ROCKPORT — Rockport leaders will meet July 23 for a special meeting to talk specifically about a library-related warrant article proposed for the November ballot. They will also use the opportunity Wednesday evening to discuss the public hearing process for the warrant article. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Richardson Room at the Rockport Town Office.
On July 15, the Select Board voted unanimously to hold a public hearing Aug. 5 on whether or not to place a nonbinding referendum before voters this coming November asking their opinion about siting a new town library on the former Rockport Elementary School land on West Street.
However, this week the terminology has changed and the Aug. 5 meeting will be qualified as a public information meeting with time for citizen commentary. The board will not be voting whether or not to place the referendum on the ballot.
That decision may be scheduled for September, when the board will also consider, and possibly vote on, two bond issues also proposed for the November ballot at a bona fide public hearing. (Read about the legal interpretation of public hearings in Maine)
Nonbinding means that no matter how the electorate votes, it remains solely an expressed collective opinion, not an official directive for a specific course of action. The Library Committee said it needs public input from a broad range of townspeople before it can consider how to move forward with either pursuing plans for a new library at the RES site, expanding at the existing site, or considering something else entirely.
The hearing is to allow all citizens to voice opinions on the proposed warrant article, which has been suggested by the Library Committee. The language, as currently proposed, reads: “Do you agree that the town of Rockport should develop a plan for a new library on the RES site, provided that the current ball fields are preserved and pending community input on design and budget?”
At the July 23 meeting, the board is expected to discuss the public hearing schedule, and when board members will actually vote on whether to place the article on the ballot.
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