Would it surprise you to learn that for the vast majority of Southborough residents, the answer to that question will be no? If Southborough’s 5-year average is any indication, only 5 percent of registered voters will attend Town Meeting this year.
Southborough isn’t alone in its low attendance, in fact, we’re on the high side relatively speaking. Looking at numbers from the past five years, Northborough has an attendance rate of 3 percent of registered voters on the first night of its annual town meeting. Westborough’s rate is also 3 percent, and Hopkinton’s is 4 percent.
In 2008 Southborough Town Meeting voted to lower the quorum from 150 to 100 so it would be easier to meet. Town officials have long considered other ways to boost attendance, like moving town meeting to a Saturday.
With some hot-button issues on the warrant — like the school budget and whether to reimburse legal fees for town employees — it’s possible this year could break the mold in terms of attendance. Town Moderator David Coombs said at a pre-town meeting on Monday that the cafeteria at Trottier will be set up to handle overflow if the auditorium fills up.
Will you be at Town Meeting next week? Answer in the poll below. If you are going, are you a town meeting veteran, or will this be your first time? And if you’re not going, tell us why in the comments. (Note: If you’re reading this via the My Southborough daily email, you’ll need to visit the blog to vote in the poll or see the results.)