I hope interested Hopkinton citizens attend the annual Financial Town Assembly tonight at 7:30 at the town hall. This meeting will include discussion by the public on the 2019-20 town budget. In addition, a warrant item dealing with trees determined to be the most dangerous and that should be removed is part of the discussion. My successor as Hopkinton town moderator will preside. Kraig Stromberg, from Rockville, is a member of the Hopkinton Republican Town Committee, and previously was Hopkinton town sergeant.
No votes will be taken, but next month an all-day referendum will be held to vote on the proposed town budget. The town council will take input at the meeting tonight and adopt a budget to be voted on in June. It needs to be remembered that no line item votes can be done at the all-day referendum in June. Individual parts of the budget should be addressed by voters tonight. The education part of the budget is already decided upon as a result of the recent Chariho Regional School District referendum.
At one time in the past, one actually attended an annual financial town meeting to approve the town budget, and changes could actually be made by the voters present. Several decades ago, only property taxpayers could vote, but that was changed so all voters can vote. Unlike towns in Connecticut, for example, non-resident property owners cannot vote on the town budget, unless they are voters, whether they pay property taxes or not.
I suggest those who can’t attend tonight contact the whole Town Council by Wednesday, May 15. That night we adopt the budget to be presented to the voters. That night is not for public input, only Town Council deliberations on the budget, and their final vote.
Scott Bill Hirst
The writer is vice president of the Hopkinton Town Council.