Sanford voters will not be asked to amend the charter to change the composition of the Sanford Budget Committee in November. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

SANFORD – Voters in Sanford won’t be asked to amend the charter to change the composition of the Sanford Budget Committee in November.

While members of the Sanford City Council have apparently been discussing the matter  for some time, the decision to leave the committee as it is came after a joint public hearing of the City Council and Sanford Budget Committee last month.

The Sanford Budget Committee is currently made up of three City Council members and four members of the public-at-large. Sometime over the last year, a proposal emerged that would have changed the make-up to include the full 7-member City Council and the 5-member Sanford School Committee, but no public members – pending approval by voters Nov. 5.

“I’m not sure this has support anymore,” said Mayor Tom Cote, who is also a current member of the budget committee. He said what has been missing from the budget panel since its inception in 2013, when Sanford voters approved a new charter, is that there has been no School Committee representation.

“That is really why this came around,” said Cote. “The idea was to put everyone around the table. The idea wasn’t to exclude the public.”

In prior discussions about the matter, there was conversation about the difficulties in getting members of the public to apply for the annually appointed slots.

Only one member of the public spoke at the hearing – Dianne Connolly, a Springvale resident and City Council candidate.

“I think it’s a bad idea,” Connolly said. “In my mind, we have checks and balances and that includes the public. You tell me you can’t fill (seats) but I’m looking at four of you right now. I’m asking you, don’t put this on the ballot. It won’t pass.”

“Adding the school committee was one of the bigger parts of the discussion,” said Councilor Maura Herlihy, also a budget committee member. She suggested adding two school committee members to the current make-up.

In the end, the budget panel voted not to recommend the change to the council so the proposal did not move forward.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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