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Town Meeting ’18 – Session 4; Special Town Meeting

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. I do go back and make a few edits as errors are pointed out to me.  Sometimes I relay a quote from a specific speaker. Sometimes I only summarize the discussion. At points I give a purely personal opinion; those are clearly labeled like this: Personal note.

The Special Town Meeting was called to order.

Rieko Tanaka played the National Anthem on the piano.

We did a test vote on the clicker about “E Pluribus Unum.” 87-71-7 I think it was a trick question!


  • Bill Hayner made a couple announcements that I didn’t get written down fast enough.
  • Brendan Sullivan – DCF foster care. If you want to get involved, he passed a pamphlet.
  • Naomi Greenfield gave statement from Arlington Human Rights Commission gave a statement about a hate incident of Arlington High School.
  • Anna Watson gave the report of the Rainbow Coalition. I’m the Select Board liaison to the Rainbow Coalition, and I’m very excited about the start.

Article 1 Reports

  • Selectmen report received
  • Arlington Redevelopment report received
  • Adam Chapdelaine gave a report on the High School Building Comittee

The Moderator put the Special Town Meeting in recess, and we returned to the Annual Town Meeting.

Article 19 – Budgets

Recreation – Question about changes in revolving to enterprise fund.

Ed Burns Arena – There was a question about a line item that went up by $13,455. I’d argue that this question could have been asked before the meeting.

Budgets approved 197-1-1

Article 35 – Committees and Commissions. There was a question about the culture budget increase. John Leonard moved an amendment to strike the sentence about consultants managed by the Town Manager. Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and Vice Chair of Finance Committee Charlie Foskett explained that consultants are generally supervised by the Town Manager, but this article was a pooling of all the relevant funds. The amendment failed 15-187-1. The budget was approved 195-6.

Article 42 – Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB). Annie LaCourt asked for a lesson about what OPEB is. Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine explained that this is for retiree health care. We have $201 million liability and $8.9 assets. There was a question about the funding mechanism. 202-0

Article 45 – Free Cash (Undesignated Funds). Mr. Chapdelaine explained this is the previous year’s unexpended funds.

Article 46 – Long Term Stabilization. 201-1

Article 47 – Fiscal Stability Stabilization Fund. FinComm Vice Chair Charlie Foskett updated the number to be voted. 204-0

Article 27 Collective Bargaining was taken from the table. Collective Bargaining. Adam Chapdelaine said that some unions have settled, and some have not. This funds the settled ones and other funds are set aside. 202-0

Article 3 was taken from the table.

The regular Town Meeting was dissolved. Unprecedented speed in an Annual Town Meeting!

We returned to the Special Town Meeting

Article 2 – Recreational Marijuana Moratorium. Arlington Redevelopment Board Chair Andrew Bunnell explained that the recreational marijuana regulations are very new and we need time to properly zone and regulate recreational marijuana in Arlington. Patricia Worden spoke in favor of the moratorium and against the use of marijuana. This was a reprise of her famous “Reefer Madness” speech of 2017.  There was a question about if we’ll be ready for fall with regulations. There was an opponent of the moratorium. It was asked what happens if we don’t have a moratorium – the answer is that the store can be in town, relatively unconstrained by zoning. John Deyst moved to terminate debate. The moratorium was approved 157-47.

Article 3 – Residential Tear Down – As Chair of the Select Board, I reported again on how some tear downs are good, some are bad, and they are hard to tell apart. Several speakers were in favor, but several were frustrated with the pace of the solution. There were discussion about whether or not teardowns were an issue (everyone appeared to say yes). Schlichtman moved to terminate debate. Debate was terminated 157-35-1. 192-9 it was referred to committee.

Article 4 – Tax Relief I talked about the importance of the coming override and the various strategies. Speaker in favor, and a question.  Mr. McCabe terminated debate, approved 191-2-1

Article 5 – No action

Article 6 – Package Stores – It would most likely be in Arlington Heights. Several speakers were opposed, and a few questions were asked. 126-67-2 approved.  The two most controversial articles this year were pot and alcohol.  I think there is going to be an interesting Venn diagram of voters on these voter sets.

Article 7 – Gender Neutral – This finishes the change from Select Board to apply to all other boards and bylaws. There was a speaker against, who thinks it is too risky. There were speakers in favor. 182-8-3 approved.

Special Town Meeting was dissolved.


Comment from RichC
Time: May 6, 2018, 6:12 pm

Since this is the internet and pedanticism rules, isn’t it legally still Board of Selectmen until the legislature gets around to enacting the requested HR petition?

Comment from dunster
Time: May 6, 2018, 6:25 pm

Yup, it is still technically the Board of Selectmen for the time being. I’ve been using both during Town Meeting. In official correspondence I’m only using the old name. Gonna be a tough habit to break in the long run.