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Westminster Plan Would Consolidate Town Boards

February 8, 2019

WESTMINSTER -- A proposal supporters say would streamline local government and improve efficiency by consolidating several of the town’s commissions and placing them under the authority of town departments will be voted on later this year by residents.

Among the proposed changes to the town charter would be to fold the Crocker Pond Committee and the Hager Park Commission into the Parks and Recreation Department.

During a special meeting of the Town Government Study Committee Tuesday to provide answers about the proposed charter changes, several of those commission members wondered what would happen to their positions.

“We are a board of seven and we are flat-out busy,” said Crocker Pond Committee member Heather Billings. “We just want to understand the reasoning behind the (proposal).”

Town Government Study Committee Chairman John Fairbanks said the proposed consolidation represented a chance for the town’s entire recreation facilities to be place under a single supervisor.

“I would think in the next 10 to 20 years this town will probably be big enough to warrant a full-time recreation director,” Fairbanks said. “So this is a good step to get to that.”

Resident Tom Torrans pointed out the irony of the town forming a committee to look at the benefit of getting rid of other committees.

“But how else would you do it?” Fairbanks asked.

Torrans said the town had been running smoothly with its current form of government for decades.

“I hate to see somebody throw a wrench into the gears,” Torrans said.

In addition to combining recreation committees, the proposed change to the town charter would also create a full-time town manager position, who would oversee the town’s day-to-day operations, including the management of all facilities and inventory.

Fairbanks said the time is right to amend the town’s charter.

“Now is the perfect time because we don’t have any big problems (and) our finances are in good shape,” Fairbanks said.

Follow Landry on Twitter @Landry17Stephen.

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