Help Borough Residents Understand Before The Vote
To the Editor:
On June 6, 7:30 pm, voters who reside in the Borough will meet in the Alexandria Room of the Edmond Town Hall to review and accept/reject the budget proposed by the Borough’s Board of Burgesses. At a similar meeting a few weeks ago, there was some confusion about both the processes for running the meeting and for managing the finances and spending of the Borough government.
Unlike last year, when voters could and did make motions from the floor to consider changes to the budget, no such motions were allowed this year. Instead, members of the Burgesses stated that the voters could only vote on what was provided by the Board of Burgesses. Some challenged that assertion, and a person familiar with town meetings left to retrieve a copy of the Borough Charter. Just after he left, the vote was “called,” meaning that it was time to say yea or nay, regardless of any understanding about the change in process from the prior year. (Luckily, someone quickly fetched the fellow and both were able to join the hastily called vote.)
Another source of confusion in the meeting was about the process used to access some of the nearly $700,000 surplus of funds currently managed by the Borough. Initially, a member of the Board of Burgesses said that a public meeting would be called for approval of new capital projects. The use of the term “public meeting” suggests that the public is allowed to vote on funding the project. Later in the meeting, the term “public hearing” was used instead, meaning that citizens could give opinions but not vote. Of note, voter approval seemed unneeded to transfer funds to existing line items, including legal fees for law suits related to zoning disputes — should they arise — possibly in excess of $300,000, as reported by The Bee in an article about last year’s meeting.
To the leaders of the Borough: please, when we meet on June 6, help us understand (and trust) the basic rules for participating in the meeting, preferably with documentation that backs it up. Also, please help us understand the need for, and process to access, so much money that has already been provided by resident taxpayers and local businesses. Thank you.
4 Cornfield Ridge Road, Newtown May 28, 2019
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