Photo: Town Moderator Mike Widmer.
Author Frank M. Bryan of the University of Vermont said that “the single most recurrent theme in the literature on the town meeting in the 19th Century … was the notion that town meetings are schoolhouses of citizenship.”
And Belmont will continue this New England tradition as the town will debate and vote on several citizens petitions including a ban on McMansions, proposed zoning changing and grants to several organizations from the Community Preservation Committee in the first part of the Belmont annual Town Meeting beginning tonight, Monday, May 4, at 7 p.m. in the Belmont High School auditorium.
As with recent custom, the first part of this year’s meeting of the town’s representative legislature – now in its 156th edition – will take up non-budget issues.
This year, those who choose to speak before Town Meeting will have new rules to observe, according to Town Moderator, Michael Widmer. They include:
- A five minute limit on speeches, to cut down on repetition of points over and over again.
- Limit each speaker to an initial question and a single follow up.
- All questions must be asked through the Moderator, to ensure civil discourse.
If Town Meeting can not finish its business tonight, it will continue on Wednesday, May 6.
The approximately 290 representatives will debate the fiscal year 2016 budget in June when Town Meeting reconvenes.