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Town Meeting ’13, Session 6

I take notes during Town Meeting. They are not official in any way. As I listen to people speak, I type notes. I’m sure that, at times, I mishear or misunderstand the speaker, but my notes represent what I hear at the time. I try to publish the notes every night after the meeting, as time allows. I do go back and make a few edits as errors are pointed out to me.  I do not try to reproduce my entire notes for this online version. Sometimes I relay a quote from a specific speaker. Most of the time I only summarize the discussion. At points I give a purely personal opinion; those are clearly labeled like this: Personal note.

Town Meeting Member Charles Gallagher played the national anthem.

The moderator noted we can finish tonight.


  • Sean Harrington – Honorable mention for Mr. Worden in a photography award.
  • Angela Olszewski – Historical events and volunteers
  • Gordon Jamieson – Collection day Saturday from 9-1
  • Kevin Greeley – Town Hall Centennial on June 7. Buy your tickets!

Article 3

Trembly – Tree Committee report.
We dissolved a number of committees – the list was too long for me to jot down.

Article 3 is tabled

Article 35 – Sewer Finance

2/3 required, approved.

Article 36 – Water Finance


Article 37 – Committees


Article 38 – Celebrations


Article 39 – Miscellaneous


Article 40 – Water Bodies

Question about salinity testing. Comment on drainage water going into Spy Pond. Question on the size of the appropriation.  Approved.

Article 41 – Eminent Domain for Mass Ave/60 Intersection

I introduced the article and explained that it had no appropriation.  It’s for temporary taking for construction, and a few permanent to install handicap ramps.  Questions on the proposed plan. parking.  and notification. The plan is on the town website.  Speakers were opposed. Mark McCabe moved to terminate. Passed on voice (2/3 vote)

Article 43 – Harry Barber


Article 44 – Historic Signs

$20,000 in signage.  Speakers were opposed because we haven’t seen a sign design yet. Speakers were in favor because it advances Arlington’s cultural and commercial goals. There was concern that this program would support non-profits rather than the town. As Chris Loreti left the podium, he called the signs “a poster child for the opposition of the tax override that is being planned by the people behind me.” To be clear: Barring some revolutionary transformation of the tax structure in this state, the town will need another tax override. I don’t know if we’ll need it in 2017 or 2020 or somewhere in between, but we will need it. I suppose you can characterize that override as being planned by the people behind Mr. Loreti, but it’s a plan that has been endorsed by the people in front of him when they approved the budget, and endorsed by the people at the ballot box at the last override and at other town elections. As with all things in this town, there is no them-and-us; there is only us.  One final thought: this appropriation is for $20,000; the projected budget for 2019 is more than $150,000,000; the projected budget gap is about $9,000,000. That’s 450 “poster children.” Clarissa Rowe noted that this appropriation is in support of tourism. There was more discussion of the potential design. Sean Harrington moved terminate debate, and it was. Appropriation was approved

Article 45 – Uncle Sam Sign

Lawrence McKinney gave the presentation in support of the appropriation. Question about how the money will be expended. A speaker complained that debate was going on too long. Nathan Swilling moved to terminate debate and it was. Approved.

Article 46 – Pension Adjustment

Approved unanimously.

Article 47 – OPEB


Article 48 – Override Stabilization Fund

Stephen Harrington asked a question about the long term planning projections – he wasn’t happy with the proposed motion. Charlie Foskett explained the long term planning process. Al Tosti explained that we’re saving more than we expected (back in 2011) because of the GIC and other spending reductions.

We had a 10 minute break

John Maher moved to terminate debate and it was. Appropriation approved.

Article 49 – Long Term Stabilization Fund

Approved unanimously.

Article 50 – Overlay Reserve

Question on the size of the appropriation. Approved.

Article 51 – Tip Fee Stabilization Fund

Al Tosti noted that this is the end of NESWC. Approved unanimously.

Article 52 – Transfer of Cemetery Funds

Approved unanimously.

Article 53 – Unencumbered Funds

Approved unanimously.

Article 3 was taken from the table.

Town Meeting was dissolved.


Comment from Anonymous
Time: May 9, 2013, 10:35 am

Thank you for writing these TM notes every night.

Comment from Bob Sprague
Time: May 9, 2013, 11:51 am

I want to thank Dan for providing this information service to the public while serving as chairman of the Board of Selectmen and working in a start-up.

Bob Sprague

Comment from dunster
Time: May 9, 2013, 11:23 pm

Thank you both for the kind words.