Residents may voice opinions on Sensible Wilton petition

Residents will have a chance to hear the town’s official opinion on Sensible Wilton’s Miller-Driscoll revote petition on Monday, Feb. 2. They may offer their own comments, as well.

That night, the Board of Selectmen will discuss the petition at its regular meeting and allow for public comment on the matter. The meeting will begin at 7:30 in Town Hall Meeting Room B.

The petition, which reportedly contains the signatures of 1,100 residents calling for a revote on the Miller-Driscoll renovation project, was filed with the office of the town clerk earlier this month by Sensible Wilton president Alex Ruskewich and treasurer Curt Noel.

Though the group believes it has the legal authority to call a revote by petition, Town Counsel Ken Bernhard said in a November legal memo the group does not have that authority.

“Although the power of initiative [petition] is an important right granted by the Charter, it is not a mechanism for citizens who disagree with the result of a valid vote to petition for a second chance on the same precise issue already voted upon by the electors,” Mr. Bernhard wrote in November.

“If that were the case, a relatively small number of electors could cause a revote of acts that were already validly approved by the Town Meeting.”

In letters to the editor this week, both Mr. Ruskewich and Mr. Noel disagreed with Mr. Bernhard’s opinion of town regulations.

Citing Section C-9 of the town charter, Mr. Ruskewich said his group’s petition requires the Board to call a Special Town Meeting to hold a Miller-Driscoll revote.

Mr. Noel said town officials are using several ploys to “ignore” that section of the Charter.

“First there is the ‘bond offering’ argument that this charter section doesn’t apply if a bond offering was included in the vote (which it was). There is no explicit language in the charter to support this argument. It is all done by inference …,” Mr. Noel writes.

The second argument is a technicality over who, specifically, is calling for the Special Town Meeting. He said Sensible Wilton is asking the board to call it.