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Newtown residents are going to be voting on two Charter revision questions on Tuesday when they go to the polls on Election Day.  There is one final public forum on the proposed changes.  Charter Revision Commission member Judy DeStefano says they are holding this forum in the hopes that residents will have all of the information they need to make an informed vote.  The proposed changes were approved by the Legislative Council last year.  Voter approval is the final step in the process. 

 

Tonight's forum is at 7pm at Booth Library.  The Commission encouraged people with questions who can not attend tonight's forum to reach out with any questions via email, NewtownCharterRevision@gmail.com, or on Facebook: Newtown CT Charter Revision.

 

On the Town's web page, people can find links to the existing and proposed charters, as well as an informational presentation.  Explanatory text will be posted at polling places and was sent out with absentee ballots.

 

EXPLANATION:

Approval of Question #1 limits the number of members of the Board of Education from one political party to four.  This changes the maximum from five to four.

 

Approval of Question #2 accepts the rest of proposed changes in their entirety, comprised of organizational, non-substantive, and substantive changes made to the document including but not limited to:

 

a) It adds eleven existing Boards and Commissions to the Charter; Water and Sewer Authority; Lake Lillinonah Authority; Lake Zoar Authority; and Newtown Health District Board, Commission on Aging, Economic Development Commission, Inland Wetlands Commission, Pension Commission, Public Safely Commission, Self-funded Health Insurance Fund Commission, Sustainable Energy Commission. It gives each Board or Commission a definition and gives a method for filling vacancies.

 

b) It specifically spells out the advisory roles played by the Board of Finance.

 

c) It revises the language of the advisory question provision set forth in Section 6-14(a) of the present Charter. 

 

d) It eliminates the Town Meeting and changes the annual appropriation authority of the Legislative Council from $500,000 to $1,500,000, with a maximum aggregate authority of 1 mil (currently about $3,000,000).  Appropriations equal to or in excess of $1.5 million shall be voted on in a referendum.

 

e) It replaces the Town Meeting for disposing of real property with a multi-board approval process. It also removes the use of sealed bid as a method of sale.

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Dave Rinelli
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