Town Meeting to adapt to pandemic
Editor’s note: The articles to be voted on have been updated.
The Wareham Annual Town Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 15, in the Wareham High School gym at 7 Viking Dr.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the procedure for this year’s meeting will be different than in past years.
The meeting will be held in the gym, rather than the auditorium, to allow for social distancing between voters. Overflow seating will be available in the auditorium.
Social distancing will be followed during voter check-in and seating.
All voters must enter through the entrance door near the auditorium, which is located down the driveway on the left side of the school as one approaches.
All attendees must wear a mask. Those who cannot or choose not to wear a mask will be seated in the auditorium.
Those who are sick or have a fever are asked to not share that illness.
Microphones will be cleaned after each speaker.
To help the meeting run quickly and efficiently, fewer articles than usual will be on the docket. A number of articles necessary for the routine financial business of the town to continue will be combined into a consent agenda, which means that many articles could be passed with a single vote.
Before that vote, the complete list of articles will be read so voters can request to have specific articles removed from the consent agenda to be voted on individually.
Those presenting articles will be allowed to speak for up to five minutes, and comments will be limited to two minutes. No one will be able to comment twice on an article before everyone interested has had a chance to speak. Rude or disrespectful speech will not be tolerated.
At the end of the meeting, voters will be asked to exit row-by-row while maintaining a safe social distance from others.
Those with questions or feedback can email Town Moderator Claire Smith at email@example.com.
The warrant has been shortened to include only the articles necessary to keep the town running financially, along with one policy item. The rest of the articles initially included in the warrant will be voted on at a possible Town Meeting in August, or at the regularly scheduled Fall Town Meeting.
From the Annual Town Meeting warrant, voters will weigh in on articles 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16. That includes recurring business, compensation of certain officials like the town clerk and moderator, the fiscal 2021 revolving funds, the capital plan, the budget, the emergency medical services budget, payment to Upper Cape Regional Technical High School, water pollution control facility enterprise fund, Community Preservation fund reserves, and harbor services receipts.
From the Special Town Meeting warrant, voters will decide articles 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 16. That includes budget transfers, funding for the Onset parking program, transfer of available funds, transferring funding to WCTV, upgrades to the Westfield girls softball field, harbor service permit receipts, water pollution control funding, transfer of unused balances from past town meeting articles, the solid waste and recycling revolving account, union contracts, and a home rule petition regarding the sale of alcohol to-go at Stone Path Malt, which would be forwarded to the state legislature.
Many of the exact budget and funding numbers are still be finalized.
Those articles were selected based on their financial importance to the town.
The only other article to be addressed, article 16 on the Special Town Meeting warrant, will forward legislation to the state legislature that would allow Stone Path Malt to see beer to-go.
To read the complete regular and special Town Meeting warrants, go to the town’s website, www.wareham.ma.us.