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Select Board, Moderator, Town Manager Struggle To Find Date For Town Meeting

by Connie Sartini
With the Governor’s extended Stay At Home order now set at May 18, the Select Board voted to extend the local Shelter-in-Place order to May 18, 2020.
     Town Moderator Jason Kauppi advised the Select Board at their virtual meeting on Monday night that the based on the Governor’s order, the current May 18 schedule for Spring Town Meeting will likely change.
     Under the provisions of M.G.L. Chapter 39, S. 10a, Kauppi said that the law requires that the Moderator consult with the Select Board on changing a date. He said he would look at June 13 as a possible date for Spring Town Meeting.
     Kauppi stressed that, “The Moderator can again extend the Town Meeting another 30 days. If June comes along and we are still in the middle of this, we can continue it to July.” He added it has to be continued to a time certain.
     Selectman Josh Degen advised that he “was not comfortable going into a building with recirculated air, and by June there will be good weather to do this outdoors.”
     Town Manager Mark Haddad reported that he, Kauppi and Town Clerk Michael Bouchard were planning to look at the room configurations at the middle school as well as outdoor locations such as the football field at the High School.
     Haddad stressed that the “The safety and health of the people comes before the budget.” He added that he has been working with his Finance Team on what they expect to need in July, which he pegged at $9M because of the Regional School Assessment payment and pensions. August and September outlay would be in the $1M range for each month.
     Degen suggested that perhaps there should be one town meeting that combined the spring and then fall town meetings.
     Kauppi added, “Whatever date we choose, we have to come back and validate it.”
     Haddad added that regardless of the Town Meeting date, the local election will still be held on June 9, 2020.
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