Obviously it can make a big difference. One vote made the difference between victory and defeat for Article 38 at the Town Meeting on Monday evening. As evening gave way to night, and night gave way to Tuesday, more people grew weary and left for the comfort of their beds. Imagine if you were the person who left only to find out on Tuesday morning that your vote would have been the one that would have made the difference for your position.
The Flannagan Pond Article (38) was the very last item on the agenda. By 11:30, we were out of time, out of money and almost out of voters. One can argue whether it is beneficial or detrimental to be stuck at the end of the entire agenda. In our case, it was a benefit. As every cluster of pet articles passed, you could watch the exodus of people from the room. For the most part our members stayed the course and toughed it out, giving us the most narrow margin of victory.
Since we had been forced to the back of the line and there was no money allocated for our article, we had to move to reduce stabilization to preserve a balanced budget. That motion inspired some debate and we lost that motion. So we continued arguing for Article 38, in spite of an unbalanced budget, and we prevailed.
I was excited by the debate. I was thrilled that at 12:30 in the morning, we still had about 90 people in the hall. My hat is off to you all, regardless of your position on Article 38. I was pleased to see that so many people were willing to suffer the inconvenience of a groggy Tuesday at work to make their positions known and to cast their votes.
I especially want to thank the Town Moderator, Mr Swanfeldt, for his fairness, his patience and his good nature throughout all the wrangling of parliamentary rulings.
I am pleased to say that collectively, we have done our part to equip the Ayer Conservation Commission with the funds they require to adequately tackle the stewardship of Flannagan Pond, the East Main Street Dam and to develop an improved overall pond management plan.
Thanks to all who attended the May 9, 2011 Annual Town Meeting.