4th-graders visit Church Hill town hall

Record Observer - - Front Page - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kin­bay­times.com

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.”

PHOTO BY JACK SHAUM

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.

PHO­TOS BY JACK SHAUM

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.

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