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North Yarmouth approves all 4 charter amendments

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North Yarmouth approves all 4 charter amendments

NORTH YARMOUTH — Voters on Tuesday approved all four amendments to the Town Charter.

Question 1 passed 1,669 to 206, Question 2 by 1,510 to 363, Question 3 by 1,388 to 455 and Question 4 by 1,069 to 774.

Voter turnout was 63 percent.

Perhaps the most pivotal of the four amendments, Question 4, is one that shifts the responsibility for setting fees collected by the town from Town Meeting to the Board of Selectmen.

Administrative Assistant Marnie Diffin said Question 4 takes the responsibility from Town Meeting and allows the Board of Selectmen to handle fees after a public hearing, and that it will allow more flexibility on the board's part than the process currently provided by Town Meeting.

She said the shift is meant both to streamline and modernize the fee-setting process.

The board will have to give seven days notice before a public hearing on changing a fee.

Question 1 specifies the date of the election of certain municipal officials, and separates and distinguishes the election portion of Town Meeting from the business meeting, which will occur on two different days. The election portion will be the second Tuesday of each June, while the business meeting will be the Saturday immediately following that Tuesday.

Question 2 involves the office of the administrative assistant, which the Board of Selectmen appoints for a term not to exceed three years. The administrative assistant now serves also as town clerk, with a deputy clerk serving separately. Through the charter amendment, though, the administrative assistant could serve as town clerk, or could instead serve as deputy clerk when the deputy clerk becomes the clerk.

The reversal of roles would address times when the clerk's workload increases and the clerk has greater difficulty serving both in that capacity and as administrative assistant.

Question 3 increases the threshold amount that the administrative assistant uses to present competitive bids to the Board of Selectmen for purchases. The current threshold of $500 will now increase to $5,000. While the town would be able to obtain quotes for purchases less than $5,000, it would need a bidding process for purchases greater than that amount.

Diffin said the threshold increase would bring the dollar amount more in line with costs that have risen over the years due to inflation.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.