Selectboard logo, May 20, 2019
Moderator John Leone is unsure 'we want another one outside.'

The Select Board is examining the possibility of holding a virtual Special Town Meeting this fall. The meeting will likely be held in early November, to provide time beforehand so members are comfortable with the technology.

No vote was taken at the Monday, Aug. 17, meeting. The Select Board will discuss this topic further at its next meeting, Aug. 31.

Town Moderator John Leone suggested adopting Lexington’s system of remote Town Meeting, which was successfully held June 1.

“We had a lot of fun at our Town Meeting in June, but we’re not sure we want another one outside, because it might be too cold,” said Leone. Arlington held its annual meeting June 15 at Peirce Field.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine said, “We’re meeting with the folks from Lexington – the Select Board, the moderator and other people who helped manage their remote Town Meeting. We want to learn from them about the processes and technology, and they’re willing to help us make that happen.” 

“It’s important to hold a fall Town Meeting, and it makes sense to have it virtual,” said board member Steve DeCourcey.

All articles?

Leone inquired whether the meeting would explore the full 80 articles, or be scaled down.

Board member Lenard Diggins replied, “We’ll let the Town Meeting members decide what articles they want to hear.” 

“We’ve made commitments to proponents of warrant articles that we would hear them in the fall. We’ll reach out to them individually and ask if they want to resubmit or withdraw,” said Board Chair John Hurd.

“Members can resubmit as is, resubmit with new language or withdraw and not resubmit at all,” said Board Vice Chair Joseph Curro Jr.

Positive aid news

“Given the positive news out of State House last week, we can shave off some financial articles,” added Chapdelaine.

On July 30, the state issued a statement, reporting expected level-funding for municipal school aid in the fiscal 2021 state budget.

Chapdelained explained Aug. 18: "This is good news for us, as we estimated deeper funding reductions in the budget that we presented to Town Meeting in June.  We will now be able to make a larger deposit into the Override Stabilization Fund and reduce the project deficits in future years."

He said he has not yet heard about new articles for the fall, but expects that conversation to begin soon.

During the meeting’s citizens' open forum portion, two residents agreed with the board’s sentiment:

“I appreciate that the Select Board has moved the Town Meeting online,” said Jordan Weinstein, a Precinct 21 meeting member.

Patty Muldoon added, “I second what Jordan Weinstein just said. Thank you for considering moving Town Meeting online.”

This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.