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Scarborough councilors to consider Charter changes

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Scarborough councilors to consider Charter changes

SCARBOROUGH — The Town Council will consider amendments to the Town Charter at its meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

Many of the changes are clerical and for clarification purposes. However there are several substantive changes, including the addition of a provision that would give residents the opportunity to recall councilors through a petition and referendum process.

"Staff is in the process of finalizing changes that they have approved (by consensus) and will reproduce a new draft for their consideration," Town Manager Tom Hall said.

The changes will have to be approved by the council and then will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The recall provision as it is currently written would give petitioners up to 20 days to collect signatures of registered voters equal to 25 percent of the number of votes cast in town during the most recent gubernatorial election. At that point, the town must hold a general election no more than 60 days after the next council meeting.

For the recall vote to be valid, no less than 25 percent of the number of voters who turned out for the most recent gubernatorial election must also turn out to vote in the recall election. A simple majority of those would have to be in favor of the recall for it to pass.

Another substantive change would fix the town's fiscal year as July 1 to June 30, instead of the current from "time to time."

A provision to allow a petition-and-referendum process for citizen overrule of council action in the case of a conveyance of town-owned property has also been added after a citizen involved in the Pine Point land swap between the town and the owners of the Lighthouse Inn suggested the amendment.

The change would allow citizens to petition for a referendum to overturn conveyances of property worth more than $400,000. The town would then hold a general election on the issue.

The amendment also makes permanent the ad hoc Long Range Planning Committee charged with implementing the town's Comprehensive Plan.

The council will hold a public hearing on the amendments on Sept. 1, at the same meeting that it will vote on the language that will appear on the ballot.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net