The Orono Town Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, January 7 at 7 p.m in the council chambers to receive comments on proposed amendments to the town charter.

The two biggest changes would be in the referendums and initiatives section of the charter. The first would reduce the threshold of the number of required signatures of registered voters needed to certify a petition from 10 percent of the total number of registered voters to 10 percent of those having cast ballots during the last gubernatorial election. The second would increase the threshold for sending certain town council purchases and borrowings to referendum from $100,000 – an amount that was adopted in 1970 – to $500,000 to reflect the inflated cost of capital equipment and projects.

Most of the remaining charter changes would involve updated gender references, and grammar throughout the entire document for consistency with current practices. The changes also would allow the addition of two associate members on the Board of Assessment Review who shall have limited authority to attend meetings and participate, if necessary, to produce a quorum for that board.  Language also would be changed to reflect the organization of RSU 26; previous language addressed the Town Department of Education.

State law requires that all amendments to a municipal charter must be approved by the voters of the town at a municipal election. Immediately following this wek’s public hearing, the town council will consider adding this referendum question to the municipal election being held on March 12.

A draft of the of all the proposed charter changes is online at

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