Photo by Chris McMahon
By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Once a year, residents of Medfield come together to vote on town issues during the annual town meeting. This year’s meeting had residents setting up chairs on the turf rather than in the high school gym due to COVID-19 restrictions. Despite the unusual set-up, the number of voters who attended the meeting was reportedly larger than most meetings in recent years. This was almost certainly due to the issues on the table. In total, 37 warrants were heard during the meeting. Three warrants will particularly shape the future of the town: Warrant Articles 21, 22, and 29.
Article 21 stated that passing it would “Authorize the Board of Selectmen to initiate the process of seeking to aggregate electrical load through a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program.” This article was passed. As noted in the warrant article packet mailed to all residents, “CCA is a program that allows local governments to procure power on behalf of their residents from an alternative supplier while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing utility provider.” The article passed with little disagreement from voters.
Article 22 revolved around current climate goals and net-zero resolutions. It sought to have the town would adopt “a goal of eliminating or offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions originating in the town by the year 2050 or earlier.” The article requested the Board of Selectmen, Town Boards and Committees, businesses, and residents to take action by developing a “Net Zero Action Plan,” before March 2022. This warrant passed, but as noted in the article’s text, it is non-binding and will be in place to support the State Net Zero 2050 goal.
Article 29 brought a number of people in front of the microphone to voice their opinions and facts about the current Dale Street School debate. Brought to town meeting as a result of a resident petition, the article discussed: “To see if the Town will vote to recommend that the Medfield School and School Building Committee amend its proposal to the Massachusetts School Building Authority to keep Dale Street School at its current site for grades 4-5, as was implied in the 2018 Town Meeting Warrant Article, that funded the Feasibility Study, and to re-evaluate the certified enrollment projection provided in October 2018 so that it is based on actual student numbers.” Residents debated the idea of adding a new school to the Wheelock property to replace the current Dale Street School versus building a new structure or renovating the current school. The Select Board recommended dismissing the article, but it passed, 229 to 212 votes.
Over the course of the year, residents will see how their votes shaped the future of Medfield following the four-hour town meeting. All results for votes can be found on the town website here.