Here’s what coming up at Fall Town Meeting next week

Oct 13, 2021

Body cameras for the police department, additions to Dias Landing, and pay increases for town lifeguards will be voted on when Fall Town Meeting convenes virtually on Oct 19.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Town Meeting members, elected by voters of each of Dartmouth’s nine precincts, are eligible to vote on the 11 articles on this year’s warrant.

Members of the public will be able to observe proceedings on channel 18 in Dartmouth, via live stream on DCTV’s website at, or finally on our YouTube channel

Here’s a look at some of what’s coming up at the virtual meeting. For a full copy of the Town Meeting warrant, visit the town website at

Body cameras for police

Town Meeting members will be asked to approve a contract between the Dartmouth Police Department and a body camera vendor for its officers to use the equipment.

Dartmouth is among the first communities in the South Coast to test out the cameras for its police department.

In July, police tested the cameras as a trial run for potential permanent use. Sgt. Joe Rapoza, who oversaw the trial, previously noted that the two officers who wore the cameras had positive experiences.

The contract would last for up to five years, according to the warrant. It remains unclear what the cost of the equipment would be.

The Select Board unanimously approved the article.

Additions at Dias Landing

The Waterways Commission is asking to transfer money from its enterprise fund to match a grant for proposed additions to Dias Landing.

Last year, the town was awarded a $64,000 grant from the state’s Seaport Economic Council for a feasibility study on improving the town-owned boat launch on Gulf Road.

Project costs were estimated at between $150,000 and $250,000 for construction and other related maintenance expenses, Steve Bliven from the Urban Harbors Institute noted at a July 27 Waterways Commission meeting.

A final design is expected to be prepared in 2022 with construction estimated to be completed by 2023.

The Select Board unanimously approved the article.

Soccer field negotiations

The Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking to negotiate lease terms for soccer fields in town.

Town officials expressed some concern with the specifics of the initial article since the agreements would be for “no longer than ten years.” 

Board members instead wanted terms on par with other lease negotiations. Other properties, such as the town-owned McBratney parcel on Slocum Road, were approved to be leased for 30 years

The warrant article was changed by the Select Board on Sept. 27  to have leasing be for no longer than 30 years rather than 10.

The Select Board approved the article 4-1.

Bump in lifeguard pay

Town meeting members will be asked to increase the hourly lifeguard pay rates to be comparable with those of surrounding communities.

The state currently pays $17 an hour for lifeguards, while Dartmouth’s rate is $15.50 per hour.

The Select Board unanimously approved the article.

Capital plan

Town Meeting members will also be asked to approve $1,101,273 in capital plan spending. 

Money will go toward a multi-use digital mobile radio system ($69,772), a pickup truck replacement for the Department of Public Works ($35,001), and $400,000 for road repair and maintenance, among other needs.

Dartmouth Public Schools will also be requesting $150,000 from surplus revenue to replace furniture in various classrooms.

The Select Board voted unanimously to recommend the plan.

Citizens’ petition

There is also one citizens’ petition proposed by a group including Select Board member John Haran which requests the town set aside $100,000 in free cash to use as a matching portion for future grants.

“It’s like buying a fire truck — you don’t buy a fire truck after the fire, you buy it before,” Haran said. “I think it’s a good thing for us, just in case.”

If the money is not used within a year, Haran said, it goes back into the general fund.

The Select Board recommended the article 3-2.