Make your plans for Town Meeting: Details for Saturday, May 22nd

Above: Last June, the Moderator led an abbreviated Annual Town Meeting on Neary Fields. Voters and officials are scheduled for a longer Town Meeting on the same fields a week from Saturday. (images cropped from Southborough Access Media video)

The Town has posted the detailed schedule for Annual Town Meeting on Saturday, May 22nd. It includes a planned lunch break for which residents are encouraged to BYO food.

The location, setup, and safety protocols are similar to last year. You can read all of those details here.

The big difference this year is that officials aren’t planning to table a big batch of Articles to a future meeting. You can also expect several Articles to require presentations and debate.

That doesn’t mean that all 39 Articles are expected to take time. You can expect the Moderator to suggest bundling a number of administrative/non-controversial Articles into a Consent Agenda for quick passage.*

The posted schedule for Saturday is 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

A lunch break is prescheduled from 1:00 to 2:00 pm. Don’t depend on that to take place on the dot. The timing of Town Meeting breaks tends to be impacted by the timing of presentations and debates on the floor.

You can pack a lunch to eat on the field. Or you can leave and return. (Wrist bands will be provided to expedite voter reentry.)

Though food isn’t being provided, free water will be offered to keep voters hydrated.

If there is more business left at the end of the day, the meeting will reconvene on Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 1:00pm.

The Town’s info page also includes links to the official Warrant and materials provided by Article proponents, which I’m sharing below:

Budget – Board of Health

Art 5 Salary Administration Plan – Proposed Revisions

Art 5 Salary Administration Plan – with Revisions redlined

Art 19 St. Mark’s Bell Tower Historic Renovation

Art 22 Trail on DCR Land

Art 35 Outdoor Illumination bylaw

Art 37 Noise bylaw and FAQs

Art 39 Truck Exclusion Flagg Road

*The Moderator can suggest the bundling. It’s up to Town Meeting voters to approve it and even one voter can pull one or more Articles from the bundle for discussion. I don’t have his proposed Consent Agenda list for this year yet.

Updated (5/17/21 10:32 am): Links were added above for the Board of Health Budget and Article 22.

I also found the Annual Town Report posted to the Board of Selectmen’s page. What isn’t posted is a Budget Book for this year. I reached out to Finance and learned there won’t be one this year. However, there will be a financial handout. Treasurer Brian Ballantine expects that to be posted by sometime tomorrow. To see if any new materials have been posted, click here.

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Julie Connelly
3 years ago

I understand this year is unprecedented, and I’m glad that we are able to have TM at all, however the timing is pretty awful for parents of school aged kids. I know we’ve rehashed the times and days and made adjustments recently to try to accommodate more residents, and that overall participation is pretty low, but this time of year is peak season for sports, end of year recitals/shows, and graduations. Parents whose voices in town are already under-represented will have a tough time participating this year.

3 years ago
Reply to  Julie Connelly

So true, Julie. Didn’t we start TM in the afternoon when it was outside last year? I wonder why that wasn’t done again this year. It’s too bad – due to the necessity of “dividing and conquering” for Saturday sports, the adults of my family won’t be able to attend TM.

Each year I question whether TM really is the way we should be doing things… it doesn’t feel like an ideal way of running things when such a tiny percentage of our town shows up. Now people like me who normally go won’t be able to… I wonder how the attendance and demographics will change.

Lisa Dunderdale
3 years ago

Beth, thanks for the update with links to articles for Town Meeting so we can be prepared for next weekend.

For those who have questions on the proposed Noise Bylaw (Article 37), proponents will have an information stop-by at the transfer station on Saturday 5/15 between 10am and 2pm.

Currently we don’t have a bylaw and if you make a noise complaint to the police they may respond but there is no guarantee that the issue will be resolved. No bylaw = no enforcement. A bylaw passed by the residents and approved by the Attorney General will provide clear guidelines to residents and service providers on time restrictions and appropriate noise levels to protect the health and well being of our residents and workers. It will also provide the enforcing body guidelines on how to evaluate and resolve complaints.

3 years ago


This is great and I am all for a noise ordinance in town. However, what will be done for the residents who do not use the Transfer Station to get the necessary information? I would like to know what the details are. Is it possible to post a link to the information somewhere? Thanks again for the information!

3 years ago

The town needs this! Please vote in favor.

Lisa Dunderdale
3 years ago
Reply to  Petunia

Dear Resident and Petunia,
Thank you for your interest and support for the Noise Bylaw. We had over 70 signatures on the Citizen Petition back in January 2020 and spoke to people at the Senior Center before the pandemic. More recently residents at the transfer station recognized a need for the Noise Bylaw. If you want to read the bylaw and Frequently Asked Questions, below are two links to information – the Noise Bylaw blog or if you prefer the Town Website for information.

Blog Spot:

Town Website:

Please pass along this information to neighbors and show your support at Town Meeting Saturday.
Thank you.
PS Food trucks are a great idea!

3 years ago

Perhaps the town could have had some food trucks come in for those who could not/do not bring lunch and need food. It would have been a nice addition to a long day. I know this isn’t supposed to be a “fun” day but having food readily available would alleviate the issue of people coming and going the getting back late, parking again, etc.

Another resident
3 years ago

Yes, I support the idea of food trucks at the meeting.
I can not believe that there was no plan to have food available for purchase. People will leave and not come back. Lets think of voter comfort since the goal is go get people there and to maintain a quorum.

3 years ago

Looking ahead at the weather, Saturday is going to be 81° and Sunday 88°. Let’s hope we get through it all on Saturday.

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