4th-graders visit Church Hill town hall
CHURCH HILL — Fourth-grade students from Church Hill Elementary School got a chance on Tuesday, May 10, to visit the seat of town government as part of a course on government.
The fourth-graders and their teacher Paul Taylor walked from the school to the town hall in three groups — one in the morning and two in the afternoon. They took their seats in the town commissioners’ meeting room and listened attentively as Commissioner Ed Raffetto talked to them about the work that takes place in that room.
He began by explaining who sits in what chairs at the commissioners’ table and why there is a need for an odd number of commissioners to avoid tie votes. He then talked about the proposed town budget and what certain funds are used for.
“We are planning to spend, just for example on streets, $80,000. That’s more than several boxes of candy,” he said, eliciting chuckles from the students. “That’s a lot of money to spend on streets.” When he said the town budget calls for $300,000 in
income for the next fiscal year, the students expressed surprise over that large amount.
As he continued the discussion, Raffetto took a number of questions from the 21 students in the first group that visited, the subjects ranging from where the money to run the town comes from, to why the town chose the building it did for its town hall. The students were also told about the number of committees that do work for the town and regularly report to the commissioners.
During one of the sessions, Raffetto told the students how the commissioners once had to use their school gym for a major town meeting to discuss the subject if big box stores.
Town Administrator Nancy Lindyberg joined Raffetto to talk about the kind of work that goes on in her office next to the commissioners’ meeting room. She told how she collects payments for certain town services, issues permits, and answers a variety of questions from town residents.
“Pretty interesting” was the way student Dominic Blue described the visit to the town hall. “It was good. I learned how laws are made here.”
Student Briannah Williams called it a “good visit” and said she “learned lots of things” about the town during the half-hour session. Several of the students said they might even be interested in being a commissioner in the future.
At the end of the meeting, all the students got to sit briefly in the chairs occupied by the three commissioners and their attorney, and to visit Lindyberg’s office where she explained the kinds of work she does there.
The visit to the town hall was a follow-up to Raffetto’s visit to the fourth grade in February to talk about town government and take questions from the students. At that time interest was expressed in having the students visit the seat of town government.
Raffetto said the course on government taught by Taylor will help the students be “well prepared” in their knowledge of government. Taylor said the day “went very well.”
All the fourth graders from Church Hill Elementary School who visited the Church Hill Town Hall got a chance to sit in the seats the town commissioners and their attorney occupy during their meetings. The visit was in connection with a course on government. Seated left to right are Peyton Smith, Dominic Blue, Riley Johnson, and Lindsay Lucas. Commissioner Ed Raffetto looks on at left.
Church Hill Town Commissioner Ed Raffetto, left, speaks to Church Hill Elementary School fourth graders about town government during their visit to the town hall as part of a course on government
Church Hill Town Administrator Nancy Lindyberg, center, shows fourth grade students from Church Hill Elementary School through the office she uses while taking care town business.