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Granby Selectmen Endorse Vote on Automatic Budget Referendum

An automatic referendum on the Granby town budget, the subject of a supportive petition signed by more than 1,400 residents, will be now be recommended back to the charter revision commission for inclusion in the November ballot.

The Granby Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed that the option for an automatic, machine-counted referendum format to vote on the town budget should be on the November ballot at its meeting Monday night.

through a recently circulated petition. An informational public hearing held on June 21 featured the .

While the four selectmen (vice chairwoman Sally King was not in attendance) held different personal beliefs about which process was more effective, they all agreed that the townspeople should ultimately have the final say on the budget voting format.

“I want that vote in November,” said selectman Mark Neumann, who said he personally supports the current town meeting process. “It will be the majority of voters who decide.”

Selectman Ron Desrosiers has been a selectman through two previous charter revisions and supported the town meeting format at those times. But he pointed to the notable support the referendum option gathered in this revision process.

A major factor influencing Desrosiers’ position was the sense of frustration and lack of trust some residents had over the current budget approval format. Currently, only 230 voters need to be present and a two-thirds majority can approve the budget. He also pointed out some logistical issues, including those with work schedules that preclude attendance at a town meeting, family care concerns and the inability of some residents to drive safely at night.

“It is clear to me that the voters must be given the choice of making the decision to vote on the budget through an automatic budget [referendum] or town meeting,” he wrote in a prepared statement about his position. “If we don’t give the voters that option, the seeds of frustrations, distrust and anger will grow and spread into other areas of government.”

The responsibility of elected officials to the people that vote them into office played a significant part in selectman Scott Kuhnly’s decision to support a vote the referendum option.

“As an elected official, I hope and am honored that the people of Granby have put their trust in us to make good decisions on their behalf,” he said. “Perhaps the biggest part of that trust is the faith that we will listen.”

First Selectman John Adams pointed out some of the benefits of the town meeting system: the reduced cost of that format, financial stability during the era when town meetings have been used to vote on the budget and the ease of gathering budget feedback through town meetings.

“The adoption of an automatic referendum places greater responsibility on the entire electorate,” he said, encouraging voters to become informed on budget issues before casting a ballot.

But Adams also said he wants to see the referendum option on the November ballot.

In the referendum option, Adams called for a public budget hearing on the second Monday of April each year, followed by a machine-counted referendum on the fourth Monday of April.

The recommendation for an automatic budget referendum will now be passed back to the charter revision commission. What will likely be that commission’s final recommendations will return to the selectmen for consideration on August 6.

The recommendation, assuming the charter revision commission adopts it, will be included as a separate, yes-or-no question on the November ballot.

A Fan July 03, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Its about time, we are moving in the right direction. Lets hope they don't use a question on the ballot that will confuse people. It should be straight up and forward, Do you want to cast a vote on a machine, YES or NO please say YES if you want your voice heard and your vote to count. No more stacking the meetings with the same people its time we all vote the way we want to not the way John or Jane Doe tell us to at a town meeting. One vote one person. No pressure here!
Happy Percy July 03, 2012 at 05:24 PM
It is about time. NOW get out and VOTE in November, Keep the HEAT on the leaders of this Town to Clean up their Spending habits!!
teresa hoff July 03, 2012 at 06:07 PM
that is a good thing. It should be included wiuth the entire recommendation though.
Happy Percy July 03, 2012 at 06:19 PM
About the Time the KING and QUEEN of Granby listened to the PEOPLE!!
Peter Dinella July 03, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Well done!
Terry Wright July 03, 2012 at 07:32 PM
BoS members thank you for listening. Again, kudos to Jim Glenney, Len Murray and company for collecting those signatures. Thanks to the citizens of Granby for taking the time. Please stay the course and let us take back the right for EVERYONE to vote on the annual budget, not just a chosen few.
Jim Warnke July 03, 2012 at 07:36 PM
The majority of voters should decide on all things that will effect the town period!
R W Maier July 03, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Great day for Granby. Thanks to the pols for changing their minds.
Terry Wright July 03, 2012 at 11:55 PM
BoS members thank you for listening. Again, kudos to Jim Glenney, Len Murray and company for collecting those signatures. Thanks to the citizens of Granby for taking the time. Please stay the course and let us take back the right for EVERYONE to vote on the annual budget, not just a chosen few.
Terry Wright July 03, 2012 at 11:57 PM
How long does it take to have a comment approved? Ted Glanzer was never this slow.
Happy Percy July 04, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Selectman Ron Desrosiers time for you to RETIRE!!! This TOWN is in BIG TROUBLE with the TAX increase coming next year, due to the dishonest packaging of the Evonsion Farm, which the Town should drop like a HOT Potato due to the waste and low water table of the property!!
Bill July 04, 2012 at 01:23 AM
It's about time that the politicians started listening to the people!
Happy Percy July 04, 2012 at 01:52 AM
And Remember....those RAISES the teacher's get...AREN'T for the Children!
Jim Johnson July 04, 2012 at 02:06 AM
And the $600,000 bill for the out of town children who go to school here that do not live here. Why should Granby taxpayers be burdened with this expense? Time to bring in a third political party to move these corrupt politicians out.
Happy Percy July 04, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Please Show up and VOTE in November so the Town Workers and Teachers can stop voting in their own Raises! Wish I could do that. If you ever have been to the Budget vote you could see all the Town workers calling their spouses if there weren't enough people to vote. Such a shame the Townie Syndrome!
Happy Percy July 04, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Another thing that needs to be investigated is the Rental Cost of the Board of Education for the property at 522 Salmon Brook St., Is the Town being TAKEN?
Happy Percy July 04, 2012 at 11:32 PM
So WHY is Farm land being used as a Commercial lot at 537 Salmon Brook St? Seems like we pay a lot of money without enforcement, especially if you KNOW someone. Too bad the dirt bike riders didn't know anybody in Granby Town Hall.

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