Belmont Can Vote By Mail On June 23 Town Election, But You’ll Need To Request It


Belmont voters will have the opportunity to vote by mail in the upcoming Town Election on Tuesday, June 23. But you’ll need to request in writing a mail-in ballot from the Town Clerk’s Office in order to cast a ballot.

Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman has issued the hows and whens of voting in all elections in 2020 on Friday, April 17.



The Belmont Select Board voted to postpone the annual Town Election from April 7 to June 23, due to the COVID-19 State of Emergency. On March 23, Massachusetts passed special legislation to allow all voters to qualify for absentee voting because of health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In keeping with the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations for social distancing and Governor Charlie Baker’s State of Emergency and Stay at Home order, the Belmont Town Clerk encourages all voters of Belmont to consider voting by mail, either as an Absentee Voter or as an Early Vote by Mail Voter. Every voted absentee ballot received by the close of polls will be counted on Election Day.  

How To Apply 

Absentee Ballots and Early Vote By Mail Ballots can only be mailed to those voters who request them in writing, though every voter is eligible during the pandemic. The written request must include the voter’s signature or that of an immediate family member or person living with the voter. There are two ways to accomplish this,

  • Complete and submit an application. Application forms are available on the Town Clerk pages on the Town of Belmont website: and select the link on the left of the page.
  • Write a letter that contains the voter’s name, voting address, signature, the mailing address for the ballot and contact information for the voter.

Voters may choose to request Absentee Ballots be mailed to them just for the annual Town Election or for the remainder of 2020. If for all year, the voter must also include which party ballot to send for the Sept. 1, Massachusetts State Primary: Democratic, Green-Rainbow, Libertarian, or Republican. 

Ways to Submit A Request For An Absentee or Early Voting Ballot by Mail

  • Email the signed Absentee Ballot or Early Voting Ballot request to (by a clear scan, pdf, or photo).
  • Fax to 617-993-2601, 
  • Place it in the Town Clerk drop box at Town Hall (located directly outside the doors facing the parking lot) or mail it to Town Clerk, 455 Concord Avenue, Belmont, MA  02478. 

Ballots will be mailed out in the order requests are received and voters are urged to file requests as soon as possible. The legal deadline to file a request for an Absentee or Early Voting by Mail Ballot is Noon, Monday, June 22, but realistically voters should allow plenty of extra time for mail delivery in both directions. Ballots may be returned by mail or placed in the Town Clerk DropBox, as described above.

Absentee Ballots Already Received Are Valid for June 23.

If you’ve already requested and received an Absentee Ballot for the election, bearing the original April 7 date, please vote that ballot and mail it in. New ballots will not be printed for the June 23 date; the special legislation allows the use of ballots that were already printed for the original election date.  

Other Voting and Election Information

For more information about voting or to see the Annual Election Ballot, visit the Belmont Town Clerk’s pages on the Town website at and select a topic in the green Elections links on the left of the page. Questions should be sent by email to   or by phone at 617-993-2603 during the pandemic.

Register to Vote Now

Only Belmont residents who are registered to vote by June 12 will be eligible to vote in this year’s June 23 Annual Town Election. Once you’re registered to vote and remain at the same address, there is no need to register again.

To register to vote, or change your voting address, party affiliation or name, to find out whether and where you are already registered, or where you vote, visit: 

No Tax Delay In Belmont; Treasurer Will Work With Residents Seeking Assistance

Photo: Homer Building, Belmont Treasurer’s office

Belmont will not be joining a growing number of communities around the Commonwealth offering tax relief, including penalty waivers and deadline extensions, to residents in response to the COVID-19 crisis, according to town officials.

The Belmont Select Board will follow a request from Town Treasurer Floyd Carman not to follow the lead of Boston, Springfield, and towns such as Milford in pushing back real estate tax deadlines.

“We’ve been getting a lot of requests and comments” on extending the time residents can pay their taxes to June 1 rather than current May 1 deadline, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin told the Select Board at its Monday, April 13 remote meeting.

In an email to the board, Carman said the major reason for rejecting a delay is due to the likely contraction in cash flow entering town coffers. With Belmont expecting a rapid fall in certain revenue streams in the final quarter of the fiscal year, this is not the time to slow down payments.

Earlier in the meeting, Garvin told the board the town needs “some significant sufficient cash flow to be able to pay our bills until the end of the year because we don’t know over the next two and a half months what’s going to happen.”

Rather than a blanket date change, Carmen will work with residents on a case by case basis.

“The goal is for those members of the community that actually require some relief, there is the desire to collaborate … as opposed to just have an extra 30 days,” said Select Board Chair Tom Caputo.

If residents are having difficulties paying their taxes, they should contact Carman at his office (617) 489-8234) and he will work out a payment plan, according to the email.

Brownsberger, Rogers Holding Zoom Town Hall/Q&A On COVID-19 Thursday, April 16

Photo: Will Brownsberger (left) and State Rep. Dave Rogers

State Sen. Will Brownsberger and State Rep. Dave Rogers are hosting a Zoom Town Hall on Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. to discuss the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answer questions submitted by viewers.  

To join the Zoom Meeting, link to this address: Meeting ID: 947 9121 0043 

The Town Hall will also stream live on the Belmont Media Center’s website and Facebook page

Town Ponders Closing Rock Meadow Parking Lot To Lessen Overcrowding

Photo: Parking lot, Rock Meadow

3:15 p.m., Sunday, April 12: Rock Meadow.

On a warm afternoon under a dull sky, the gravel parking lot is packed to the gills with sedans and SUVs. Mill Street and the lot for Lone Tree Hill have their share of cars. In fact, a Belmont Police patrol car sitting along the roadway was surrounded by a line of vehicles.

With nearly everything under lockdown due to COVID-19, an open space with no restrictions has become the destination of choice.

On the trails – marked with neon green signs imploring patrons to “beware of ticks” – people (largely couples or families, most without masks) are stretching the legs with their four-legged pets nearly all abiding by the leash bylaw with an outlier playing catch far from where the police could see the offense.

While far from being standing room only, Rock Meadow has been attracting a crowd.

“We’re finding that as the weather is getting nicer that more people are out at Rock Meadow using the trails,” said Town Administrator Patrice Garvin speaking to the Select Board via Zoom video conference on April 13.

But the increased popularity of the 70 acres of meadow, wetlands, streams, and woods has residents and the Conservation Commission which manages the land asking if this newfound destination location has been overrun by people who believe the open spaces gives them the freedom to flaunt the town’s bylaws and the need for personal space.

“Drove by [Rock Meadow] the other day and there were so many cars parked every which way that cars couldn’t ride on both sides of Mill Street without crossing the yellow line,” said Gioia Rizzo commenting in the Belmontonian Facebook page.

“I am sick and tired of being trapped in MY house because people don’t have the decency to abide by the rules and stay home,” she said.

The increase in foot traffic on Rock Meadow’s narrow trails has created a greater chance of contact with other strollers, noted Garin. Some people are abiding with social distancing and wearing masks, others are not.

And it’s not just the people that are causing concern. Pet dogs are being let off their leash to run on conservation land which is a no-no in Belmont. The Conservation Commission is finding it frustrating that dogs are relieving themselves without any pickup from owners.

The town has discovered that an increasing number of people driving to the open space are non-residents “coming from other communities we believe don’t have walking areas because everything is closed,” said Garvin.

As of now, the town is simply monitoring the area “to make sure [activity] doesn’t get out of hand,” she said.

If the crowds not following distancing guidelines and dogs sans leashes continue, “we’re gonna have to have a conversation about closing the parking lot. But we haven’t gotten to that point yet,” Garvin said. “It’s not something we want to do,” she said, pointing out that it will likely push people onto other open spaces such as Lone Tree Hill and Beaver Brook.

In an attempt to raise awareness of the town’s bylaw, Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman has sent the town’s 1,600 dog owners an email reminding them of their responsibility to keep their pets under control.

‘Virtual’ Topping Off At Middle/High School Project Set For Late April

Photo: Pouring cement onto the second floor of Area B.

Over the course of the past month, the coronavirus has forced many familiar activities to become virtual events via the internet including working from home, attending town meetings and school.

Now you can add to that list the traditional construction milestone of “topping off” the new Middle and High School project at Belmont High School set for the final week in April “or the first week in May, at the latest,” according to Mike Morrison, project manager for Skanska USA, as he spoke to the Middle and High School Building Committee on Thursday, April 9.

In pre-pandemic times, members of the construction team, the building committee overseeing the development and town officials would come together to celebrate the final steel beam being hoist into place. Everyone would sign their name to the beam while a small pine tree and Old Glory would be attached to the beam, reminiscent of an old fashion, barn-raising.

So keeping with the new realities, the topping off of the high school section and administration wings of the $295 million project will be done remotely, broadcasted to the community via the internet and on local cable.

But for those who will miss the hoopla, Belmont Superintendent John Phelan pointed out there will be a second topping off, this one for the project’s Middle School section in two to three years down the road.

Morrison took the time to revealed an extensive social distancing plan currently underway at the site due to the ongoing pandemic. Belmont continues to allow the building trades to work on the job where Boston and Cambridge have halted all construction activity due to the novel coronavirus.

“The thing that is on the front of everybody’s mind is COVID-19 and Skanska has taken to heart everything that has come through the CDC, the World Health [Organization] but also from [Gov. Charlie Baker’s] health and safety guidelines,” said Morrison.

In pursuit of keeping its subcontractors healthy, the firm has custom-built foot-controlled handwashing stations with hot and cold water that are more than six feet apart “where they can really clean up” when they arrive, before and after breaks and at the end of the day, said Morrison.

“We’re emphasizing and stressing the physical distancing. … which is still a difficult thing to adapt to” for many longtime construction workers, said Morrison. Skanska has filled the site with signs on keeping a safe distance and proper cleaning as well as instituting a 7 a.m. start of the day camaraderie building session that consists of stretching and flexing and announcements on the latest COVID-19 announcements.

Morrison provided a rundown of the construction highlights in the past month including the pouring of the first concrete slab with radiant heating tubing on the second story of “area B” which is the wing pushing out towards Harris Field. Steelwork in “area A” – the administration wing that juts out towards Concord Avenue – will for all intents and purposes be substantially completed” this week.

He also heralded “the huge accomplishment” of installing a massive 32-ton, 100-foot long steel truss that will support the interior bridge in Area C and D in the high school section.

One section of the job that committees have raised concerns is the installation of the infrastructure for the geothermal system. The drilling expenses in the first of three fields spiked recently adding $275,000 to the project cost in additional water management expenses which included added labor, material, and equipment.

“We’ve had some challenges” with drilling pipes “into the unknown of the underground,” said Morrison, who told the meeting that “we feel like we have enough education under our belts now” to handle future issues.

COVID-19 Cases Pass 100 As Belmont Manor Hit Hard During ‘Surge’

Photo: Belmont Manor

The number of residents with confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 keeps rising in Belmont, passing into triple digits with the town’s nursing homes continuing to get hit hard.

As of Monday, April 13, the state’s Department of Public Health has confirmed that 113 residents have confirmed cases of the virus, according to Wesley Chin, director of the Belmont Health Department, speaking before the Belmont Select Board on April 13. So far, 13 deaths have been connected to the virus.

In Massachusetts, there has been a total of 122,049 positive cases and 844 deaths as of April 13.

Approximately half of the positive COVID-19 cases and all the deaths in town have been residents of Belmont Manor, the 135-bed nursing home and rehabilitation center on Agassiz Avenue. Across the US, facilities such as Belmont Manor that treat or house older adults are now considered “an accelerator” of COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said earlier this month.  

Chin told the board the numbers of positive cases in town will continue to rise for foreseeable future.

“We are in the surge period,” Chin said, “so expect this number to continue to creep up pretty significantly over the next week to 10 days” which requires the continuation of social distance standards.

“It’s really important that people continue to keep vigilant and wear masks when out in public,” said Chin. And while the federal and state governments only recommends their use, “it really is something that is essential that people do especially in supermarkets, grocery stores, anywhere social distancing is difficult to do,” he said.

Select Board members said they collectively have seen people congregate around town, at the Cambridge Reservoir, around the perimeter of the Grove Street Park and walking on conservation land without regard to social distancing practices.

“People need to be serious about this,” said Adam Dash. “I think wearing a mask and keeping away from other people is a fair thing to ask at this point in time, especially when we heard [Chin] say we are in the thick of this thing.”

The number of confirmed cases in Belmont in March and April:

March 111
March 133
March 2710
March 3114
April 756
April 1195
April 13113

Trees Buffeted During Blustery Monday In Belmont [Photos]

Photo: Tree falling onto neighbor’s vehicles on Frost Road. (All photos, Belmont DPW)

An afternoon of gusty winds wreaked havoc on trees and property in Belmont on Monday, April 13.

Department of Public Works Director Jay Marcotte said that “hundreds” of limbs were brought down throughout town blocking some streets. In addition, a dozen large trees were uprooted, four falling into houses and two vehicles were damaged. No resident has been injured in wind-related incidents.

“We currently have five crews out, probably going to be out all night making sure trees and limbs are secured. We will assess the complete damage in the next day or two,” said Marcotte.

Belmont Light reported a small outage near the Winn Brook School.

Outage map, Belmont Light
Woods Road
Chenery Terrace
Cross Street
Winn Street
Winn Street again
Glenn Road

Math Monday: High Winds +Lots Of Trees=Possible Outages

Photo: Maximum wind speed map for Monday, April 13.

Just your luck: the possibility of no electricity during a shelter in place.

It’s going to be a windy and wild Monday as gusts upwards of 65 mph which could cause damage to trees and power lines in Belmont, according to the National Weather Service that issued a High Wind and Storm watches for Monday, April 13.

If you experience a power outage, call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800. Do not call 911.

Winds from the south at a steady 20 to 30 mph with the occasional gust as high as 65 will buffer most of southern and central New England including Belmont during daylight hours. The winds will be accompanied by a soaking rain.

“Damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines,” noted the weather service in its latest update issued at 11:32 a.m. Easter Sunday, April 12. “Widespread power outages are possible”

The NWS advise residents to fasten loose objects or shelter objects in a safe location prior to the onset of the winds.

Going To Rock Meadow? Put A Leash On Your Pooch!

Photo: Rock Meadow Conservation land

It’s spring. You and your canine have been cooped up for … how long? The temperature outside is going up and the sun is warm. With all of Belmont’s parks closed, the destination of choice for Fido and you to go for a romp has become town conservation land including Rock Meadow and Lone Tree Hill. For many owners, it’s been the first chance to allow their pets to stretch their four legs for a month.

And that’s been a problem in the eyes of the town official who manage the land and who see after residents’ health. Off-leash dogs have become a nuisance for several reasons as their owners are congregating along the trails during this time of social distancing.

And they are now putting their collective feet down. In coordination with the Belmont Conservation Commission, Belmont Board of Health, Belmont Police and Belmont Animal Control, the town is placing all visitors at Rock Meadow and Lone Tree Hill Conservation Land and Trails on notice that there are expectations of responsible behavior throughout the properties.

“We are all a part of this community and we are asking for everyone’s help and cooperation so we can keep our treasured trails open and safe for everyone,” read the notice released this week.

First and foremost, DOGS MUST BE LEASHED AT ALL TIMES. Off-Leash dogs are not permitted in Belmont. Going forward, this bylaw will be strictly enforced with fines issued with a fine up to $500.

Then there is the issue of DOG WASTE. Officials remind owners to pick up and properly dispose of your dog’s waste and anything else you bring with you. If there is no trash barrel or if the barrel is full, please take it home. Do not leave bagged waste on the property. You can be fined up to $500 if you don’t pick up after your poochie.

DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOUSE IF YOU ARE SICK. Rules relating to self-isolation for those who might be sick with the coronavirus applies even when in the great outdoors.

Relating to the previous statement, MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING; keep you and your dog at least 6-feet away from other trail users and do not cluster in groups as that may prevent others from getting around you outside a safe six-foot distance.

And lastly, IF A PARKING AREA IS CROWDED, SO ARE THE TRAILS. Residents should visit another Conservation area if the parking lot is full or come back at a time when it is less crowded. Do not park in front of Conservation Land gates or along Mill Street. This will be monitored by Belmont Police.

“Once again, WE are all part of this community and we are asking for everyone’s help! If you see a walker violating these rules, please kindly remind them,” read the email.

Breaking: COVID-19 Deaths Soar To 13 As Virus Sweeps Through Belmont Manor [REVISED]

Photo: Belmont Manor.

Deaths in Belmont due to COVID-19 skyrocketed from 1 to 13 in four days as the coronavirus has swept through the Belmont Manor Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, according to town officials on Saturday, April 11.

“The Town of Belmont has received confirmation that to date thirteen residents of the Belmont Manor Nursing Home have died due to complications of COVID-19 (Coronavirus),” said Jon Marshall, assistant town manager in a statement from the town.  

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 among residents confirmed by the state Department of Public Health has more than doubled since April 7 now at 95, with 56 coming from residents of Belmont Manor.

According to the Belmont Health Department, since COVID-19 testing began, 59 percent of residents testing positive reside in some type of long-term care facility. The remaining 41 percent of Belmont cases are due to community spread, meaning there has been no clear source of transmission. The virus is impacting residents of all ages.  

“The Town has been in daily contact with Belmont Manor for several weeks and has provided ongoing support in their effort to address the virus and its impact on the facility.  The Town of Belmont will continue to assist Belmont Manor as it goes through this difficult time,” according to Marshall.

“The Town is deeply saddened and expresses its condolences to the families and staff at Belmont Manor,” the statement read.

On April 7, Gov. Charlie Baker announced the launch of a new Nursing Home Family Resource Line. The dedicated telephone line is staffed 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. This resource was created so that family and community members have one central contact that they can reach out to if they have questions or concerns about the care their loved one is receiving during the COVID-19 outbreak. Family and community members can call the line at 617-660-5399.

The number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise throughout the state and in Belmont. On April 1, Belmont had 16 cases, a week later, on April 7, it had doubled to 35.


If you have symptoms, and you believe that you should be tested for COVID-19, first contact your healthcare provider. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home. 

If your health care provider recommends that you should be tested, but their facility cannot offer the test, obtain a referral and contact one of the facilities on the Massachusetts Department of Public Health list of COVID-19 Testing Sites in Massachusetts.

Keep in mind that you may need to undergo an additional eligibility screening before you can be tested, and that these sites require an appointment, they do not take walk-ins.

Face Coverings 

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that individuals wear cloth face coverings when in public settings (i.e. grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) where it may be difficult to safely engage in social distancing practices.  This recommendation from the CDC is due to increased evidence of asymptomatic spread of COVID-19.  This refers to the transmission of the virus from a person who does not develop symptoms.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is important for all Belmont residents to begin engaging in this practice when in public settings where they may encounter individuals with unknown health statuses.  It is equally important to continue engaging in social distancing practices and to remain at least 6-feet way from others when in public.  

Visit the CDC’s website to learn more about its recommendation for face coverings.

The CDC has also posted information on how to make your own face covering, including examples of both sewn and no sew patterns.

Grocery stores

On April 7, the MDPH released further guidance to promote social distancing at grocery stores. The new guidance requires that each grocery store limit occupancy to 40 percent of its maximum permitted occupancy level. It also sets out procedures by which staff should monitor occupancy levels. MDPH has posted new grocery store guidance on its website. 

Things to keep in mind when you go to the grocery store:

  • Follow guidance posted in-store and instructions from grocery store staff on social distancing.
  • Only send one person per family, leave children and other families members at home if at all possible.
  • Buy enough to extend how long you can go until your next trip, but don’t buy up too many of one particular item.
  • Shop at an off-peak time if possible. In the morning before 10 or 11 am tends to be the busiest time in many area stores at the moment.
  • Wear a face covering.

Medical Reserve Corps

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), is a national network of volunteers under the US Department of Health and Human Services. The Metro East MRC is the regional unit serving 18 communities, including Belmont. Currently, Metro East MRC volunteers are activated delivering food and medications, staffing call centers, and providing backflow to medical facilities in the region. Interested volunteers can sign up by selecting “Metro East MRC” as their organization. Medical volunteers are also encouraged to join the “COVID-19 Response” team via MA Responds. Please contact Mia Nardini, Metro East MRC Coordinator, at 781-316-3177 or MetroEastMRC@Town.Arlington.MA.US with any questions.

Nursing Home Resource Line 

On April 7, Governor Charlie Baker announced the launch of a new Nursing Home Family Resource Line. The dedicated telephone line is staffed 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. This resource was created so that family and community members have one central contact that they can reach out to if they have questions or concerns about the care their loved one is receiving during the COVID-19 outbreak. Family and community members can call the line at 617-660-5399.

Belmont COVID-19 Informational Call Center and Email

For general COVID-19 questions not specific to the Town of Belmont, all Massachusetts residents encouraged to call the state’s 2-1-1 hotline that is staffed by operators 24/7 and with translators available in multiple languages.  Residents with questions can dial 2-1-1 from any landline or cellphone or use the live chat option at the Mass 2-1-1 website

The Town of Belmont has also established a COVID-19 Informational Call Center to allow residents to ask non-medical questions specific to COVID-19 in Belmont. The call center will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm the number for the call center is (617) 993-2222. Questions can also be emailed to: .

Please call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency. Calls should not be made to 9-1-1 to obtain information about COVID-19.

[The revised article has the correct number of deaths in Belmont at 13. An earlier version incorrectly noted the number at 19.]