Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Little Local Focus on Oxford

Today's Connecticut Post offers not just the usual battle of the press releases from the Senate race, but a small editorial on the town of Oxford battling with a revision to its town charter.

Oxford's efforts to revise its town charter seem to grow more confusing as each week passes. First, the Oxford Board of Selectmen voted last week to shelve two important charter changes — to make the office of first selectman a full-time position and to reduce from 14 to seven the number of days between a town meeting and a referendum on budget proposals. Both issues had been hotly debated in recent weeks.**
Seems innocuous enough, what made these two issues so contentious? There will be a referendum though, on splitting the Education budget our of the general fund.
A separate education budget will undoubtedly mean that Oxford officials — and the voters themselves — will have a clearer picture of exactly how much of their tax dollars goes into funding the education of Oxford's school children. The problem lies in the referendum's approach. The budget split will be broached to the voters through two different questions. One question would have the split take effect starting next year, while the other calls for the split to become effective in about four years, when the still-under-construction Oxford High School has all class levels in the building.

... Selectman Rick O'Doy raised a pertinent question: What if both of the two mutually-exclusive questions are approved by Oxford voters?**

Confusing ballot questions seem to crop up more and more, or at least are reported on more often. What happened to simple Yes/No types of questions?

**The Connecticut Post,Oxford questions could be confusing


Chris MC said...

Just watching the Charter Revision process makes me tired. The amount of work involved for the Commissioners is enormous. Some of the issues are exceedingly complex. And then of course there is the politics. Purely a guess, but the politics of these things is what paralyzes decision making. Result: "let the voters decide."

It appears that the decision to split the Municipal budget from the Education budget has already been taken in Oxford.

Interesting choice. As I understand it, this approach might simplify the politics in some ways at referendum, and I am thinking about getting an up or down vote on the school system's operating budget.

There are some areas of overlap however. For example, the capital expenditures and the bonding and the interest associated with constructing the school is a municipal item.

Anonymous said...

"A Little Local Focau On Oxford."


That's enough. Move on.