CHELSEA — The townspeople are being asked on today’s ballot if they “wish to establish a charter commission for the purposes of establishing a new municipal charter.”

Selectmen said they support the need for a town charter in Chelsea and would like to see a good turnout at the polls today. 

Selectman Mike Pushard said a charter is what thetown needs to move forward.” 

Linda Leotsakos, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said “a town charter, created and approved by the citizens, will strengthen the town’s governance.” 

Selectman Smith agreed. 

“We are rebuilding town government, and a charter is one tool that the town should have.  It can provide direction and guidance to municipal officers and officials and can help to prevent potential abuses in town government.”

Smith said that the decision to create a charter commission is the first step to creating a town charter.  Residents will then have an opportunity to elect six members to the commission. Selectmen also would appoint three additional members. 

Once formed, the commission would hold a public meeting to receive information, views and comments relating to its functions, Leotsakos said. She said the commission is required to prepare an initial report within nine months and final report within 1 year. After that, residents would vote on the proposed charter.

Like many other small towns, Leotsakos said Chelsea adopted the town meeting form of government under the general laws of Maine. Under a charter, the town could establish the duties and obligations of the town’s municipal officers, officials and employees.  A charter could specify an annual budget process and delineate how the town should select and fund capital improvement projects and prioritize road maintenance, she said.

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