Special Pre-Town Meeting On November 1st On Affordable Housing Reserve Fund Ballot Question
Article is vague on details of use
A Special Pre-Town Meeting is scheduled for November 1st related to the affordable housing reserve fund measure on the ballot for November 6th. In general, this is an informational meeting with the Selectboard making a presentation followed by public comment. As of this morning, the meeting is not yet on the home page of the Town's website.
The ballot question reads as follows:
Shall the voters of the Town of Norwich re-establish a revolving Affordable Housing Reserve Fund with previously appropriated funds approved by Norwich voters to be distributed and administered according to a process adopted by the Selectboard in consultation with the Town Manager, the Norwich Planning Commission, and the Affordable Housing Subcommittee?
At the last Selectboard meeting, two Board members noted that provision is vague. I agree. The fund is to be "distributed and administered" by a "process" adopted by the Selectboard. That is a lot of leeway. See Affordable Housing Fund Article: Lacks Details.
The article passed by voters in 2012 was for "contracts to acquire land," with an added proviso that fund was "reasonably necessary for the support of programs to benefit Town residents." See FY2012 Town Report at I-6.
The Selectboard should have fine tuned the article before it was adopted in August or had developed the "process" in the interim. Any time crunch was self-inflicted. I recognize that the Selectboard and Town Manager are working hard on a variety of issues. However, if the measure is important enough to put on the ballot then it is important enough to get right.