Report on the Annual Town Meeting

On May 14, 2019, the Lyme Annual Town Meeting was held at the Lyme Town Hall. Approximately 50 residents from the Town of Lyme attended.

After Don Gerber was chosen as Moderator, the Call to Meeting was read by Town Clerk Linda Winzer and the meeting began with a discussion of the agenda for the evening.

The first item on the agenda was to acknowledge the receipt of the Town of Lyme Annual Report for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2018. As it required no further discussion, there was a unanimous decision to acknowledge it and move on to the remainder of the agenda.

The second order of business was to decide on an ordinance concerning the appointment of the Lyme Town Clerk. The ordinance would make this position one that is appointed by the Board of Selectmen, as opposed to the elected position it is now. The Selectmen would appoint a Town Clerk every four years, and the next appointment would occur during the first meeting in January after the prior term has finished. The ordinance was commented on by First Selectman Steve Mattson, who said it would prepare the town for a future in which qualified candidates may be more difficult to come by. He said the ordinance would ensure the town could find the expertise it needs for the position. After a few questions about the nature of the ordinance and what other towns do, the people moved to a vote. The vote turned out almost unanimous to allow this ordinance to pass.

The next item on the agenda concerned the Tax Collector’s ability to retain insignificant overpayments. Currently, if a tax overpayment is made, the Tax Collector must return the extra money to constituents, no matter how small the amount it actually is. The new ordinance would allow the tax collector to retain overpayments under $5 and keep it to benefit the town. Once again, this ordinance was moved and seconded, spoken for by Mattson, and voted on. The ordinance passed with an overwhelming majority.
The fourth order of business was to consider a repeal of the ordinance that prevents the Board of Selectmen from accepting gifts, grants, devises, bequests and trusts exceeding $10,000; instead, replacing the amount with $100,000. The item was moved and seconded. Mattson once again spoke for the ordinance, saying that it would allow the Board of Selectmen to take larger donations more easily in order to use the money to benefit the town. Many questions came up, including whether the donations would be published, to which Mattson answered yes, in the Selectman Meeting minutes. Another question was raised as to whether people could donate towards a specific fund or issue. Again, Mattson answered yes, they can be directed towards a specific, existing town fund. The item moved to a vote and passed unanimously.

The last order of business was to consider and act on estimates and recommendations of the Board of Finance for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2020. The item was moved and seconded, at which point, Board of Finance Chair Dan Hagan spoke. He discussed the General Property Tax (the same as last year), Operating Expenses (down 0.5%), and Capital Expenses (down 39.5%). The townspeople voted affirmative for this item, and it was announced that the Board of Finance would meet to set the mil rate immediately after the meeting, which it did, and it was set at 19.95.

There being no further business, a motion to adjourn was made, seconded and voted on affirmatively.

The meeting went from 8:00 p.m. to 8:23 p.m. and successfully passed all ordinances discussed. The minutes, which can be found on the Town of Lyme website, go into further detail about the specific ordinances and the Board of Finance estimates.

NOTE:  This article was written by Sadie Frankel, a student at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, and originally appeared on the Lyme DTC Facebook page.