Concord is one of the many New England towns to conduct business by direct citizen participation. Town Meeting, with all its imperfections, is the chance for registered voters to contemplate, talk and vote on the business of the town.
And its annual Town Meeting is this weekend. We hope Concordians see it as an obligation to show up Sunday afternoon at Concord-Carlisle High School and take part.
The warrant includes articles up for debate and ratification on a range of topics from the town’s annual operating budget, to zoning amendments, to petition articles submitted by citizens.
It’s an awkward affair, town meeting. But it’s our own. Any voter can stand up and make a case for a yea or nay on any particular article. It’s sometimes messy, but Moderator Carmin Reiss is skilled at running the show, and deserves credit for the way she conducts the proceedings.
The warrant is available online and was sent to all households. The Finance Committee report is also available online, and gives its own perspective.
Concord should be proud of annual Town Meeting, although the town has gotten a lot bigger since those earlier annual meetings where farmers, teachers and shop proprietors stood shoulder to shoulder to argue and vote. It’s harder to make the case that all registered voters can participate now. There are too many of us.
Other towns of similar size have adopted a representative form where elected citizens from various sectors gather to hash out and pass articles on their warrants.
But that’s not the way it’s done here. So it’s up to all of us to show up on Sunday. The decisions have a far-reaching impact on our taxes and our quality of life.