By Beth David, Editor
At its meeting on 3/20/23 the Fairhaven Select Board discussed possible dates for a special election to be held after Town Meeting for a ballot initiative to override Proposition 2 1/2, which limits the amount of money municipalities can raise through the tax levy (property taxes).
To override Prop 2 1/2, Town Meeting will have to vote for the override, and then the issue will have to pass with the voters in townwide ballot.
Town Clerk Linda Fredette explained some of the logistical problems with waiting too long after TM, which is on 5/6. The measure will have to pass before the end of the fiscal year on 6/30.
SB chairperson Stasia Powers expressed her concern with the 5/22 proposed date for the special election. The language on the ballot needs to be in place 35 days before the election. Her concern was that Town Meeting might make a change to the language, then the whole process would have to start over gain. She said they should just wait.
Other board members agreed, although it makes the schedule very tight to get it all done before the FY ends. The earliest date for a special election on a Monday would be June 12. The board did not make a decision on Monday, but tabled the discussion until the 4/18 meeting.
For more information on the budget and why the override vote is being proposed, visit https://www.fairhaven-ma.gov/home/news/fy24-override-information-hub
If Town Meeting does not vote for the override vote, then the matter ends there.
“We’re back to square one,” said Town Administrator Angie Lopes Ellison.
The board also discussed the flag/ banner policy, which regulates who can display a flag or banner on town hall.
The Belonging Committee requested that the Progress Pride Flag be hung at town hall during June, which is LGBTQ Pride month. The Progress Pride Flag is a more inclusive version fo the iconic Pride Flag. It includes the rainbow colors of the traditional pride flag with the added colors of a triangle on the left made of black and brown to represent people of color, and pink, white and baby-blue stripes which represent transgender individuals.
The new colors create an arrow shape leading to the right “to confer forward movement while purposely being along the left edge, pointing to the fact that progress still needs to be made,” wrote Jessica Fidalgo, Chair of the Belonging Committee in her request to the SB.
The board realized the flag policy as it stands only allows for one flag or banner to be flown at once. The Homecoming Day Banner is traditionally displayed on town hall for the month of June.
At first the board was going to split the month, flying the Pride Flag for two weeks, and the Homecoming banner for two weeks.
Ms. Ellison ask that the board reconsider the policy, saying that it is not inclusive. June is pride month, she said, and splitting the month in favor of Homecoming “sends a different message.”
SB member Keith Silvia agreed they should change the policy.
“I would like to see both flags,” said Vice Chair Leon Correy.
“I wish I had thought of it myself,” said SB member Bob Espindola, asking why would they not have both. “It was a misguided policy at the time.”
The board voted to fly the Progress Pride Flag for the month of June. They have included the policy discussion on the agenda of their 3/23 meeting. The Homecoming Day committee needs to submit their request 60 days before June 1, unless the board changes that requirement, too.
Click here to download the 3/23/23 issue: 03-23-23 Bagpiper
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