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
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.