Menotomy Minutemen at Town Hall, 2023.Menotomy Minutemen reenactors enter Town Hall Auditorium on April 24, 2023, exactly one year before Session 1 began at Town Meeting, when the same group briefly performed. / Bob Sprague photo

UPDATED April 26: an inaugural meeting that ended just after 10:30 p.m. on a trial basis -- a living experiment inspired by provisions in proposed articles 8, 9 and 10 -- Town Meeting members acted Wednesday, April 24, on only three substantive measures before adjourning to 8 p.m. Monday.

Article 7 was to require those wanting to improve the private roads they live on to pay half of the costs up front, recommended by Town Manager Jim Feeney to combat "cash-flow issues" and because demand for "betterment projects" has increased in recent years. It passed with 196 in favor, 10 opposed and six abstaining.

Articles 8, 9 and 10, related to changes to Town Meeting times and dates, were "laid on the table," or deferred to a future session.

Article 11 was to change bylaw language concerning the fossil-fuel-free requirements for new constuction and major renovations to be more consistent with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ Fossil Fuel Free Demonstration Project Model Rule. This passed, with 195 in favor, 14 opposed, four abstained.

Article 6, the town-recommended registry of vacant-storefront maintenance, also passed, as did several items on the consent agenda, including many related to town-recommended appropriations. Some details are on the online "tracker" on the related town website page.

The vote to adjourn shortly after 10:30 p.m. was 128 for, 79 against and four abstentions.

Poet laureate reads patriotic poem

In its first 2.5 hours, Town Meeting also heard from the poet laureate and the Select Board chair, swore in 22 new members and heard the national anthem via the traditional fife-and-drum of the Menotomy Minutemen. 

Town Moderator Greg Christiana mentioned former town employees and others active in civic life who had died over the past year, including Ted Peluso and Corinne Rainville. Calling for a moment of silence, he said, "Let us remember their contributions." He also called for a moment of silence as he noted that April 24 is Armenian Genocide Day, the anniversary of the 1915 deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, which was finally defeated at the conclusion of World War II in 1918.

Town Poet Laureate Jean Flanagan alluded to the recently observed Patriots Day and read a poem explaining that it was actually William Dawes "who rode to warn the minutemen in Lexington" in April 1775, not the much-more-celebrated Paul Revere, who could not do so because he had been captured by the British. She exhorted her listeners to learn from and emulate Dawes: "Focus on the good and not the glory." 

A former town moderator, John Worden, spoke about longtime former town clerk and former town resident Rainville, who had retired some years back and moved to be near family in Vermont; she died in a house fire earlier this year. Worden called her kind, caring, wonderful and an exemplary public servant.

Christiana swore in new members (Article 2) and asked all present to “vote in the interest of the town.”

State of the town: strong, of course

Select Board Chair Steve DeCourcey gave a brief State of the Town address, noting improvements that included the new Department of Public Works facility on Grove Street, the hoped-for low-income housing development on Sunnyside Avenue and other positive moves. He said that Arlington did "face many challenges ahead, including possible future financial deficits. He ended by citing the maxim that "We can disagree without being disagreeable."

He concluded with the traditional verbiage for such speeches:  “The state of our town is strong.”

Watch ACMi video of session 1:

Article 3 was acceptance of the Select Board's report to Town Meeting.

As in 2023, John Worden (8) was again appointed as measurer of wood and bark (in the 21st century a purely ceremonial post), which was Article 4, and Adam Auster (20) was again chosen as assistant moderator, which was Article 5; as last year, there were no opponents.

Many resources about TM available

ACMi provides live coverage on cable (Comcast 22, RCN 614, Verizon 26) and streaming live at acmi.tv/govlive and also posted online on YouTube. The cable TV station also typically will rebroadcast each session multiple times.

The Town of Arlington has a link-heavy page specifically about Town Meeting. Among other things, it has a frequently updated link to the annotated warrant (a detailed and augmented list of the articles, most either submitted by a government official or advanced by a group of residents) and a "tracker" or or dashboard or specialized spreadsheet that is supposed to be kept up in real time.

There are guidelines and forms; downloadable templates for those for amending the original motion and for substituting an alternate version to the original motion; historical records of previous Town Meetings; and ways to see emails, updates and announcements.


Town Meeting 2024's main link on the Town of Arlington website 

YourArlington summary of 2024 Town Meeting information


This news summary by YourArlington Editor Judith Pfeffer was published Thursday, April 25, 2024. It was updated later that day to note that it was former town moderator John Worden (not former town moderator John Leone) who reminisced about the late Corinne Rainville, longtime former town clerk of Arlington. Updated April 26, to add ACMi video window.