Wenham Selectmen Push for Regular Meetings With Hamilton Counterparts
The Wenham Board of Selectmen on Tuesday said they favor coming up with a regular schedule to meet with Hamilton Selectmen about shared issues.
Wenham Selectmen are pushing to set up regular monthly meetings with their Hamilton counterparts.
Molly Martins, chairman of the Wenham Board of Selectmen, proposed the idea Tuesday.
Martins said town officials from both communities might be surprised if they looked at a complete list of all the “collaborative items” that are in the works involving both towns.
“I know it is hard to think about more meetings,” she said, but stressed that the meetings could help more efficiently complete the various initiatives that are underway that proposed further partnerships between the two towns.
Last year, both towns agreed to share a Council on Aging director and grounds maintenance functions began to be done cooperatively earlier this year. A plan is in the works for building maintenance functions to be combined for both towns and the regional school district.
John Clemenzi, a Wenham selectman, said he supported “more routine” meetings with Hamilton Selectmen but said he was not sure it would be needed monthly.
“For me it almost seems too much, depending on what we have on the agenda,” Clemenzi said.
Selectman Patrick Wilson said the two Boards of Selectmen should schedule regular joint meetings.
“There’s always a lot there to look at, analyze and discuss,” he said, noting that about 80 percent of the town’s costs already go towards shared functions with Hamilton, including the schools.
“Sharing a school district means we share a lot,” Martins said.
Wenham Town Administrator Jeff Chelgren encouraged Martins to also contact Alexa McCloughan, chairman of the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School Committee, about including that board in the meetings.
The chairman of the Hamilton Board of Selectmen says she wants Hamilton Selectmen to continue to work on ways to save money by working with Wenham.
“Hamilton and Wenham are uniquely joined in the financial struggle of maintaining strong schools and town services, while preserving our open fields and village-like downtowns,” said Hamilton Selectmen Chairman Jennifer Scuteri, in response to an inquiry from Patch after Tuesday night’s Wenham Selectmen’s meeting. “Every tax dollar counts and every tax dollar needs to be spent effectively.”
For years, Hamilton and Wenham have been very successful in sharing costs and services, Scuteri said, “and to the extent we can continue to move forward together and continue to find new sharing opportunities and initiatives, all of our residents will benefit.”
Scuteri said Hamilton Selectmen “will continue to identify joint opportunities and to that end, will suggest to our Board that we meet more frequently with our Selectmen in Wenham."
The two boards last met with each other last month.
Chelgren suggested the meetings occur regularly on a Tuesday night in the large meeting room at Hamilton-Wenham Library.
Martins said she supports the library as the meeting location, since the building was constructed jointly and remains jointly operated. The building sits in Hamilton and the parking lot is in Wenham.
“I love the symbolism of that,” Martins said.