A letter to voters from Town Moderator Jo-Ann Berry regarding the upcoming Annual Town Meeting being held at the Acton Boxborough Regional High School at 6:00 PM on June 29, 2020
June 13, 2020
Dear Acton Voters,
We are living in strange times and this year’s Annual Town Meeting will be different than what we have been used to. While every effort is being made to make the meeting accessible and efficient, there are not always good answers that will meet everyone’s needs. Please be assured that many good and smart people have worked to solve as many problems as possible to be able to hold the meeting safely while meeting legal requirements.
The meeting will be Monday, June 29 at 6:00 PM at the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School Field House and parking lot. Touchless check in will be at the entrance to the Field House (upper gym) outside. Masks will need to be worn except in cases of medical necessity. People can then choose whether to go inside and sit socially distant or to be outside sitting socially distant. Both locations will be connected through audio and video, talk to text translation, and microphones for voters to speak. Each person will have to consider what makes them feel the most comfortable. Chairs will be placed in the parking lot at appropriate intervals, but people wanting to be outside may bring their own chairs to put in those spots. Insect repellent and umbrellas may also be needed. There will not be a non-voter section except for the press. The meeting will be streamed on Acton TV for those wishing to watch.
I will hold a moderator’s meeting for presenters on Thursday, June 18 at 7 PM via Zoom. Presenters should submit their slides by June 17. The presentations for articles will be recorded and available online by June 23. Anyone wishing to make a presentation should contact me as soon as possible.
To make the meeting as efficient as possible, the following steps will be taken:
- Presentations will be available online by June 23 for voters to review and contact the presenters with questions prior to the meeting if possible.
- Nineteen of the thirty-one articles are on the consent agenda. Voters will have the opportunity to hold out an article, but if you have questions that could be answered prior to the meeting, please contact the sponsor if possible. Once the list has been reviewed and any articles held out for individual discussion, those articles will be voted as a block.
- The article sponsors will have up to 5 minutes to present. Voters including con presenters will have up to 2 minutes to make their point or ask their questions.
- Voters wishing to speak will maintain social distance as indicated by markings on the floor or ground and may remove their masks while speaking.
- Voting will be by a combination of voice and holding up large colored tickets. Clickers will not be used due to sanitation concerns.
The need to make the meeting safe and to honor our democratic process is at the heart of this plan. Let us gather with good intention to conduct our legislative session thoroughly yet efficiently.