HANSON — The Board of Selectmen has set a tentative date of 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 3 for the special Town Meeting — at the W-H football field bleachers, so long as it could be arranged with the school district.
Selectman Matt Dyer has suggested moving the Town Meeting to a Saturday, according to Selectmen Chairman Kenny Mitchell who said it was a good idea since the fall session’s warrant is usually shorter and that location is also a concern.
He said Hanson Middle School is not an ideal option and that they should explore options of having it outside or on a Saturday.
Town Counsel Kate Feodoroff and Town Moderator Sean Kealy said logistics for that session will involve weather and lighting conditions and quorum size.
“I’ve been apprised that there are one or two items that are really essential to get done,” Kealy said. “If it’s the opinion of Selectmen that we really need to have a meeting in October, then we should go forward with it.”
He urged that the warrant be kept very manageable, if not kind of short to move people in and out, Kealy said his preference would be to hold Town Meeting outside.
“Obviously, there are weather issues that we didn’t face in July,” he said. The ability to attract a quorum is probably a bigger concern, according to Kealy.
He noted the state is allowing towns to go below their quorum requirement — Hanson’s is 100 and can go as low as 20-25 under special legislation passed to address the coronavirus pandemic. Kealy suggested 50.
“A lot of people might appreciate a Saturday,” Kealy said.
Town athletic fields are also closed to activity until after a killing frost from dusk to dawn due to the elevated risk of EEE and West Nile Virus in the area.
Feodoroff said the emergency public gathering guidelines exempt Town Meetings as a town’s legislative body for indoor meetings, but if the town preferred an outdoor meeting, a Saturday is permissible.
Mitchell advocated meeting outside on a Saturday. With Oct. 10 being a likely date.
Selectman Jim Hickey suggested using high school fields would permit use of the field stands so chairs would not be needed. A consent agenda of grouped, non-controversial items — as had been done in July — was suggested.
Dyer agreed, based on the high school facilities and the mosquito concerns an outdoor meeting on a Saturday was preferable.