While voting normally takes place in non-SB2 towns in March, Gov. Chris Sununu’s Emergency Order No. 83 allowed towns to push back voting and town meetings to as late as July.
In Bartlett, voting will take place today 8 a.m.-7 p.m. at the fire station in Glen. Masks are recommended, though a non-mask voting site will be set up. There are no contested races.
Bartlett Town Meeting is will be Thursday at the Josiah Bartlett Elementary School starting at 6:30 p.m. There are 29 warrant articles, including No. 2, a bond article that requires 60 percent support for passage. Voters are asked to support $700,000 for the purchase of new fire truck with $385,000 of this to come from a grant.
Petitioned articles 14-19 deal with transparency at town meetings. The warrant articles state that they are signed by “William Ballou and others.”
Ballou, 69, said he and a handful of residents, including Kevin McEnaney, Barry Trudeau, John Smallcomb and Peter Gagne, who religiously attend meetings helped craft it.
Ballou called Bartlett an “incredibly closed town. It’s kind of run like a kingdom. And we’re just trying to try to make it much more open and transparent.”
The articles would give people who want to attend the meetings but can’t physically get there a means to participate and also produce a better record of what happened in the meetings, said Ballou, adding that area towns like Jackson have their meetings recorded on video and posted online.
Bartlett selectmen oppose the petitioned articles, according to Chairman Gene Chandler.
“Even if you did want to do Zoom type meetings, that article limits you to doing it by Zoom; that specific medium, you don’t have any choice to do is pick a better one or whatever,” said Chandler.
Chandler confirmed the selectmen are going back to in-person meetings after the annual town meeting.
He said selectmen oppose having their meetings on video. “We don’t believe it’s a necessary function,” said Chandler.
Selectman Vicki Garland said: “I don’t like to be told I have to put my personal image out there. I would like it to be a personal choice.”
In Effingham, the polls will be open today from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at the town hall. There is a race for selectman with Leonard Espie hoping to unseat Michael Cahalane.
In Jackson, voting will be today from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Whitney Community Center. There are no contested races. On the school ballot, incumbent Majka Burhardt is unopposed for a three-year school board term, while Darlene Ference is running to fill a two-year vacancy of the board, created by the resignation of Keith Bradley last spring. Three one-year school posts — treasurer, moderator and school clerk — are empty and will be offered to those who get the most write-in votes.
Jackson Town Meeting will be Saturday in a tent behind the Whitney Center starting at 10 a.m.
Article 9 asks to prohibit the discharge of fireworks without a license. It exempts novelty items such as sparklers, snakes and Morning Glories. According to Town Administrator Julie Atwell, “It was voted down last year, but selectmen’s chair Dick Bennett asked that it be put back on this year’s warrant because there were complaints” about fireworks in town.
Also getting attention is Article 10, proposed by assistant moderator Jerry Doughtery III, asking if voters want to rename the town after geologist Charles T. Jackson instead of Andrew Jackson, the nation’s seventh president, who was a slave owner.
According to selectmen, Jackson Falls has emerged as a critical issue, given the influx of visitors last summer. Two citizen committees have been formed to develop suggestions for addressing both parking at the falls and short-term rentals.
Also on Saturday, voters will be asked to approve a proposed town operating budget of $2,374,832. It is up $67,460, an increase of 2.92 percent over last year’s proposed budget. The legal expenses line item is up $10,000 or 40 percent to $35,000 due to short-term rentals.
The ambulance line item is up by $7,600 or 55.31 percent to $21,340. The Bartlett-Jackson Ambulance Service in its annual report noted a 9 percent increase in calls from the previous year, with 603 calls.
Article 8 seeks $15,000 to put a roof over the town clerk window at the back of the Town Office to protect customers from snow falling off the building’s roof due to the installation of solar panels last year, which caused snow melt.
In Madison, voting for town and school officials will take place today at Madison Elementary School from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. There are no contested races.
Madison Town Meeting is Saturday at the school, starting at 9 a.m. There are 24 warrant articles to be decided.
In Tamworth, voting is today from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. at the K.A. Brett School. Town Meeting is Saturday at 1 p.m. in a tent outside the Brett School. Chairs will be provided but residents can bring their own. Masks are equired, but there will also be a non-mask section. There are 33 articles on the warrant.