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Town of New Gloucester Charter Commission ballot question

|Press Release, New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter|

New Gloucester residents may recall that the New Gloucester Town Clerk certified a petition with the signatures of 638 registered voters requesting the Board of Selectmen to put the question stated below on the upcoming November election ballot.  The petitioners represented more than 20% of the New Gloucester voters at the last gubernatorial election.

Shall a Charter Commission be established for the purpose of creating a New Municipal Charter?

Here are facts about a municipal charter commissions and what “local control” means through a town charter:

  • A “Yes” vote will permit a New Gloucester Charter Commission to be formed
  • The Charter Commission will have 6 persons elected by New Gloucester voters and 3 persons appointed by the Board of Selectmen.  The Commission will be non-partisan.
  • The Commission is required to hold public hearings to allow citizens to share their views about what governance structure and procedures should become part of the Town charter.
  • Currently New Gloucester’s town structure is controlled by the statutes adopted by the Maine Legislature.  Our Town has local control only to the extent permitted by the Legislature.
  • The Maine constitution permits “Municipal Home Rule” which enables municipalities to have “local control” by adopting a charter that serves as their constitution and meets their specific needs.

The first attempt in 2019 to secure a vote to create a Charter Commission failed to pass on by 4 votes (391 no to 387). The total number of votes was less than 800. At that time John Salisbury, a spokesman for the pro-charter group indicated, “This was a very small turnout when compared to the 2,931 New Gloucester voters who cast ballots at the 2018 gubernatorial election”.  The New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter felt the number of votes cast were not large enough to represent the “true views of the community”.

The New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter urge register voters to vote “Yes” to establish a Charter Commission which will draft a new town charter.  The New Gloucester Citizens for a Town Charter are non-partisan.

Press contact:

John Salisbury, 603-731-0638