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Committee will look far into future

SHARON — A special Board of Selectmen’s (BOS) meeting was held on Feb. 3 to discuss reviving the town’s Long Range Planning Committee. First Selectman Bob Loucks said there were four objectives for the meeting. First, to re-establish the committee. Second, to set down ground rules for the committee. Third, to determine the number of people to serve on the committee. Fourth, to select members to serve.In addition to the three selectmen, the meeting was attended by approximately six members of the public and press including Jessica Fowler, chairperson of the former planning committee, which dissolved at the end of last year. After much discussion between the selectmen and Fowler, a mission statement for the revised committee was agreed upon: “The Town of Sharon Long Range Planning Committee’s mission is to act in an advisory capacity to the Board of Selectmen of the town of Sharon and evaluate and prioritize issues for the town.”Selectman John Perotti said, “We want to have an orderly process so the committee understands they are working with the Board of Selectmen at the selectmen’s request.”It was agreed that the re-established planning committee would work on issues determined by the selectmen.It was also agreed the new committee could bring ideas to the selectmen they felt were worth looking into. The planning committe will hold meetings as needed, rather than on a particular schedule.As suggested by Loucks, all agreed the group will have nine members. Loucks wanted to be sure there was an odd number of members, to avoid ties in voting.As to what the committee will work on, it was agreed the selectmen will discuss agenda items at the next regular Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Feb. 14.The selectmen and Fowler went over a list of more than 40 potential candidates to serve on the committee. After extensive discussion, a list of nine prospective members was agreed upon, plus five alternates in case any of the nine decline.Loucks suggested that committee members serve a two-year term to coincide with the term of the Board of Selectmen. Perotti suggested the members of the committee serve at the discretion of the BOS.Fowler agreed. “The BOS should have the power to remove any member of the committee.”There was some discussion about whether limiting committee membership to nine individuals might hinder the comittee from needed expertise. After some discussion, Loucks suggested, and all agreed, the committee members could seek outside advice if and when needed.

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