UPDATED June 27: The Arlington Select Board supported a new policy consistent with the town’s net-zero plan and to address an updated budget for Arlington’s Community Development Block Grant. Members also approved  appointments and reappointments, OK'd the town’s third-quarter finance report and approved requests for various events. Chair Stephen W. DeCourcey led the nearly two-hour hybrid meeting on Monday, June 25, attended by members Lenard Diggins, Eric Helmuth, John Hurd and Diane Mahon.

The hoped-for future: zero emissions

The board unanimously approved the Zero Emission Vehicle First policy, which would require all town departments to prioritize purchasing zero-emission vehicles, such as battery, fuel cell electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. 

Arlington has committed to its own net-zero plan and to transitioning to all zero-emission vehicles by 2030, so this sets the town on the right path, said Talia Fox, the town’s sustainability manager. 

This policy will also push Arlington toward becoming a “Climate Leader Community,” as it is one of the five requirements the town must meet before Dec. 31 to receive that designation. 

“I think this may in a positive way trigger us to kind of rethink how we do capital (purchases), because a lot of these benefits are really down the road,” said Helmuth. 

Member acknowleded that the costs of zero-emission vehicles initially will be higher than for previous vehicles purchased; grant funding can cover some of these, but not all. But the board discussed the benefits that these purchases would have. 

“The payoff is the reduction in risk …we reduce the chances that we’re going to have a disastrous event that will take out the facilities,” said Diggins. “If not for us, for our region, our state . . . our planet, because we really do need to do things differently -- and it's going to cost us to do it.” 

Approved updated budget for CDBG

The board approved an updated budget for town Community Development Block Grants (this document immediately downloads to one's device upon clicking). 

The town received more than $1 million in new grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the coming year. The board's CBDG subcommittee recommended allocations for the funds to six categories: (1) affordable housing (2) economic development (3) public services (4) public facilities (5) infrastructure and parks and (6) planning or administration.

As a member of the subcommittee, Hurd moved to approve, expressing his contentment with the increase in funds. “It was a good result to find out we had more money, so, happy to support this,” said Hurd. He said that prior to receiving the new money, $7,928 was all that was left from before and that it was given to well-known local social-service nonprofit Arlington Eats.

The board unanimously moved to approve; DeCourcey said that this is one of the "unique votes," wherein he calls for the vote and the town manager also votes along with the board. 

Appointments, reappointments made
    • Eugene O’Neill to the Public Memorial Committee;
    • Beth Cohen, Stephen Makowka and Carol S. Tee to the Arlington Historic District Commission;
    • Jessica Chao to the Commission for Arts and Culture; and
    • Jim Munsey to the Council on Aging 
In other business, the board: 
    • Approved the third-quarter financial report for the fiscal year 2024, which consists of general, enterprise and other funds and showed expenses, articles and revenue for the town during the quarter; 
    • Approved a request for Fourth of July Banners by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce during the month of July;
    • Approved a request for the Arlington International Film Festival banners during the month of November;
    • Approved a request for a contractor/drain layer license to New England Drilling & Rock Splitting Corp.;
    • Approved special (one-day) beer and wine licenses for five dates throughout the summer for the Arlington Reservoir Thursday Night Concert Series to take place on June 27, July 11, July 25, August 8 and August 22;
    • Approved a special (one-day) beer and wine license for the Arlington Reservoir Dogs Event on August 25;
    • Approved special (one-day) beer and wine licenses for four dates throughout July at Jason Russell House for a beer garden to take place on July 6, July 13, July 20 and July 27;
    • Moved to table the appointment of Sara Goodrich to the LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission because she did not attend the meeting; this decision will be moved to a future meeting;
    • Approved a food vendor license for a new restaurant, Namaste Spice, to be located at 159 Mass. Ave;
    • Approved a “No parking here to corner sign” on both sides of Alfred Road at its intersection with Lake Street; 
    • In a discussion of new business, Mahon said that there had been more than one crash at Churchill and Wildwood avenues. She said this had been brought to her attention by a resident whom she chose to keep anonymous that perhaps crashes there could have been due to a town tree blocking the stop sign. Mahon requested that the town acknowledge and do something about this situation, adding that she was going to go check it out herself. 
Watch ACMi video of Select Board meeting of Monday, June 24, 2024:

June 16, 2024: Select Board expands, extends overnight parking pilot another year

This news summary by freelance writer Jessie Castellano was published Tuesday, June 25, 2024. It was updated Thursday, June 24, to add the video recording from YourArlington media partner ACMi local cable television station.