Sabattus wants lawyer to review charter draft

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SABATTUS – After seeing support from taxpayers at the annual town meeting earlier this month, the town has allocated $15,000 to the charter commission to pay for legal fees to review the first draft of the town charter.

The charter is a document outlining and defining the inner workings of town government, along with its privileges and purposes, issued by the Legislature or other authority.

The start of Sabattus’ charter panel came at last year’s town meeting when taxpayers wanted to see what options were available in terms of how the town is governed.

Since then, a board of appointed and elected commission members has drafted possibilities based on research of other town governments and charters for Sabattus to consider.

To help guide its path, the commission distributed a poll asking townspeople to select what form of government the town should be run under.

The results leaned in favor of a board of selectmen and a town manager. The town has a Board of Selectmen and a town administrator.

The commission also noted in its poll results that taxpayers favor keeping the annual town meeting.

Charter Chairman Jon Meneally said the plan is to have legal counsel review the document by the end of July.

“Basically he will let us know what we can do and what we can’t do,” Meneally said. “After that is done, we will hold a public hearing.”

Selectman and commission member Steve Wood said the charter should have no problems in its legal review.

“In fact it should be very legal friendly,” he said. “We molded it after several other local town charters.”

For the charter to be voted on in November, the commission must hold at least one public hearing no less than 45 days from elections. That date will be announced sometime after the legal review.

The charter panel meets publicly at the town office at 6 p.m. on the first Wednesday and third Thursday of each month. For more information visit www.chartercommission. sabattus.net.

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