WILMINGTON, MA — Most of the warrant was passed on Wilmington's annual town meeting Saturday, including the $110 million budget, a ban on traveling animal acts and several rezoning articles.
The meeting, which took place outside on the high school softball field due to the coronavirus, lasted seven hours, dropping below quorum numbers by the end. Moderator Rob Peterson closed the meeting by announcing it would be his last annual town meeting: he will not run in 2021, as he wants to focus his efforts on reforming town meeting to increase attendance.
A handful of town meeting procedural reforms met mixed success. Article 45 would've changed the meeting date to the last Saturday in April. It failed — the town election and meeting would bracket the April school vacation — while 46, which changed the start time to 9 a.m., passed. Article 47, to vote the budget as an omnibus, and article 48, to end the random selection of articles, both failed.
The following other articles failed:
Article 51, which would have created a construction noise bylaw
Article 62, to use $12,650,000 of free cash to build a new senior center on town land adjacent to St. Dorothy's
A number of others were withdrawn or passed over:
Articles 28, 33 and 34 were passed over.
Articles 61 (another Senior Center site) and 63 were withdrawn.
All other articles passed. Article 65, the circus act ban, initially appeared to fail by voice vote, but when it was revoted by standing count, turned out to have passed 84-74. Article 15, for a feasibility study for a new town hall/school administration building, also passed by standing vote, 108-62.
Much of the meeting was conducted in an unusually streamlined way: the budget was passed in a single vote, while a couple dozen were passed as two consent agendas.
The moderator recused himself for Article 64, rezoning 100 and 102 West Street as neighborhood mixed use, due to a conflict of interest: his dad, Rob Peterson Sr., was the attorney representing the petitioner. Former Selectman Mike Champoux served as temporary moderator.
Christopher Huffaker can be reached at 412-265-8353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.