Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Town Meeting, May 01, 2023

  • Town and Capital Budgets Discussion
    Town Meeting held discussions on town and capital budgets, including the postponed Article 9. Members acknowledged the need for better communication regarding budget discussions in the future. The budgets for various departments were discussed individually, with the option to hold certain budgets for further debate. The meeting concluded with a motion to terminate the debate on the planning and community development budget, which passed by a voice vote.
  • Remote Participation in Town Meetings
    Town Meeting reviewed a report from the Remote Participation Study Committee, which had conducted a pilot program for hybrid meetings. The report indicated that successful hybrid meetings were possible but required careful consideration of training, technology, staffing, and meeting procedures.
  • Arlington High School Building Project
    Town Meeting discussed the Arlington High School Building Project, which is on budget and scheduled for completion in September 2025. The project includes a new science, technology, engineering, arts, and math wing, a humanities wing, a gymnasium, a black box theater, and an outdoor amphitheater.
  • Staff Salary Increases and Ed Burns Arena Enterprise Fund
    Members addressed the issue of staff salary increases, with a presentation from the budget director explaining the reasons for the increases, including the timing of contract settlements, staff reclassifications, and changes in staff. The budget for the Ed Burns Arena Enterprise Fund was also discussed, with a clarification that the funds being used for FY24 were from retained earnings.
  • Public Works Department Issues
    Members discussed issues related to the Public Works Department, including concerns about large salary increases, delayed leaf collection, poor sidewalk conditions, and the Broadway Plaza being a heat island in the summer. The director of Public Works acknowledged these issues and assured that they would be addressed.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Department Budget
    Members discussed the town’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion department and its budget. Members praised the department’s contributions to the community and defended its budget against a proposed amendment that suggested reallocating funds to the Inspections department.
  • Education Budget and Capital Budget
    Town Meeting discussed the education budget, with a focus on an amendment that failed. The committee also discussed the retirement budget, the reserve fund, and the Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund. The capital planning committee chair presented the capital budget for fiscal year 2024.
  • Capital Budget Amendment for Bola Rapps
    Members discussed an amendment to the capital budget concerning the purchase of Bola Rapps, a de-escalation tool for non-compliant individuals. The proposal faced opposition from several members who raised concerns about the potential harm and dehumanizing effects of the device.
  • Conclusion of the Meeting
    The meeting concluded with a motion to adjourn, with Town Meeting announcing it would take up the special town meeting warrant articles on Wednesday. Article 9, which was postponed until that night, would be resumed after the special town meeting was dissolved on Wednesday.



Inside Arlington was created by two Arlingtonians who are deeply concerned by the decline in local news and its impact on civic life. Our mission is to provide accessible information to Arlington residents to foster an informed and engaged citizenry. And we want to do it in an economically sustainable way. More…


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