Trenton Town Government
The Board of Selectmen are a fiduciary body with the responsibility of overseeing the finances of the Town.
The duties of the Board of Selectmen are as follows:
- Management of the municipal finances
- Protecting the health, safety and welfare of the residents, in accordance with federal, state and local laws and regulations.
- Management of public property and personnel
- Management of contracts and relations with other State and local agencies and the public
Select Board meetings
Select Board meetings are held every other Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Trenton Town Office, 59 Oak Point Road.
This information is a long-standing tradition and is advertised on the Notice board at the Town Office and on the Trenton web site and Facebook page. Select meetings are public meetings as defined in (1 M.R.S.A. §§ 402, 403 ) and as such are open to the public. A public meeting allows any person wishing to attend to do so; however, as referenced in the Right to Know Law, this does not mean the unconditional right of public participation. At Board meetings which have NOT been advertised as a Public Hearing, (as opposed to a Public Meeting), the Municipal Officers may deliberate among themselves without allowing public participation. The Trenton Board of Selectmen have a standing tradition of allowing any citizen to speak at a Board meeting.
Notice of Meetings
An Agenda is published prior to each Select Board meeting and is posted on the Town of Trenton facebook page, the Town of Trenton web site (trentonme.com) and e-mailed to any person on the agenda-minutes e-mail list. Anyone may call the Town office 667-7207 at any time during business hours and request to be on that list. The current upcoming Agenda is usually ready to be published the Friday before the Select Meeting. Minutes are sent out the Wednesday after they are approved at the Tuesday Board meeting. Minutes are also published on the Trenton web page, but not on the Facebook site as they are more than one page and Facebook is not set up to handle that.
Agenda items need to be requested no later than Thursday prior to the next Tuesday meeting. The Agenda is prepared by the Municipal Clerk and the Chair of the Board. Any citizen wishing to place an item on the Agenda may do so by calling the Municipal Clerk or one of the Board members. Under the Agenda Item “Visitor Comments” (verbal or written) there is an opportunity for citizens to have their comments become part of the record. Additionally, there will be an item on the Agenda entitled “Acceptance of Agenda” and at that time, while the meeting is underway, items may be added to the Agenda for discussion that evening, or scheduled for a future meeting. While every effort is made to provide clarity on agenda items, prior to the Board meeting, citizens may contact the Municipal Clerk for additional information on specific agenda items.
At each Board of Selectmen’s meeting the Board reviews and approves to pay the bills (A/P & Payroll Warrants). Members review the list of bills being paid, and authorize payment by signing the “warrant” which is the cover sheet detailing the total bills being addressed at that meeting. These include payroll, fire department, school expenses and general government expenses accrued during the prior two weeks of business.
Occasionally there is sensitive discussions that must take place and these are held in Executive Session, and referenced by 1 M.R.S.A.§ 405 including, but not limited to:
- Personnel Matters
- Consultation with Attorney on Legal matters
- Expulsion or Suspension of Student
- Real Estate or economic development negotiations
- Poverty Abatements
Executive Sessions are held when public exposure would cause injury if publically disclosed. Citing the Executive Session statute for the type of issue being discussed is done with as little public information as possible to protect the person or subject being evaluated. No decision may be made in an Executive Session, and discussion of the contents of the session are confidential and must not be discussed with anyone outside those in the session. Recordings and records of discussion are not allowed. Citizens attending the Board meeting must leave the room while the Executive Session is being held. Any decision reached after an Executive Session must be made outside the session as a motion carefully worded once the regular meeting reconvenes.
Town Meetings (Regular and Special)
The Town of Trenton participates in the bifurcated (two-part) form of Town Meeting government, 30A M.R.S.A.§ 2528 (3) (A). In the Town of Trenton, elections (one part of Town Meeting) is held by first electing a Moderator for the meeting. The Moderator will open the polls for secret ballot elections for any elected position which is open or any Town referendum question. Polls must be open for a minimum of 4 hours, and typically Trenton votes the third Monday in May from 2pm – 6pm. At the end of voting, the Moderator “continues” the Town Meeting to the following day (Tuesday) at the Elementary School at 6PM where all other Town, School budget and other warrant articles are addressed and voted upon. Notification of Town Meeting and of any Special Town Meetings are posted by means of the Warrant in a public place. For the annual Town Meeting a newspaper notice is printed as well. For a Special Town Meeting, the posting of the Warrant is the same (and explained further below), but a phone or e-mail notification to a local newspaper is all that is required, as these meetings are usually emergency actions without the 10-14 day lead time needed to place an ad. Additionally, the Town of Trenton will post notices on the Town web site, and in future on the Town facebook page as well., while sending notice by e-mail to those who have signed up for such information.
Town Meeting Warrants
The Town Meeting Warrant (the articles that address the School and Town budget expenditures, and the authority of the Board of Selectmen to administer those expenditures, is prepared by the Budget Committee and Board starting in February, and must be signed by a majority of the Board (at least 3 of the 5 members) Once the Warrant is signed, and referencing 1 M.R.S.A. 2523(4) an attested (by the Municipal Clerk) copy must be posted in some public space 7 days prior to the meeting. The statute does not require posting in more than one place, although Trenton posts it at the Municipal Office, at the Trenton Market bulletin board and a copy is scanned and sent to the web page, trentonme.com. As long as a warrant is posted 7 days prior to a Town Meeting, it does not have to be posted the minute it is signed by the Board, but may be held, in case there are any changes that need to be made, or some unforeseen event may preclude holding the meeting as originally scheduled.