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Moves to dump SB2, go back to annual meeting divides Deerfield
The lifelong resident, who turns 89 this year, said she’ll be deprived the opportunity to continue exercising her democratic right to vote if Article 10 on the town warrant and Article 5 on the school district warrant are approved March 11.
Deerfield Board of Selectmen Chairman Stephen R. Barry, who first proposed the article for this year’s town warrant, said he sympathizes with Wasson and others in her position, but stands by his support of Town Meeting.
“I feel like there’s a disconnect. I mean, maybe one or two people show up to our selectmen meetings and approximately 85 people show up at our deliberative sessions, and the bottom line is we’re not getting the input we need to operate and do our jobs by the will of the people,” he said. “I came from Long Island, N.Y., and moved to New Hampshire to live in the country and bring my children up here, and when I went into my first town meeting in 1985 and realized I could actually speak my mind, state my case and argue against something I didn’t like, well, I thought it was the greatest thing. SB2 just makes it easy for everyone. This isn’t suppose to be easy. It’s your responsibility as a taxpayer and a citizen.”
“Senate Bill 2 may not be the answer to our dreams, but it did triple the amount of people voting,” said Wasson, who noted that the number of attendees at the 2005 Town Meeting was 339. In 2006, the first year of SB2 in Deerfield, 1,313 residents cast their ballots.
Alan O’Neil, vice chairman on the Board of Selectmen, was the lone voice of opposition on the initiative to transition back to traditional Town Meeting.
“We don’t have a facility in town that can hold that many voters. We can hold 600 in the gymnasium and then another 200 in the cafeteria. That means the maximum we could hold in a two-room facility is 800 people,” said O’Neil.
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