Town Hall is closed to the public. Meetings are being conducted remotely. Check the town’s website, www.eastham-ma.gov, for information on meeting schedule changes and how to view and take part remotely.
Thursday, April 9
- Nauset Regional School Committee, 6 p.m. The meeting will be conducted remotely, with a recording and minutes posted on the Nauset website and town website afterward. To attend remotely, go to Zoom Meetings and enter ID 116 337 791. The password is 010311. To telephone in, call 1-646-558-8656.
Monday, April 13
- Select Board (tentative), 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 14
- Conservation Commission, 8:15 a.m., 555 Old Orchard Road and on to site visits
- Conservation Commission, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, April 15
- Planning Board, 5 p.m.
Pencil in June 15 for Town Meeting
It’s not official yet, but June 15 is the target date for the rescheduled annual town meeting. “Really the only date that allows us to have the town meeting and election in June would be if we pick June 15 … and have the election June 23 or 30,” Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe told the select board Monday.
Noting that “there are quite a few tendrils to town meeting,” Beebe said she’s working with Nauset Regional High School on the date and is seeking to secure electronic voting equipment. As for the election, she’s consulting with Town Clerk Cindy Nickerson “about how much early voting we could have. We could have at least two weeks of early voting by mail or drop-off ballot. That would allow people not to have to congregate on voting day.”
Nickerson and Town Moderator Steve Cole will be invited to the select board’s Tuesday, April 21 meeting (the Monday before is Patriots’ Day) to help settle on dates for town meeting and the election.
No Races in Town Election
Everyone running for town offices in the annual election is unopposed. Incumbent Aimee Eckman and planning board chair Art Autorino are seeking the two select board seats. Library trustees Al Alfano and Mary Shaw and Town Clerk Cindy Nickerson drew no challengers. Judy Lindahl is seeking another term on the elementary school committee, but no one took out papers for the second seat up for election; voters will have to write in a fellow citizen. Scott Kerry is the sole candidate for moderator.
The ballot will have four questions covering funding for new police radios and dispatch consoles; the proposed education, housing, and human services special purpose stabilization fund; and the town’s share of the Nauset Regional High School building project, as well as a petition calling on town officials to ask the governor and legislature to do more to see that spent fuel is stored safely at the closed Pilgrim nuclear power plant.
On Monday, Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe noted that, while the state has passed legislation allowing communities to hold annual town meetings after June 30, elections must still be held by that date. “We have ballot questions reliant on people’s understanding of the issues we are going to discuss at town meeting,” she said, stressing the need to have town meeting before the ballot vote.
Two Looks for Town Budget
The select board voted Monday to recommend most of the articles on the annual town meeting warrant but held off on a few at the request of Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe. One of the latter is the town’s operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
The current number, $31,310,410, “is what I’m calling the ‘A’ budget,” Beebe said. “I have developed a ‘B’ budget that cuts about $400,000 based on reductions in revenue… We most likely will see drastic reductions in some of our revenues and have to make decisions… I don’t want you to vote [now].”
New Finance Director
Wellfleet native Rich Bienvenue, the Yarmouth’s municipal operations director, will be coming back to this neck of the Cape as Eastham’s finance director and assistant town administrator. Citing his “fantastic credentials,” Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe told the select board Bienvenue, a C.P.A., worked for many years as an auditor specializing in municipalities.
“Rich spent the last two years figuring out ways to pay for all the wastewater needs of the town of Yarmouth, over $300 million, without raising the tax rate, which most of us in the business thought was totally impossible,” Beebe said. “Rich managed to pull it off.”
“I don’t think we can go wrong,” Select Board Chair Aimee Eckman said, “having a finance director named Rich.”
More Time for Shellfishermen
Commercial shellfish and aquaculture permit holders will have until July 31, rather than April 30, to submit applications for this year’s season. Shellfish Constable Nicole Paine requested the change “due to the current market disruption and hardships brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic,” and the select board agreed unanimously.
Honk for First Responders
The men and women of the fire and police departments won’t have to toot their own horns this Friday night. The community will do it for them.
The Eastham Elementary School Parents Group is inviting everyone to drive by the stations on Route 6 between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on April 10 to express appreciation for the town’s first responders in this trying time. Horn beeps, waves, posters, and flags are encouraged.
Parents group president Ashley Vasques Foster said she saw a posting from a Provincetown firefighter who “thanked people who drove by their station and beeped. They were so appreciative. I said, ‘Let’s make this possible for Eastham.’ ”
A celebration of the public safety officers’ dedication that also respected the need for social distancing made sense to the board, including a member whose husband is a firefighter. Foster wrote to both chiefs who, she said, “showed great appreciation.” Both plan to have department members outside to wave back. —Ed Maroney