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Town Meeting Nixes Increasing Selectmen, Moving Voting Date

Citizens' petitions to increase the number of selectmen from three to five and to change the Annual Town Election from April to November were both defeated at this past Monday's Annual Town Meeting. The former was defeated by a 52 -110 vote and the latter by a 66-72 vote.

"Five selectmen would be better," proponent Michael Soares said in advocating to increase the number of selectmen. The change would allow for more diversity, civility, and focus on important issues while reducing potential conflicts of interest, he noted. "This is about what's right for Milford in the long term," Soares said.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," said Salvatore Cimino, arguing against the proposal. "If you have a problem with the [current] Board of Selectmen, change it."

"Bigger is not necessarily better," commented Beverly Swymer. "It's better to have three qualified people running ourtown [rather than] the sake of saying we have five." David Consigli echoed her, saying, "More is not necessarily better."Bryan Cole advocated for changing the date of the town's election in order to boost voter turnout. "In my opinion, the town elections are broken," he said. Cole added, "I believe that more voters are unequivocally a good thing. This is a way to do it." The change could save the town an estimated $3,276, he said.

"I agree. We absolutely have to do something to encourage more voters to go to the

polls," Michael Visconti said. Also supporting the proposal was Harold Rhodes, who said campaigning in late winter discourages people from running for office, as opposed to warmer weather in the August to October months.

"I'm not convinced moving the election to November is the best solution for Milford voters," Geri Eddins said. Local issues may be diminished when they are combined with state and federal elections, she added. Overall, the Annual Town Meeting lasted four hours and most of the other articles were passed with little debate. Town Meeting Members approved a Fiscal Year 2020 operating budget of $107,146,571; spending $60,000 for a new Fire Department staff car; spending $43,000 for a new Parks Department truck; funding an additional $285,000 for consultants for the Milford Water Company acquisition; giving the Police Chief Selection Committee $50,000 for expenses; amending the Zoning By-law to allow hanging signs; and, paying off the $205,000 snow and ice removal budget deficit.




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