GROTON -- The Groton Town Meeting Review Committee combed through suggested questions Monday to give to residents in a survey.
Charged by the Board of Selectmen with reviewing the viability of Town Meeting, the Study Committee is expected to examine the institution's legal framework, cost to the taxpayer, the times meetings are held and any other subject it deems proper and to make recommendations for improvements to the board.
Members on the committee are attorney Robert Collins, School Committee member Berta Erickson, Scott Harker, Greg Fishbone, and Alison Eyedenberg.
Members prepared a draft of the proposed survey which will likely be sent to voters via bills sent out by the Groton Electric Light Department or with copies of the warrant for spring Town Meeting.
Among the 16 questions on the draft survey covered voters' personal information such as age and years lived in town.
Others seek to find out how respondents feel about Town Meeting and what their rate of attendance is. Follow-up questions ask what things keep residents from attending town meeting and what kind of changes to its format would be likely to get them to attend more regularly.
One idea was to also include a web address where respondents could fill out the questionnaire on line if they chose perhaps increasing participation in the survey.
"I think that's worth exploring," said Chairman Robert Collins.
Other issues covered Monday included the notion of
Also discussed was the possibility of changing the date of Town Meeting, whether attendance could be increased by keeping it on Monday nights or moving it to Saturday afternoons.
Member Alison Eyedenberg suggested that voting times for each article be posted ahead of time allowing residents to come in just for the vote.
Or, said Eyedenberg, people might be allowed to write their votes on each article on a form that could be submitted at the door after registering for Town Meeting. That way, their votes could be referred to when counting was done without the person staying for the entire meeting. Any articles being amended would void the person's vote.
Another suggestion involved holding off voting on the articles until the end of the meeting. That way, residents who do not want to spend all day at Town Meeting could come in at the end for just to vote.
"I think we still have a lot of work to do on this," said Harker of the survey.
"This is a good start," added Collins of the discussion and list of suggestions.
The committee's next meeting is scheduled for March 27.
Members expect to consolidate suggestions into an updated draft of the survey for further discussion.
Also, members decided to hold off on asking the town's legal counsel for opinions on the different ideas until survey questions were more settled.