Westborough to proceed with Town Meeting Saturday, June 20

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By Jennifer L. Grybowski, Contributing Writer

Westborough – The Board of Selectmen and Board of Health met with Town Moderator John Arnold again June 16 to discuss the facilitation of Town Meeting, which is scheduled for this Saturday, June 20 at 12 p.m. at Westborough High School. Arnold reported there was another walk through earlier in the day to nail down logistics, and that there is a post-set-up walkthrough set up for Friday evening.

Several board members praised the group working on the project, but Selectman Allen Edinberg said he’d received a series of emphatic texts from a resident who was unhappy with the plans. The resident suggested having an indoor meeting was not safe, and that the meeting should be held outside. Further, the resident alleged the current plan was disenfranchising a significant portion of the community and putting themselves or family members at risk in order to participate.

“There is always a risk, and it’s really just about balancing the risks,” Arnold said.

A lengthy discussion was held about if the meeting could be held outside, and what the pros and cons of that would be. An outside meeting was discussed in a previous meeting, and was decided against because of things like weather, difficulty in erecting a tent, and inability to obtain a suitable projection unit.

Edinberg said one idea was to print out presentations, have people stay in their cars, and use the radio system to broadcast the meeting. Board of Health Member Alan Erlich said there were carbon monoxide concerns with having hundreds of cars idling in a parking lot.

“We believe the plan that’s been proposed represents a very reasonable balance,” he said.

Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Shelby Marshall said she thought it was too short of notice to have too many people to pivot. However, she did wonder if there was a better time overall to hold the meeting. Board of Health Chair Nathan Walsh responded that he didn’t see a better time, and that this may be the only window they have to hold the meeting because COVID-19 cases could start increasing again at any time now that the economy is opening back up.

The groups agreed to figure out a way to set up some appropriate outdoor seating for those who may be uncomfortable being inside.