WILMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen approved updates to the voting precincts in town before they received communications and agreed on various trainings and appointees.
Temporary Town Clerk Elizabeth Lawrenson and GIS Manager Tony LaVerde presented the shifting of precincts proposed as required by state rule. Town Manager Jeff Hull explained that the state would allow each precinct to hold no more than 4,000 residents.
Some of the other requirements Lawrenson mentioned were making sure that no area was too narrow or causing disadvantages to minorities. She shared that the state had received their proposed changes and sent it back as acceptable.
LaVerde explained that only 203 households in town would be changing precincts. Hull added that they did their best to minimize the impact of these shifts.
As for communicating the precinct changes to residents, he included a note along with the census this January that would identify the household’s voting precinct and a special card for those changing precincts. He also said that the town would use social media and other avenues.
Selectman Greg Bendel suggested that the affected households specifically be targeted with direct mail or phone calls to let them know.
One other change that Judy O’Connell brought up is that some folks might have a different state representative because of the precinct shifts. Hull assured the board that this would also be communicated.
Kevin Caira asked what the count of residents in each precinct was before the change, but they only had the numbers from the 2010 census readily available.
The board voted to approve the re-precincting.
Under communications, the first memo that Hull presented pertained to the town’s August 2021 OPEB unfunded obligations. He shared that with the discipline the town has made in putting money into the trust fund, the current obligation is down to under $95 million.
He also included confirmation from Reading Municipal Light Department that the electric vehicle stations were approved for the two locations previously agreed upon. The license will be in effect for the next 30 years.
Hull updated the board with the follow-up information received in memos from K. P. Law and the head of the MBTA Advisory Board since the last meeting. The MBTA Advisory Board meets 6-8 times a year virtually, although they’re waiting to reconvene until Governor Charlie Baker makes his appointment to the MBTA Board of Directors.
K. P. Law reported that they could offer training during the workday or evenings, with the topics subject to the expertise of the personnel.
The board named Judy O’Connell as the new representative on the MBTA Advisory Board and agreed to the trainings with K. P. Law that Hull had originally suggested. These will be about avoiding harassment and questions about Town Meeting.
Other communications concerned RMLD’s National Power Week Oct. 4-10, Town Cleanup Day on Oct. 2, and open seats in the Metropolitan Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization for their upcoming election.
The board approved all of the space requests that night. They agreed to let the WHS Girls Basketball Club hold a car wash on Oct. 3 at the municipal parking lot.
Michael Barry requested to use the Swain Green for a performance with his theatre company Misfit Artists on Oct. 23. O’Connell asked for a specific time for the Swain Green use, and Hull clarified that he had followed up with Barry but hadn’t heard back yet. They approved given that a start time would be confirmed in the future.
The last space request came from Suzanne Neil on behalf of America Needs Fatima to host a Public Square Rosary on Oct. 16. Lilia Maselli expressed that she did not support the holding of the prayer service due to the lack of inclusivity in the group.
Bendel reasoned that the board shouldn’t make these kinds of decision based on whether they like a group’s stance, but Maselli still voted no. The rest of the board voted to approve.
They also voted to approve signing the change to the ABCC licensing authority certification for the 99 Restaurant with officers and directors edited. They only didn’t approve the application for Jared Rankin to be Constable because the application wasn’t fully filled out.
They concluded with a Salute to Service honoring the service of Francis E. “Frank” Downs Jr.
The next Board of Selectmen meeting will be on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.