Town Meeting logo

UPDATED June 13: For the 2022 Town Meeting, 13 was the lucky number. At length, the marathon Zoom sessions that began April 25 ended Wednesday, June 8, with No. 13. Here is a summary of five votes, the first four resolutions:

A summary of each article follows:

The Select Board voted unanimously and enthusiastically for this amendment, said Len Diggins, board chair. “My opinion is that this will increase the wealth in our commonwealth. The pie will be bigger.” 

Linda Hanson, article proponent and Precinct 9 resident, introduced by Alex Bagnall (9), said, “This amendment can positively impact residents and our town’s municipal budget. Currently, all residents, regardless of income, pay the same tax rate, and this would create an additional tax on incomes over $1 million by 4 percent. It would improve our public transportation systems, allow us to invest in alternative transportation methods, repair our roads and bridges, and increase state funding for public education. This amendment targets our state’s increasing income inequality, and would benefit low-income residents and people of color.”

Mark Kaepplein (9) disagreed. “A tax on millionaires appeals on a superficial level, but higher earners in Arlington will be hurt by this tax increase. The Massachusetts Supreme Court has determined that it’s unconstitutional. Although it will address transportation and educational uses, the state Legislature may take away other funds that would have gone there. The estimated extra revenue from taxing millionaires is grossly overstated, and this bill will create an exodus of businesses and jobs from the state, which will then reduce the state income taxes from those workers.

Amy Slutzky (17), a pediatric occupational therapist who works in elementary schools, proposed an amendment that she said, “addresses the issue of child development that has far-reaching consequences,” and adds the following italicized words:

  • The best way to build a stronger economy for all of us is to make sure that we have quality public schools with robust therapeutic developmental supports for our children starting at birth with Early Intervention, then pre-K continuing through affordable public higher education, and a reliable transportation system.
  • Students need a well-rounded education that starts with challenging and accessible playgrounds/playscapes.

Article 75 (diversity in town appointments):

The Select Board voted unanimously in favor of this resolution. “The challenge now is to convert favor to actual results. The board will lead by example to make a stronger effort,” said Diggins. 

Elizabeth Dray (10), article proponent, said, “Resolutions, although nonbinding, have an important role to play in defining who we are as a town, including rehanging the Black Lives Banner, and honoring Indigenous Peoples Day and Prince Hall Day. We want to build a community where everyone is respected and heard, and break down the barriers that maintain the status quo. This will create space in our public bodies that are typically underrated, and adds another component to diversity, equity and inclusion, to which Arlington has stressed its commitment. This article will identify barriers to access and engagement, and bring more voices to the table.” 

The Select Board unanimously approved this article. “Let’s keep working on behalf of the Alewife Brook,” said Diggins.

Kristen Anderson (11), article proponent, is concerned about Alewife Brook flooding and sewage pollution. “We can’t do much without Arlington’s support, and we acknowledge the Alewife activists who came before us. The sewage system dates back to 19th century. With more than one inch of rain, the sewage pipes get overwhelmed and discharge raw, untreated sewer pollution into Alewife Brook, which is prone to flooding. During flood events, sewage flows into the neighborhoods of our most diverse and vulnerable neighborhoods, who get sick with flu-like digestive disorders. This situation is getting worse over time, due to an increase in rainfall and climate change. We had more than 50 million gallons of sewage pollution in 2021, and seek to gain town support for this article.”

The Select Board supported Article 18 (phasing out toxic rodenticides on public/private property); this article is part of a three-prong approach, explained Diggins. 

Elaine Crowder (19), article proponent, said, “The ultimate combined goal of Articles 17 and 18 is to protect our newest Arlington resource: horned owls. It’s only logical that in order to protect wildlife, our health, and our pets, we need to reduce rodenticide everywhere in town — on both private and, especially, public town property. We seek support of an integrated pest-management policy that will define town practices with respect to rodent control and send special legislation to the state Legislature. We can’t guarantee that this will pass the state Legislature, which is why we have to be dedicated to this article. We propose that town departments use the least-toxic approaches to rodent control.”

Michael Ruderman (9) initially voted yes, but now wanted to reopen debate. “New information has come to us since we originally introduced the article: whether there’s a test to grant funding to a religious institution is an appropriate use of town money.”

Since we voted on this article, I’ve met with Covenant Church community members. If the grant serves to maintain the religious community, or further religious organizations to benefit the general community, we’d be interested in promoting it. However, their record lacks any historical indication that the church offers their space to the community for public activities. There’s no evidence that this grant furthers an established public purpose, except for one public meeting that has to do with housing. This church has no history of offering the public use of this space, nor any program that regularly invites in the public. It’s not an allowable grant, based on this new information. I move an amended motion that would affect the grants, taking out the money from the proposed motion,” said Ruderman.

Clarissa Rowe (4), CPA committee chair, defended the article. “My committee is concerned and careful that our work was only providing accessibility to the church, and to protect the church building. There has to be a public purpose in everything we fund because this is public money, and need to make sure there’s a good history of people reaching out to the community.”

Announcements, resolutions

The following announcements were made at this final Town Meeting:

  • Karen Kelleher (5), Arlington Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) chair, invited Arlington residents to participate in preparing the AHTF action plan, specifically in:
    1. Planning and preparation,
    2. Community engagement,
    3. Release of action plan and
    4. Review and comments.

“After this process, the action plan will be presented to the Select Board,” said Kelleher. 

  • Robert Jefferson (12) acknowledged and thanked Adam Chapdelaine for his work as town manager since 2012. “Adam is professional and open minded, and has done a lot of great work for the town.”

Reports presented

  • Priya Sankalia (13), Zero Waste Arlington cochair, whose committee submitted a report to Town Meeting, said, “I appreciate all the support on Article 12 (regulating single-use plaster water bottles), and seek volunteers to help with our efforts.”
  • Susan Stamps (3), Tree Committee, said, “We need to use our tree inventory to continue to plant trees. Over the past couple of years, the committee has planted 150 trees in the spring and 150 in the fall. We advised our tree warden what and where to plant, and he’s been planting in the town’s environmental justice (low-income) areas and also on heat islands, which we’ve been focusing on with climate change being the reality now. Our tree canopy plan has a positive impact, and we want to expand our program to plant many more trees in town, including on commercial property. We also adopted a plan to water trees because we lacked the personnel to do this. Many people stepped forward to help, yet we still need more help. For more information, go to the town’s website.” 

Christian Klein (10), who takes notes as a public service, commented: "That was way too long. I would imagine the moderator has a new appreciation for the reasons his predecessor ran the meeting as he did. We are an unruly bunch, and many of us like to talk."

For more details, read his summary >>

 Town Meeting background

The warrant containing all articles and associated documents is here >>

Town Meeting met every Monday and every Wednesday from 8 to 11 p.m. until all 77 articles were heard and voted on. 

Town Meeting is made up of 252 representatives, though not every member participated at each meeting nor voted on every item. It convenes each spring. It began this year on April 25 and had to complete its tasks by June 20.

Town Meeting took place virtually this year because of ongoing Covid-19 precautions. 

Proceedings were viewable by anyone in real time: online at or via ACMi cablecast on its government channels (RCN, 614 or 15; Comcast; 22; or Verizon, 26).

Town Meeting information at town website | YourArlington Town Meeting information

This news announcement was published Thursday, June 9, 2022, and updated June 13, to provide a full summary.

Donate button, 300pxThis reporting demonstrates your donations at work to support democracy here. YourArlington is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.Your contributions are tax-deductible. Donate here >>