LIVERMORE — Selectpersons decided Monday to wait until April 26 to determine the format of the annual Town Meeting.

Aaron Miller, administrative assistant to selectpersons, said selectpersons have the right to determine whether to have an open meeting or vote at the polls.

Under the governor’s order, notice must be given at least 30 days before the annual Town Meeting referendum, which would be May 8 if it was held June 9 or 10, he said. A public hearing is required 10 days before the meeting and the warrant must be posted seven days before the meeting, he noted.

“The traditional time is 60 or more days,” Miller noted. “I don’t know how long this Executive Order is going to last.”

On March 23, Mills opened up indoor town meeting from 50% to 75% of occupancy.

“That gets us even more than when we last talked about this,” Miller said.

For the past five or six years the town meeting has been held at Spruce Mountain Primary School on Gibbs Mill Road, which can seat 450 in the gym. The meeting is typically held the second week in June.

School Principal Kevin Harrington said 84 people could have gathered in the gym under the 50% rule, Miller said. Six-foot social distancing would still need to be maintained, he said.

In open town meetings there have been nowhere near that many people, Selectperson Brett Deyling said.

“I have no interest in doing another referendum,” he said.

Selectperson Tracey Martin also spoke against voting at the polls. She said there was a lot of displeasure with the referendum, people felt they didn’t have an option, it was a yes or no vote.

“I was leaning toward having a town meeting until we had the issues here last week,” Selectperson Benjamin Guild said of the Town Office closure because of COVID-19 exposure. “I don’t really want to see the same issues happen with a large gathering.”

There’s two months before town meeting and people will have the opportunity to get vaccinated, Deyling said.

The town has to have some sort of screening, Guild said.

“If we can’t have five or six people in here without there being an exposure issue, I don’t want to see 100 people over there and have somebody get sick,” Guild said. “We’ve had enough bad press in the last year and I don’t want to continue that trend.”

Selectperson Scott Richmond asked what happens if they get to the point where the town meeting can’t be changed.

“If we no longer have a state of emergency, have to go back to the original then we’re entirely screwed,” Martin said. If voters mark ballots at the polls, questions need to be worded carefully, she said.

If an open town meeting was approved, Richmond said he didn’t see how it could be changed to a vote at the polls.

Wait until the next meeting and vote on it then, he suggested. If nothing has changed he said he would vote for the open meeting.

“I hope things aren’t going to get worse,” Richmond said.

“The longer we wait, the better,” Deyling agreed.

Prior to the next meeting, Miller was asked to get answers on how screening would work and the legality of turning someone away from town meeting.

Selectpersons were scheduled to meet April 27, but because of a conflict they will meet at 6:30 p.m. April 26 at the town office complex.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.