A Special Town Meeting

I am off to a special town meeting here in out little New Hampshire town to discuss a matter of great import – the replacement or refurbishment of one of our fire department's pumpers.

While this matter had been discussed and voted on during our regular town meeting back in February and March, the voters decided not to replace the 25-year old fire engine and considered having it repaired for a fraction of the cost of a new pumper. But the idea foundered when it was found the old pumper was in far worse shape than originally reported. And since the town can't make capital expenditures of this magnitude without a town meeting to discuss the matter and a follow-on vote the following month, our selectmen decided to call a special town meeting. They petitioned the court for permission to hold a town meeting off of the regular schedule and received the court's blessing to do so. (Towns can't just call a town meeting at anytime other than the designated dates, unless an emergency or other immediate need requires it. In this case the replacement of a vital piece of life-saving equipment was seen as meeting the conditions to allow this special town meeting to be held.)

I expect there will be lively discussions and debate at this meeting, if not some acrimony. (A lengthy series of letters to the editor in both of our local newspapers created an atmosphere that generated a lot of the aforementioned acrimony.)

If nothing else, it will be interesting evening.

And so it goes in small town America.