Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

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Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby mike_flynn on Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:06 am

Imagine if the embattled $100-Million-plus Sewer Program only had to be approved by 6 people, and you had no vote in the matter. That is what you will have if Tewksbury switches to a Town Council form of government.

The Town Council proponents say that you will still be able to vote on Proposition 2-1/2 debt exemptions and overrides, which they refer to as “major initiatives”.

What they don’t tell you is that any new debt in the Sewer and Water Enterprise Funds, which will undoubtedly jack the rates up even higher, only has to be approved by 2/3 of the 9 councilors. No town-wide ballot vote is required.

And speaking about Enterprise Funds, how soon do you think it will take this 9-member Town Council to enact a trash fee and an accompanying Trash Enterprise Fund? Or what if they want to eliminate the condominium trash pickup by the town? They will have free reign to do so because the Town Bylaws will be taken out of your control at Town Meeting and placed in the councilors’ hands.

Another thing that the proponents won’t tell you is that once new spending is approved by the council, it cannot be repealed, even with the almost insurmountable hurdle they call a Citizen Referendum Process where petitioners have to get over 1,000 signatures and a 15% turnout at the polls to overturn a bad decision. The adopted Town and School Department budgets were intentionally made exempt from any citizen intervention.

Along with a limited, burdensome check and balance process, the proponents are asking you to trade the tremendous power of your vote at Open Town Meeting for a negligible voice at a public hearing. Don’t fall for it.

A voice is not a vote.

Please join me on Tuesday, May 8th at 7:00 pm at the Tewksbury Memorial High School, and be sure to vote No to the Charter change.

We can’t afford it.

Mike Flynn

Former Tewksbury Finance Committee member
Regular SACC meeting attendee

p.s. If you would like to host a "NO Town Council" lawn sign, send an e-mail to AVoiceIsNotAVote@comcast.net.
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Re: Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby bobr on Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:31 am

Hello Mike:

Thanks for all your hard work and attention to detail.
I agree that the opponents to Town Council should take nothing for granted and attend the Special Town Meeting and VOTE NO.

First they say, "Not enough people attend Town Meeting so let's get rid of it."
Then they say, "If not enough people vote at the ballot box on a referendum petition, then the VOTE DOESN"T COUNT."
Next they may say. "If you are not one of us, then YOU DON"T COUNT."

Without Open Town Meeting the Finance Committee becomes a toothless watchdog.
Without checks and balances the people are powerless.

Power to the people.
Vote NO.

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Re: Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby swamper on Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:26 pm

Well said, fellow SACC meeting attendee.....and I concur!
P.S.- outstanding avatar! :wink:
NO AT BALLOT (if need be) SEPT. 21
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Re: Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby Friendofthetown on Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:49 pm

Will child care be provided at Town Meeting? This would be important to know. Thank you.
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Re: Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby PattiDe on Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:41 pm

Friend of the town--I saw something on the TMHS daily bulletin that I get via email from the TMHS PAC that the National Honor society students will be providing babysitting at the high school for town meeting. I would recommend calling the high school to confirm that. I hope that if this IS happening, that it is advertised--it's a great idea and would allow more parents of younger kids to feel like they have a say.
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Re: Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby roxymom on Wed May 02, 2012 7:00 am

It seems that there is going to be a signficant turnout for the town meeting on Tuesday. I hope there is a plan to allow ALL registered town voters to have access to voting. That would include parking, maybe staggered voting or opening the use of the auditorium. It doesn't seem right that because of limited parking you are denied access to the town meeting , or there is an excess number of voters in the gym which violates fire laws you are denied access to town meeting. Too bad this projected number of voters don't show up for every town meeting. We wouldn't be having this issue.
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Re: Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby krauseo on Wed May 02, 2012 11:50 am

Good morning,

There will be a plan to handle a large turnout at any of the meetings. The auditorium and, if necessary, the cafeteria, can be made available to voters, as they were for the meetings on the mall and high school. There is a large new parking area behind the school which will help with parking issues. I am going to discuss with the school administration the possibility of providing shuttle service from the Ryan to the high school on Tuesday night so the Ryan lot is available for additional parking. This is also something the town has done in the past.

No one who wishes to attend the meeting and vote will be denied access to do so. It’s against the law to deny a registered voter his or her right to vote. A voter may have to be willing to walk a bit from the parking lot to the building, or wait in line for a bit to check in, or take a shuttle bus from the Ryan, but if people come, they will be able to vote. I would encourage people to come early so they can get registered and seated so that the meeting doesn’t have to be recessed after its scheduled start time while people are waiting to check in.

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Re: Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby krauseo on Wed May 02, 2012 11:59 am

Students from the TMHS National Honor Society and Student Council will be available on all three nights of Town Meeting to provide child care. Younger children can go to the school’s Preschool Area (in A Hall near Guidance), older children can go to the Library. There are a few rules. Children left in the care of the students must be toilet-trained. No food service will be available, and the children will not be able to bring food into the rooms, because of allergy issues. Children may bring water only.

The students have provided this service in the past and I think that it’s great that they’re stepping up to do it again this year. They and their advisors should be applauded for this effort.

Parents can bring children into the meeting hall. This could apply to young children who are not toilet-trained, or older children whom parents might feel would learn something from the experience of attending Town Meeting. The only rule in this case is that the children cannot be disruptive to the meeting, and I would have to count on parents to keep things under control and to leave the hall temporarily if necessary to calm their children down.

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Re: Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby Zeebamom on Wed May 02, 2012 5:39 pm

I think we should all applaud our Town Moderator for keeping us informed and doing such a good job explaining everything that will be voted on!!! Thank you, Mr Rauseo.
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Re: Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby cowboyup on Thu May 03, 2012 7:30 pm

I agree. A BIG thank you to Keith for providing essential information in a straightforward, concise and nonbiased manner. Keith - I was dismayed when you were no longer on the SC but I truly see what a great value to the town you are as moderator. Thank you SO much!
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Re: Tewksbury Can't Afford a Town Council

Postby bferrari on Fri May 04, 2012 10:14 am

I find it IRONIC that there will be a HUGE turnout at a meeting to possibly ABOLISH Open Town Meeting where the proponents of the Article are stating that there is LITTLE TURNOUT at Open Town Meeting and we should get rid of it.
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