Those of us who supported the change from 3 to 5 Selectmen did so as part of a broader call for more openness and transparency in town. With the change we’ve seen progress on both fronts, with changes to make it easier for citizens to be heard at BOS meetings, efforts to provide more information online, and the setting of formal goals and objectives by vote of the board. None of these have been perfect, but all represent progress, and we should applaud that.
We also asked for another opportunity to discuss matters of importance to the town, an informal “State of the Town Forum” that would enable more free-form discussion than is possible at Town Meeting. It’s hard for busy families to keep up on all the issues and questions we face, and such a forum would also enable us to better prepare for our important role as citizen legislators at Town Meeting.
Our neighbors in Lincoln do an excellent job of this, holding an annual event that opens the floor to a whole host of relevant topics, in addition to providing space for open conversation in all BOS meetings and even around specific issues (leaf blowers, for example.) We passed a bylaw last year requiring this to happen in Sudbury, and our BOS has chosen to structure the meeting around the prioritized list of goals they put forward at the start of the term.
Regardless of how you feel about this list, having priorities is better than not having priorities, as had been the case for the preceding two years. Since we’ve adopted them it’s as good a place as any to structure the conversation, which is now set to happen next Thursday night at 7pm at Town Hall.
The topics to be discussed matter to you... from major capital projects like the Police Station and sewers, to strategies that will address our affordable housing requirements without changing the character of our town, to fixing the community center and fields our kids play on, and meeting our healthcare obligations without crippling the investments we need to make elsewhere.Please stop by Town Hall for at least a while on Thursday night. If you have young kids, try to divide and conquer with your spouse for the night so someone can represent your family. It’s a chance to be heard, and - even if you don’t say a word - to be better informed in making the decisions that impact the most important place in the world for you and your family.