How the ballot referendum can work

Last week, with the help of about 70 of you, I submitted a petition warrant article with 5 ballot referendum questions:

a) Do you support restoration of Brewster Memorial Hall to serve as Town Offices?
b) Do you support building new Town Offices?
c) Do you support leasing space for Town Offices?
d) Do you favor rehabilitation of Brewster Memorial Hall with private funds?
e) Do you support selling Brewster Memorial Hall?

I got some feedback from people who thought that the questions were too vague, making them difficult to answer and/or potentially rendering the results meaningless.  Those are legitimate concerns.

The problem is that if I put any details in the questions, that would introduce bias, or at least open the door to the suggestion of it.  So I left out all of the details so that the various factions promoting solutions can provide them.

I’m going to publicly challenge the Friends of Town Hall to present a credible position that defines question a).  Specifically, they should articulate what their plan is.  We all know that the best price is about $4 million. Anything less and we can expect more appropriations year after year. We’ve been told that structural concerns require most of the work be done within the next ten years. The voters have said no, yet this year the BOS is asking for $200,000 to make some largely unspecified repairs.  What we need to know is what their complete plan is.  How do they intend to get from here to a renovated building?  Obviously, $200,000/year will take 20 years, so we need to know what they intend to do next year, and the year after that.  How and when does the remaining money get appropriated? Once they lay it out, voters will be able to answer the question.

For my part, I will put forth more details and respond to any questions about building a new Town Office building on Lehner St, for no more than $2 million.

It should be an interesting run-up and hopefully, we can get some actionable results.

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