Hopkinton passes all but one item during town meeting drive-through voting

  • Caitlin and Mike Rollo cast their ballot with their pug, Frank. Sara Persechino—Courtesy

  • Town Moderator Sara Persechino takes a selfie with the volunteers before drive-by voting opened on May 1. Sara Persechino—Courtesy

  • Dandelion the dog checks in to vote. Sara Persechino—Courtesy

  • Andrea Kane and Sarah Mattson Dustin assist with hand counting the Hopkinton Town Meeting ballots. Sara Persechino—Courtesy

  • Assistant Moderator Tim Britain empties the ballot box. Sara Persechino—Courtesy

By Monitor staff
Published: 5/1/2021 7:37:16 PM

It was smooth sailing during drive-though voting at Hopkinton’s Town Meeting with 474 voters passing all but one item on the warrant.

The town’s $7.7 million operating budget passed by more than a 5-1 margin with 394 votes in favor and 74 votes against. The budget carried an increase of $141,431, or 1.9% over last year.

All other spending items, including adding to various capital reserve funds and paying $61,300 for a financial software update, passed by similar margins. 

Another article that overwhelmingly passed was for the town to rent out space in the Bates Building on Main Street in Contoocook Village. Select Board Chairwoman Sabrina Dunlap explained Monday that the purpose was “allowing the town to enter into more than a month-to-month lease” with tenants. After previous unsuccessful attempts to get the town to approve the sale of the building, Dunlap said this article was the beginning of a process to allow for longer leases.

Two petitioned articles on the warrant met different fates. One for a non-binding resolution requesting that re-districting at the state level be done “fairly and transparently,”passed with 408 votes in favor and 58 against. The other – the only item that was voted down – would have changed the town meeting format to include a deliberative session followed by a voting session, also known as SB-2 format.

The question failed with 347 votes against and 122 in favor. 

This year’s meeting was split into different parts, as voters were able to weigh in and ask questions during a virtual meeting on Monday, followed by two days of public comment, and a final meeting Thursday before drive through voting on Saturday.

The meeting was delayed from it’s original date in March following Governor Chris Sununu’s order allowing meetings to be postponed due to the pandemic. Despite the delay, the meeting happened earlier than last year when the town held a similar drive through meeting in July. 

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