Half of Charter revisions pass

0
8

Jamie Litvaitis votes at Maple Hill Elementary School in Naugatuck Tuesday morning. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck voters split when it came to six proposed revisions to the Charter, approving three and rejecting three.

Voters approved moving municipal elections to November instead of May. The 2013 local election will held in November and the terms of currently elected officials will be extended for six months.

Naugatuck voters decided to keep the mayor’s term to two years. Question two would have extended the mayoral term to four years, starting with next year’s municipal election.

Supporters of the change said four years would give the mayor more time to accomplish his or her agenda.

On the third question, voters came out against changing the budget referendum process to make it easier to hold a second and third referendum.

Currently, 8 percent of registered voters must sign a petition to force a referendum on the budget. Based on current numbers, that would mean 1,438 of the borough’s 17,981 voters. The change would keep that number the same for the first referendum, but lower it to 4 percent — currently 719 voters — for two subsequent referendums residents can petition for.

Voters decided to continue to elect their town clerk. They voted down question four, which asked voters whether the town clerk should be appointed by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses like other department heads.

Resident George Kowalski said he voted to leave the town clerk position as is because he didn’t want the Board of Mayor and Burgesses to have too much power.

“Naugatuck doesn’t need any more cronyism than it already has,” resident Joann Hocking said after voting Tuesday.

The last two charter questions passed.

Question five eliminates the now-defunct positions of the Offices of Jurors, Board of Public Charities, Selectmen and the Board of Relief. The question only passed by a slim margin leading officials to wonder whether voters understood the question.

“Who would be against getting rid of unnecessary offices?” Charter Revision Commission Chairman Andrew Bottinick asked.

The last revision passed by a comfortable margin.

Question six eliminates outdated language that refers to voter fraud penalties that are no longer in the borough’s jurisdiction, registration as a “freeman” and criminal prosecution in “the borough court of Naugatuck,” which does not exist.

Bottinick said he was disappointed that so few of the proposed revisions passed, but noted that 10 years ago proposed revisions never made it to the ballot.

“The people spoke. It seems like they didn’t want change,” Bottinick said.