WILMINGTON, MA — Town Manager Jeff Hull recently highlighted the work of two new town committees — the Economic Development Committee and the Ice Rink & Recreational Facility Committee — and the recently revived Inhabitant By-law Study Committee — in his quarterly Town Topics column:
The Inhabitant By-law Study Committee is resuming work to complete a review of the Town’s Inhabitant By-laws. These by-laws cover a wide variety of topics including the date and time for Annual Town Meeting, the requirement that residents recycle, the process for disposition of town owned property, and procedures for earth removal to name a few examples. In cities these local laws are referred to as ordinances. Changing the Inhabitant By-laws requires a majority vote at a future town meeting. This committee is advisory in nature and is expected to make recommendations to the Board of Selectmen which may lead to articles being placed on a future town meeting warrant.
It is expected that the first topic of discussion for the Inhabitant By-Law Study Committee will be whether to recommend a change in the date of annual town meeting. Currently the Inhabitant By-laws state that the annual town meeting “…be held at ten-thirty a.m. on the Saturday following the Election of Town Officers in the year for which the warrant is drawn.” Town elections are held on the fourth Saturday of April meaning that annual town meetings are currently held on either the last Saturday in April or the first Saturday in May. Suggestions have ranged from scheduling the annual town meeting to take place on one or more week nights to scheduling the meeting to occur earlier in the calendar year.
The Board of Selectmen has appointed an Economic Development Committee to assess the current state of business in Wilmington and make recommendations to the Town Manager and Board of Selectmen about initiatives to pursue. Questions that the committee is expected to address are whether the Town should encourage a greater level of business activity and whether the Town should seek to encourage a different mix of businesses than currently exists. With vacancies existing for an extended period of time along the high visibility corridor of Route 38/Main Street, the committee will seek to develop an understanding of the factors including the private sector retail economy and the local government environment that may be contributing to these vacancies.
Following the disposition of the court case involving the Elinor M. Ristuccia Arena the Town’s high school hockey program and youth hockey program continue to face the challenge of having a place to call “home ice.” The groups are seeking to have access to ice time that meets the demands of their programs, at times that are predictable and consistent and at rates in line with other ice rinks in the area. Additionally, there is a desire to investigate the opportunity for creating an indoor recreational facility either in conjunction with an ice rink or as a future expansion to a rink facility. Such an indoor recreational facility might offer batting cages or space for soccer, basketball, lacrosse or other activities. Selectmen have appointed a committee to evaluate the options for addressing these needs and report back to them with their results and recommendations.
As Town Topics goes to print, these committees are expected to have held their first meeting and will meet monthly. The meetings are open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend. Agendas are posted by the Town Clerk’s office on a bulletin board at Town Hall and on the Town’s website at www.wilmingtonma.gov/minutes-and-agendas. Input from residents is strongly encouraged.
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