Library will host public forum on town governance articles to be considered by Town Meeting – Thursday, March 21

Town Meeting is less than one month away (April 8 – mark your calendars), and there are some big items on the warrant, from operational budgets and capital items to changes to our town government. We’ve talked about much of it here on the blog, but (thankfully) this isn’t the only place to get educated before you vote.

On Thursday, the Southborough Public Library will host a public forum on two articles that aim to enhance the power of the town administrator and expand the Board of Selectmen from three to five members. Here are more details:

Southborough Library Trustees will be hosting a public forum on Thursday, March 21, 7 p.m., to help educate voters on a Town Meeting warrant article that, if approved, would create a strong Town Administrator form of government in Southborough and another article that would expand the Board of Selectmen from three to five members.

In attendance will be members of the Town Manager Legislation Ad Hoc Committee, which was formed last summer after Town Meeting failed to approve a previous committee’s Town Manager form of government proposal.

The latest committee to study a change in Southborough’s form of government voted unanimously in January to ask upcoming April Town Meeting goers to approve:

  • A bylaw establishing a Strong Town Administrator to supervise departments under the Board of Selectmen and serve as Personnel Director.
  • Special legislation to expand the number of selectmen from 3 to 5.
  • Special legislation to permit the Town Administrator to sign warrants. A warrant is the final authorization to pay the town’s bills and payrolls. Currently a majority of the Board must come to the Town House every Tuesday to sign these.
  • The two special legislation articles require the approval of the State Legislature and a majority vote at the Southborough ballot box.

“This is a continuation of the effort to empower an executive to provide day-to-day management of our municipal government,” said Al Hamilton, chair of the Ad Hoc committee. “This is the first step in a process that may or may not end up with a Town Manager form of government, but it allows Southborough to take a meaningful step in the direction of full-time professional management of municipal government and preserves flexibility for us to make changes as we perfect the system without having to regularly appeal to the State Legislature.

“We encourage all voters to attend this Public Forum and ask questions so they can make an informed decision at our April Town Meeting,” said Jane Smith, chair of the Library Board of Trustees. The first night of Southborough’s Town Meeting is Monday, April 8, 7:00 p.m., at the P. Brent Trottier Middle School, 49 Parkerville Road.

The Public Forum will take place upstairs in the Southborough Library, 25 Main Street, from 7 to 9 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Can’t make it on Thursday? Not to worry. The forum will be taped for later broadcast on one of Southborough’s public access channels. Check for the schedule.

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