BENTON — Residents will consider four articles on the ballot in November, including one that would increase the number of people on the Board of Select Persons from three to five.

But at a hearing on the warrant Monday, some people objected to the process for approving any measures, saying that residents would be better served to vote on these issues at an in-person town meeting instead of as part of a general election.

Perhaps the most significant question for residents is whether to expand the Select Board. The two new members would be elected in June and would be paid $6,000 annually, which is the case for members now. The topic was first raised with the board this summer, but did not get the votes to move it forward. However, residents revived the issue with a petition to put it on the ballot.

Several people involved with the petition spoke in favor of the article at the hearing. They said the concern with the board structure now is that there have been several times in recent years when a member resigned, and the board was left with only two members, which is the case now.

Board Chairwoman June Caron said more people does not mean more work would get done, and that she would rather take the $12,000 that would go to two new members and use it to pay for additional administrative staff.

The other articles reviewed Monday include an increase to the mileage paid to the animal control officer because the current officer is doing additional work, board member Robin Cyr said. The increase of $1,600 will be paid out of dog licensing fees. Another article would create a new ordinance to allow town officials to offset taxes up to $1,000 per year.


And the final ordinance would be a one-time change to authorize the board to spend 50% of the 2022 budget in the first six months of 2023. The town is in the process of changing its fiscal year from a traditional calendar year to July through June. The ordinance would allow town government to continue to function in the first half of 2023 until Town Meeting in June when residents can approve a new budget with the new fiscal year.

Several residents at the hearing said they objected to the process of how the articles were proposed. Some said the budget committee should have been consulted for the articles and the committee should give a recommendation on each, because the articles impact the town budget.

Some residents said that none of the articles should be dealt with in an election, but should instead be raised at a town meeting where people can discuss the articles together.

Cyr said the town typically has a much larger turnout for elections than it does for town meetings, and that the board had consulted with the town attorney during the process of finalizing the warrant articles.

“We get more participation when we put it on the ballot, and that’s what we’ve seen consistently,” Cyr said.

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