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Recount is Possible in Sewer Debt Shift Vote, But ...

Residents will need to take initiative to force recount.

may not be over quite yet.

The ballot question asking residents if they supported shifting half of the town's $100 million sewer debt to the tax levy , with 329 blanks.

The result had several Tewksbury Patch readers

According to Town Clerk Mary-Ann Nichols, a recount is possible but not mandatory. She said Tewksbury has nothing in its Town Charter calling for a mandatory recount if an election is decided by a certain margin. But a recount could still happen.

"Any resident can request a recount on a ballot question," said Nichols.

There are certain procedures, under state law, for requesting a recount. In the case of a town Tewksbury's size, 10 signatures of registered voters in each precinct would need to be gathered.

These signatures must be turned in at the office of the Town Clerk by 5 p.m. on the 10th day after the election. In this case, that would be April 12. The signatures would then go to the registrars for verification. If the signatures can be verified, a date for a recount will be set and the process will move forward.

Complete recount rules can be found here.

If the vote holds, an article will be placed on the Town Meeting Warrant, asking voters if they want to request the Legislature to pass a Home Rule Petition, which would allow the debt shift in its present form.

If the debt shift is allowed, sewer rates will be lowered significantly, while property taxes will see an increase. The purpose of the shift was to take some of the sewer debt and have that burden paid for by all property owners, not just sewer users. The reamining 50 percent of the debt would still be paid for via sewer rates.

michael d. small April 06, 2011 at 12:47 AM
i think this is an excellent idea, thanks.

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