One of the best decision making tools is called the "Ben Franklin decision making tool." You’ve all used it and it is very simple. Take a blank piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and list all the reasons for and against a decision.
On the left side list all the reasons to keep the Financial Town Meeting (FTM) in the gymnasium (sometimes overflowing into the auditorium) on a Saturday morning or two. On the right side, list the reasons to adopt a more contemporary system which gives every voter a chance to have an accurately counted vote, in private, just like all our other elections.
Can you imagine having a presidential election using a count of hands or by "yeas" and "nays"? The people with the most to gain are usually the most vocal and those are the people who usually leave the meeting as soon as they get their way and disregarding other town issues at the meeting. That is the system the supporters of the FTM want to keep, I think you will agree it needs to be changed.
I’ll tell you my list of reasons to keep the current system. My left side is blank. Nope, I could not come up with one good reason to keep the outdated system of spending all morning in a hot, crowded gym with people yelling and screaming, moderators slamming their gavel and shouting "out of order," jockeying for a position at the microphone, intimidating stares from people who think you
oppose them and each side pulling out their Roberts Rule of Order book with time-consuming challenges to almost every attempt to move the meeting forward.
On the right side of the sheet, the financial town referendum (FTR) allows private votes with no intimidation from others. The capability to submit a budget with 50 signatures is a great feature and allows people to submit a budget they would never get to submit with the current system. The FTR will increase voter turnout. It does not require an entire Saturday morning listening to a bunch of blowhards. Votes can be accurately electronically tallied and not rely on inaccurate hand counts, and more people voting will reflect a more accurate reflection of true democracy.
I have to believe many people have attended only one meeting and refused to go to another. Quite frankly, our current FTM is a joke and it is the laughing stock of the area. The private ballot FTR would allow more people to voice their opinions about the budget and not be decided by a little more than 300 people. With the current system, less that 1 percent can decide how our hard earned tax dollars
Let’s end with some things we all have in common. We all want a better community, good schools, well-run municipalities, solid property values and fair pay for those who work for us.
Don’t be fooled by the vocal few who have self-serving reasons to keep this system status quo and sneak in their budget and agenda at the meeting without the opportunity to read it with no regard for their neighbors and fellow taxpayers. They are not supporting the current system because it is better for the majority of the community. They want to keep it the same because it has worked for them in the past, and it is better for them.
The supporters of the FTM really have a very weak argument and are grasping for straws trying to convince voters to keep this system; i.e. “Keep the FTM and let majority rule.”
Hello! Majority rule is exactly what the supporters of the FTR want. We support the majority of the taxpayers rule, not the majority of the people who attend a meeting with a self-serving purpose.
Also, look closely at the misinformation regarding two town councilors overruling the vote of the people. What the FTM supporters are referring to is the councilors voting for the tax levy, not the budget voted on by the majority of the people.
On Nov. 8 you will have the opportunity to make a change for the positive and give yourself the opportunity to he heard. The FTR will use a private ballot because it is a fair, just, democratic way to let the voters decide. It is the same way we vote on our school and library bonds, our town councilors, senators, congressmen, governors and president.
Over the past four years the hard working taxpayers of Tiverton have had their taxes increased by 27 percent. Do you want business as usual and continue with this trend? The FTR will allow the town of Tiverton to move forward and add to the appeal of living in this beautiful community.
If you are still not convinced, I challenge you to call 10 local real estate agents and ask them the pluses and minuses of living in Tiverton versus a few of our comparable neighboring communities. We have let a small group do this to us and the FTR will allow you to put an end to this out of control spiral.
This is your chance to take control and it is important to take the few minutes on Nov. 8 and vote yes on Question 2. Make your vote count this time and every time! Every vote counts, not like the FTM in the gym.