Salem annual meeting a long night

salem-annual-091

A portion of the audience at the 2009 Salem Annual Town Meeting.

With one elector armed with a list of 48 directives to be voted on, the Salem Annual Town Meeting figured to be a long one.

It was still going at 10 p.m., but it wasn’t just because of newly elected town Chairwoman Linda Valentine’s 48 points, but a couple of other matters that received considerable debate.

Here’s Valentine introducing her directives for the board:

Directive A, calling for better use of the town website, passed easily. A resolution to combine directive¬†B through F on Valentines’s list as all related to better electronic communication also passed. But after discussion of Valentine’s remaining directives she eventually agreed to instead take comments on the topics via email at¬†salemtownchair@gmail.com.

As the meeting continued, Valentine told me she was willing to not pursue the directives after she learned they would only be advisory to the Town Board. The feedback that will be given to her by motivated individuals at the email address was good enough, she said.

“I will get what I want, which is feedback from the people,” Valentine said.

Other highlights from the meeting included:

  • Jim Cross started off resolutions from the floor with a statement about the economy. He eventually asked that the board defer several large spending projects — a new sign ($28,000), a storm water project and the new fire station/public works complex ($10 million) — until better economic times. The measure ended in a tie and consequently failed. Along the way, the storm water project was defended as mandated by the state and the sign as already paid for. Fire Chief Mike Slover defended the fire station/public works building as something that had been in development since 2005, was sorely needed and not extravagant, but rather essential to provide top-flight fire protection. “I think it’s ludicrous the way you’re discussing this tonight …” Slover said. “We are working our butts off to save you money.”
  • Brad Smith delivered an impassioned speech about corruption and greed in the banking system and the need for the United States to take care of itself first. He urged the town not to bank with savings instituions that took bailout funds.
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