Ledyard residents approve charter revisions

Ledyard — Residents voted by a healthy margin Tuesday to approve revisions to the town charter presented over the summer.

The changes were approved by a vote of 2,800 to 1,989, not including Election Day registrations and absentee ballots. Nearly 1,200 voters left the referendum question blank on the ballot.

The vote was characterized by high turnout: about 67 percent before Election Day registrations and absentee ballots were included. Poll workers townwide noted the polls were steady all day, with early morning and after-work booms.

Workers in District 3, which covers the southern part of Gales Ferry in the 40th House and 19th Senate districts, were concerned that they might run out of ballots, as they had only printed out enough to cover an 80 percent turnout.

The final draft of the proposed revisions was approved in June. Many of the revisions were wording changes to align the charter with current practices, such as the consolidation of the Planning and Zoning committees and the addition of the Permanent Municipal Building Committee.

Other changes included a new section allowing town employees to participate in political activities, as long as they do it on their own time with their own money, and eliminating the referendum and 15 percent voter turnout requirement for eminent domain cases.

One revision nearly conflicted with Connecticut statute by allowing the town to post public hearing notices online rather than "in a newspaper having circulation in said Town." In August, Charter Revision Committee Chairman Stan Juber said the change was made in reaction to rising advertising costs as well as changes in the way people get their information.

Because the new section begins with "Unless otherwise required by State statute," he argued it fell within state law while granting the town flexibility.

a.hutchinson@theday.com

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