For some, summer starts the weekend of Memorial Day. Bumper to bumper, cars darting in and out, 500 miles of speed and suspense. And then there’s the Indy 500. Astronomical purists say summer doesn’t start, in the Northern Hemisphere anyway, until June 21st (-ish). I say summer starts after town meeting.
A venerable New England tradition, town meeting, but there are increasingly those who wonder whether town meeting has outlived its usefulness in a town of 17,000. Today, for example, voters were warned (i.e. given notice via the town meeting warrant) to meet at 9:45 a.m. in the community center gym to elect a moderator to preside at the meeting. The moderator, duly elected, called the meeting to order, announced the presentation of the colors by the police department’s color guard, asked for a moment of silence, and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, in a move nothing less than stunning in our community’s recent history, he accepted a motion to combine all of the articles of business into one, another motion to approve them and, in a flash (about ten minutes, actually), 2009’s town meeting was history.
A $13,849,620 budget, 44 registered voters, 6 articles, 1 vote, and all in 10 minutes. Fewer than four-tenths of one percent of about 11,500 registered voters attended, including the elected and appointed municipal officials and employees who were required to be there.
What does this have to do with summer?
Well, now that town meeting is over, I get to relax a little. At least for a few minutes, because now we’re into ASA travel softball season, summer track and field, and getting our eldest ready to go off to college in a little over two months while trying to shoehorn in time to have a lobster roll at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset and spend a day (or two) at Reid State Park.
Summers in Maine aren’t nearly long enough.