Town meeting attendance relatively high this year

by susan on April 28, 2010

The budget challenges the town faced this year translated into town meeting attendance that was higher than average. On the first night of town meeting, 377 residents filled the seats at Trottier. The second night, which traditionally has a much lower attendance rate, saw 244 residents turn out.

The total turnout across the two nights was 621, that’s the second highest attendance in the last decade. The only year that saw a bigger turnout was 2005 (anyone remember what was going on that year?).

There are about 6,500 registered voters in Southborough. That means on day one of town meeting, 5.7% of the voting population made decisions for the whole town. On day two, 3.7% made the decisions. Those are some powerful numbers.

Here’s a historical look at town meeting attendance.

1 Lisa April 28, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Very interesting statistics! I thought for sure we would have a tough time getting a quorum the second night, but was pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t registered in time to attend 2005’s, had just moved into town, so I’d like to hear what drove attendance that year if anyone remembers. It was probably the Algonquin project. I do, however, remember the Special Town Meeting for Chesnut Hill that was absolutely mobbed!

2 Donna McDaniel April 28, 2010 at 9:01 PM

I took a quick look at the Villager columns I wrote for the 2005 meetings… it looks like a couple of big school issues in particular but also some expensive requests for capital items in other departments brought out the higher attendance. There was a request to add funds to what we already approved for the Algonquin building/renovating project AND for more money for Trottier and Woodward projects plus some millions for repairs to Neary. There were concerns about having to lay off teachers at the HS and in town; overrides were needed and subsequently passed at the election.
I will note that the biggest TM in my 35 years was a special session called to vote on whether to build a separate high school in Southborough (as I recall, the actual vote was to search for suitable land, but maybe not). The meeting was held in an empty warehouse belonging to EM2 in the industrial park. Without going to search out the report for that year — 2001 — in my basement collection, I do believe there were about 1,000, maybe 1200 people there. It was a huge crowd, that I can say. Maybe I’ll check that one out and write some more, but enough for now. I do remember reading that before I came to town there was a high attendance of 700 to vote on a school (Neary, I think)… the overflow voters were in a second room at Finn.

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3 Hi There April 29, 2010 at 1:56 PM

I think the 2001 STM regarding a separate HS was held in the Trottier gym, wasn’t it?

4 Kelly Roney April 20, 2011 at 6:04 PM

There were two big meetings about Algonquin, one in the EMC warehouse, the final one at Trottier. If memory serves, the first, at EMC, voted for a new build plan, as well as Regional Agreement amendments, but Northborough only concurred with the amendments to the agreement. Yes, the amendments they now want to overturn in court. The second TM passed add/ren and rejected a second high school within the Region. Northborough then passed add/ren without having an article for any other proposal.

5 jojama April 29, 2010 at 3:21 PM

No it was held at EMC in Southborough. It was like a concert setting!!

6 carrie alpert April 29, 2010 at 7:53 PM

what i remember from that time period, my oldest at the time not even being 2, was the feeling in town–the vibe–the signs on the lawns, the chitter chatter wherever you went and how divided people were over the issue–passionate.

7 southsider April 30, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Carrie,

Your recall is quite correct … the issue was incredibly polarizing… and now, I’m afraid, many of those past emotions will resurface with the pending lawsuit initiated by our regional partners in Northboro.

By the way, congrats on remembering any current events from the time your oldest was not even 2!!!!

8 JOJAMA April 30, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Oh Boy Southsider how many times have my husband and I said that to each other over the past few years? It was a very polarizing time for the town. Now, unfortunately we are facing this difficult time in the regional district, My children play sports with Northborough children and I see Northborough kids being dropped off in bigger and fancier cars than I will ever have. My contemporaries in Northborough don’t seem much different than my contemporaries in Southborough. That is why it angers me that we are paying for 10-12 of their kids to attend Algonquin, at $20.000 a year per student. I don’t feel we’re more affluent, I feel like we’re stupid.

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