We’re expecting a good turnout this year for the 2009 Annual Town Meeting beginning on Monday April 6, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School auditorium and continuing on the next day and then Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the following week, if necessary. We’ll fill the ground floor first and then the balcony; then the cafeteria and, if necessary, the classroom across the hall from the auditorium. You will be able to hear speakers and address all voters from any of the 3 rooms. After you are recognized to speak, we will have runners who will pass a microphone to you at your seat, or you may proceed to one of the standing microphones after you are recognized if you prefer.
Prior to Town Meeting, you should read the Town Meeting Warrant that the Boy Scouts delivered to your home. In the front of the Warrant are two articles on Town Meeting procedures for your review. It is very important that you read them and all the articles, reports as well as the financial information in the Warrant. Also, the League of Woman Voters has a brochure of Town Meeting practices that is available at the Library and the Town Clerk’s office. I will summarize some Town Meeting procedures at the beginning of Town Meeting. We are governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 39 and Articles I and II of our by-laws. Our parliamentary rules are governed by the 3rd edition of Town Meeting Times.
As a member of the Massachusetts Moderator Association, I previewed a DVD on Town Meeting, produced by the Association. I purchased 3 of them – one for cable (for viewing on channel 8 between now and Town Meeting), one for the library for borrowing by voters and one for the Town Clerk, also for public viewing.
Ten articles will be considered on the Consent Calendar in the hope of speeding the progress of Town Meeting. The Consent Calendar will be taken up as the first order of substantive business on the first night. It is, therefore, critical that everyone become familiar with the “consent” articles prior to the beginning of Town Meeting. Study the Warrant and if you have any substantive questions, please call the Selectmen’s office (978-639-3382) or any member of the board or committee sponsoring the article. It is hoped that voters will remove articles from the Consent Calendar only in cases of considered and genuine concern. Every effort will be made to provide satisfactory answers to your questions to avoid the need to remove items from the Calendar. A listing of the Consent Calendar articles and the voting procedure appear at the beginning of the Town Meeting Warrant.
On each night of the Town Meeting, important issues will be addressed, affecting the services you receive, the taxes you pay, and the character of the Town. On the first night, following action under the Consent Calendar and our honoring Town residents, Town Meeting will take up the fiscal year 2010 budget (Article 4). Please consult your Warrant for each of the 32 articles.
Because the moderator must be impartial, I will not vote at Town Meeting even in the case where my vote would create or break a tie. Any voter should feel free to call the Selectmen’s office or me with respect to any procedural question about Town Meeting.
Sudbury’s Open Town Meeting is probably the longest running continuous one in Massachusetts. Any registered Sudbury voter may attend, speak and vote. I invite those who use to come to Town Meeting, to return. I invite those who have never been to Town Meeting, to attend. Please join your fellow voters at Town Meeting and participate in the legislative decision making process of our town, because every voter will be affected by what happens at the Annual Town Meeting.
Myron J. Fox is the moderator for the Town of Sudbury.