To the editor:
The upcoming election ballot in Westport will include four “non-binding sense of the voters” questions. This is bad practice. It’s an election, not a survey. We go to the polls to make meaningful decisions about things we, as voters, are empowered to decide. We go to the coffee shop to express opinions that have no real world impact.
Question 3 asks: “Shall the Town of Westport request the Board of Selectmen to place a warrant article on the Annual Town Meeting to reduce the Community Preservation Act Surcharge on real estate tax bills from 2% to 1%?” A previous letter to the editor demonstrates the confusion this creates. The writer was concerned this question might actually result in reduction of the CPA surcharge. It will not. The CPA surcharge can only be changed by a vote of Town Meeting followed by a real, not “sense of the voters,” town-wide election.
The same is true of Question 4 about changing the treasurer position from elected to appointed.
Question 3 also causes confusion about how to get an issue on the Town Meeting warrant. All it takes to get this or any other question before Town Meeting is a petition with the signatures of 10 voters. You don’t need a ballot vote asking Selectmen to do it for you.
The other two “sense of the voters” questions are wrong-headed because they ask for yes or no answers to complex questions.
The ballot also includes contested elections and two very important override questions, things you are empowered to decide. Vote wisely on those and come to Town Meeting. That’s the best way to show your sense.
Steven Fors, D.C.