Needham residents could see a slightly different format to this year’s annual Town Meeting, as officials consider rearranging the warrant to create a “better flow” of business, Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick said.
The Board of Selectmen officially opened the 2012 annual Town Meeting warrant at their Tuesday, Jan. 10 meeting, discussing a few of the potential items of business as well as a change in the order of things.
In the past, planning and zoning articles have been the first items on the warrant, Fitzpatrick said. The new format would place human resource and finance items first, followed by land and zoning, general items, citizen’s petition articles, Community Preservation Act items, and so on.
Fitzpatrick said the 2012 warrant would include the usual business as well as several town employee contacts that are up in 2013.
She also suggested the board consider placing an article that would fund a feasibility study to explore whether Needham should replace its fire alarm boxes with wireless boxes, as many other towns such as Wellesley have done.
Fitzpatrick said the issue had been brought up at every Town Meeting over the past few years but had stalled because there were still many questions about the new technology.
Town Meeting members also could see an article that clarifies Needham’s hunting regulations, in particular the rules for discharging a firearm on public land and whether or not bow hunting is legal—an item that has yet to be addressed in Needham, Fitzpatrick said.
The town manager also has left placeholders for articles that could come up on whether to allow in Needham and whether to adopt the , although both items are still under discussion.
Voters also could see an article establishing an athletic facility improvement fund that would help ensure money is in place to maintain and upgrade Needham’s parks and fields—in particular, the expensive replacement of turf on the fields at and parks.
Selectman Jerry Wasserman noted that the deadline for citizen’s petition articles to be submitted is Monday, Feb. 6. For more information about submitting petition articles, drop by the town clerk’s office in or call 781-455-7510.
Also during discussion of the annual Town Meeting, Selectman Jim Healy recommended that the board consider moving the start time up to 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m., with the evening break coming at 10:30 p.m. rather than 11:00 p.m. Healy said that while the earlier time might force some Town Meeting members to leave work early to make the meeting, it would help for those who had to be up early the next morning to get home a half hour earlier.
The 2012 annual Town Meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 7, location to be determined.
Because of redistricting following the 2010 census, all 240 Town Meeting members in the April 10 town election to maintain their seats.