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“Ask most Vermonters what is special about their form of government and they will inevitably say ‘local control’ – the Town Meeting Day tradition, the Norman-Rockwell image of average residents running their own affairs. Hogwash! It’s all a myth. Vermonters have less control over their communities than most Americans. Power in Vermont is held not by town selectboards or city councils but by the Legislature. That’s because, unlike 42 other states, Vermont has no home rule allowing communities a great deal of say over what happens within their borders.” Burlington Free Press Editorial, May 11, 2003.
In Vermont, the first Tuesday in March marks an important event, Town Meeting Day, a tradition older than the state itself. (The first town meeting was held in Bennington, Vermont, in 1762, 15 years before the state of Vermont was created.) On Town Meeting Day, residents from towns across Vermont are given the opportunity discuss town issues and vote on their town budget for the following year.