Ferrisburgh residents vote to move town meeting date - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Ferrisburgh residents vote to move town meeting date

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Town Meeting Day will see some changes next year. Some towns, like Ferrisburgh, voted to move the date. The next Ferrisburgh town meeting will be on a Saturday.

For more than two centuries, Vermont communities have gathered on the first Tuesday in March, debating the issues facing the town such as approving or rejecting budgets, town personnel and even sending messages to Montpelier.

But a Tuesday gathering is not always the way anymore. Some communities are getting together the Monday evening or the Saturday before Town Meeting Day. Ferrisburgh residents believe Saturday might increase attendance for future town meetings.

"Looked around the room and realized that many people in the room were either retirees or have children that are grown and are able to take time away from work to be part of this process," said Lisa Dulsky-Watkins from Ferrisburgh.

Some residents raised concerns about switching the day.

What if the meeting is already relatively full? What's the contingency plan for shutting people out of town meeting or moving it to a different spot? These were questions that some town meeting members raised.

Holding town meeting on Saturday would give those who work during the week a chance to attend, in theory.

"Secretary of state has done studies on this and shows that the attendance is about the same so probably won't make a lot of difference in attendance," said Donald Bicknell, the Ferrisburgh town moderator.

Most attendees of the Ferrisburgh town meeting hope holding meetings on Saturdays will not only bring a larger crowd, but a more diverse one.  

"If you really have to struggle with child care then it's going to be an issue. I think it could change the demographics in the room, but we'll find out next year," said Dulsky-Watkins.

Ferrisburgh Town Meeting attendees say they will see how the Saturday meeting will go in 2015, and will then vote whether to keep it on Saturdays from now on. 

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