Town Meeting is set to begin Oct. 17 at Natick High School, and there will continue to be plenty of warm-up activity in the weeks before then as the Finance Committee and others have their say. Last year’s Fall Annual Town Meeting lasted 4 sessions.
The warrant’s articles, each of which will contain 1 or more motions, include many of the usual suspects focused on such issues as the budget, stabilization fund, and zoning bylaw changes (down to footnote updates). Then there are some newcomers, such as appropriation of funds related to the big opioid settlements, and having the town join the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority to supplement a homegrown water supply that’s been tested by PFAS and other challenges.
The Charter & Bylaw Review Committee is coming in hot with 3 articles, 2 of which are bursting at the seams, respectively, with recommended changes to the town’s charter and bylaw.
The warrant also includes a couple of proposed do-overs. One that would rescind a 2021 Spring Annual Town Meeting article about the maximum age at which police officers and firefighters can be appointed, and another that looks to revert the town seal to an old timey 1876 one instead of the new bridge design approved at Spring Annual Town Meeting and that most of us haven’t thought much about since.
That Town Seal article, #30, is 1 of 8 citizen petitions filed this time around. Others include efforts to keep dead-end streets from being overdeveloped, to support Massachusetts-style paid family medical leave for town employees, and to let Finance Committee members serve on an elected Charter Commission. Article 22 argues for allowing body art establishments (think micro-blading) in the downtown mixed use zoning district, plus some body art definition changes.
Let’s hope Articles 22 and 30 get sorted out in a timely fashion, to help people avoid getting stuck with tats of perhaps outdated Town Seals.