A Special Town Council Meeting
Interested in the process of the town’s postponing the financial town meeting, I made room in my schedule to attend a special meeting of the town council at which we’ll find out whether the town solicitor believes the town can legally seek to move the meeting to September.
Immediately upon opening the meeting the council voted to move the executive session that had been scheduled as a sort of intermission between the special meeting and a “workshop” to the beginning of the meeting. Solicitor Teitz had estimated the length of the executive session at seven minutes; I’m pretty sure that we’re now over twenty.
They’re back, reviewing a handout from Teitz, with no copies for the audience.
Teitz: “I do think that it would be possible for the General Assembly to change the date for all the towns in the state.” Broad, sweeping crisis stuff. He spoke to somebody who spoke with somebody who spoke with somebody, and that does not appear likely.
“There’s nothing stopping the FTM, itself, from continuing it… however, you’d still have to have a budget prepared for them, and there’s really no way of knowing what would happen.”
“My philosophy is always to accomplish the goals of the client… So, I will tell you that it is my opinion that it is not constitutional for the General Assembly to change the date of Tiverton’s financial town meeting alone.”
Teitz: “We’re asking to unilaterally amend our charter without going through the charter amendment process.”
“The only way that I see to do it is if you had an elect — put the question to the voters of the town.”
The special election would be “practical,” “difficult,” but “doable.”
The authority to postpone the meeting is “only with the people.” The special election might still require a special bill at the General Assembly, as well.
Louise Durfee: “I think it would be easier to have the financial town meeting.”
Teitz: “You are able to call a special town meeting afterwards.” So, if budget considerations change, the council has the authority to call a meeting to change the budget.
Jay Lambert: “This General Assembly is not going to address the real issues, and we will have no more information in July, August, and September.”
Broad agreement that the General Assembly sucks.
Don Bollin: “I think we’re better off going into that financial town meeting with the understanding that we’re not getting that aid.”
They’ve now adjourned the special meeting and entered into a scheduled workshop about the council’s goals, etc.
They’re talking budgets and revaluations of properties in town. Town Administrator Jim Goncalo just said that the last he looked, the revals were running, overall, 15-18% lower than last year.