Town Meeting Observations

As mentioned in this post, I attended Town Meeting Tuesday night. It was small town democracy in action.

There were the usual characters in attendance, including the 'numbers guy' (can pull accurate figures from his memory and recalculate expenditures in his head), the vocal curmudgeon (finds it impossible to stay on topic when speaking about the warrant article under discussion and is still pissed off about something that took place over 40 years ago), the earnest charity proponent (“It's for the children!”), and the petitioner with an ax to grind because some town board or another did something that he/she didn't like.

One of the more controversial issues discussed was a petition that called for the town's elected Budget Committee to be eliminated and replaced with a new committee appointed by the Board of Selectman, said committee to be an advisory committee.

A number of the petitioners got up to speak about the article, claiming that the existing committee showed “nothing but contempt for the taxpayers.”

Excuse me?

How is looking out for the taxpayers money contempt for the taxpayers? It was more the petitioners showing their contempt by trying to remove one of the checks and balance mechanisms and replacing it with a toothless advisory board beholden to the selectmen, the school board, and town employees. (It also turns out that many of the petitioners were teachers, town employees, or their spouses. A coincidence? I think not.)

And so it goes in small town New Hampshire.

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