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Selectman Buemi: Democracy requires our participation

Selectman Buemi: Democracy requires our participation


I was just thinking about the upcoming municipal election here in North Haven on Tuesday, Nov. 5. All five polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Mr. Freda is running unopposed for the First Selectman’s seat, and it is also a certainty that myself and Mr. Pieper will maintain our seats on the Board of Selectmen.

However, there are many good reasons why voters should be motivated to get to the voting booth this election season.

There are other crucial boards that will be contested this year. I am referring specifically to the Board of Finance, where four candidates (two from each party) are seeking three available seats; and the Board of Education, which, likewise, has four candidates vying for three open seats. 

Why is the Board of Finance so important? Well, a careful reading of our Town Charter makes it clear that the BOF is where the real action takes place.

The purpose of local government is to provide services (education, police, fire, garbage pick-up, snow-plowing, library and recreation) directly to town residents.

That takes money.

And the BOF recommends just how much money (voted on at referendum). And the BOF sets the mill rate that determines how much each taxpayer will contribute to the effort.

So we want the best people, qualified to make tough choices between the wants and needs of our town; to provide the best services at the lowest possible cost.  

And then there is the Board of Education, which is made up of nine individuals, serving six-year terms, elected to ensure that our approximately 3,200 school kids get the best possible education in a safe learning environment.

The BOE has exclusive authority to spend the money the BOF gives them to do this daunting task, currently about $54.5 million.

I think that’s worth going to the polls for, don’t you?

And there are other positions on the ballot this year as well, such as Planning and Zoning, Zoning Board of Appeals, Police Commission and Fire Commission. The Fire Commission should be of particular interest.

So I urge my fellow citizens to do two things; after all, real democracy requires citizen participation and effort.

First, educate yourselves in the weeks ahead about the candidates. Learn about all of them with an open mind. There will be newspaper articles and NHTV programs to assist you, including my new show, “Speaking Freely with Sally.” Some candidates may come to your door.  

Second, on Nov. 5, no matter what the weather, make that trip to your polling location and exercise your precious and cherished right to vote.   And if you see a candidate standing at the polls, give him or her a quick smile, or even a thank you, for their willingness to run for office, for their efforts to make North Haven a better place for all our citizens.

Please feel free to contact me at

Sally J. Buemi is a
North Haven selectman.