Today was Town Meeting Day across Vermont and marks the end of my 3 year term on the Selectboard, the last year as chairman. My last act as chair was to present the annual budget to the assemblage of local voters who were kind enough to approve it without too much fuss. If you've never been to a New England town meeting, you should try one. The term "town meeting" has become distorted with over-use as a term for an intimate I-want-to-listen-to-your-concerns staged political event rather than what it is: a legal assembly of local voters empowered to enact laws, raise revenue, and approve town expenditures. When convened the Town Meeting is a parliament of community members governed only by Robert's Rules and a gracious Town Moderator. It truly is democracy at it's best and a real hoot too. Donuts and coffee in the morning. Ham and beans with cole slaw and chocolate pie for lunch. You can put the whole room to sleep in the afternoon just by explaining the figures in the road maintenance section of the budget, which of course, I did.
I loved being a Selectman. I've learned more about roads, bridges, culverts, grand lists, tax rates, open meetings laws, and zoning than is probably good for a person, but what a way to get to know your town. I'll go back to it someday, but I need a little more time in my life for work and my boys and I'm certainly hoping it's less of the former and more of the latter.
And by the way, Barack Obama took Dummerston with 451 votes to Hillary Clinton's 183. I know because I counted them. CNN is calling. I have to go.