Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, November 29, 2018
Deer Isle town meeting date changes
Follows suit with Stonington
by Monique Labbe
Members of the Deer Isle Board of Selectmen have decided to change the date of the annual town meeting, from a Monday to a Saturday, following suit with a decision made by the Stonington Board of Selectmen last month.
Deer Isle’s town meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, March 9.
Historically, both towns held their respective town meeting in the afternoon on the first Monday in March, with elections happening the same morning. Stonington approved the change in date, Saturday, March 9, with the hope that more people will be inclined to attend.
The board of selectmen in Deer Isle made the change for similar reasons, according to Town Manager Jim Fisher.
“The selectmen have wanted to increase participation in town meeting of people who are working. Having the meeting early afternoon on a weekday isn’t optimal, so we wanted to look at other options,” said Fisher.
Fisher and the selectmen considered moving the meeting to a weekday evening; however, a meeting could run later, causing people to leave early. Ultimately, the selectmen voted for the weekend option.
Voting will still take place in the morning, from 7:20 a.m. until 12 p.m., at the Deer Isle Town Office. The town meeting itself will take place at the school, said Fisher. It is currently the plan to hold the meeting at the Reach Performing Arts Center, though Fisher said there is a chance it will move to the Deer Isle-Stonington High School gymnasium.
“Our primary incentive is to encourage more participation from a wider section of the community,” said Fisher. “This is an experiment. It has been tried before, and the selectmen said they didn’t see much of an increase, but we’re willing to try again.”