On Saturday, February 7th, the Town of Barrington held a town meeting deliberative session to discuss the upcoming articles to be voted on in March. The Barrington Tax Payers Association recently proposed an article to eliminate tax payer funding for the recreation department, Article 25.
See a previous post we wrote about the Barrington recreation department.
They also tried to have $3 million dollars reduced from the Barrington schools, which is equivalent to 60 teachers losing their jobs. Not too many people knew about the school meeting, which the Barrington Tax Payers Association lost by only 28 votes. Residences in town have been working frantically to get the word out about what the Barrington Tax Payers Association is trying to do.
We have been talking about the issues here at our house, and our older son has been listening to what has been going around school. He was concerned about what would happen if the recreation department was self funding and no longer existed.
I proposed an idea to him about getting signatures (names) from classmates that are in favor of the recreation department. Due to liability, we had to change our approach. Jacob wrote a letter (below) from the perspective of a third grader. We suggested he read it at the meeting, which was held a few weeks ago.
Dear Barrington Residents:
My name is Jacob and I am eight years old. I am trying to stop the Barrington Recreation Department from sinking into the ground. I have participated in Soccer, Floor Hockey, Basketball, after school care, summer camp, Kids Chaos, winter carnival and trunk-or-treat.
If there was no after school care, some parents would have to leave work early to pick up their children or pay more for child care. With no summer camp, kids will not be able to see there friends as much. If there were no sports in Barrington some kids would not get as much exercise or would have to go to other towns where they will not be playing with their friends.
I want to continue to participate in activities through the Rec. and have other kids be able to have the fun at the Rec. Department too. Without the assistance of Barrington Residents, this opportunity may be lost.
Jacob and I went to the deliberative session and the meeting started at 9:00am. Due to the large crowd, the meeting had to be moved into the gymnasium.
The meeting was to restart at 11:00. The recreation department had set up child care for people with children.
Jacob informed me that if I thought he was going to speak in front of all these people then I was crazy. There were around 400 people present. There were 27 Articles total and the recreation department article was Article 25. The moderator recommended moving Article 25 to the front of the discussions due to the number of people present.
The meeting finally started and after listening to many comments, complaints and debates, we finally got to vote by ballot.
The drama continued throughout the morning. By 1:00 pm there were 26 other articles to be reviewed and debated. The recreation department ended up making sandwiches for the children. The meeting lasted more than 8 hours and I am sorry to say that I did not last for the entire meeting.
The final outcome: Barrington families can continue to enjoy sports, yoga and fitness, rumpus room, summer camp, after school care and everything else the Barrington recreation department offers until next year. This is all thanks to the committed residents that attended.
Read the New Hampshire R.S.A about town hall meetings at NH RSA Title III, Chapter 40, Government of Town Meeting.
Read more about the meeting in the newspaper Fosters Daily Democrat.