Town election postponed, new date to be decided
The Select Board has voted to postpone the town election until later this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic that has closed schools, meetings and businesses all over Dartmouth.
The election — which was set for April 7 — will take place at a date to be decided by the board, likely in June, following a vote at a meeting that was broadcast live on YouTube and Dartmouth Community Television.
According to Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes, the election must take place before June 30.
But as Select Board chair Stanley Mickelson noted, due to the circumstances, “the later the better.”
“Considering what’s going on, I’d like everybody to have an opportunity to feel comfortable going into our buildings and voting,” he noted.
The ballot will remain exactly the same.
Early voting and absentee ballots will be decided by the board after meeting with the town clerk to discuss options.
Dartmouth Town Hall remains closed to the public, and only essential or legally required board meetings and public hearings are taking place through April 7.
Other issues discussed at the meeting included an update on the town’s coronavirus preparations, and whether residents should keep using the orange Pay As You Throw trash bags.
Select Board member Shawn McDonald said that some residents expressed concern about going out in public to buy the bags, especially those with at-risk family members.
“The question is whether or not the town would be willing to relax or temporarily halt the use of the orange bags,” he stated.
Board members decided to look into the number of residents concerned about purchasing the bags and whether a temporary delivery system would be feasible.
MacInnes updated the Select Board on Dartmouth’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, stating that the town has set up an incident command system headed by health director Chris Michaud.
Every town department has developed continuity of operations plans to maintain services during the crisis, and essential workers have been identified.
“The goal is to provide as many town services as possible beyond just the minimum,” MacInnes noted.
For town services not available online, he added, officials are creating drop boxes at town hall for plans, permit applications, and other documents to be delivered.
Dartmouth Police Detective Kyle Costa has been appointed as the town’s Public Information Officer for any coronavirus-related information.
Public meetings and hearings are limited to those considered necessary, unless required by law or emergency circumstance, MacInnes stated. These measures will be in effect until April 7.
The coronavirus information page on the town website will be the central place for any virus-related updates. It is available at town.dartmouth.ma.us/board-health/pages/coronavirus-covid-19-information.
Residents can also call (508) 910-1844 for information.