More in News
Proposed tax ordinance on separate ballot
MEXICO -- The Board of Selectmen continued discussion on May 14 on the legalities of a recently approved tax ordinance that, if voted through by residents, would place a cap on the operating costs of the town.
Before the board approved the ordinance at the April 30 board meeting, Selectman George Byam suggested that the town get a legal opinion on whether the ordinance would take effect in 2013 or 2014.
Resident Albert Aniel, who created the ordinance, said that the ordinance would cap the operating cost of the town at $2,726,731, which is a 10 percent decrease in the previous year's operating cost.
Town Manager John Madigan said that the town attorney's opinion was that the tax ordinance would not take effect until the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
In an email to selectmen, the attorney wrote, “I'm sure it is far too late to have this ordinance be passed in effect for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Accordingly, I believe this proposed ordinance, as amended, can only be applied to the 2014-2015 fiscal year.”
Aniel said that he would be sending the town's legal opinion to his own lawyer to get "clarification on the matter," as he sees “no reason why the town cannot work something out if it's voted through by the people.”
“It's going to take some imagination, some sharing of services with other towns. We'll have to put our thinking caps on,” he said.
Madigan later said that he personally believed "if anyone supports this, they're killing the town. What happens if there's an emergency? You're going to ask us to live within an arbitrary number.”
Aniel replied that this is “not a 50 percent or 60 percent decrease we're asking for. It's a 10 percent decrease and I think it's manageable if we all work together."
Madigan said the reduction would be more than 10 percent because of items in the budget that can't be touched.
The town manager said that because this was a citizen's petition, it should be placed on a separate ballot for the June 11 referendum.
When it was suggested that it be written under the article that the board recommend "no" on its approval, Aniel said that he felt it would be "discriminatory" to put the recommendation alongside the warrant article "because the selectmen don't want it. I really don't want the townspeople to have an endorsement of this petition, whether it's positive or negative."
Selectman Byron Ouellette agreed and said that normally, voters will side with what the selectmen place as their recommendation.
The board ultimately agreed and voted unanimously to put the proposed tax ordinance on the warrant for the annual town meeting without a selectmen recommendation.
Ouellette, who signed the petition, said, "We're not going to get the revenue sharing we used to get. We've got to do something."