Guidelines set for Rockport special town meeting Aug. 5

By Dwight Collins | Aug 01, 2014
Photo by: Dwight Collins

Rockport — Town officials have set forth guidelines that will be followed at the special select board meeting slated for Aug. 5. to discuss a proposed ballot referendum to develop a plan for a new public library.

The public hearing will be opened promptly at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium level of the Rockport Opera House.

A very brief welcoming and opening statements will be made by members of the Select Board wishing to do so. A scheduled break will occur at approximately 8:30 p.m.

There will be a single sign-in sheet and all in attendance will be requested to sign in, give their local address and town, whether they wish to speak or not and, if they wish to speak, indicate if they will be speaking for, against or neither for nor against the question under discussion that evening. Please print your name and address legibly.

For purposes of the evening, the term “residents” will include those who live in Rockport full-time or part-time, regardless of land ownership, voting status, tax status or age. “Non-residents” will be considered all others who are in attendance. In other words, the Select Board is defining “resident” as broadly and liberally as possible for the purpose of the evening.

The Select Board, solely because of the sound characteristics of the auditorium, will sit on the stage.

One microphone will be placed in the center aisle, reasonably close to the stage so the Select Board can easily see the speaker. Those wishing to speak are asked to form an orderly line, single-file behind the microphone. It is requested that those standing in line do so in an orderly and quiet manner so any conversations or comments are not picked up by the microphone.

Each person wishing to speak may do so only once. Depending on the time it takes for everyone wishing to speak (residents and non-residents alike), the Select Board may ask if anyone wishes to make a follow-up statement at the end of the comment period.

Before statements start, the purpose of the special meeting will be read -- “To hear from the residents of Rockport and, time permitting, non-residents regarding the request by the town’s Library Committee for a non-binding referendum to be placed on the November 4, 2014, Special Town Meeting Warrant (a.k.a., secret ballot) asking, 'Do you agree that the town of Rockport should develop a plan for a new library on the RES site, provided the current ball fields are preserved and pending community input on design and budget?’”

All speakers are requested to limit their comments to a maximum of 3 minutes. A timekeeper will provide a count of the minutes remaining, 30 seconds remaining and 15 seconds remaining. The speaker will be able to see the time clock displayed on the table. Those exceeding the time limit will be asked to step down.

When a person steps to the microphone, they will be required to state their name, local address and the position they are taking on the question. The name of the speaker will be checked off when they step up to speak.

If at 10 p.m. there are still people wishing to speak, the Select Board will take a short recess to decide whether to continue until all comments are heard; to decide on the select board discussion and to defer vote to the end of all comments, or call a halt to the comment period and proceed to discussion and vote. The Select Board could also decide to call a halt to the comment period and schedule a second date to hear the remainder of the comments followed at that time by discussion and vote, or call a halt to the comment period and schedule a subsequent date to have the discussion and vote.

If all comments have concluded by 10 p.m., the Select Board will decide whether to proceed with the remainder of the agenda or table it to a future date.

Time permitting, members of the Select Board may decide to ask questions of individuals who made comments earlier in the evening. This will not take place until after all, residents and non-residents alike, have had an opportunity to make their comments.

Written statements are welcome in any of the following forms; A letter mailed to the town office (P.O. Box 10, Rockport, ME 04856) or delivered in person to a box set up at the town office. Other options to supply input or make comment are an email sent to librarypublichearing@town.rockport.me.us; or letter delivered on arrival at the opera house auditorium on the evening of Aug. 5.

There are special instructions for those bringing letters or documents on the evening of Aug. 5. People are requested to bring six copies, one for each member of the Select Board and one for public record.

There is no prescribed limit on the length of the letter (or email) provided or any attached documents.

All letters and emails must include the submitters name and local address (if a person has a permanent mailing address other than the local address, please include that as well).

Please note, depending on time available at the end of the meeting, the Select Board may decide, at that time, to read the names of the people who have submitted letters or emails and the position advocated by the submitter.

All letters, emails and supporting documents or attachments will become part of the public record and will be made available for viewing by the public during regular business hours at the town office provided such requests are not disruptive to the normal functioning of the office and staff. No letter, email, document or attachment may be removed from the office or copied.

Hard copies will be provided upon request and will be governed by Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) requirements; there may be a charge associated with providing copies.

When providing a letter or email, officials request that contributors use the following in the heading to title. “A statement in support of the proposed Library Committee referendum”; “A statement opposed to the proposed Library Committee referendum”; or “A statement neither for nor against the proposed Library Committee referendum”

Anyone who submits a letter or email prior to the Aug. 5 meeting may, at their discretion, speak at the meeting after following the sign-in procedure.

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Dwight Collins
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
(207) 236-8511 ext. 303
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