EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 5, 2013

Deliberative sessions see poor attendance

In Derry, less than half of 1 percent add $800,000 to budget

(Continued)

“It’s not particularly well advertised,” Smith said. “Neighbors aren’t talking about it. If you are in the habit of going to these things, then you will go, but otherwise most people just won’t change their mind and decide to attend.”

Spiliotes said convincing people to change their minds can be difficult.

“Part of it is convincing people that it’s in their own self interest to make the effort to come,” he said. “If people feel a sense that this is a big issue, then they are more likely to come. There is a danger you need to be able to communicate why it matters and that is hard.”

Town officials are left at a loss at how to get numbers higher again.

“Maybe we could have a raffle there, where someone could win some prize,” Campbell said. “The general attitude is pretty negative. They don’t think that turning out at a meeting will make a difference.”

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