When city voters head to the polls to vote in the non-partisan municipal general election on Tuesday, they should remember to turn over their ballots and vote on three important questions.
The first two questions are binding, meaning they would go into effect upon passage. The third question is non-binding, meaning the election results for this question will be used to inform officials as they discuss the issue — similar to a poll — but they are not obligated to adopt the specific provisions.
The questions are as follows:
QUESTION 1: Shall the City of Manchester approve the amendment of the city charter?
This question is a binding proposal to transfer the ward boundary descriptions from the City Charter to City Ordinances. Upon passage, this amendment would authorize the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to re-divide the city into 12 wards, by ordinance, in order to maintain equal population after the federal census or for the purposes of relocating a polling location.
This proposal requires a public hearing to allow for resident input prior to adoption of any ward boundary adjustments.
QUESTION 2: Shall the City of Manchester allow the operation of sports book retail locations within the City of Manchester?
This question is a binding proposal to allow sports wagering at authorized sports book retail locations within the city limits.
If passed, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission would be authorized to select an agent or agents to operate sports book retail location(s) within the city of Manchester. The agent would have to follow all local zoning, permitting and licensing ordinances in order to operate within the city.
The phrase “sports book” refers to places where people can wager on professional sporting events.
Under the law, the state will select 10 sports book retail locations. If Manchester voters approve retail sports betting, the city would not be guaranteed one of those locations, but it would allow businesses to apply to be one of the 10.
If the city rejects the question of a betting location, residents could still bet on sports under the law but would have to do it online or travel to the nearest location.
QUESTION 3: Are you in favor of a student from each high school having a seat on the school committee as a non-voting member?
This is a non-binding proposal that asks voters if they are in favor of having a student from each of the four high schools sit on the Board of School Committee as a non-voting member.
Mixed in among the celebrations surrounding the opening of the Rex Theatre last week was this nugget shared by chairman of the Manchester Development Corporation (MDC) Board of Directors, which got a laugh from those in attendance.
“I can’t tell you how amazing it is to be in this room tonight, the way it looks,” Craig said. “I think the first time I was in this building was with Melanie Sanuth about three or four years ago. We wore hazmat suits and were afraid to come in alone. We used a pry bar to get into the basement, saw a mannequin and thought it might be a body.”
Craig also asked attendees to observe a moment of silence to remember fellow MDC member Elias ‘Skip’ Ashooh, who passed away Oct. 24 at the age of 68.
Last week representatives from Granite United Way and Wells Fargo announced a $105,000 investment in Reading Plus, an innovative literacy program to be offered in all four city middle schools.
The program is web-based and designed to improve efficiency, comprehension and motivation in readers from third grade to adulthood.
School officials estimate the program will impact more than 2,300 students each year at the Hillside, McLaughlin and Southside middle schools. Two years ago, the Cogswell Benevolent Trust partnered with Granite United Way to bring Reading Plus to Parkside Middle School, helping 600 students improve their reading skills.
“Manchester’s schools are filled with great educators and great kids,” Patrick Tufts, president and CEO of Granite United Way, said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with Wells Fargo to create opportunities for students and teachers, and we look forward to watching this investment change lives.”
With the city’s expanded automatic trash pickup program set to launch, officials remind residents that trash carts are now mandatory for all municipal customers. Full enforcement across all Manchester properties begins Nov. 12. Owners and tenants of single- and two-family homes remain eligible for a 50% discount off the purchase price of the carts, which are available at www.manchesternh.gov/trashcarts or 475 Valley St. All other customers may purchase containers at full price from the Drop Off Facility at 500 Dunbarton Road.
Public schools in Manchester will be closed Tuesday due to the election.