The amended charter is the first revision of the charter in many decades and is the product of a revision process that began several years ago. Over the past 14 months, the Charter Revision Committee met 12 times in legally warned public meetings. The revision process included two public hearings for the public to ask questions and to request changes. After careful consideration, the trustees voted to include portions of changes requested by citizens at those hearings.
During just the past few weeks the amended charter has been inaccurately characterized by a few people opposing its passage. At an Oct. 30 joint board meeting, the opposition’s displeasure culminated in a spokesman for a recently formed group calling upon village trustees to cancel the scheduled vote. Prudently, the trustees did not stop the orderly democratic process already under way. Village officials need to represent the interests of all village citizens, and not just the most vocal meeting attendees. The vote remains on schedule.
The amended charter has been subject to careful legal review both during and following the revision process. In content and spirit, in the plainest possible language, the amended charter specifies how our village is governed. Also included are: general clarifications; alignment with current Vermont statutes; and enhancements to the protection of our village watershed. Importantly, the amended charter also continues to retain the positions of three elected auditors. No changes were made to either the length of terms of officials or to the form of village government. Other important areas are also addressed.
A summary of the amendments appears on the warning for the special meeting and also on the ballot. The full text of the “Bellows Falls Village Corporation Charter Amendments for Vote on December 4th” can be found posted, and with copies available at the Rockingham Library; at the Rockingham Town Hall; or online at www.rockbf.org. If you have questions, I’m at: 460-1163, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please vote on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
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