To the editor:
At the Nov. 8, 2011 special election, with a large voter turn-out, Tiverton residents voted 2 –to-1 to replace the financial town meeting with the Financial Town Referendum (“FTR”). They fought the battle, won the victory against groups determined to maintain the status quo of the financial town meeting, and keep the control of the budget in service of their special interests. There still exists a small group of people who opposed the FTR and are trying to destroy it.
It was members of the current Town Council such as Joan Chabot, Jay Lambert, David Nelson, and Rob Coulter, who made their victory possible through their support of the recommendations of the Financial Town Meeting Changes Advisory Committee (“FTMCAC”), of which I was co-chair.
What the FTR has brought Tiverton citizens is: a control over property taxes, especially with a tax cap protection; a reform of the budget process, especially giving taxpayers advance knowledge of all budget options (no more surprises on the floor of the gymnasium during a financial town meeting); the ability to vote in private, on their own schedule, in five or ten minutes (no more having to be subject to ridicule or boos from members of the community at increasingly raucous financial town meetings); the ability vote by absentee ballot, and, with the assurance of an accurate vote count (no more shenanigans and shadiness of floor votes).
The destruction of the FTR would be a huge setback for the Tiverton taxpayer. The positions towards the FTR of many of the candidates running for Town Council are well-known (Chabot, Lambert, Nelson, Coulter, Driggs). Joe Sousa and Peter Mello are also in support. The importance of voting for any person in support of keeping the FTR cannot be over-emphasized.
On November 6, remember the battle Tiverton citizens won to say freely how they want their hard-earned tax dollars spent, and vote only for those candidates who pledge to fight to keep the FTR.
Nancy L. Driggs
Chair, Voters for the FTR