Monthly Archives: April 2013

Calling Westport Island Volunteers…

to the business of governing…

You stated that we had a young board of officers, to rule the town…there is but one… the rest are sly and underminded and do not know what they are in office for…they will not have much influence upon the business of the bridge; for there are two to one in favor of the roads, and also the bridge…They that are opposed to the roads and bridge being built…have but one…and he would have no more influence, on the minds of the people, than a child.

Roads, bridges and strong opinions…Could be any year in the life of the Island. It just happens to be 1848, and the sentiments come from Franklin Tarbox writing to his sister Sarah.

Built in 1840, the first Westport bridge had a price tag of $6,000 – a pretty hefty purse in those days. Then, as now, those that wanted to be geographically isolated from the troubles of the mainland were pitted against those that wanted aesthetics and privacy with convenient access to services. …And, those that wanted to invest for the future and what they considered the communal greater good were pitted against those that carefully minded their purses and costs vs. benefits. There are always issues to divide.

Tis the season once again to nominate a selectman, a road commissioner and two budget committee members; pontificate…and meet about the town’s business. Town voting will be June 28; town meeting June 29.

Ten plus committees of volunteers and another 10 to 15 volunteer officers are sworn in each July 1 and form the core of our town government. Volunteers contemplate and formulate planning and development regulations; maintain our 70 plus cemeteries; monitor shellfish harvesting; operate safety — and safety net — services; advocate for preserving land and a community trails system; hear planning appeals; and do much more. New committee members are always welcome on all committees. The Planning Board in particular is looking for an interested planner or two.

Also Wanted: two Budget Committee members; nomination papers available from the Town Clerk and due May 14 (25 to 100 signatures needed). Benefits: Learn the town’s budget, engage in dialogue with citizens and selectmen, and offer suggestions to the Selectmen.

Compensation for all town positions: An opportunity to “pay it forward” for living in such a pretty, peaceful place — where people may disagree, but nonetheless care about the Island.

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