Petition Warrant Articles on Town Ballot Explained

Voters in Londonderry will have the chance to vote on a number of warrant articles submitted by citizens, at the polls on Tuesday, March 12.
Many of those were submitted by resident, Deb Paul, who explained during a recent interview the intent behind them. Each citizen’s petition warrant article had at least 25 residents signatures.
All of the following warrant articles were amended during the Deliberative Session to make them advisory only, meaning if voters support them, they will be non-binding.
Article 17
One of the warrant articles submitted by Paul, will move the Planning Board from an appointed body to an elected one.
She explained currently there is no mechanism for members of the community to have someone removed from the Board if they feel members aren’t doing a good job, or if they think the Board should be going in a different direction.
By making the members of the Planning Board elected, Paul said the idea will be to allow voters to decide who should be sitting on the Board, which she described as arguably the second most powerful board behind the Town Council.
Paul noted how currently there are ex-officios, and liaisons to the Planning Board and those positions would remain appointed.

Article 18
Warrant article 18 looks to make a change to the Municipal Code by making it so all official town meetings would have public comment at the beginning and at the end of the meetings.
Paul explained the idea behind allowing public input at the beginning and the end of official town meetings, would make it so members of the community could comment on things that come up during the meetings.
For example she said the Town Council only takes public comment at the beginning of the meeting, but if something comes up during the meeting that someone has a comment on, they would generally have to wait two weeks, or sometimes longer before the next meeting in order to express their concerns, ask questions, or give their input. In some cases by the time that happens, it may be too late.
Article 19
Warrant Article 19 will ask voters to support amending the Municipal Code, making it so all official town meetings have to occur during a time that is most convenient to the general public.
Paul explained that the idea behind the warrant article is to make it so different boards and commissions are meeting at times that are convenient for most people in Town.
She said as an example, currently the Traffic Safety Committee meets at 5:30 p.m., which is not convenient for everyone. Other meetings like the Trustees of the Trust Funds meet in the morning, which is difficult for people who work during the day.
Article 20
Warrant article 20 would make it so all official town meetings in town are recorded going forward.
Paul explained it’s something she has been working on for a few years, including from the time she was on the Town Council, however, she said a number of meetings for various boards and commissions continue to not be recorded.
She explained the idea behind the meetings being recorded every time, is that it would allow residents to be able to go back and review the meetings at their convenience, which would be particularly helpful for people who are unable to attend meetings.
Article 21
Warrant article 21 seeks to eliminate the town manager from his position. Language contained in Article 21 is statutory from RSA 37:15 and is read in conjunction with RSA 49-D. A no vote is in support of removing the town manager from his position.
Article 22
The final warrant article submitted by Paul, would be an amendment to the Municipal Code, to make it so the Londonderry Budget Committee is no longer just advisory, “in accordance with RSA40:14-b that states the “Budget Committee” shall create the default budgets.”
Paul explained that the Budget Committee does a lot of work to look at different ways to save money in the budget, and makes suggestions, however in the current system, they ultimately are only an advisory board, despite all being elected officials.
As part of the change, the Londonderry Budget Committee would also be responsible for creating the Default Budget, instead of the Administration proposing both the operating budget, and the Default Budget.

Note: During the Deliberative Session, residents voted to make Articles 17, 18, 19, 20 and 22 advisory only. Meaning that if passed, the Town Charter would then need to be amended.

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