Lack of Quorum Dissolves Annual Town Meeting After 37 Articles are Discussed and Voted

All but two articles passed. One article was amended and two were dismissed.

Easton Town Meeting was dissolved after approximately four hours Monday night after there were not enough voters present to reach a quorum.

Voters did not schedule another date to resume the meeting. As a result, the remaining articles (38-44) will likely be put on hold until a Special Town Meeting in the fall, town clerk Jeremy Gillis said.

Residents still voted on 37 articles, however. Thirty two passed as written. Two were dismissed. One was amended and two (Articles 33 and 37) failed.

Article 33 called for a change in the town charter in relation to the capital planning committee.

The current capital planning committee consists of the town accountant, one member of the finance committee, one member of the planning and zoning board and four appointees by the town moderator.

The changes would have taken two appointments from the Town Moderator and distributed one appointment to the Board of Selectmen and one to the School Committee.

While the selectmen supported the changes, Easton's finance committee did not, citing lack of input from town boards and residents.

Discussion on the issue centered around checks and balances and the town moderator's role as the representative of town meeting. Some argued that taking appointees away from the town moderator would take power away from town meeting voters, as the moderator is a representative of that legislative body.

Others disagreed, arguing that it would give more voices to other elected bodies.

Forty one voted in favor of the changes while 54 opposed it.

Article 37, which called for a measure from the planning and zoning board to "reduce or eliminate odd shaped building lots in order to preserve neighborhood character", also failed after disagreement from local residents.

Article 35 also generated a considerable amount of discussion and was eventually amended. The article to expand Easton's historic district to a number of buildings in North Easton Village met opposition from members of the Immaculate Conception Parish who asked to be removed from the district.

Religious liberties was cited for church-goers and supportive residents. While Stephanie Danielson, a land use planner, explained that the historic district's expansion would only pertain to the exterior of the affected buildings and not the buildings' use or interior, residents eventually agreed to remove the church from the district.

Other notable moments of the night occurred when a motion was heard to add $100,000 in free cash to Easton's Capital Budget in favor of technology improvements to Easton Public Schools. The motion, made by former school committee chair Jane Martin would have made school technology amount $272,000 instead of $172,000 as originally written in Article 27. Martin's motion did not pass, though, and the article eventually passed as it was written.

Article 9, which called for the payment of bills from a prior fiscal year was dismissed because there were no bills to be paid. Additionally, Article 15 was dismissed because a contract agreement has not yet been reached with Easton's firefighters and therefore a contract could not be ratified.

Easton's largest money item, its $69 million operating budget, passed overwhelmingly.

Check back with Easton Patch throughout the rest of the week for more in-depth coverage of Monday's Annual Town Meeting.

Local PR May 22, 2013 at 03:23 AM
what moron decided to challenge the quorum with 14% of the articles remaining?


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