, the Board of Selectmen must continue the practice of minimizing expenditures for ongoing customary repairs and maintenance not to exceed amounts within the Town operating budget."
A full report on the proceedings will be published next week.