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Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting 2020
***Important update: Due to predicted overnight and morning rain, Bedford Town Meeting will be delayed one hour. Town Meeting will now begin tomorrow, Saturday July 11th, at 10:00 AM, with registration opening at 9:00 AM.***
In addition to the information below, please see the tabs and frequently asked questions on the left of this page for presentation materials on budgets and warrant articles as well as logistical information.
2020 Annual Town Meeting & Special Town Meeting Warrant Overview Webinar (YouTube link):
Bedford Annual Town Meeting PSA 2020 (YouTube link):
When (***Please see top of this page for latest timing due to weather***): July 11, 2020 at 9:00 AM. Registration starts at 8:00 AM. The process will be to open the Annual Town Meeting at 9:00 AM, and then temporarily recess in order to open the Special Town Meeting at 9:05 AM. The voters will then consider the one article on that Warrant. Once that business is completed, that meeting will be dissolved and we will immediately return to the articles from the March 23, 2020 ATM Warrant. Originally scheduled for March 23, 2020, the Annual Town Meeting has been postponed and continued four (4) times as required by law. The declarations of recess and continuance can be found here.
Where: Sabourin Field (Bedford High School Football Field)
At their May 27, 2020 meeting, the Select Board voted to recommend, with the full support of the Town Moderator, that Annual Town Meeting be held on Saturday, July 11, 2020, at 9:00 AM on Sabourin Field (Bedford High School Football Field). Please note, as the Governor’s order regarding large-group outdoor gatherings does not allow for tents, as they are considered a “confined space,” the meeting is beginning at 9:00 AM, with registration starting at 8:00 AM, to allow for cooler temperatures. BedfordTV will be live-streaming the meeting on YouTube (link: https://www.youtube.com/c/BedfordTv), though residents must be present in order to vote.
After consultation with the Select Board, Public Health Director, Town Clerk, Town Moderator, and the COVID-19 Task Force, the Town is confident that Annual Town Meeting can occur outside, while making the process as safe as possible and ensuring that the democratic and legislative functions of Town Meeting remain intact. This decision followed weeks of work and site evaluations by the Select Board, Town Moderator, and the COVID-19 Task Force.
Why are we having Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting on the same day?
This year, the Town is holding Annual Town Meeting, and a Special Town Meeting, on the same date. Special Town Meeting will only consider one warrant article for a proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement for Ultragenyx Corporation, for vacant land at 170 Middlesex Turnpike. The proposed TIF agreement was presented to the Select Board for approval after the Annual Town Meeting Warrant had been published. The TIF agreement requires action by Town Meeting before August 2020 to adhere to the State of Massachusetts Office of Economic Development timeline for review and approval. As Annual Town Meeting was delayed from March 23, 2020 due to COVID-19, the Select Board were able to schedule a Special Town Meeting to be held on the same day, July 11, 2020, of the rescheduled Annual Town Meeting.
Will there be a rain date?
As the Town has historically done with weather-related impacts to holding Town Meeting, if the weather on the day of the meeting is deemed unsafe by the Town Moderator, Select Board, and public health and safety staff, the meeting will be postponed until a later date. Due to the early start time, public safety officials will evaluate the predicted weather on Friday, July 10, and again early on the morning of July 11, and will notify the public if it needs to be postponed. The tentative rain date is Sunday, July 12.
It is recommended that residents park in the Bedford High School parking lot, located at 9 Mudge Way, or by Town Hall, located at 10 Mudge Way. Handicap parking spaces closest to Sabourin Field are located on the far left side of Bedford High School near the cafeteria entrance. Additional parking is available at the John Glenn Middle School lots, but voters will only be allowed to enter the field/meeting at the field entrance nearest the High School. Upon arrival, residents will be asked to check-in with the Town Clerk by providing their name and address. If a resident is on the inactive voter list, they will need to provide a current ID.
COVID-19 Safety Measures
In order to ensure the safety of all residents, all attendees will be required to wear face coverings for the entirety of Town Meeting. A mask will be provided by the Town, if you do not have one. Physically distanced chairs will be set up on the turf field, and Town staff will guide residents to their seats in order to ensure proper distancing. Staff will also assist residents with how to properly leave the field once Town Meeting has concluded. Hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and ADA-accessible restrooms will be available for all attendees.
Updated Article List-Annual Town Meeting Warrant (Originally scheduled for March 23, 2020)
What articles will be taken up, and what won't be?
Due to COVID-19, the warrant for Annual Town Meeting has been streamlined to ensure an efficient meeting that addresses warrant articles related to budgetary articles for Fiscal Year 2021. A streamlined warrant is the best possible way for the Town to make the process as safe and efficient as possible, while ensuring that the democratic and legislative functions of Town Meeting remain intact.
Proposed Articles for July 11, 2020 Annual Town Meeting:
Article 2- Debate Rules
Article 3- Consent Article
Article 6- Revolving Funds Expenditure Limits
Article 7- Community Preservation Budget–Fiscal Year 2021*
(*Removed all capital projects.)
Article 23- Proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Capital Projects Plan
Article 27- Demand Fee Increase
Article 28- PEG Access and Cable Expense Related Budget Fiscal Year 2021
Article 31- Operating Budgets–Fiscal Year 2021*
(*Budget reduced; see tabs on left side of this page for more information*)
Article 32- Ambulance Enterprise Budget–Fiscal Year 2021
Article 38- Free Cash
Articles that will be indefinitely postponed (not taken up on July 11, 2020):
Article 1- Reports of Town Officers and Committees
Article 4- Bills of Prior Years
Article 5- General Bylaw Amendment- Revolving Funds
Article 7- Community Preservation Budget*
(*All capital projects.)
Articles 8- 22- General Bylaw Amendments/ Zoning Accessory Dwelling Units
Articles 24-26- Bond Authorizations*
(*Removed renovation at the Police Department, Land Acquisition for the Fire Station, and HVAC Improvements at the Bedford Free Public Library)
Article 29- Supplement Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 and Articles of the 2019 Annual Town Meeting
Article 30- Salary Administration Plan Bylaw Amendment-Classification & Wage Schedule
Article 33- Salary Plan–Additional Funding
Article 34- OPEB Appropriation
Article 35- Supplement Accrued Leave Fund
Article 36- 300th Anniversary Stabilization Fund
Article 37- Stabilization Fund Appropriation
Registered voters are encouraged to attend and participate in Town Meeting.