The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 3, 2006


Do rec plan ballot questions still matter?

COUNTING VOTES. Town Clerk Charlene Hinton tallies votes with tellers Connie Metivier and Linda Fabrizio at Town Meeting on October 30. (Photo by Midge Eliassen)

Do Tuesday's local ballot questions mean anything now that the October 30 Town Meeting defeated Article 1, the proposal to expand recreation facilities on the Banta-Davis Land? The short answer is — maybe. According to Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie, because the ballot questions do not reference specific Town Meeting Articles, passage at Town Elections could be used in conjuction with successful authorization of the project at a future Town Meeting. See the text of the questions on page 11.

A simple majority is required for the ballot questions, while a two-thirds majority was needed for the Town Meeting Articles.

Town counsel weighs in

Because this situation has not come up recently in Carlisle, McKenzie consulted Town Counsel, the office of Paul R. DeRensis. McKenzie was told, "The election will count. Based on further review, including consultation with bond counsel: Since the debt exclusion questions are in the statutory form and do not reference the specific articles at the recent Town Meeting under which the debt authorizations were defeated, the town can go forward with the ballot questions and if they pass, hold another Town Meeting to authorize the debt. In fact in its February 2002 publication entitled 'Proposition 2 1/2 Ballot Questions - Requirements and Procedures,' the Department of Revenue, Property Tax Bureau, specifically states that 'debt exclusion questions may be presented to and approved by the voters before or after the related debt is authorized or issued.'"


As of press time, town officials did not know whether positive votes on debt exclusion at Town Election would remain valid indefinitely, or if there is a time limit within which a Town Meeting must authorize the related spending. In any case, because the ballot questions include a project description, any ballot vote may not remain valid if the Banta-Davis project were substantially modified before being brought back before a future Town Meeting.

Town Clerk Charlene Hinton encouraged residents to go ahead and "vote your conscience" on the ballot questions on November 7, just in case.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito