Skip to content

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

The hour is nigh for Hampton’s Olde Towne Meeting.



One charming – and still useful – civic feature that survives from colonial times in this part of New England is the tradition of the annual town meeting.  These meeting are usually  held sometime at the end of winter and Hampton’s is this March 12th.  Pretty much all non-emergency business of the town is voted up or down by the residents and their vote is 100% binding.

In Hampton, the first section of what is called the “Town Warrant”  is the election of office holders.  Here, the members of the Board of Selectmen, the town clerk, members of the Zoning Board and the Planning Board and even members of town committees all are elected by the people.  (This certainly would avoid a lot of the kind of cronyism that we see so much of in New Jersey towns.)

The second section is the approval of zoning changes.  The Selectmen, Zoning and Planning Boards only make recommendations.  Any actual changes need to be sanctioned by the voters.

The third section is what’s called “town sponsored”.  This would include all non-routine expenditures the Selectmen wish to make.  Again, We the People make the ultimate decision on everything and a lot of spending gets voted down this way.

The fourth section includes all issues put to the voters by petition.  It only takes 25 signatures to get a question on the warrant.  (Think of what we used to have to go through to get a referendum.)

Now if you click on the warrant above and start reading it, much of it is hard to understand for the layman.  Fortunately for the people of this town, there is a wonderful website maintained by Hampton resident Carolyn Fetter that gives a seemingly completely unbiased explanation and cost estimate of all articles in the warrant and includes the arguments that were made pro and con at the February 2 Deliberative Session.  (The Deliberative Session is where the articles are publicly debated, discussed and explained.)

This is a wonderful resource that Ms. Fetter has created and the town owes her a lot of gratitude for doing what she does.

BTW Steve Jusseaume, who provided the photo of the thinking man sand sculpture, is one of my new neighbors over at North Shore Road.

Here are a few samples of what’s in the 2019 edition of “In the Know Hampton”.

From the zoning section:

From the town sponsored section:

And from the petitioned articles:

This local anti-tobacco agitator named Anthony Curro is unhappy that the town refuses to enforce the smoking ban he got passed last year so this year he’s trying to put more teeth in it.  Fortunately the beach closest to our house, which is the one Karen and I will most likely be frequenting, is on state property and would not affected by Mr. Curro’s activities.

Oh, one more thing…actually probably the most important thing.  Attached to the bottom of the warrant is the town’s budget.  We all need to vote up or down on that too.

Hmm.  You know I can’t read a budget even when it’s right side up.  So for this I’ve brought in someone who knows municipal budgets upside down and sideways.  I present finance expert and long time friend of the blog, Fritz the Cat.

Hmm.  I think he’s smiling.  I can’t really tell.


  1. Sandra Caputo wrote:

    I’ve missed Fritz.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    He hasn’t aged since the last time we saw him.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  3. Katrina wrote:

    What a truly democratic way to do business. No wonder you love it there Dave.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  4. Nobodysmokesanymore wrote:

    Time to quit smoking .. it stinks.. any honest person would tell you that. Hampton sounds lovely. I hope they enforce the ban on public, town owned land.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
  5. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    #4 – Sir/Madam, People like you are always meddling in other people’s business.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 5:37 am | Permalink
  6. Curious wrote:

    Just wondering. If you have moved to New Hampshire, why are you still doing this blog about Belmar? Why not do a blog about your present hometown?

    Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
  7. admin wrote:

    Having been here only six months I don’t think I’m in a position to tell these folks anything. (I lived in Belmar 16 years before I started blogging about it.) Also, I would never have moved here if I thought it was even one tenth as corrupt as Belmar was.

    As far as blogging about Belmar goes…I don’t know, I guess it’s just a habit. But if people stop reading it I guess I’ll stop.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    7-it’s surprising that you have time for the blog, what with settling in to a new environment, overseeing the building of a new home, signing on for all that is necessary, and adapting your job to your new state. ( or finding a new one.)

    Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 12:56 am | Permalink
  9. admin wrote:

    Well I don’t have as much time as I wish I did. I also wish I had more time to get involved in state politics, which is the reason Project participants are supposed to have had for moving up here in the first place.
    BTW, I still have my old job. I telecommute now, which is great. Some days I don’t even put on shoes.

    Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink
  10. Resident wrote:

    And were glad you are. Thanks Dave.

    Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 3:17 am | Permalink
  11. Anonymous wrote:

    16: Telecommuting is a 21st Century concept. Think Walter Cronkite reporting on National news via television while he was in NYC.

    Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.