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Countdown Till Town Meeting

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Editor’s Note: The 2024 Annual Town Meeting convenes on Monday, May 6. As a special service to our readers and the registered voters of Saugus, we will reach out to all 50 Town Meeting members, focusing on one precinct each week, in the weeks leading up to the start of Town Meeting, asking members about their expectations for the upcoming Town Meeting. This week, we received responses from two of the five Town Meeting Members in Precinct 6. For next week’s newspaper, we will reach out to the five Town Meeting members from Precinct 7.


Question One: What do you consider the top priority for the town as you prepare for the opening of the 2024 Town Meeting session?

  Jeanie Bartolo: In reading the responses to the previous five precincts, it seems we are all on the same page with the issues facing the town. Priorities would be maintaining our AA + bond rating especially with the Northeast Regional Vocational School project coming due and how we will fund it. Commitment to fund our schools and work to keep our students in the district. Adding a School Resource Officer is a top priority, we have to keep our students and teachers safe. A third fire station for the west side of Saugus.

Bill Brown: I agree with my fellow Town Meeting members who feel that fiscal stability, a third fire station and a vocational school will be priorities facing the 2023-2025 Town Meeting. Identifying priorities is just a start; our challenge will be how we finance these projects. It is time that the town of Saugus negotiates a host community agreement with WIN Waste Innovations (Wheelabrator). A Host Community Agreement would reduce trash fees for the town by one million or more a year, freeing up cash to help cover the cost of these projects.


Question Two: What do you consider the top priority for residents in your precinct as you prepare for the opening of the 2024 Town Meeting session?

Jeanie Bartolo: The residents of Cliftondale Square and surrounding neighborhoods do not want massive apartment buildings built. They want to keep the integrity of our neighborhoods while enhancing the Square. The town purchased two properties and grant money was awarded for Clifftondale’s future. The Traffic Calming Study that was done this year resulted in the Square’s roads being painted to improve traffic flow with new signage and crosswalk blinking lights. My fellow Town Meeting Member, Bob Camuso, said – and I agree – we need to keep an eye on the Caddy Farm property considering its proximity to Cliftondale Square and the side streets. We need to look seriously at any future proposals with the vacant schools and how these properties can benefit Saugus. A third Fire Station for the west side of town. A study has already been completed so hopefully we can work towards this getting built. With traffic being a nightmare a third Fire Station will dramatically cut response time for Fire, Police and Ambulance and could save lives. Lastly, trash is a huge issue, we need all trash/recycle bins to have lids and enforcing littering laws to stop people from flinging everything out their car windows.

Bill Brown: There seem to be several priorities that concern folks in precinct 6, the traffic that is passing through the town is traveling too fast with no regards for speed limits. Large “super sized” dump trucks are using smaller streets, creating dangerous situations. Empty schools and other buildings are a concern for many residents.


Question Three: Are you working independently or in collaboration with other members on articles to be introduced for this year’s Town Meeting? Could you please elaborate? Summarize your article and what you hope to accomplish.

Jeanie Bartolo: I am not currently working on any Town Meeting Articles.

Bill Brown: During my tenure on Town Meeting, I have had the great pleasure of working with several different Town Meeting members inside and outside of my precinct. I am currently working with another Town Meeting member in my precinct on a flooding issue within the neighborhood.


Question Four: Please feel free to share any other views about the upcoming Town Meeting.

Jeanie Bartolo: The start of the Annual Town Meeting is always exciting for me. I love seeing what we are going to accomplish especially this year with so many new members. To help them (and as a refresher course for us re-elected Town meeting members) with the laws and guidelines of Town Meeting Peter Manoogian, Carla Scuzzarella and Town Moderator, Steve Doherty, and many other guest speakers presented a series of educational forums that will help the new members navigate and be comfortable in their new role as Town Meeting Members. These forums gave all a chance to meet each other before getting down to business on May 6th.

I want to thank Mark Vogler and the Advocate for doing this series, and the previous series at the Saugus Public Library (“Saugus Over Coffee”). I believe it opens a dialogue for the residents to get to know their Town Meeting Members.

  Bill Brown: I enjoy my time on Town Meeting as it reminds me that we have made it through another winter and town meeting signals the beginning of spring and warmer weather.

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