October 1, 2022

Special Town Meeting Set For October 25

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The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen has scheduled a special town meeting for October 25 at Francis Farm. However, Town Clerk Laura Schwall will not be available to oversee it.

Schwall explained the two weeks of early voting mandated by the state before the November 8 election, plus “significant staff reductions” in the town clerk’s office, would prohibit her from supervising the meeting.

Selectman Michael Deignan had proposed holding the meeting at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, which Schwall said was problematic. All town meetings have been held at the museum building at Francis Farm for the last year.

Schwall had suggested postponing the meeting until spring. Deignan said the tax rate for the next fiscal year had to be established before the end of 2022.

“I don’t really have a choice,” Deignan said, noting there were $500,000 worth of supplemental appropriations which were needed to address a “significant deficit in the budget.”

If the meeting were held in the spring, Deignan said the only source of revenue for the budget lines would be free cash.

“I have no idea what free cash is going to be,” Deignan stated. “My only option is to do this before we set the tax rate.”

The meeting agenda will feature four articles, mainly pertaining to financial matters. It will be held at Francis Hall, which can accommodate 225 people. Only 60 people are required for a quorum.

Deignan said it would be a “very non-controversial” town meeting.

Selectmen vowed the meeting would proceed without Schwall.

“We’re going to have to do the best that we can,” Selectmen Chairman Skip Vadnais said. “I see no way around it.”

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