The Board of Selectmen met last evening and there are these updates to report.

1. Town Manager John Mangiaratti reported there are four active COVID cases in town putting us in the State's low risk status. Our active case numbers have been between 2 and 4 since July. John plans on re-opening Town Hall to the public after the November election. In the meantime the service windows for finance and planning will remain open Monday thru Thursday from 10AM to 2PM and Friday from 9AM to 11AM.

Early voting for the Federal and State elections begins on Saturday, October 17 and continues through Friday, October 30 at Town Hall. Two voters will enter at a time. 9,300 vote-by-mail applications have been received (there are approximately 16,000 registered voters in Town) and ballots are in the mail. October 20 is the last day to request a vote by mail ballot and all vote by mail ballots must be returned to Town Hall by 8PM on Election Day, November 3.

2. Exercising our authority under State law, the Board voted unanimously to delay the 2021 Annual Town Meeting scheduled for Monday, April 5 to a date to be determined, but not later than June 30, 2021. (We took a similar action for the 2020 Annual Town Meeting.) The reasons were two-fold. One, there was little likelihood weather-wise to hold a "hybrid meeting" (outdoor and indoor seating) on April 5. Two, John Mangiaratti and John Petersen of the School Committee needed more time for revenue assessments to properly prepare their respective FY2022 budgets. By consensus the Board left in place the Annual Town Election scheduled for Tuesday, March 30. A rescheduling would require an emergency order of the governor or special state legislation. We have asked Town Counsel Nina Pickering-Cook to pursue through her legislative contacts an extension of the 2020 law authorizing voting by mail in municipal elections through December 31, 2020.

3. On the motions of Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity Commission chair David Martin, the Board promoted Diane Randolph and Leela Ramachandran from associate to full members of the DEIC, appointed Julie Onus and Simon Li associate members and amended the Commission's charge to increase the number of associate members from two to four. David will nominate two new associate members shortly. The DEIC will have eleven full and four associate members. The DEIC has met once and has a second meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 8.

4. Although a matter before the A-B School Committee, the Board discussed the pending student petition to retire the Colonial Mascot. Dean Charter, a member of the A-B Class of 1968, stressed the leadership role of the Acton Minuteman and town settlors in fighting British oppression. Jon Benson suggested a pause in the debate to allow for a "teach-in" on local history led by the A-B Social Studies Department where the differing aspects and the positives and negatives can be presented. David Martin and Jim Snyder-Grant urged that current A-B students should choose their mascot. The Board voted 3 to 2 for retaining the Colonial Mascot.

The Board will meet next remotely on Monday, October 19 at 7PM. Agenda items will include a discussion of possible dog park sites and an update from David Cantrell of WR Grace on the 180 acre Grace site in South Acton.

Stay safe and well.
Jon Benson

A message from the Town of Acton, Massachusetts.
472 Main Street | Acton, MA | 01720