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Oct 11

From the Town Administrator's Desk - October 12, 2017

Posted on October 11, 2017 at 2:10 PM by Elizabeth Dukes

We gather together as a community next Monday at the Memorial School (7:00PM) for a fall Town Meeting. While many communities have a regular practice of numerous town meetings a year to conduct the business of the town, Manchester has traditionally relied mostly on just the Annual Town Meeting in April to handle the town's business, holding an occasional special town meeting when action could not wait until April.

With a burgeoning list of bylaw proposals, a desire to keep the focus of the annual town meeting on budgets, and a preference for any given town meeting lasting only a single evening, the Selectmen have scheduled this upcoming town meeting with the possibility of making a fall town meeting a regular event.  Your feedback on this approach will help shape future town meeting scheduling.


Our open Town Meeting, where all registered voters can attend, debate the topics and vote, serves as the Town’s legislative body.  In this respect, our Town Meeting serves as a combined House and Senate at the state or federal level.  Power to establish laws, to approve budgets, and to determine the amount of funds raised through taxation all rests with the voters. 


Your elected boards – for example, the Selectmen, the School Committee, and the Planning Board – act as our local executive branch, entrusted to make proposals to the voters and to oversee their respective areas of municipal services.  The Selectmen hire the Town Administrator and School Committee hires the School Superintendent to manage the day to operations of their respective areas. 


At Monday’s Town Meeting there are a number of bylaw proposals that must be approved by voters before they can be implemented.  There are four articles proposing changes to our Zoning Regulations – rules governing the developing of land in town.  These rules dictate how our Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals judge the appropriateness of proposed development in town.  Zoning regulations require a 2/3rds super majority vote to pass.


Six of the articles to be considered on Monday propose changes or additions to the Town’s General Bylaws.  The General Bylaws regulate a wide range of affairs in Town from rules pertaining to town meetings to town finances, and from parking rules to licensing requirements.  Two of these six articles have been put forth by citizen petition.  If a sufficient number of voters (10 for the Annual Town Meeting; 100 for a special Town Meeting) sign a petition requesting that voters consider a new bylaw, then, assuming the proposal is allowed under state laws, the proposal must be put forth to the voters.  The proposal to prohibit parking on Beach Street east of Tappen and other streets and the proposal to prohibit dog kennels in town are citizen petition articles. 


The other four General Bylaw changes are being advanced by the Board of Selectmen, but, like all bylaws, these must be approved by voters.  For the full text of each of the articles to be considered on Monday please go to the Town’s web site.  Copies will be available at the4 meeting.


Residents of town have the final say on the rules that govern the affairs of the Town and on the funds we raise and for what purpose.  These decisions are made at Town Meeting.  and participation is critical if the decisions are to fairly represent the desires of the community.  Please plan on attending.