Lost in the sturm und drang of the past month, is that Town Election and Town Meeting season is approaching quickly.
The Town Bylaws says the Annual Town Meeting should be on the first Monday in April, but it also gives the Board of Selectmen the power to move it to a different date. For about the past decade, the Board has opted to hold Town Meeting in May so that the town has a better understanding of state local aid numbers, which can have a big impact on the town budget.
Cities and towns, all of which are writing budgets for the fiscal year starting July 1, are waiting for Gov. Baker to release his state budget in the coming days. Delaying Town Meeting allowed Abington to also see the House and Senate budgets, which come out typically in April and May. But in the past few years, legislative leaders and the governor have been coming together to negotiate a state aid baseline before the House and Senate finalize their budgets, in order to help municipalities finish their own spending plans.
Town Manager Scott Lambiase is determined to once again have Town Meeting in April. He’ll be giving the Board of Selectmen a budget update at its meeting tonight.
But it also means that the Town Meeting Warrant is open, and any registered Abington voter can submit something for consideration if they can get signatures from 9 other registered voters. While the Board of Selectmen has a lot of control over what makes it on to the warrant, they can’t block citizens’ petitions. However, petitions that violate town bylaws or the town charter will be ruled out of order at Town Meeting and won’t be discussed. That means, those petitions that would allow property taxes to be paid in crypto currency, or that changes the town’s name to “A#1 Super Happy Fun Town” are no-gos. Lambiase has asked that anyone considering submitting a citizen’s petition let him know in advance, so he can provide some guidance before the language is formally submitted. There’s also a handy-dandy guide available on the town website.
NOMINATION PAPERS ARE AVAILABLE
The town’s Annual Elections are scheduled for Saturday, April 30. Nomination papers are now available at the Town Clerk’s Office. Anyone interested in running needs to submit the signatures of 50 registered Abington voters by Monday, March 14, at 5 p.m. There is one seat available on the Board of Selectmen, Board of Assessors, School Committee, Planning Board, Housing Authority, and Water Commission; and three seats up for grabs on the Board of Health, Library Trustee Board, and Sewer Commission. Campaign announcements can be emailed to email@example.com. We also have campaign ad rates available.
BOARD OF HEALTH MEETS MONDAY
Active COVID-19 cases continue to drop, with 225 residents currently positive with the virus. While that’s a far cry from January 13, when the number was up to 661, it’s still higher than it was at any point in last year. The Board of Health will receive an update from Health Director Marty Golightly at its meeting this evening.
CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION MEETS THURSDAY
Should Abington have a mayor and scrap Town Meeting? Make more boards elected versus appointed? Fulfill Kevin Whalen’s dream of renaming the town “Manamooskeagin”? The Charter Review Commission is meeting Thursday via Zoom, and is open to all suggestions.
Board of Health, 6 p.m., via Zoom. Agenda includes a report from the Health Department, a discussion on body art regulations, and possible COVID-19 safety measures.
Board of Selectmen, Subcommittee for Policies and Procedures, 6 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes discussion about existing and proposed board policies and procedures.
Board of Selectmen, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes a hearing on a Class 2 auto sales license, a discussion on whether to accept Dorsey Street, Murphy Street, and Cynthia Road as town-owned roads, and an update on the FY 22 and 23 budgets.
School Committee, 7 p.m., via Zoom. Agenda includes reports from the Superintendent, assistant superintendent, directors of curriculum and student services, and the high school principal.
Finance Committee, 7 p.m., via Zoom. Agenda includes reviews of the Town Clerk, golf course, and water department budgets
Charter Review Commission, 6 p.m., via Zoom. Agenda includes hearing from residents, and discussing possible changes to the existing charter.
Zoning Board of Appeals, 6 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda only includes an executive session to discuss litigation.