Town Meeting | New Hampshire Public Radio

Town Meeting

A large crowd of Ossipee residents sits in front of town officials during a 2017 town meeting
Annie Ropeik, NHPR News

As voters head out to cast their ballots this town meeting season, the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation is highlighting gender disparities in select board and school boards across the state.

Dan Tuohy, NHPR

Towns and school districts across the state are preparing for this year’s Town Meeting Day, March 9. Some NHPR listeners have reached out to ask how towns will balance the need to gather for local elections with precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

We looked into those issues, and here’s what we learned.

Carbon Pricing in New Hampshire

Mar 5, 2021
Annie Ropeik / NHPR file photo

Some New Hampshire towns are considering warrant articles in support of a federal carbon fee and dividend at their town meetings this year. We discuss how it works, concerns about equity, and what carbon pricing could look like in New Hampshire. This is a By Degrees program, part of NHPR's climate reporting initiative. 

Air date: Monday, March 8, 2021. 

N.H. Towns Get Okay To Postpone Annual Meetings, Again, Due To COVID Concerns

Jan 23, 2021
Vote here sign
NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu announced Friday that Town Meeting deliberative sessions, traditional Town Meetings and official ballot voting days for Town Meetings this year can be postponed upon the decision of local officials due to COVID-19 concerns. Voting procedures may also be modified for safety purposes after consultation with town moderators, the attorney general’s office and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

The state Senate voted unanimously today to make it easier for local officials to postpone town meetings and pre-process absentee ballots.

The bill would extend procedures enacted last year through the 2021 town election season.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

In the pandemic summer of 2020, even New Hampshire town meetings have had to get flexible.

A time for backyard barbecues and trips to the beach must make way for taxes and town business. In a corkscrew twist of the calendar, Stratham is holding its town meeting — a rite of spring since it was incorporated in the 18th century — on the second Saturday of July.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is reminding town officials that it is their call when it comes to deciding whether to go forward with town meetings as New Hampshire deals with fallout from the coronavirus.

The advice comes as the state is ramping up efforts to address the coronavirus.

In a statement, Sununu said “individual comfort levels" should guide towns' thinking on postponing town meeting.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR File Photo

Town meeting ballots across New Hampshire on Tuesday will include a resolution in support of carbon pricing, due in part to the efforts of youth climate activists.

The warrant article is spearheaded by a group of nonprofits and advocacy groups, under the name Carbon Cash-Back Coalition.

Town Meeting Explained

Mar 15, 2019

Town meetings are a New Hampshire institution. It’s where all the year’s business is voted on by citizens in town halls, gyms, and community centers around the state. But for the uninitiated, town meeting can be confusing. Civics 101: New Hampshire helps break it down.

Then, Sam Evans-Brown introduces us to pirate trails.

Britta Greene/NHPR

In the wake of snowy town meeting days in the past two years, lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow towns to delay their elections in the case of storms.

Lara Bricker for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers considered a bill in Concord Wednesday that would give municipalities more flexibility in the timing of elections. After two years straight of significant snowstorms on town election day, many moderators throughout the state called for a postponement provision, citing transportation concerns.

Beancounter603/via Wikimedia

It’s a Saturday in February. Four hours of the town’s deliberative session have come and gone. Still, those inside a half-empty high school auditorium are primed for extra innings in this annual part of town meeting season.

Britta Greene for NHPR

About twenty years ago, New Hampshire adopted a new option, known as SB2, for local government involving a two-part process: a deliberative session and ballot voting.  We ask how this has affected town governance, in terms of citizen participation, the issues that come up, and how they're resolved.

Epsom is one of just a handful of towns in New Hampshire that doesn't have full-day kindergarten. 

But, on Tuesday, the Epsom School Board voted 3-1  to put full-day kindergarten on a warrant article for Town Meeting day in March. 

Carol Zink-Mailloux is part of the Full Day Kindergarten Committee, a group of parents who want to see that become a reality.

She says the group has been pushing for this to get to a town vote for the past year.