JAY — Selectpersons indicated Monday night that they were interested in changing the annual town meeting referendum date from June to April to vote at the same time Regional School Unit 73 holds its yes or no validation vote on the school budget.
The district holds a district-wide, open-style meeting for voters from three towns to set the budget before it goes to the validation vote at the polls. Livermore and Livermore Falls are also in the school district.
Chairman Steve McCourt said he would like to have the vote in April in case the town’s budget didn’t pass instead of running on old budgets. Residents voted in June to authorize the municipal officers to spend an amount not to exceed one-quarter of the budgeted amount in each budget category of last year’s annual budget during the period from July 1 to Oct. 1 or until a budget is passed for the 2014-15 year in the event any budget fails.
Selectperson Tom Goding said his feeling is that they should have the vote on the same date as the school district.
RSU 73 Kenneth Healey said he would love to have all three communities align their municipal budget votes on the same day as the district’s vote.
Usually, they have to hire several teachers each year and by having the vote earlier in the spring, it allows the district to have a bigger pool of candidates to choose from, instead of waiting until June when most candidates have taken jobs with other school districts, he said,
Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere also pointed out that when the state holds primaries in June, you get a lot more people but you also get a lot more ballots to count on election night.
She asked the board if they wanted to continue the same budget process that has been done in the past.
Goding said he liked the way the budget process has been done.
Vice Chairman Justin Merrill said he liked the process but thought it would be better to get the Budget Committee involved earlier.
The committee could come to the meetings and listen to what is being discussed, he said. They do not need their full-budget binder at that time, he said.
“At least they would realize the process we go through and would know what we are talking about and would have a little more knowledge of what is going on,” Selectperson Tim DeMillo said.
Former Budget Committee member Ellen Levesque said she found the information useful when the town involved the committee earlier in the process.
“I think you should really have your Budget Committee there, not to talk, but to listen,” she said.
The board will wait to get a timeline from the school district before setting the date for the town meeting referendum.