Harwich Looking to Expand Accessibility of Town Meeting

HARWICH – Following a successful annual town meeting, Harwich town officials discussed the turnout and ways to improve accessibility going forward. 

Between two late nights of discussion and voting, select board chair Michael MacAskill said a lot can be done to improve the experience for voters and attract those hesitant to attend.

“I’m not sure that Monday and Tuesday night is the right time. I’m not sure that an all-day event on Saturday would be better.”

He added that the first night’s end time of 10:45 pm was a challenge for most, let alone the almost 1 am stop time of the second night.

“The seniors staying up until 12:45 am—not a lot of them did. A lot of them left. That’s a tall ask.”

“It’s a pretty late night when you’re starting at seven.  So I’d like the board to explore other times. I’ve been asked many times for Saturday or Sunday town meetings. I think we need to make an effort to get people involved.”

The discussion echoes comments made in towns across the region that have wrestled with how to make their annual meetings easier to attend for those with busy schedules or who lack transport. 

Board member Mary Anderson also discussed the addition of material in the next town meeting packet that would explain the different kinds of funding available for articles, as well as more visual aids like maps that may help discussions move quicker.

Town Administrator Joe Powers congratulated the work of town staff in preparing this year’s meeting, and said that the work for next year’s meeting is already underway and there are plenty of places that can be improved on ahead of the date.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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