Hearing on proposed $15M school, municipal budget lasts 20 minutes

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JAY — As quick as a public hearing on a proposed $15 million school and municipal budget started Tuesday night, it ended. It lasted 20 minutes.

New town attorney, Stephen Langsdorf read through the 50 articles on the warrant and the more than 30 people in attendance dealt with all but one question. That was to clarify the school budget voting question.

There were no comments on a couple of articles that have drawn considerable discussion during the budget process. Those regard continuing curbside trash pickup and whether the town’s Environmental Control and Improvement Ordinance that locally regulates industrial emissions, water discharges and solid waste, should be suspended.

One question at the polls on Tuesday, June 8, asks if voters wish to continue the school budget validation referendum process in the Jay School Department for an additional three years.

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The state school reorganization law superseded the town’s referendum voting method on individual school articles three years ago. The new law set in place an open-style town meeting vote on the individual school warrant articles to set the budget, and then a required second vote by referendum to validate what the people had voted on during the open-style meeting.

The validation vote is either a “yes” or “no” vote, which has to be held within 10 days of the first vote.

Both the School Committee and Budget Committee recommend that residents continue the budget validation referendum process on the school budget.

“A ‘yes’ vote will require the Jay School Department to continue to conduct a referendum to validate its annual school budget for the next three years,” according to an information note on the warrant.

“A ‘no’ vote will discontinue the budget validation referendum for at least three years and provide instead that the annual school budget shall be finally adopted at a meeting of the voters.”

Years ago a citizens’ petition prompted the townspeople to decide whether they wanted to vote on all town and school articles for the annual town meeting by secret ballot at the polls. They voted in favor of that process and continued it until the new school law changed it.

Residents continue to vote individually on its municipal budget warrant articles by referendum at the polls. This year’s municipal budget is proposed at $6.18 million.

Townspeople will be asked once again this year if they want to continue that referendum process in 2011.

The town meeting style vote on the proposed $9 million school budget will be held on Tuesday, June 1.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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