WILMINGTON — Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting covered a COVID-19 update and proposals for a car wash, road closure events, and a common victualer license. Pizza Days owner Hakki Dengizli attended in person to share that the new location for his restaurant has already opened for business. The board voted unanimously in favor according to the recommendation of Board of Health Director Shelly Newhouse.
Newhouse next gave an update of COVID-19 cases as there were officially 20 positives that night excluding nursing homes. In addition to the 20 positive residents, she noted clusters of positives among non-Wilmington residents who work in town. She also promoted two drive-up flu clinics this week and next week and reminded everyone of the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.
In a follow-up, Jomarie O’Mahony asked if this could affect the pending district transferring to a hybrid learning model in a few weeks. Newhouse explained they require three weeks of any condition change to consider scaling back, and it would be a joint decision between the School Committee, the superintendent, the Department of Public Health, and her.
She couldn’t point to an exact number of positive cases that would put Wilmington in the red zone.
The board moved onto their next item, as Police Chief Joe Desmond presented a new anonymous tip system. The WPDMA app would allow community members to anonymously submit tips to the Wilmington Police Department either via the app, text message, or on their website.
“This doesn’t replace 911 but is in addition,” Desmond said. “Call 911 if you want us to be notified immediately.”
He said their goal is to have people contacting and sharing information with them who wouldn’t have before.
The board asked how often tips will be monitored and whether its usefulness will be tracked. Desmond shared that the line will always be monitored and responded to appropriately according to the nature of the tip.
Chairman Jonathan Eaton said, “The more you put an effort toward being accessible and building a relationship with the community, the more effective you’ll be able to be.”
As the department entered into a three-year contract for a total of $6,000, Desmond said that they don’t have to renew the contract at the end of the three years if it’s ineffective.
Town Manager Jeff Hull provided expected dates for the fiscal year 2022-2026 town budget and the fiscal year 2021 state budget. Greg Bendel gave an update on behalf of the committee to hire an OPM for a new senior center, where they are now conducting public interviews for the final four candidates which he said will be recorded live and played later on WCTV.
After some deliberation on the possibility of being in a draught at this time next year, the board unanimously approved a request for a field hockey car wash on Sept. 12, 2021 at the Fourth of July parking lot. It was amended with a stipulation that the board notifies the applicants if there’s a water ban and they have to cancel.
Similarly, under the next item, community group events in 2021 and 2022 requiring road closures, the board voted to approve only if the state guidelines are allowing these kinds of events at that time.
The board reached something of an agreement upon the issue of former Selectman Mike McCoy’s status on the two committees he had served as selectman designee. In the first matter, they appointed Gary DePalma as the new selectman designee to the inhabitant by-law committee.
Now appropriately representing the selectman at the committee, DePalma appointed McCoy as his resident appointee.
“We haven’t seen eye to eye over the years, but he’s got a lot of knowledge and I’d ask the board to support my recommendation that he be appointed,” DePalma said.
They made no motion on a proposal to appoint McCoy to the Ice Rink and Recreation Facility Committee. While Eaton said the board could choose to appoint McCoy as a resident, Kevin Caira countered that they had allowed two board member designees and he couldn’t see how adding a resident appointee would be appropriate in place of a board member.
Announcements included some board member birthdays, anniversaries, and condolences. The board also congratulated Kevin Cavanaugh being promoted to sergeant and two new Wilmington firemen completing the academy.
The meeting ended with a Salute to Service honoring Matthew Palermo. The board will next meet on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.