Topics: Town Meeting

HARWICH — Voters in the May 1 annual town meeting will face a weighty warrant of town business, including an article that seeks around $34 million to build a sewer collection system in East Harwich. Around 50 articles are on the draft warrant, which closed on Friday at noon. Town Administrator Christopher Clark warned that the draft warrant remains subject to change. It will be reviewed and revised by the boar...

CHATHAM – For eight years, Karolyn McClelland has lived with the possibility of losing her home due to what officials acknowledge was a “perfect storm” of mistakes and miscommunications. Next week, special town meeting voters will be asked to fix the situation by transferring funds to cover back taxes on McClelland's Beach Plum Road property, taxes that would have already been paid in full had the property bee...

CHATHAM – It's been a long struggle for Dale Eldredge. A native who graduated from Chatham High School in 1993, Eldredge spent a dozen years working to acquire the title to a lot on Stony Hill Road owned by his family. Originally owned by his grandmother, the property's ownership was shared by a number of aunts and uncles; Eldredge had inherited his share when his father passed away. Over the years he was able...

CHATHAM – Town purchase of the downtown Eldredge Garage property will be the main focus of next Monday's special town meeting. The 11-article warrant also includes another land acquisition, several expenditure requests and a number of housekeeping measures. The meeting was called in large measure to bring the purchase of the Eldredge Garage property at 365 Main St. before voters. Article 4 seeks $2.5 millio...

CHATHAM — Though the headline article is the acquisition of the former Eldredge Garage property, the Jan. 23 special town meeting has a few other items to pique voter interest. The board of selectmen voted last week to close the warrant, which contains 11 articles. Selectmen voted 4-1 to recommend approval of Article 4, the acquisition of the Eldredge Garage land at 365 Main St., for possible use as open ...

CHATHAM – Selectmen voted Tuesday to call a special town meeting for Monday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. to ask voters if they want to purchase the Eldredge Garage property. A group of residents and business owners have a purchase and sales agreement with the Eldredge family and intend to assist them in getting the property ready for town acquisition, potentially to be used for public parking. The board also voted...

ORLEANS – Harry Truman famously complained about a “Do-Nothing Congress.” He would have loved the “Do-Everything Special Town Meeting” held Oct. 24. Acting as the town’s legislators, voters approved spending $3,228,200 through June 2017 on water quality improvement projects, $200,000 for engineering work on permits to dredge channels and rivers to increase tidal flow, and $20,000 to hire a land use consultant ...

ORLEANS — The Oct. 24 special town meeting warrant is small – just seven articles – but it calls for some big decisions. Should Orleans spend almost $3.3 million to continue progress on addressing water quality needs? Should it pay $20,000 to a land use consultant to make sure that the residential rezoning proposed for downtown will work within the town's bylaws? Should the town commit $200,000 to engineerin...

Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The town's plastic bag ban is now in effect. Businesses selling goods, articles, food or personal services to the public will no longer be allowed to use single-use plastic bags with a thickness of 2.5 mils. Voters in town meeting in 2015 promulgated the bylaw and it took effect on June 15. “In simple terms, this bylaw prohibits an establishment from distributing or selling any single-use plastic...

Democracy, With A Bullet

By:

With town meeting and election season over, it's helpful to look back with a critical eye toward what changes could be made to improve the processes, and just as importantly to recognize what worked well. In both Chatham and Harwich, town meetings moved through voluminous and complex warrants relatively quickly and efficiently. With literally hundreds of years of experience, it's no surprise that the communiti...