This year’s Annual Town Meeting (ATM) will be on Wednesday, April 24 starting at 6:30 p.m. Voters approved a change in the Town’s bylaw moving the ATM from the first Monday in April to the fourth Monday. However, this year, the fourth Monday coincides with the religious holiday of Passover thus the Select Board has exercised its authority to alter the date to avoid the conflict. The extra time will enable more certainty on various proposed budget items.
During the next three months budget proposals will be finalized both for town and school operations. It is shaping up to be a more challenging year to craft the annual spending proposals given the pressures caused by higher inflation the past couple of years and increasing demand for some departmental services. The Finance Committee meets weekly in order to review all departmental requests in detail and to prepare their recommendations for voters.
Typically, there are articles dealing with bylaw amendments as well as the occasional citizen petition article. The Planning Board may have additional amendments to the zoning regulations to propose but the proposals for complying with the state’s MBTA zoning mandate will most likely be considered at a Special Town Meeting later in the year as the MBTA Task Force continues their due diligence in vetting various options. Once the Task Force finalizes their recommendations the Planning Board will review them, finalize any proposals and schedule formal public hearings on possible new zoning that complies with Chapter 40A, Section 3a. Only then is the proposed new zoning ready to go before voters who have the final say at a Town Meeting.
Citizen petition articles are due in the Select Board’s Office at least 60 days prior to the ATM. Thus, the deadline for this year is February 22 (the 23rd is a Friday when Town Hall is closed.) Petition articles for the ATM need to have the signatures of at least 10 registered voters. Blank petition forms are available on the Town Clerk’s page of the Town’s website.
Town Elections are held on the third Tuesday of May – May 21st this year. Nomination papers are now available from the Town
Clerk’s Office. Elections will be held for Town Moderator, Select Board, School Committee, Planning Board (2 positions) and Library Trustee.
Of course, it is an extra busy year for elections. There is the presidential primary on March 5, the state primary on September 3 and the state and national elections on November 5. Election day voting takes place at the Memorial School from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Early voting is offered as well as voting by mail. Again, see the Town Clerk’s page of the Town’s website for details.
New Planner: In other news, please welcome to Town Marc Resnick, Manchester’s new town planner. Marc started working for the town a couple of weeks ago and is getting right to work helping the Planning Board start the review process for the proposed new biolab Cell Signaling Technology is proposing up by the MAC and assisting the MBTA task force, among other projects. Marc comes to us with many years of experience in the planning profession including working for Lakeville, Foxborough, Brockton and Salisbury. He has worked on complex projects which often had competing interests to resolve – experiences that will serve him well as he helps Manchester deal with various challenges. Marc is looking forward to learning more about the Town and working with many of you. He also is looking forward to settling into the old family home in Gloucester.