EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 31, 2014

Letter: Have your say on Atkinson warrant articles

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

Atkinson will hold its town deliberative session on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Atkinson Academy, beginning at 10 a.m. (snow date: Feb. 8). This is a good opportunity for you to learn about, discuss, and maybe adjust, spending items that affect your taxes. All Atkinson voters are invited to attend (though only 50 to 100 typically show up). Many spending and non-spending warrant articles can be amended within limits -- dollar amounts and awkward wording can be adjusted, but all wording cannot be totally deleted.

As a side note: Sometimes emotions run high at this and other public meetings. Please do not let that dissuade you from attending. In our country, we are blessed with the privilege of self-government, as opposed to oppression by a king or dictator, the norm in many places. However, our self-governing, representative democracy only works well if we participate. We are bound to disagree on some issues -- that’s OK. Being brave, speaking clearly, and treating everyone with courtesy and respect, is how you educate and persuade others to your point of view. If you can develop a bit of a thick skin and let occasional heated excesses roll off your back, you’ll be fine, and will be doing a service to yourself and the community.

Later, at the March 11 Town Election at the Atkinson Community Center, all Atkinson voters can vote by paper ballot on: the town budget; the amended warrant articles; candidates for town positions including selectmen and Budget Committee; and the school budget, roughly 80 percent of your taxes.

We hope to see you at both the Feb. 1 deliberative session, and at the polls Tuesday, March 11!

Bill Smith

Vice Chairman

Budget Committee