“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”
Henry Ford (Your granddaddy probably bought one of his automobiles.)

Another June election and Town Meeting have gone by in Windham, and once again only a small minority, especially with the Town Meeting, participated. I did get off my butt to go to the polls but experience has taught me my vote at the Town Meeting would be meaningless in the end. The sad part is that if I had gone I would have only been one of 37 people voting at the meeting. Get our your calculator and divide 36 by 13,000 (the presumed number of Windham voters) and you will see that almost nobody goes to town meetings in our town.

On Election Day, only a few hundred Windham citizens voted on the RSU 14 school budget, and I presume that was the case in Raymond as well. Maybe the problem is that school is over for the summer and parents have other things on their minds. We had a lousy start to the season weatherwise, so maybe people were thinking the weather is warmer, so let’s enjoy it. I would like to think, at least.

Windham, much like other Maine municipalities, used to vote for elected officials in June. But it was decided that such a small number of voters came out to the polls then that we should move those elections to November, which always has a higher voter turnout. I have in the past suggested that the town of Windham discontinue the Town Meeting and have the municipal budget decided on Election Day in June just like the school budget. However, seeing the extremely low turnout for both this year, maybe it’s time to do something even more radical. Moving Windham’s fiscal year budget to November would probably have severe consequences because the state’s fiscal budget runs from July 1 to June 30 just like Windham’s. Maybe I’m wrong because Windham had always waited to see what the state would give us for revenue sharing and finally gave up and based our local budget on what we knew we had for revenue. Makes me wonder what desk in Town Hall the state revenue sharing funds went into. At least in November the town councilors would know what the town would receive.

The other alternative would be to move Town Council and School Board elections back to June like many of the municipalities around us. The best thing for Windham to do is to do away with the town meeting process and move the municipal budget to the same process as the school budget. Of course we will have to wait to see how the move by the town of Raymond goes to drop out of RSU 14.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham believes Windham is morphing in Weedham.


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