Southampton’s TM a go for Aug. 15

  • Southampton Town Hall

Staff Writer
Published: 8/3/2020 6:00:30 PM

SOUTHAMPTON — After earlier delays because of the pandemic, the annual Town Meeting is finally a go.

Residents on Saturday, Aug. 15, will consider a pared-down, 18-article warrant with the goal of completing the outdoor meeting in about an hour. To reduce health risks to attendees, the 9 a.m. meeting will be held at Labrie Field, off Strong Road.

“The Select Board tried to keep it to what was absolutely necessary,” Town Administrator Ed Gibson said.

Some of the articles include approval of the town’s annual operating budget for fiscal 2021. The budget being voted on is about $17.6 million, slightly larger than the $17.5 million operating budget approved by Town Meeting for fiscal 2020.

Also on the warrant is approval for the funding of a $12,000 handicapped accessible ramp at the First Congregational Church of Southampton for its food pantry; funding for a new SUV police cruiser of about $56,500; and nearly $20,600 to replace the public address system at the William E Norris School.

Town Moderator Robert Floyd said the town will take many COVID-19 safety precautions at the meeting. These include the seating of individuals at least six feet apart from each other, sanitizing of port-a-potties by the town after each use, and strong encouragement that attendees wear face coverings, with those who choose not to being separated from those who do. Chairs will be provided and attendees are being asked not to bring their own.

“The town has to be on its best behavior,” Floyd said.

At its meeting last week, the Select Board agreed to delay three articles until fall Town Meeting to reduce the meeting’s length. The board had already delayed other articles at an earlier meeting. The Board of Health has recommended that Town Meeting take no longer than an hour and that only essential financial articles be included on the warrant.

“I’m pleased at their hard work,” said Floyd, of the Select Board’s efforts. “We’re gonna do this.”

The delayed articles concern funding for the construction of new pickleball courts, funding for equipment for Easthampton Media to broadcast from Town Hall, and funding for a dump truck.

The Select Board will also discuss at its meeting Tuesday whether to reduce the number of people required for a quorum at Town Meeting. The current quorum is 50, and the board can reduce that to as little as five people. Tuesday’s hearing on the matter begins at 7:05 p.m.

Additionally, an informational session on the warrant and Town Meeting procedures will be broadcast on Channel 191 on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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