Note: Warren Town Council member Scott Lial sent the following letter to the Warren Times Friday evening in response to an inquiry into events that transpired at the Financial Town Meeting this past Monday, May 19
Your inquiry regarding the reinstatement of the funding for positions cut at the Financial Town Meeting is a critical one, and I feel it merits a response on numerous levels. First, I must say that the safety mechanism provided by the Financial Town Meeting is an important one, as it provides the voters a final opportunity to have their voice heard. While some might argue that it allows for special interest attacks on specific areas of the budget, that does not eliminate the need or importance of such a mechanism. The budget has gone through many reviews and iterations by that point in time and, while experience has shown me that little to no attendance throughout the process is the norm, we must still value and uphold the importance of this final democratic forum.
That being said, the Town Council itself has had every opportunity to express its voice and concerns over every area of the budget. We have evaluated each expense line by line, arguing the merits of all proposed needs and services. As previously stated, all disagreements and discourse have occurred in a public setting for all to see. When all budget meetings are complete, the entire Council presents its budget to the people. This was done in a unilateral fashion with no opposition from any of its members. The Financial Town Meeting is not the venue for the Councilmembers to change their mind. It is not the venue to make political statements via a vote change. It is a venue for the townspeople to express areas of concern and interest as they relate to their tax levy.