Bedford Day 2021 is planned for Saturday, Sept. 18. The following Friday, the 24th, the Select Board will host the reception for Bedford’s 2021 Citizen of the Year – indoors. And on Monday, Nov. 1, voters are scheduled to gather in the Buckley Auditorium at Bedford High School for Special Town Meeting.
What impact will the evolving Covid-19 environment have on any or all of these planned highlights?
Select Board member William Moonan spoke cautiously about Bedford Day at Monday’s board meeting. He asked if the Recreation Department staff, which coordinates the parade and street fair, should advise participating organizations about limiting their inventories of perishables. “We owe it to them not to let them get too far,” he said.
Stanton pointed out that the Bedford Day communications have included the advisory that the activities will be subject to Covid-19 guidelines.
She said she will talk with Recreation Director Amy Hamilton and Health and Human Services Director Heidi Porter about any further “public health messaging.” The Select Board will be responsible for taking any action to modify or cancel the festivities, the manager said. The next regular meeting of the board is Sept. 13, five days before Bedford Day.
Indeed, on Wednesday Porter advised a participating organization by email that “Bedford Day is currently still on but the Select Board will make a final decision at their 9/13 meeting.”
Select Board member Emily Mitchell noted that she is active with two organizations participating in the Bedford Day fair. They are aware that the coronavirus may force a change in plans. “We know. Maybe this is not the year to buy the dunk tank.”
Board Chair Margot Fleischman pointed out that “you can always cancel a special town meeting.” Stanton added that Town Counsel George Hall would be called upon to execute such a step.
Stanton said the warrant now looks like it will consist of two small changes to the zoning bylaw, and some fiscal 2022 budget amendments resulting from the receipt of federal funds. That action would impact the new tax rate.
Stanton observed that such a light agenda could make it hard to realize a quorum of voters. “For many residents, 100 people is a lot in an enclosed space,” she pointed out. Open town meeting can only take place in person under state law.
The position of moderator will be vacant until the March election. That means the moderator will be chosen at the town meeting. Stanton said she has reached out to Betsey Anderson and Mark Siegenthaler, who served as moderator and deputy moderator, respectively, at the annual town meeting, about the Nov. 1 opportunity.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763