A petition filed by Sensible Wilton for the repeal of a resolution permitting the Miller-Driscoll renovation project holds no water, a legal opinion written by Town Counsel Ken Bernhard says.
“After a resolution is passed by the Town Meeting,” Bernhard writes, “the Charter… does not provide for further legislative input by the Town Meeting, by ordinance or otherwise.”
The Board of Selectmen will address the petition as an agenda item at its next meeting on Monday, May 18.
Sensible Wilton argued earlier this year the Town Charter permits citizens to petition for a revote on a bonding resolution through a legal process known as the power of initiative. The town rejected that argument.
The group has since submitted a petition calling for the repeal of the project with 291 signatures of town electors on April 9.
Bernhard denies the group’s claims, laying out his argument in a seven-page legal memo delivered to the Board of Selectmen on Thursday, May 7.
Legal argument
In the memo, Bernhard first points out the Town Charter does not provide citizens the right to call a vote on a bonding resolution.
The charter “provides that the Board of Selectmen, and only the Board of Selectmen, shall have the power to propose the issuance of bonds…” he writes.
Because the “power of a municipal corporation to repeal an ordinance or resolution is… as broad as the power to enact it,” if a group of citizens does not have the right to call a bonding resolution, they do not have the right to call for the repeal of a bonding resolution, either, he writes.
Noting the town has already expended $2.3 million on the Miller-Driscoll renovation, Bernhard writes “absent a clear provision to the contrary, it is not reasonable to read the Charter as permitting the repeal of a bond authorization at this stage.”