Select Board solidifies Town Meeting warrant

By Betsy Levinson -
December 1, 2022

The Select Board held a short hearing this week covering three articles on the warrant for the Jan. 19, 2023 special Town Meeting.

One article seeks to “confirm the authorization to apply for participation” in the state’s Fossil Fuel-Free Demonstration Project. Concord is applying to be one of 10 communities to participate in the pilot project initiated by the Commonwealth.

Articles two and three ask voters to reauthorize special legislation petitions to institute a real estate transfer fee and add a surcharge to building permits, the income from both those measures to be given to the Concord Municipal Affordable Housing Trust.

According to CMAHT chairman, Keith Bergman, the two new fees would bring in an estimated $2.2 to $2.4 million.

The transfer fee would add 1 percent on any amount over $1M, to be paid by the buyer, with some exceptions.

The building permit fee would be determined by the Select Board if the article passes.

Separately, the board also wrestled with the date of the post-Town Meeting ballot vote on the Middle School construction article, also on the warrant. The date set by the board and the town clerk was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023 on the eve of school vacation week.

The board heard from numerous parents who said holding the election on the 16th might decrease participation among families with long-held travel plans.

But Select Board member Henry Dane said moving the date to accommodate parents of school children was catering to one constituency over the general public.

Select Board Chairman Matt Johnson said with early voting and vote-by-mail, there was no need to move the date from the 16th.

Town Clerk Kari Taari confirmed that information sheets would be readily available for mail ballots, and at polling locations so voters would know what they were voting for.

“Information must be available at polling stations,” said Taari.

The board voted unanimously to confirm the Feb. 16, 2023 date for the election.