NEW GLOUCESTER – A group of residents has created a citizens’ action committee to educate and promote the creation of a Charter Commission to govern the town.

Residents will vote June 11 whether to create a commission to study creating a charter to govern the town.

Steve Hathorne, chairman of the committee and a former selectman, said the town is governed by a combination of state law and local ordinances.

According to the Maine Municipal Association, towns can create a charter that lays out the form, protocols and policies that a town uses beyond the basic rules laid out in state law.

Hathorne said that during an October 2018 Board of Selectmen meeting, a group of residents said they were prepared to circulate a citizens’ petition to place a question on the June 11 ballot about creating a Charter Commission.

The board voted to place the question on the town meeting ballot without a petition, though Hathorne said that “two selectmen voiced clear opposition to the idea of a charter and hoped the measure was defeated.”

The citizens’ action committee, called “New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter,” was announced Friday. Two informational meetings on the purpose of a charter and why the town is voting on it are scheduled March 5 and 21.

The cost of printing ballots and putting the question to a vote was estimated at about $4,000, Hathorne said, but he expects it to be about half of that.

“I don’t see it costing $4,000 to do it,” he said. “The idea of this costing the town $4,000 didn’t sit well with some of the board members.”

He said residents who wish to join the committee are welcome and can learn more about it on their Facebook page.

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