Housing warrant, new charter signed into law

Feb 14, 2023

Shortly before leaving office, outgoing Governor Charlie Baker signed two laws related to Wareham.

The first, which started as a vote at Town Meeting last spring, requires 50% of net proceeds from the sale of properties seized by the town for unpaid taxes to go toward funding affordable housing programs.

The redirected proceeds will go into the Wareham Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Fund. 

The act was passed by the state legislature on Jan. 3, then signed by then-Governor Baker on Jan. 4. 

At the time of the actual vote, the town of Wareham was not notified because legislators did not receive a copy of the signed law from the governor’s office like they were supposed to. 

On Jan. 5, Baker signed a law formally enacting changes to the Wareham Town Charter, which were voted on at the Spring 2021 Town Meeting. 

The changes corrected vocabulary and grammar errors to the Charter and instituted gender-neutral language, such as renaming the Board of Selectmen the Select Board.

More substantially, the Charter expanded the power of the town administrator, allowing them to appoint the sewer superintendent and town clerk. 

Select Board Chair Judith Whiteside said that the changes were made because “either the law has changed, or the way we do business has changed.”