Letter: Town charter provides for town meeting

To the Editors:

Sensible Wilton supporters have collected more than 1,100 signatures on a petition calling for a revote of the September referendum on the $50-million Miller-Driscoll renovation project. The signed petitions have been filed with the town clerk. The relevant section of Wilton’s charter reads as follows:

“C-9. Special Town Meeting: options and duties of Board of Selectmen: power of initiative; the petition process.

A. The Board of Selectmen shall call a Special Town Meeting whenever:

(1) It is requested to do so by petition signed by at least 2% of the electors of the Town and filed with the Town Clerk pursuant to Subsection C below;” (2% is about 220 and the petitions have been filed with the town clerk.)

“Subsection C below” deals with administrative matters. It does not in any way offer the Board of Selectmen an “escape clause” from this important element of the democratic process.

Town officials are trying several routes in order to ignore the Charter section quoted above. 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 in a lengthy memorandum of law prepared by town counsel.

The second argument involves “who is calling for the Special Town Meeting.” Sensible Wilton and its supporters are asking the Board of Selectmen to call for the Special Town Meeting. (This is as specified in the above quote from the charter.) The board is saying that Sensible Wilton and its supporters (the “electors”) are calling for the Special Town Meeting and that is improper.

The democratic process, which all of us value so highly, calls for the 1,100-plus petitions to be honored and for the Board of Selectmen to respect the explicit instructions in the Wilton Town Charter.

Curtis Noel

Keeler’s Ridge Road, Jan. 26