The Orono Town Council last week approved sending eight amendments to the town charter to voters at March 12’s municipal elections. The articles to be voted upon, and a summary of each, are as follows:

Article 1: “Shall the municipality approve amendments to the Municipal Charter of the Town of Orono updating gender references and correcting grammatical errors, as summarized below?” This article, if approved, would update gender references for consistency with current practices (e.g. His, Their, Town vs. town, Board vs. board) and correct grammatical errors throughout the entire Municipal Charter.

Article 2: “Shall the municipality approve amendments to the Municipal Charter of the Town of Orono to require that only residents of the Town are eligible to be Councilors, as summarized below?” This article, if approved, would amend Section 1.1.2 of the Municipal Charter to require that only residents are eligible to become Councilors.

Article 3: “Shall the municipality approve amendments to the Municipal Charter of the Town of Orono authorizing the addition of two (2) Associate Members to the Orono Board of Assessment Review, both of whom would be authorized to participate only in the event necessary to produce a quorum, as summarized below?” This article, if approved, would allow for the addition of two Associate Members on the Orono Board of Assessment Review. Associate Members would only participate as full voting members of the Board of Assessment Review in the event their participation is required to establish a quorum.

Article 4: “Shall the municipality approve amendments to the Municipal Charter of the Town of Orono to recognize the organization of Regional School Unit No. 26 and to reflect that, pursuant to state law, the Town of Orono no longer has a Department of Education, as summarized below.” This article, if approved, would amend Sections 1.1.7, 1.1.8, and 1.1.9 of the Municipal Charter to (1) recognize the organization of the Regional School Unit No. 26 and (2) to reflect that, pursuant to state law, the Town of Orono no longer has a Department of Education.

Article 5” “Shall the municipality approve amendments to the Municipal Charter of the Town of Orono to make clear that the Town Council has broad authority to review, amend, and approve the municipal budget and to extend the deadline for submission of a Capital Improvement Plan, as summarized below?” This article, if approved, would amend Section 1.1.8 of the Municipal Charter to (1) clarify the Town Council’s role in the budgeting process by deleting the inconsistent language limiting its authority to the final determination of the total appropriation to be made to each municipal department and (2) to authorize the Town Council to extend the deadline for delivery of the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan to a date no less than three months prior to the end of the then-current fiscal year.

Article 6: “Shall the municipality approved amendments to the Municipal Charter of the Town of Orono relating to municipal nominations and elections to clarify the priority of State law in the municipal election process, to impose certain ballot requirements, and to require write-in candidates to obtain at least the same number of votes required to be nominated in order to be successful, as summarized below?”

This article, if approved, would amend Section 1.1.9 of the Municipal Charter to (1) make clear in the event of any procedural conflicts, the Town shall follow State law procedures; (2) require candidates be listed on the ballot in alphabetical order of their legal last name; (3) prohibit notation of a candidate’s political party or affiliation; and (4) require that, in order to be successful, write-in candidates obtain at least the number of votes as signatures required to be placed upon the ballot through the nomination process.

Article 7: “Shall the municipality approve amendments to the Municipal Charter of the Town of Orono to reduce the threshold number of required signatures of registered voters needed to certify a petition from 10% of the total number of registered voters to 10% of those having cast ballots during the last Gubernatorial Election, as summarized below?” This article, if approved, would amend Section 1.1.10 of the Municipal Charter to reduce the threshold number of required signatures of registered voters needed to certify a petition from 10% of the total number of registered voters to 10% of those having cast ballots during the last Gubernatorial Election.

Article 8: “Shall the municipality approve amendments to the Municipal Charter of the Town of Orono increasing the threshold for sending certain Town Council purchases and borrowings to referendum from $100,000 to $500,000, as summarized below.” This article, if approved, would amend Section 1.1.10 of the Municipal Charter to increase the threshold for sending certain Town Council purchases and borrowings to referendum from $100,000 to $500,000. The lesser threshold was established back in 1970. The revised threshold is intended to reflect the increased cost of capital equipment and projects.

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