Needham's fall Special Town Meeting will be held earlier than usual this year, after selectmen voted Tuesday to set the meeting for Monday, Oct. 29 to avoid conflicting with the 2012 Presidential Election.
Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick advised the board to move up the date from the first week of November to help alleviate some of the stress on the town clerk and her staff, who are especially busy right before and after a big election. The Presidential Election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Last year's was held on Monday, Nov. 7.
The following Monday is Veterans Day, and moving the meeting much later in the month could affect the town's ability to set the tax rate, Fitzpatrick said.
In addition, if required, Town Meeting traditionally adjourns to a second night on the following Wednesday; however, the next Wednesday after Oct. 29 is Halloween, so Fitzpatrick also recommended that the board use Tuesday as a second night if needed.
Selectmen said they would consider the time constraints when setting the warrant and hoped to keep the meeting as brief as possible.
Last fall, selectmen of the fall Special Town Meeting and whether the 2011 warrant, which contained 20 articles, was too long.
Then-Selectman James Healy said in November 2011 that he felt only emergency items should be addressed in the fall.
Others felt the meeting's length was fine and said delaying some items to the spring would only make the annual warrant longer.
Selectman Jerry Wasserman that the town had grown and changed over the years and that waiting until May just didn't make sense "from a management standpoint" anymore.
“We ought to admit that it’s not a special; it’s a regularly scheduled Town Meeting,” Wasserman said then.