Live Blog: Town Meeting

April 30, 2023

5:35 p.m. Meeting is adjourned, will reopen tomorrow at 7 p.m. at CCHS.

ARTICLE 23. To determine whether the Town will vote to adopt the Department of
Energy Resources (DOER) Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Code of 2022 as the building code applicable for new construction of residential, commercial and mixed-use structures, effective January 1, 2024, or take any other action relative thereto.

5:17 p.m. Article 22 passed, urging the town to start a solar task force

4:42 p.m. I just came back in as Town Meeting went back in session. A resident who is in the power business is talking about whether the proposed middle school solar array is the best model for the property.

4:33 p.m. We are all stretching and taking a break. Everyone is wondering if we’re going to get to leaf-blowers before adjourning. Me, I’m guessing I’m not getting home for dinner.

4:29 p.m. Woman advises us to take squirrels into account when designing the middle school solar panels. I… haven’t had any problems on my own house, but I now have concerns about the middle school squirrels!

4:17 p.m. Oh! Article 19 is being passed over. My bad.

4:12 p.m. Article 18 talks about “the sum of $900,000.00, or any other sum, to be expended under the direction of the School Committee for remodeling, construction, reconstructing or making extraordinary repairs, including original equipment and related work at various Concord Public School buildings, or take any other action relative thereto.”
Maybe all the parents left too early? Because the NEXT one is also school-related, about turf fields at the new middle school

4:11 p.m. Wow! About half the gym just left.

4:10 p.m. School budget is passed! And now there’s a stampede out. Moderator “please leave quietly, we have a lot of work to do here”

4:09 p.m. Move the question! It is moved

4:03 p.m. Meet Zoe Fife, who is not a registered voter but is a Concord student. She says the librarians are “super wonderful” and also the school music program shouldn’t be cut. Audience applauds, moderator, laughing, says we should not be applauding, although Zoe is a stellar example of the Concord educational system.

4 p.m. Speaker notes the town voted overwhelmingly for the new middle school, wonders why now FinCom wants to reduce the school budget request

3:59 p.m. Guy attempts to call the question on the basis that we’ve been talking about this all along, Moderator Reiss says nope, it’s just a bit too soon for that.

3:58 p.m. Speaker implores the school superintendent to not cut the music budget. Also wonders if transportation could be made more efficient

3:57 p.m. The FinCom amendment fails

3:55 p.m. Call the question? Looks like we have it, despite people standing in line.

3:52 p.m. Hunter on possible cuts: will have to cut educational tech specialists, will have to cut one librarian, instrumental music — expects the music instrumental lessons will now start later, potential to have to enforce the 2 mile transportation rule

3:39 p.m. Floor is now open to discuss the FinCom motion to reduce the school budget.

3:33 p.m. FinCom has requested to amend Article 17 to reduce the appropriation from $45,191,176 to 44,429,832 for a net increase of 3.3 percent

What will be cut?

3:20 p.m. Article 16, CCHS budget, passes. Now… on to Article 17.

3:19 p.m. Question from a TM voter: does this budget include heating this gymnasium? We’re all freezing in here!

3:18 p.m. What happens if one of the town’s doesn’t fully fund its side? Dr. Hunter (superintendent) says it would likely result in a joint town meeting

3:11 p.m. This request covers just Concord’s side, which is considerably higher than Carlisle due to enrollment.

3:09 p.m. And now… the Concord-Carlisle High School budget, $25,357,846

3:04 p.m. We’re now up to Article 15, Minuteman Regional’s budget. Concord’s allocation is $1,643,006. Passes unanimously.

(Jenn’s visual during any and all capital budget discussions during a Town Meeting)

2:59 p.m. Question about whether or not the new cruisers will be fully electric. No, they will be hybrid. Another woman upset with this, says it doesn’t solve the problem of fossil fuels at all.

2:56 p.m. Yes, we are going to do a complete reclaim of the road. Has been held up by utility repairs last year but should see work on Commonwealth Avenue this summer.

2:55 p.m. “What about the potholes on Commonwealth Avenue? Are they in the plan? Will they ever be in a plan?”

2:44 p.m. Move the question! We now vote on Article 10… it passes, by a substantial majority. TM is in favor of the town working toward hiring a DEI director (that does not mean immediately, probably we’ll see it again in the FY2025 budget)

2:40 p.m. Speaker: is in favor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion but believes hiring a director is not the only solution. She suggests funds would be better used for affordable housing, which would direct at a specific DEI need, noted that recent survey found discrimination in private business rather than town business

2:24 p.m. Article 10 requests the hiring of a DEI director, via special petition

2:23 p.m. Town Budget (Article 9) is passed!

2:22 p.m. Special shout-out to the fact that Concord has closed captioning at Town Meeting!

2:21 p.m. We are now going to Article 9, since the motion to move right to 17 did not pass.

2:20 p.m. MOVE THE QUESTION, and it is so moved.

2:18 p.m. New speaker starts talking about Concord schools’ budget going down for years, is interrupted by Moderator Carmin Reiss who advises him to save that for Article 17

2:15 p.m. Woman at mic — concerned that passing town budget in full and then adding to the school budget would bump up against Proposition 2 1/2

2:13 p.m. Also, after the articles are voted on, TM can come back to reconsider any items. Argument for and against changing town meeting procedure.

2:11 p.m. Moderator notes that changing this order can impact, for example, people watching at home waiting for certain items to come up “Not that I encourage that,” she quickly adds.

2:07 p.m. Speaker asks to have the budget tabled until after Article 17 is voted upon, since it will affect the total town budget. “I see a lot of head shaking in the room in agreement,” speaker says.

Moderator Carmin is taking a vote on it.

2:05 p.m. Town budget is held to 5 percent increase, speaker questions why the schools are being held to only 3 percent. FinCom: this will be addressed at Article 17

2:04 p.m. On the town budget, a concern about the state of the town’s roads, with a speaker saying the condition of the roads are the poorest he’s seen in years.

1:43 p.m. For those following at home, here’s the warrant:


1:42 p.m. Right now, we are going through the consent agenda, the articles not deemed to be especially controversial and unlikely to provoke debate. TM members may remove articles from the agenda if they want to debate.

Maya McCabe, Abby Karincih, Alva Calcedo, and Grady Flinn, all middle schoolers, stood outside Concord-Carlisle High School before Town Meeting. The musicians were lobbying for Article 17, the school budget, fearing that cuts may endanger the music program at the elementary school level. Photo by Jennifer Lord Paluzzi

1:22 p.m. We have a decent crowd inside the gymnasium at Concord-Carlisle High School, including a small dog who just walked by. I’m guessing the dog, like me, will not be voting today. I live out of town. The dog is, well, a dog.

1:21 pm Hello and welcome to Town Meeting! I’m Jennifer Lord Paluzzi, editor-in-chief of The Concord Bridge, and this is my first time attending Concord’s Town Meeting in person


The live blog from the town meeting will begin Sunday, April 30th at 1 pm! See you all then.