The Board of Selectmen held a Special Meeting this morning at Town Hall and received a petition for a Town Meeting on the GIS mapping system, signed by 61 voters.
In anticipation of the meeting First Selectman Tom Herrmann requested an opinion from town counsel as to whether it was appropriate to schedule a Town Meeting on the matter.
“The petition does not present a proper purpose for a town meeting and accordingly it would be inappropriate for the Board of Selectmen to warn a town meeting…” the opinion, dated Jan. 25, from Ira Bloom and Gail Kelly of Berchem, Moses & Devlin states.
The selectmen decided not to schedule a Town Meeting, in accordance with the decision, and instead at the next selectmen’s meeting on Feb. 7 will discuss holding a public information forum.
The selectmen will reassert their request to Town Clerk Derek Buckley for map data transfer to allow the Greater Bridgeport Regional Council to proceed with preparing the maps in accordance with the selectmen’s decision on Dec. 6, 2012.
If the date transfer is not underway by Feb. 7 the selectmen said they would determine the next step to compel the town clerk to provide the data.
Sherry Harris, one of the signers of the petition, said after the meeting, “Interestingly, this is the second time that our BOS has declared a town meeting petition illegal. For citizens to dispute their decisions would, of course, require that they hire and pay for their own council.”
She wrote in a follow-up email, “At the urging of First Selectman Tom Herrmann, Easton joined the GBRC at the 2011 Annual Town Meeting. The minutes of this meeting are available on EastonEye.org. The press indicated that there were about 65 people at that meeting. Some of the citizens present strongly objected to joining this regional council without some public input and review. The motion passed, but the vote was so close that a hand count was required. In other words, less than 35-40 citizens made the decision for Easton to join the GBRC. Over 60 citizens signed the petition to Town Meeting that was denied this morning.”
Mr. Herrmann said that the GIS maps would have helped UI and emergency services in their response to today’s power outage of 185 customers, 6.4% of the town, caused by last night’s heavy winds that caused trees and branches to fall on power lines.