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The Arlington Select Board has renewed Arlington Community Electricity’s contract, appointed a teen to a major town commission and took positions on about a dozen Town Meeting articles.

Chair Eric Helmuth led the three-hour hybrid meeting on March 18 attended by Vice Chair John Hurd and members Stephen W. DeCourcey, Lenard Diggins and Diane M. Mahon.

As previously reported, at this meeting, the board denied licensure to Boston Pizza & Gyro given that the restaurant owner did not attend the meeting and over the previous two weeks made no significant effort to resolve violations reviewed at the prior board meeting. 

Electricity renewal approved

Members spent nearly an hour deliberating about the upcoming contract renewal of Arlington’s electricity program and finally approved it. The town is currently in a two-year contract with Arlington Community Electric or ACE, scheduled to end in November. Arlington’s sustainability manager, Talia Fox, led a presentation on the renewal’s terms, mentioning that it would provide an opportunity to increase the program’s renewable energy.

“As you may know, electricity customers in Massachusetts are required to pay for electricity distribution through the utility, but we can choose to purchase electricity supply from competitive suppliers,” said Fox, highlighting the benefits of ACE. “It is a town-vetted municipal aggregation program enabled by state law that allows the town to purchase competitive electricity supply in bulk on behalf of residents.”

According to Fox, some benefits of ACE include an increased environmental impact, stability with a fixed rate and significant savings over time. The town is currently at 54 percent renewables and has a Net Zero Action Plan with a goal of 100-percent renewables by 2030. But, depending on market conditions, the cost of electricity may go up for residents.

Diggins asked what residents should do if they are not comfortable with paying any additional cost.

“They could opt down to the ACE basic product, which doesn’t add any renewable energy above what’s required by the state, and that’ll be a slightly cheaper product, and for anybody who is income-eligible, we have outreach programs where we advertise the energy efficient upgrades that are often at much-reduced cost,” said Fox.

Mothers Out Front is a group of mothers, grandmothers and other caregivers making climate change an issue the town can no longer ignore and who came to the meeting. Anju Joglekar of the Arlington Chapter of Mothers Out Front spoke on behalf of the group: “We know that using Arlington’s purchasing power to negotiate competitive renewable energy prices for all residents is a huge opportunity for system-level change … . The urgency of the climate emergency seems clearer than ever before as the world experiences climate-related extreme weather and struggles to meet climate targets.”

Ultimately, the board approved the renewal, 5-0.

High school senior named to ACAC

Greta Mastro, an Arlington High School senior, had requested an appointment to the town's Commission for Arts and Culture after she was informed of how to make the commission more accessible to youth like herself.

“I have this proposal to be the first person to make this system where youth can be more involved in this commission and things in Arlington in terms of voting and taking part in matters such as art installations,” said Mastro during her discussion with the Select Board, which unanimously voted in favor of her appointment.

In other business, the board:
    • Approved the Arlington Farmers' Market banners;
    • Approved William Logan’s reappointment to the Board of Registrars;
    • Approved two special (one-day) beer and wine licenses: March 30 at the Robbins Memorial Town Hall and April 6 at Lesley Ellis School;
    • Approved the Arlington High School ice cream fund-raiser for Champion Environmental Services;
    • Voted in favor of a petition provided and submitted by Eversource for consideration of a grant of location for the installation of 13 feet of conduit on Central Street at Mass. Ave. and in favor of a petition provided and submitted by Eversource for consideration of a grant of location for the installation of 10 feet of conduit on Medford Street at Mass. Ave. The purpose of both is for the capital improvements to support the network and increase reliability in the area;
    • Recommended favorable action on Article 6: Bylaw Amendment/Vacant Store Front Maintenance Registry;
    • Considered three warrant articles regarding Annual Town Meeting times/dates and acted as follows:
      • Recommended “will report,” meaning that members intend to revisit the matter at another time, on Article 8, which proposes starting future town meetings at 7:30 p.m. instead of at 8 p.m.;
      • Recommended no action on Article 9, which proposes starting the annual Town Meeting at 7:30 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.and is duplicative of the aforementioned Article 8; and
      • Recommended favorable action on Article 10, which would change the relevant town bylaw so that the Annual Town Meeting could be set to start no later than the second Monday in May at 8 p.m.;
    • Recommended favorable action of Article 11: Bylaw Amendment/Fossil Fuel Free Bylaw Language Changes; and
    • Approved these articles in a final vote, including Article 7: Bylaw Amendment/Betterment Bylaw Revision; Article 12: Bylaw Amendment/ John J. Bilafer Arlington Citizens’ Scholarship Fund; Article 13: Bylaw Amendment/Leaf Blower Dates of Transition; Article 23: Endorsement of CDBG Application; Article 24: Revolving Funds; Article 36: Endorsement of Parking Benefit District Expenditures; Article 56: Local Option/Acceptance of M.G.L. Chapter 203C the Prudent Investor Rule; and Article 66: Resolution/MBTA Service.
Watch March 18 Select Board meeting:

 


March 10, 2024: Heights restaurant operating for nearly 13 months without license, Select Board learns

 This news summary by YourArlington freelance writer Jessie Castellano was published Monday, March 25, 2024. 


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