Share on Facebook
Share on Linkedin
Email this link
AUSTRALIAN BALLOT REPLACES TOWN MEETING THIS YEAR AGAIN
NOTICE OF SELECTBOARD BUDGET MEETINGS
Hi Jericho Neighbors,
Covid continues to disrupt people's lives and livelihoods. The exhaustion and tedium of our circumstances make us even more appreciative of the continued efforts of volunteers who serve on committees and citizens who participate either in person or via zoom. Local government, among neighbors, is at the heart of democracy.
Recognizing that these challenging circumstances will continue into next year, Senate Bill S. 172 is on a fast track to be approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor to assist local governments in the execution of their duties while keeping the public safe by permitting towns to approve their budgets by Australian ballot this year again, without the customary town wide vote to do so. We announce here we will not hold Town Meeting in person this March 1, 2022. We look forward to a return of our traditional Town Meeting in 2023.
You’ll recall that one of the advantages of discussing and voting on our town's budget at Town Meeting is that portions of the budget can be amended from the floor, more closely reflecting the will of the citizens. This flexibility is not available with a vote by Australian ballot. With this year’s authorization to go to Australian ballot, Jericho citizens will not meet to review, amend and approve the budget on Town Meeting Day, but will instead vote to approve or reject by Australian ballot.
Budget development as part of Selectboard meetings have always been open and the public encouraged to attend, and we have been working on a budget proposal for over almost two months. Last year, in response to the emergency declared by the Legislature, the Selectboard published a number of meeting dates, wherein the public could listen or weigh in as we were developing the budget. However, this year the emergency authorization was later in coming and we’ve been operating on the assumption that we’d conduct a traditional Town Meeting. As a result, there is limited time between the legislature’s action and when the SB needs to adopt a proposal. We encourage those who are interested to listen and/or participate in our last deliberative session prior to adopting a proposal for voters to weigh in on. That meetings will be held on January 17, 2022. The Agenda can be viewed here. For those who cannot attend the meeting on the 17th, the budget will be discussed at the regularly scheduled SB meeting on January 20th prior to adoption of the final figures. CLICK HERE to view the draft budget, dated 1-13-22. You can attend in person or via MMCTV or Zoom. In addition, we will hold budget information meetings in the days on February 22, before the March vote, but no changes can be made to what's on the ballot at that point. More details about how to participate in that meeting will follow. CLICK here to view the 2022 Town Meeting page.
The Zoom format has allowed greater participation at town meetings, and most of the bugs have been worked out. We look forward to the days ahead when we can sit among neighbors and talk things out, face to face. We are mindful that residents of Jericho have faced difficult times in conducting yearly business at Town Meetings since the 1780s. We will see this through together as well.
CLICK here to view and download a pdf of this notice