Editorial: Power to the people

Posted

More and more towns across Rhode Island have eliminated their financial town meetings.

In fact, just a year ago Warren dropped its FTM and turned over almost the entire budget process — at least the voting part — to the town council. That means five people in Warren get final say about what is included in the budget and what gets cut. Just five people decide what everyone else is going to pay for taxes.

Thankfully that is not the case in Barrington.

Some may argue that last week's special financial town meeting in Barrington took too long or presented logistical challenges to certain individuals. And in some cases, they might be right. 

But more importantly, the special financial town meeting held at Barrington High School insured that the power to make big budgetary decisions still rests with the people who have to pay the bills. And that is how it should be.

In May, Barrington residents will be invited to another financial town meeting. That one will offer taxpayers an even greater opportunity to decide what next year's budgets will look like.

We're guessing that the crowd will again be large and the debate will again be impassioned. We're guessing the meeting might require more than a couple hours of residents' time. 

Let's hope this is always the case.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.