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2012 draft warrant eyes e-voting, history, parking meters

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Likely for as long as Town Meeting has been democracy's voice across New England since the 17th century, members have registered their votes with raised hands or by standing. This spring, Arlington's meeting will consider whether to pursue electronic voting.

YourArlington posted the draft of the 2012 warrant Feb. 14. The final, official version was posted March 7 here >>


COMMENT? What do you think of the articles submitted for this spring's meeting? Are you a proponent and would like to add information about your particular particle? You may do so at the comment link below this story. For the comment to be published, you must sign your full, real name.


Three articles, among 73 total, are related to electronic voting -- whether to seek it and whether to pay for it. Among the other agenda items are:

-- Historical articles, those that aim to emphasize Arlington's role in American history, including Uncle Sam;

-- Just one canine-related article, aimed at allowing more off-leash time during evening hours;

-- A measure to control leaf blowers, again;

-- Articles that address how taxes affect the elderly;

-- A request to study town parking meters;

-- A request for $25,000 aimed to reduce concussions among Arlington High School athletes;

-- Two Mass. Ave.-related articles, targeting eminent domain involving sidewalks and ballot question about travel lanes; and

-- A national political issue made local -- a request for a resolution about Citizens United, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that is having a broad impact on political fund raising nationally.

The warrant includes all of the usual articles; this summary aims to provide a taste. Once a Town Meeting warrant moves beyond the draft stage, the article numbers change.

Here are the articles referred to above:

ELECTRONIC
ARTICLE 21 BYLAW AMENDMENT/ELECTRONIC TOWN MEETING VOTING

To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town Bylaws to provide for electronic voting at Town Meeting; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of Eric D. Helmuth and 10 registered voters)

ARTICLE 22 ESTABLISH COMMITTEE TO STUDY ELECTRONIC VOTING FOR TOWN MEETING

To see if the Town will vote to establish a committee of Town Meeting to be appointed by the Moderator to study electronic voting for Town Meeting, determine a charge to the committee as to its responsibility and duties; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of Eric D. Helmuth and 10 registered voters)

ARTICLE 53 APPROPRIATION/ELECTRONIC TOWN MEETING VOTING EQUIPMENT

To see of the Town will vote to appropriate a sum of money for the purchase or lease of electronic voting equipment for use at Town Meeting, determine how said sum will be raised and expended; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of Eric D. Helmuth and 10 registered voters)

HISTORY
ARTICLE 10 ZONING BYLAW AMENDMENT/BANNERS FOR HISTORIC SITES

To see if the Town will vote to amend the Zoning Bylaw to permit placement and display of promotional, informational and/or directional signage relative to Town historic sites; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

ARTICLE 18 BYLAW AMENDMENT/HISTORIC DISTRICTS

To see if the Town will vote to amend Title VII, Article 4, Section 5 of the Town Bylaws (“Historic Districts”) to clarify and /or simplify enforcement of the Town Bylaws or General Laws, Chapter 40C governing activities in Historic Districts; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of the Historic District Commissions)

ARTICLE 52 APPROPRIATION/SIGNAGE FOR HISTORIC SITES

To see if the Town will appropriate a sum of money for the acquisition and placement of promotional, informational and/or directional signage relative to four historic Town sites: the Cyrus E. Dallin Art Museum, the Jason Russell House, the Uncle Sam Memorial Statue, and the Old Schwamb Mill, said sum ($20,000) to be raised by the general tax and expended under the direction of the Town Manager; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of the Arlington Tourism and Economic Development Committee)

ARTICLE 56 APPROPRIATION/UNCLE SAM COMMITTEE 2012

To see if the Town will vote to appropriate $1,500 for expenses related to the upgrade of Uncle Sam Park, signage, lighting, and tourist signboard and the Uncle Sam 2012 Bicentennial groundbreaking celebration; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of the Uncle Sam Committee)

DOGS
ARTICLE 24 BYLAW AMENDMENT/EVENING PARK USE

To see if the Town will vote to amend Section 8 (“Animal Control”) of Article 1 (“Use of Areas Under Control of Park Department”) of Title IV (“Public Areas”) and Section 2 (“Leashing of Dogs”) subsection D. of Article 2 (“Canine Control”) of Title VIII (“Public Health and Safety”) of the Bylaws so as to allow additional off-leash canine recreation time during evening hours (6 p.m. until park close) in the parks under the control of the Parks and Recreation Commission in a similar manner and with similar oversight and restrictions as is currently allowed from park opening time until 9 a.m.; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of Meghan Henning and 10 registered voters)

LEAF BLOWERS
ARTICLE 25 BYLAW AMENDMENT/LEAF BLOWER REGULATION

To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town Bylaws to ban or otherwise regulate the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, determine any fines for violation of said bylaw; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of Carol Band and 10 registered voters)

TAX IMPACT ON ELDERLY
ARTICLE 29 VOTE/LOWER INTEREST RATE FOR PROPERTY TAX DEFERRALS FOR ELDERLY RESIDENTS

To see if the Town will vote to further lower the rate of interest that accrues on property taxes deferred by eligible seniors under Clause 41A of Section 5 of Chapter 59 of the General Laws, which was set at a minimum six per cent by vote of 2006 Annual Town Meeting under Article 28; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

ARTICLE 30 VOTE/INCREASE ANNUAL INCOME LIMIT FOR ELDERLY RESIDENTS TO QUALIFY FOR PROPERTY TAX DEFERRALS

To see if the Town will vote to raise income limits for elderly residents to qualify for property-tax deferral as provided in Clause 41A of Section 5 of Chapter 59 of the General Laws, to determine the source of funding for such increased exemptions, including making any necessary fund transfers; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

ARTICLE 31 HOME RULE LEGISLATION/INCREASE TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR ELDERLY RESIDENTS

To see if the Town will vote to request and authorize the Board of Selectman to file Home Rule Legislation with the General Court (1) to permit the Assessors to grant increased tax exemptions for elderly residents of the Town in accordance with Clause 41C of Section 5 of Chapter 59 of the General Laws; and/or (2) to raise income and asset limits to qualify for such exemptions, to determine the source of funding for such increased exemptions, including making any necessary fund transfers; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

PARKING METERS
ARTICLE 54 APPROPRIATION/PAID PARKING STUDY

To see if the Town will vote to appropriate funds for the investigation and implementation of paid parking (“parking meters” or similar instruments) in select currently marked, short term parking spaces, determine how said funds shall be raised and expended; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of Carl Wagner and 10 registered voters)

CONCUSSIONS
ARTICLE 58 APPROPRIATION/ARLINGTON HIGH SCHOOL CONCUSSION REDUCTION PROGRAM

To see if the Town will vote to appropriate $25,000 to defray the expense of purchasing, leasing, or bonding of capital equipment to reduce the likelihood of traumatic brain injuries in students participating in athletics at the Arlington Public High School for helmets, pads and baseline testing software; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of Stephen Harrington and 10 registered voters)

MASS. AVE.
ARTICLE 69 VOTE/RESCIND EMINENT DOMAIN AUTHORITY-MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE SIDEWALKS

To see if the Town will vote to rescind its authorization for the Board of Selectmen to acquire by eminent domain, purchase, or other means, land interests for the purpose of Mass DOT project 604687 on Massachusetts Avenue, authorized by vote of Article 7 of the Warrant for the Special Town Meeting of the Town of Arlington at the session held on May 9, 2011; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of Mark H. Kaepplein and 10 registered voters)

ARTICLE 70 VOTE/ADD BALLOT QUESTION ON MASS. AVE. TRAVEL LANE COUNT

To see if the Town will vote that the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Arlington shall cause to be placed on a town election ballot prior to May 2013 for following question:

"Shall the Board of Selectmen reduce shared vehicle travel lanes from the currently practiced four lanes to three or two lanes on Massachusetts Avenue from the Cambridge City line approximately one mile westerly to Pond Lane?"

YES ______

NO ______ 

or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of Mark H. Kaepplein and 10 registered voters)

CITIZENS UNITED
ARTICLE 73 RESOLUTION/US SUPREME COURT DECISION IN CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION 

To see if the Town will vote to adopt a resolution regarding the US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission; or take any action related thereto. (Inserted at the request of Richard Smith and 10 registered voters)


Town Meeting information at town website


This story was first published Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, and updated March 7.

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