“Why don’t they do something?” How many times have you heard this—or perhaps said it yourself? Initiating positive changes in local government requires getting “up close and personal” with your community leaders. Attending the Annual Meeting and/or other commission meetings will keep you up to date on Town projects, goals, and priorities. For another level of involvement you can volunteer on a Town board/commission; this allows you to have a direct impact in a particular area of Town policy. Running for an elected office puts you directly into the driver’s seat of Town legislation.
With the exception of the office of Town Clerk/Treasurer, elected officials are, essentially, the most dedicated of volunteers; they devote their time for the betterment of the Town. Have you ever wondered what Colchester’s officials’ duties are? Here is a brief run-down;
- Serves once a year and directs the Town Meeting to keep it on agenda and maintain civility following Robert’s Rules of Order
- Independent elected officials who comprise the Board of Assessment.
- Hears property assessment grievance appeals, typically 3 to 4 days a year in June
- Are also part of the Board of Abatement; with the Select Board and all elected Justices of the Peace may abate taxes for certain statutory reasons
- Constitutes the legislative body of the Town under the laws of the state
- Appoints Town Manager, and supervises, creates, changes or abolishes offices, commissions or departments other than those established by the Town Charter
- Appoints members of permanent Town Commissions and other boards
- Makes, amends, and repeals Town Ordinances
- Approves operating and capital budgets and provides for an independent audit of Town Finances by a CPA
- Oversees conduct of officers, commissions, and departments, and may investigate any and all municipal affairs
- Meets twice a month, with special meetings as needed.
- Works with the Library Director to establish library policies
- Hires and provides oversight of Director
- Meets once a month
The Town Clerk/Treasurer’s role is extremely complex and procedures are directed by Town Ordinances and state statutes. Along with myriad other responsibilities the Town Clerk/Treasurer:
- keeps of all Town vital records
- is the election official responsible for the town’s voter registration, ballots, polls, and reporting election results
- oversees licensing, tax collection, and passport applications.
- This governing body of the school district is independent of and separate from Town governance. Visit www.csdvt.org for more information.
Of course the most important action any citizen can take to make an impact is to VOTE. Please be sure to do so March 7th on Election Day or take advantage of early voting between February 15 and March 6th.