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Letter: Dem. Town Chair Pushes for Referendum on Fields Plan

Ann Krane wants residents to have a say.

Letter to the Editor:

Residents of Oxford will be asked to vote to approve the construction of athletic fields at the high school soon. This project is estimated to cost over $3 million. According to the town charter, any expenditure under 10 percent of the tax levy may be approved at a town meeting. Our current tax levy is  approximately $32.3 million. The fields project comes in under the 10 percent rule and technically doesn't require a vote by referendum only a town meeting.

It is my opinion that an expenditure of this magnitude should be put to a town referendum vote and not be approved by a relatively small percentage of residents who might attend a town meeting.  A referendum would provide a means for a much larger number of residents to vote their opinion on this project.

The charter also provides for an expenditure under the 10 percent rule to be brought to referendum by petition.  Two hundred signatures on a petition can force a referendum on this proposal. I ask our Selectmen to bring this project to a vote by referendum  rather than a vote by town meeting.

Regards,

Ann Krane

Oxford

Editor's Note: Miss Krane is chairwoman of the Oxford Democratic Town Committee. 

kathy johnson June 13, 2012 at 01:22 AM
It would like to see this issue go to referendum.
Brett Olbrys June 13, 2012 at 03:27 AM
It is still too early in the process for a petition. The BOF has to first give it its "favorable" approval. Once that occurs and it goes back to the BOS, the town meeting can then be set. At THAT point, the petition process could start. Section 3-7(A) of the Charter says, "Only an elector or a person qualified to vote at a Town Meeting may circulate a petition requiring that a Special Town Meeting be convened by the Board of Selectmen, or that a question in the warning of any Town Meeting be removed to a referendum vote at a Town Meeting by Referendum. The petition shall be signed only by electors or persons qualified to vote at any such Town Meeting or Referendum on the day the petition is filed." The statement to pay attention to is ..."a question in the warning of any Town Meeting be removed to a referendum vote at a Town Meeting by Referendum." Once the question is known, the petition should be written around that question and you should work with the Town Clerk to make sure the proper wording and procedures are being followed.
Janis Hardy June 13, 2012 at 06:53 PM
As soon as the Town Meeting on this issue is noticed, there will be several concerned taxpayers circulating the petition to remove the vote on the question to a referendum. I have volunteered to be one of them, and I am sure this forum will be used to let interested signers know the petition is ready. Anyone out there wishing to sign can call me and I will make arrangements to collect your signature(s). I am in the book.... However, I am still hopeful the First Selectman will see the light and be responsive to his constituents, and the BOS will send this to referendum and we will avoid all this drama....
Roc June 13, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I will sign the petition for referendum
Roc June 13, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I would like all of the unfinished projects completed first.

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