A packed warrant of 33 articles has been posted for Natick’s Fall Annual Town Meeting, and about a quarter of the articles are of the homespun citizen petition variety.
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Town Meeting is scheduled to begin Oct. 17 at Natick High School, and plenty of warm-up activities will continue in the weeks leading up to it as the Finance Committee and others present their views. Last year’s autumn annual town meeting lasted 4 sessions.
The warrant articles, each of which will include 1 or more proposals, will include many of the usual suspects focusing on issues such as the budget, stabilization funds, and zoning bylaw changes (up to footnote updates). Then there are some new ones, like appropriating money related to large opioid settlements, and adding the city to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority to supplement domestic water supplies, which have been tested by PFAS and other challenges.
The Charter and Bylaws Review Committee is coming up with 3 articles with recommended changes to the city’s charter and bylaws, 2 of which are moving respectively.
The warrant also includes some proposed carry-overs. One that would rescind the 2021 Spring Annual Town Meeting article regarding the maximum age for hiring of police officers and firefighters, and another that seeks to revert the town seal to the old 1876 instead of the new bridge design approved at the Spring Annual . Town Meeting and which most of us haven’t thought much about since.
That Town Seal article, #30, is 1 of 8 civil petitions filed this time. Others include efforts to protect roads from being overdeveloped, supporting Massachusetts-style paid family medical leave for city employees, and letting Finance Committee members serve on the elected Charter Commission. Article 22 argues for allowing body art establishments in the Downtown Mixed Use Zoning District, as well as making some changes to the body art definition.
Let us hope that Articles 22 and 30 will be resolved in time, which will perhaps help people avoid falling into the trap of obsolete town seals.
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