Special Town Meeting passes middle school funding

TOWN MEETING IS ADJOURNED, ARTICLE 5 HAS PASSED.

Next step: The question now moves to a ballot vote on Feb. 16

8:39 pm “The motion passes by more than 2/3rds.

8:38 Kate McIlneney (I’m sorry for butchering this — moves to call the question, but doesn’t know what to call it. Moderator says it IS an appropriate time for the meeting to vote whether or not to move the question. This requires a 2/3 vote. DEBATE IS CLOSED

8:34 pm Chris Price — notes the town was turned down by the state’s school building authority, which is one of the reasons why the town is in this situation. The two schools are being held together by duct tape. “As we are weighing yay or nay, think of the children.”

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8:30 pm “We are only half of the people in Concord. The other half is the children, who can’t vote.” Parent speaks of the need for music education, of gyms — notes that those are the things that will get cut first. Speaks passionately about the need for the auditorium, which impacts music education

8:26 pm Mary Weinberg, 78, “I never voted against anything any time money was raised.” Has lived very modestly, wants to amend to have a tax cut for senior citizens for the project. Was told to work on the amendment and come back a little later in the meeting

8:24 pm “In this case, the cost of not doing it is the wrong thing.”

8:20 pm Man questions why the question is either pass the additional funds or do nothing.

8:18 pm Woman notes that when Sanborn and Peabody were built, they were already too small. The town has already done the other schools while the middle school has been neglected — it’s more than time for a change.

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8:14 pm “We have to live within our budget.”

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8:09 pm Anita Tekle asks what CAN be built now with the amount that is already approved. “Now is the time to say enough is enough”

See her letter here

8:01 pm “We do not clap at Town Meeting. We do not have outbursts.” Town Moderator (this is something I have heard at every town meeting in every town I have covered)

8:00 pm 1,030 people are at Special Town Meeting right now, and the floor is now open for debate. First up is William Kerr — OH, HI. Kerr is one of our columnists, but he writes about nature, not schools — he notes most people have showed up to the meeting knowing what they will vote
“It will cost more to vote no than it will to vote yes”

7:58 pm Matt Johnson, select board chair, speaks on their support — which was not unanimous. However, they recognize that the project costs may be higher if not passed

7:57 pm Forgive me, I’m a little out of practice with live-blogging

7:54 pm Some of this is already in your tax bill, but the full cost will be staggered

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7:47 pm But how will passing this affect you, the citizens of Concord? Check out this handy calculator.

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7:45 pm The presentation went over but here’s the final slide: what happens if this does not pass

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7:41 pm The design of the school has not changed and Concord isn’t the only one to be facing this dilemma on school building projects

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Dawn Guariello
Dawn Guarriello at the mic, Carmine Reiss above
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How did we get here?

7:35 pm Dawn Guarriello, co-chair of the building committee.

Almost 4 years ago the town was asked for funds to study the project. A year ago tomorrow, the town voted $102.8M a year ago to build a new school on the Old Marlboro Road campus of the Sanborn building. “It’s like Groundhog Day.”

7:33 pm HERE WE GO ARTICLE 5

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7:32 pm Article 3 passes “by an overwhelming majority” in gymnasium and auditorium

7:30 pm Article 3 seeks a building permit surcharge, which also requires state legislature approval before going BACK to Town Meeting.

ARTICLE 3. To determine whether the Town will authorize the Select Board to petition
the General Court for special legislation substantially in the form below, in lieu of the special
legislation approved under Article 26 of the 2019 Concord Annual Town Meeting, that permits
the Town to enact a bylaw charging a building permit surcharge to be used by the Town for the
purposes of acquiring, creating, preserving, rehabilitating, restoring and supporting affordable
housing in the Town, or take any other action relative thereto (

7:27 pm More people are arriving — third room is opening up.

7:24 pm How the reauthorized home rule petition will affect

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7:17 pm Next up is Article 2

ARTICLE 2. To determine whether the Town will authorize the Select Board to petition
the General Court for special legislation substantially in the form below, in lieu of the special
legislation approved under Article 25 of the 2019 Concord Annual Town Meeting, that would
impose a real estate transfer fee to be used by the Town for the purposes of acquiring, creating,
preserving, rehabilitating, restoring and supporting affordable housing in the Town

7:15 pm Articles 1 and 4 pass “nearly unanimously.” Those covered the fossil-fuel free project and the Community Preservation Act Community Housing Reserve Fund

7:11 pm Articles 1 and 4 are on the “consent agenda,” meaning they will be voted on together unless someone wants to speak on them.

The full warrant is here

“Tonight we are Concord’s legislators,” Town Moderator Carmin Reiss says.

7:07 pm Tellers and ballot counters are sworn in! The vote may be taken either by standing or, if requested, private ballot

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7:03 p.m. Fire Chief Judge is advising everyone of the emergency exits. If you have kids in childcare, don’t try to get them — they will be gone before you can get there!

There is overflow — Town Meeting is in two rooms, both the gym and the auditorium

7 p.m. Good evening! Special Town Meeting is now in order!

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Tonight’s Special Town Meeting will be too late to meet the deadline for the Jan. 20 edition of The Concord Bridge, but we have some tricks up our journalist sleeves.


We will be covering tonight’s meeting, from call to order to motion to adjourn, in real time, right here on TheConcordBridge.org.


Tonight’s show is helmed by Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Lord Paluzzi as she watches via the online livestream. Meanwhile, Editor Betsy Levinson will be on the Town Meeting floor working on her full coverage story, which will go live at some point after the meeting.

You may be asking “what the heck is a live blog?” It’s a story that’s essentially reported in reverse, updating with the latest news at the top, a minute-by-minute recap of comments, votes, and news coming out of the meeting.

Think of it as Town Meeting in your pocket. Read all about it on your phone, whether you’re on the go or just watching something other than the meeting on television.

After all, we’re all about Concord news. Why should we let a little thing like a print deadline deter us from letting you know about the big stuff?

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