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Aniel to begin recall petition
MEXICO -- During a public hearing on the town budget on July 23, resident Albert Aniel told the Board of Selectmen he would be starting a petition to recall two of board members George Byam and Reggie Arsenault.
The reason for the petition goes back to an earlier selectmen's meeting following the defeat of the first proposed municipal budget when residents rejected all but two of the 17 warrant articles.
At that meeting, Byam suggested the town return to the previous year's budget, as stated in the town's referendum election ordinance. Arsenault agreed with him. A motion to do so failed as board members Peter Merrill, Byron Ouellette and Chairman Richie Philbrick wanted to develop a new budget with the budget committee.
Aniel, who drafted a recently approved tax cap ordinance that will cap the town's operating cost at $2.73 million starting next year, said that adopting last year's budget as the current year's budget would be “insulting” to the voters who rejected the original budget.
“I understand you can go to the legal technicality, and go to the previous budget, but it's not respecting what the vote was all about, and what the people decided,” he said. “Right now is the time to rehash the budget with the Budget Committee, so that when it comes to next year, when it's going to be, according to Mr. Madigan, 'doomsday,' we don't have to reinvent the wheel, and we can set ourselves up to implement a new plan.”
Later, Aniel added, “The selectmen and the town manager do not run the town. The citizens and the voters run the town, so you better do what the voters told you to do. If you don't, I can predict dire consequences.”
On July 30, voters went to the polls to act on the revised budget articles. In this second municipal budget scenario, for any article that does not pass, state law requires the town to spend according to the a 2012-13 budget.
On Thursday, it was announced that a plan by Aniel, a Planning Board and Budget Committee member, to begin the process for action on a recall ordinance for elected officials will be discussed at the board's Aug. 29 meeting.
Planning Board Chairman Dan Casey said Aniel attempted to present the document to the board Thursday night, but had not placed the issue on the board's agenda.
Only items listed on the agenda may be taken up at Planning Board meetings. The town does not have an ordinance with regulations on how to recall elected officials.