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Weare joins long list of towns rethinking SB2
Adoption of SB2 requires a three-fifths, or 60 percent, majority vote at the polls. Similarly, after a town adopts SB2, a three-fifths majority vote is needed to rescind it.
The first session, known as the "deliberative session", includes explanation, discussion, debate and amendment of each warrant article. There is no up or down vote on the final warrant articles at the first session; that occurs during the second session, when voters tackle the official ballot on election day. SB2 official balloting is available to both towns and school districts.
The most significant vote at the second session involves the proposed town budget. The voters choose between this proposed budget and a "default" budget, which is automatically enacted if the proposed budget fails to receive a majority vote. The "default budget" is defined by RSA 40: 13 IX (b), as follows: Default budget as used in this subdivision means the amount of the same appropriations as contained in the operating budget authorized for the previous year, reduced and increased, as the case may be, by debt service, contracts, and other obligations previously incurred or mandated by law, and reduced by one-time expenditures contained in the operating budget.
About a third of New Hampshire residents live in a town with a traditional town meeting, another third under SB2 rule and the remaining third in communities with a city council or similar body, according to Delay.
Last year, for the 13th time, voters in Sanbornton defeated a proposal to change to the SB2 form of government. The petitioned ballot question needed 60 percent of the vote to pass , but received only 49 percent. According to town records, the vote was 335 in favor of changing to SB2 and 352 against. Of 2,175 residents in town, 696, or 32 percent, came out to vote.
"I am a big supporter of SB2," said Leighton.
"We usually get between 180 and 220 people to show up at Town Meeting. That's about one percent of the residents deciding spending for the entire town. On election day, we have about 800 come out to vote. That's more representative of the community."
"If there was a surge of support from people here to make the switch, I would be happy to lead the charge again," said Leighton. "But if it's going to happen, I think there needs to be some new faces attached to the effort."
"It can be a very argumentative question in some communities, whether it's a good idea or not," said Delay.
"That is a community where the SB2 question shows up on warrants year after year," said Gilmour.
Gilmour said the committee is seeking an opinion on the legality of the bill before taking any further action on it.
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