BUCKFIELD – Selectmen authorized Town Manager Cindy Dunn to send out a survey to taxpayers and registered voters to get their input on town meeting and other Buckfield-related affairs.

Prior to their authorization at the Tuesday, Sept. 22 meeting, Dunn asked selectmen who she should send the survey to. She previously suggested sending it out with the tax bills in mid-October to save money on postage but wanted to know if the survey should include a larger group of residents.

“If they go in the tax bill, doing the tax bill will not hit all voters and vice versa. Polling all voters will not get all taxpayers,” Dunn said.

“I like the idea of voters specifically because it does include renters, which I think a fair amount of them are voters as well,” Selectman Maida DeMers-Dobson said, noting she was approached by residents who wondered if renters would be included.

She said the first page of the survey threw her for a loop. The first part of the survey asks residents to rate the town departments – including the Town Office, Fire Department, Rescue Department, Public Works Department, Library Department and Solid Waste and Recycling at the Transfer Station – on a scale of one to five. It also calls for comments, concerns and suggestions.

DeMers-Dobson noted her worry of the town receiving “a flood of crankiness” from surveys that didn’t include honest answers.

“That’s just it with the survey, I am hoping these results are honest answers,” Dunn said. “Whatever the sentiment is … it is what it is.”

The second portion of the survey notes annual town meeting is normally held at 9 a.m. on a Saturday. Residents can weigh in on the best time and day for the meeting to be held.

The next question states on May 5, the selectboard decided to implement close-ended warrant articles at town meeting for all expense accounts, after years of having open-ended articles.

“What this means is that a specific dollar amount is incorporated into the wording of the article. The specific dollar amount can be reduced by the voters, however, cannot be increased by the voters. Do you think town meeting warrant articles should be ‘close-ended?’” the survey asked.

The survey notes that after a two-year hiatus, Community Day was brought back on Labor Day this year. Those who attended can share their thoughts on the parade and activities held on the field behind the Municipal Building on Turner Street. It also asks for ways to improve the event and to share any resources that could be utilized to enhance the festivities.

The last question asks if there is any town-related topics selectmen or the town manager should address. At the end of the document, it puts out a call for volunteers to serve on various town committees as there are a number of openings.

Selectmen Chair Cheryl Coffman suggested sending it out with the tax bills and having surveys available at the Municipal Building and website for others to fill out. She didn’t want to spend extra money on postage to send it separately to every voter in town.

“If you put it up on the Webpage one person can answer it 20 times. My intent was to code these in a manner where to duplicate it would be difficult,” Dunn said.

She also wanted to know if one survey should be sent per household or per taxpayer and voter.

“I think that’s the way it’s been in the past – one per household,” Coffman said. “I think it’s the simplest way to do it.”

“You’re not going to make everybody happy,” Selectmen Scott Violette commented.

Dunn said she could cross reference the tax bills with registered voters and the only cost would be separate mailings of to voters who are not taxpayers.

“That’s really who we had started these questions for were the voters so we can get more turnout at the (town) meeting,” Coffman said.

Coffman made a motion for Dunn to send out the surveys – one per household – with the tax bills and to cross reference those with a list of registered voters for a separate mailing. The motion was passed unanimously.

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