Selectmen Send Petition Warrant Articles to Ballot

The Hudson Board of Selectmen reviewed and made recommendations on two separate petition warrant articles each signed by more than forty registered voters, during the Nov. 28 meeting.
“It will be forwarded to the warrant, the question is will you recommend or not recommend the warrant article,” Town Administrator, Steve Malizia, explained during the meeting.
One of the warrant articles reads:
“The Town of Hudson will conduct a study to determine the space needs for a new town hall. The study will include a look at renovating the existing town hall versus building a new one elsewhere in town whether it be on land already owned by Hudson or land it would need to acquire. This study will include the costs of renovation versus buying land and building a new facility. A similar study was called for and not started in the 2020 Capital Improvements Plan.”
Selectmen, Kara Roy, said they already voted to do the study, so she felt it was redundant.
Selectmen, Dillon Dumont, asked if they knew that they were already working on it, and if they reached out to the resident who filed the petition warrant article, if they would consider rescinding it.
Malizia said that they spoke with their attorney, who advised that they are not able to rescind it, and the only changes that could be made would be at the town’s Deliberative Session.
He also noted that the plan would be to use funds at the end of the year to pay for it, explaining that if they think they could afford it, they would pay for it.
The Selectmen voted unanimously to not recommend the warrant article.
Another warrant article states:
“Should the town require any public board, committee, or general public meeting, to include time for public input regarding anything that board or committee has control over at the start of each meeting? This will offer consistent and reliable opportunities for citizens to express their thoughts, insights, concerns, thanks, and ideas, which will foster understanding and transparency.”
Dumont said his concern is about land use boards, saying there could be comments made during public comment that could bias board members, before public hearings. “A public input prior to the meeting could create a problem,” he said.
Chair, Marilyn McGrath, also agreed with Dumont. “All of the items could be prejudged by the public input,” she said. Roy said they could ask for an amendment to be made at Deliberative Session to have it after public hearings, in the case of land use boards.
Selectmen, Bob Guessferd, said if they change it to after public hearings, he would be more amenable to supporting it, or possibly having different language for land use boards.
The Selectmen ultimately voted 4-1 to not recommend the warrant article, with Roy being the only vote against.
When asked to give a reason for her vote, she said, “Because I think it’s important for public input. Do I think there should be some changes to the language, yeah, but us cutting off citizens from telling us what they think is just bad business.”

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