Coronavirus could impact Nashoba Valley town meeting schedule

Coronavirus concerns lead to multiple town meetings being postponed

BOSTON MA. – MARCH 10: Gov. Charlie Baker holds an availability at the State House to address the state’s response to the coronavirus on March 10, 2020 in Boston, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

GROTON – The annual town meeting is where local communities vote on everything from the year’s budget to changes in town code. Because of the coronavirus concerns and the state’s stance on mass gatherings, that vital meeting could come into question.

Multiple Nashoba Valley towns are still scheduled to have their annual town meetings on time this year, though discussions are still on the table to change the date.

As of March 18, only Groton has changed the date of its town meeting from its original date of April 27 to May 18. The Groton Select Board made its decision during an emergency meeting on March 13.

Meanwhile Ayer, Harvard, Pepperell, Shirley and Townsend are all still planning to hold town meetings on their original dates.

Ayer will hold its town meeting on May 11, though the town is still in communication with the Center for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to determine any future decisions.

Harvard Town Clerk Marlene Kenney confirmed that the community’s annual town meeting is still scheduled for May 2. Kenney added that Town Moderator Bill Barton is still looking into a possible change of date.

Despite Gov. Charlie Baker ordering to limit gatherings in Massachusetts to no more than 25 people, Pepperell is also going forward with its originally-scheduled town meeting on May 4.

Shirley Town Administrator Michael McGovern confirmed on Wednesday that May 11 is still the date for this year’s town meeting, saying the town’s decisions relating to the virus are being made “hour-to-hour.”

Townsend Town Administrator James Kreidler also confirmed on Wednesday that the annual town meeting is still scheduled for May 5.