Residents in Vernon turned to some unconventional methods to carry out some town business Wednesday night.
Because of the statewide ban on large gatherings, the town’s public meeting about a funding proposal went electronic, and was followed up by a drive-up vote.
The mayor said the unconventional vote was all about preserving democracy.
The previously scheduled public meeting and vote concerned the transfer of nearly $3 million for town lease payments. To keep things moving forward, town leaders held the public meeting by teleconference, followed up by the drive-up vote.
The mayor said even though the executive order from the governor temporarily suspends some public input requirements, he wanted to make sure residents still had their say.
“We figured out a way to do it safely. We get people to vote and we should just keep going, keep government moving,” Mayor Dan Champagne said.
For the vote, residents showed up at town hall, but instead of leaving their cars, showed ID through the window, then drove to a second station and gave either a thumbs up in support, or a thumbs down to reject the plan.
The process got good reviews from members of the Town Council who came to vote.
“When you consider all the headaches of this, no bumps so far,” Steve Wakefield said.
Pamela Michaud never anticipated voting this way, but said she’s glad to perform her civic duty however necessary during a time like this.
“I think it’s a great idea. The town is able to accomplish what they need to do and they’re still keeping the residents safe at the same time,” she said.
The measure passed with only one person voting in opposition.
The mayor said they’re prepared to conduct town business in this manner as long as the pandemic restrictions continue.