The Select Board has now recommended affirmative action on some — but not all — Town Meeting warrant articles. Photo by Celeste Katz Marston

Select Board makes picks for action on Town Meeting articles

March 26, 2024

By Celeste Katz Marston — 

Select Board members think using handheld devices to vote at Town Meeting should click with the public. 

The Board, continuing its run-through of warrant articles Monday night, voted 4-0 in support of Article 29, sponsored by residents Scott Gillis and Mark Martines.  

The citizen sponsors say electronic “clickers,” which the town has test-driven before and are used by other communities, will speed up the process. Importantly, they say, clickers offer privacy to voters concerned about how their neighbors will take it if they go against the grain on controversial matters.    

“If this gets more people comfortable with voting and participating more, then it’s worth it,” said Clerk Mary Hartman of the measure, which would kick in next year. 

Member Mark Howell abstained, saying he’s concerned about providing for instances in which meetings could be disrupted because of tech snafus, as they have been elsewhere. 

The Board had previously voted 4-1 to support Article 22, which would decide whether the town should “urge” the Select Board and School Committee to name the new middle school after civil rights activist Ellen Garrison. The town’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee sponsors the article.  

Chair Henry Dane alone voted against recommending support for the article, saying opinions from lawyers for both the town and the School Committee show “there is no doubt that that authority resides exclusively” with the Committee to pick the name.  

The Committee landed on “Concord Middle School” in early February after a public process that elicited hundreds of emails with nearly two dozen name suggestions. 

More of the rundown

Among the other articles that the Select Board recommended supporting, aside from several municipal and school budget-related measures:  

The warrant. Photo by Celeste Katz Marston

Article 13, which would green-light $350,000 for public safety measures related to next year’s celebration of the 250th anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War. Select Board member Terri Ackerman, while supportive, said she’s pressing for additional information about overall expenditures by Concord250 organizers.  

Article 15, a permanent Senior Means Tested Property Tax Exemption. Hartman noted that despite “all the discussion, all the work that we’ve imposed upon our Assessor’s office,” just 34 people take advantage of the break. Board members said that might be because of onerous paperwork associated with the exemption, which is available to seniors who’ve lived in town 10 years, meet income requirements, and own a home at or below the median value: “It’s very hard to qualify for this and live in Concord,” Clerk Mary Hartman said. 

Article 17, authorizing borrowing of $50 million for improvements at the Nagog Pond water treatment plant and mitigation of PFAS, long-lasting chemicals that can contaminate drinking water sources. 

Article 26, creating a Town Meeting study group to do the kind of deep dive on self-governance the town hasn’t undertaken since the mid-90s.  

Article 30, which would authorize the Select Board to request to exclude farm stands or farmers’ market vendors from a checkout bag charge imposed on retailers. 

Measures the Select Board will report on at Town Meeting include: 

  • Article 21, the $2.3 million amenities building proposal for Concord-Carlisle High School, which may undergo amendments
  • Article 33, regarding an expansion of the town’s solar capacity.  
  • Articles 38 and 39, citizen petitions to support cell towers at the Walden Street landfill and Keyes Road public works property. 

Town Meeting kicks off at CCHS at 7 p.m. on April 29.  

The voter registration deadline for the meeting is April 19 at 5 p.m. To register online, visit