Charter changes vote set for Nov. 3 

BAR HARBOR — As part of the Nov. 3 election, voters here will be asked to approve nine sets of modifications to the town charter. 

The Town Council on Tuesday scheduled a public hearing on the proposed changes for Oct. 6. 

One of those changes would allow the use of electronic voting at open town meetings. 

According to the Charter Commission, which recommended that provision, the use of electronic technology “can expedite voting on budgetary articles…help to increase participation in town meeting and mitigate social pressure on controversial items.” 

This charter modification would not mandate the use of electronic voting at town meetings but would allow its use “providing it can ensure accuracy, efficiency, integrity, security, transparency and voter anonymity.” 

Several of the proposed charter modifications relate to the Warrant Committee.  

That committee would continue to review the municipal budget and any proposed amendments to the land use ordinance, but it would no longer review or make recommendations on the elementary school budget. 

In addition, neither the Warrant Committee not any other town board or committee would review or provide written recommendations about any citizen initiative or referendum. 

According to the Charter Commission, “Citizen initiatives and referendums originate directly from voters and must be included on the town warrant unless immediately adopted by Town Council.” 

Public hearings would be held on all citizen initiatives and referendums “so that voters may be informed, weigh their merits and express opinions in an open forum.” 

Another proposed charter modification would reduce the number of seats on the Warrant Committee from 22 to 15. That recommendation, according to the Charter Commission, is meant to reflect the reduction in duties and to encourage full involvement of the committee as it fulfills its duties.” 

Currently, the Warrant Committee’s recommendations are based heavily on the work of small subcommittees. 

Under the proposed charter changes, Warrant Committee members would continue to be elected at the annual Town Meeting. But instead of being elected to serve for one year, each member would serve a three-year term, with one-third of the members being up for election each year on a rotating basis.    

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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