Most of the suggested changes center on the clarification or outright removal of outdated language within the Charter. However, a few key changes have also been put forth. These include a number of potential referenda items focusing on the Town Council itself, as well as their meetings. These include increasing terms from 3 years to 4 years, eliminating term limits, and changing language on special meeting notices from at least 24 hours before the meeting takes place to “with reasonable notice.”
The topic of both term length and term limits garnered the most discussion, with Vice Mayor Dan Andre objecting to the changes, feeling longer terms would “change who would run and not run.”
Council-member Rexann Hosafros did raise one drawback to having term limits in place.
“These term limits place us at a disadvantage in how far our Council representative can rise in organizations like the (Metropolitan Planning Organization),” Hosafros said. She noted that fellow councilmember Alan Mandel has risen to a position of importance in the MPO, but will be out of the organization after the next election cycle due to limits.
Council-member Summer Stockton expressed her concern over the elimination of the term limits would lead to incumbents retaining their seats term after term, resulting in little turnover in the Council’s make-up.
“I see both sides of this,” Hosafros said. “But this should be put to the voters, and let them decide.”
Another item of note in the charter review was the suggestion to remove limits on the Town to enter into long term financing. Currently, the town cannot engage in capital debt financing when the repayment would extend beyond 36 months, unless they were mandated to do so by a state or federal governing agency.
The Council will vote whether or not to forward the 22 referenda items to the voters at their September 21st meeting at 6:30 pm.