The suggestion for the headline for Monday’s outdoor Town Meeting, from reader Bill Coale was, “Annual Town Meeting Held In A Cool, Comfortable Fog” and that felt just about right to the 214 Manchester voters who showed up to easily pass the 14 articles on the Warrant.  They funded a town operating budget that had been whittled in light of COVID to ensure no increases in real estate taxes this year, they funded CPC-related property acquisitions from grant monies, they passed the regionalized school operating budget.  The one momentary hold on the meeting flow came with resident Nathan Evans (pictured above) moved to put a hold on the Police Department operating budget line item and reduce it by 50 percent, from $1,665,593 to $832,796.50.  The move would make a statement about resources outstripping the need in a community like Manchester, which is relatively safe.  It would also be appropriate in light of waves social justice protests locally and nationally, especially in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.  Fellow resident Stephen Driscoll, a 37-year veteran police officer who worked in Manchester, said there are bad police the vast majority ensure safe communities.  Resident Laura Thompson agreed, but said “today is not the day” to change individual attitudes.  But, said Thompson, dialog is the answer.  She said she hopes young people like Evans will participate on local boards to work the change they seek in the world.  In the end, the motion did not pass. 

Town Moderator Alan Wilson—who was the first to recommend an outdoor Town Meeting in the interest of public safety—managed a highly efficient meeting, moving through the articles quickly as the fog and mist rolled in.  The meeting concluded at 7:47 p.m.  Town Administrator Greg Federspiel takes on the topic of local policing in his column this week.