Town Meeting Begins Monday, April 30 With Non-Financial Articles

Photo: The annual town meeting in Belmont.

Belmont’s 2018 Town Meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 30 at Belmont High School’s auditorium.

For many of the Town Meeting Members in Belmont, the start of the annual get-together – which begins Monday, April 30 – is like Christmas and the 4th of July all rolled up in a patriotic family reunion with hidden fireworks just waiting to be lit. Others are not as thrilled, viewing the gathering as a three, four, five-hour debating society where they sit on uncomfortable theater seats while missing the playoffs broadcasts.

But on whatever side they fall, the nearly three hundred members of Belmont’s representative legislative body will gather in one of the purists and direct examples of democracy in the state and country. (Not so freewheeling as the open Town Meeting in which any voter can attend and resembles, at times, a rugby scrum.)

As of recent custom, Belmont has separated the non-financial (in May) and budgetary items (June) by roughly a month to accommodate the state’s budget calendar.

Monday night’s first night will include these articles in the following order: articles 1 to 7 and 10

Article 1: Order of the articles

Article 2: Authorization to represent the town’s legal interests

Article 3: Amend the general bylaws: Establish the Thaddeus Frost House Historic District

Article 4: Amend zoning bylaws: General Residence Zoning District, Sunset Clause

Article 5: Amend zoning bylaws: General Residence Zoning District 

Article 6: Citizen’s Petition: Single-use plastic check-out bags [Withdrawn]

Article 7: Amends general bylaws: Plastic Bags

Article 10: The fiscal 2019 Community Preservation Committee budget and projects

  • $103,000 to the Belmont Veterans Memorial.
  • $5,000 for architectural drawings for the music bandstand at Payson Park.
  • $25,000 for design documents and bid specifications for the Town Field playground.
  • $780,087 for the construction of Grove Street Park Intergenerational Walking Path.
  • $250,000 to fund eligible commitments by the Belmont Housing Trust that would increase housing units where new housing is being built, provide incentives to developers to develop affordable housing units, or fund pre-development work to determine if sites are suitable for community housing development.
  • $175,000 to stabilize the McLean Barn.


Town Election ’18: Donner, Burgess-Cox Heading To School Board As Few Voters Venture Out To The Polls

Photo: Asst. Town Clerk Meg Piccione reading the results of the Belmont Town Election on April 3.

In a town election that saw one of the lowest turnouts in the past decade, a teacher topped the ballot in the race to run the Belmont’s schools. 

In the only competitive town-wide race, newcomer Tara Donner outpaced incumbent Susan Burgess-Cox, 1,767 to 1,517, to fill the two three year seats on the school committee as fellow newbie Jill Souza Norton just missing out finishing third with 1,349 votes. School Committee Chair Lisa Fiore ran unopposed for a one-year term on the committee.

Read all the unofficial results of the town-wide and Town Meeting races here.

A last-minute write-in candidacy by well-known resident Tomi Olsen was swept aside by the vote for current School Committee member Tom Caputo who ran as the only official candidate for the Board of Selectman, garnering 2,106 votes, or 94 percent of those who cast ballots.

Over on the Town Meeting side of the ballot, some interesting results were noted including two longtime ballot toppers who just barely held onto their seats; both Lydia Ogilby (Precinct 1) and Donald Mercier (Precinct 8) both came in 12th with Mercier taking the last slot by a mere nine votes over Mark Smith.

In the race of town-wide candidates battling it out on the Town Meeting ballot, Burgess-Cox topped Caputo, 214 to 203, to “win” Precinct 2’s top spot while Precinct 1’s Peter Dizikes garnered the most votes of all the precincts with 324. In the closest race, Linda Levin-Scherz defeated Elizabeth Khan by three votes, 125-122, to take the one-year seat in Precinct 2. 

Stopping by a crowded Town Clerk’s Office to pick up the unofficial results, first-time candidate Dovie Yoana King learned she tied for second receiving 164 votes. The newly-elected Precinct 7 member said she was “very excited” to become heading to Town Meeting in a month as her presence will add much-needed diversity in Belmont’s legislative body. With her son by her side, King said she hopes to give a voice to survivors of domestic violence but also represent all people in the precinct which she noted is populated by the most varied groups in Belmont.

A cold, wet miserable afternoon and the lack of competitive races appeared to have kept residents from the polls as participation was an anemic 16.5 percent as 2,816 residents voted at Belmont’s eight precincts. This election’s number is well below the 28 percent seen last year and 22 percent in 2016. The 2015 town election which included a $3.5 million override on the ballot brought out 51 percent.

Belmont isn’t a stranger to unenthusiastic participation on election day; in 2009, only 1,438 voters or 5.89 percent of total registered voters came out. 

Belmont Votes: 2018 Town Election


The annual Belmont Town Election takes place on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

And below is information that will make the process of casting your ballot all that much easier.

Whose running for town wide and Town Meeting 

Click here for the Belmont League of Women Voters Guide for candidates and their campaign message.

Polling Places

For voting purposes, Belmont is divided into eight voting precincts, located as follows:

  • Precinct 1 – Belmont Memorial Library, Assembly Room, 336 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 2 – Belmont Town Hall, Selectmen’s Room, 455 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 3 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 4 – Daniel Butler School, Gymnasium, 90 White St.
  • Precinct 5 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 6 – Belmont Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Rd.
  • Precinct 7 – Burbank School, Gymnasium, 266 School St.
  • Precinct 8 – Winn Brook School, Gymnasium, 97 Waterhouse Rd. (Enter from Cross Street)

Please adhere to the posted parking restrictions and use caution to ensure the safety of pedestrians around the voting precincts.

Are You Registered to Vote in Belmont and Eligible to Vote April 3? 

If you are wondering if you are a registered voter and your voting precinct, go to the Town Clerk’s web page or phone the Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2600.

Arrive early, consider traffic and limited parking 

Belmont Police will designate some voter parking at each of the polling locations however with a  busy election, parking close to the polling places is often a challenge.

Plan ahead: consider walking, carpooling with a friend or voting “off peak” during the middle of the day. Only voters who arrive at the precinct and are in line for the Voter Check-In before the close of polls at 8 p.m. can be permitted to vote; those who arrive too late will miss out.

Election Day campaigning

The Town Clerk and the Board of Registrars of Voters remind all residents that campaign signs, stickers, buttons or materials may NOT be displayed within 150 feet of each polling place. This prohibition, per Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 54, §65, even extends to a candidate whose name is on the ballot, when the candidate is not actively voting.  The Town Clerk’s website posts a map displaying the 150-foot radius under Campaigning: Running for Elected Office and Town Meeting.

Election Results – How Do I Find Out the Results?

Election results for each precinct are announced by the Warden of each precinct after the close of the polls. The unofficial town-wide results will be announced at Town Hall and posted on the home page of the Town website as soon as they are available Tuesday evening or phone the  Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2600 on Wednesday morning. Campaign representatives are welcome to wait at Town Hall for the printed results.

Absentee Voting Available Until Monday, April 2

Photo: Vote at Town Hall until April 2

Residents who wish to take advantage of absentee voting in the annual town-wide election can do so at the Belmont Town Clerk’s office until noon, April 2, the day before the election. 

To vote absentee, all ballot requests must be made in writing and received before noon on April 2. Absentee ballot applications can be used for one election or for an entire calendar year. A new application must be filed for each subsequent calendar year.

Please note that fax and email requests are not acceptable; only original signatures are acceptable.

Click here for more information regarding Absentee and UOCAVA (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) Voting.

Why Wait For The Mail? The League’s Belmont Voter Guide Is Now Online

Photo: It’s here! This time online!

The Belmont League of Women Voters annual Voter Guide, the essential pamphlet for all registered residents who will be coming out to vote at the Town Election on April 3, is now online. 

While the print copy of the guide is at the printers and won’t be sent to the post office until Monday, March 26, find out who’s running and where they stand on some of the important issues facing Belmont residents as each candidate for townwide and Town Meeting is given the opportunity to make a statement that appears in the guide. 

The pamphlet also provides maps and information on where a resident votes, what precinct they belong to and other facts. 

The Voter Guide is at:

Or visit the League’s website at and click on the first link for the Voter Guide.

Town Election ’18: Ballot Set For Town Meeting; A Race For School Committee

Photo: Pam Eagar readies to run for Town Meeting.

Pam Eagar has spent 40 years in Belmont, raising seven children (all attending the Belmont schools) and taking care of her mother in her home on Claflin Street near Belmont Center. 

Now, with the kids away and with time on her hands, Eagar wants to make a difference in the governing of Belmont with an eye on Town Meeting.

“I’m interested in [town government] but I had always been really busy for a lot of years with kids and grandchildren. But now seems a good time to get involved,” she said Eagar who came to the Town Clerk’s office Tuesday, Feb. 13 to make sure her nomination papers to run for one of the 12 available seats in Precinct 8 had been certified. 

She took her time debating whether to run down to the deadline on Tuesday. 

“I didn’t decide until the other day that I thought, ‘Oh if I want to do this I have to do this right away!”

When the clock struck 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13, the ballot was set for Belmont’s 2018 Town Election to take place on Tuesday, April 3. See the candidates for town-wide office and all Town Meeting races in Belmont’s eight precincts here.

There is one townwide race as three candidates have been certified for the two, three-year seats on the Belmont School Committee as incumbent Susan Burgess-Cox will face off against a pair of newcomers; Winchester teacher Tara Donner and Jill Souza Norton, the director of Education Policy at Abt Associates. 

Over on the Town Meeting side, it’s a bit of a topsy-turvy year as precincts that have been historically light on candidates have filled the ballot with the 12 seats available while others will have open seats.

The big surprise is the typically underrepresented Precinct 7, the Harvard Lawn neighborhood along Belmont Street to the Cambridge line, which has filled the ballot with 12 candidates. And over at the usually politically active precincts 3 and 4, could only muster 10 candidates each for the dozen three-year slots. 

And one of the 13 seek a seat in Precinct 8 is Eagar who said she sees “a lot of growth in the town and I think we need to be really careful how things are regulated. Financially the town needs a lot of good planning in place because money doesn’t go on forever.” 

Bare Minimum Of Resident Show Interest In Running For Town Offices, Meeting


With a little more than 24 hours remaining to submit nomination papers for the 2018 Town Election, the overriding question would appear to be: anyone out there?

With the deadline of Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. fast approaching, Belmont voters could be rubber stamps on April 3 when eligible voters head for the polls as for the first time in more than a decade, the town could lack a competitive race not just for town-wide offices but also Town Meeting in each of Belmont’s eight precincts.

While a number of residents have taken out nomination papers, many have yet to be submitted for certification as of Monday morning.

According to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman, as of Feb. 12, the potential ballot for the 2018 Town Election sets up to look as below:

  • Town Moderator Michael J. Widmer 
  • Board of Selectmen (three-year term) Thomas Caputo
  • Board of Assessors (three-year term) Martin B. Millane, Jr.
  • Board of Cemetery Commissioners (three-year termEllen O’Brien Cushman
  • Board of Health (three-year term) Stephen Fiore
  • Housing Authority (three-year term) Gloria Leipzig
  • Trustees of the Public Library (two three-year terms) Elaine C. Alligood and Corinne McCue Olmsted
  • School Committee (two three-year terms), Susan Burgess-Cox and Tara Donner
  • School Committee (one single year term) Lisa B. Fiore

Unless stragglers come in with their papers, there will be open seats without a declared candidate in each of Belmont’s precincts. The current ballot looks as below:

  • Precinct 1: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats; no candidates for two two-year term.  
  • Precinct 2: 10 candidates for 12 three-year seats. one candidate for a single year term.
  • Precinct 3: 7 candidates for 12 three-year seats;
  • Precinct 4: 10 candidates for 12 three-year seats;
  • Precinct 5: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats; no candidates for two two-year term.  
  • Precinct 6: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats;
  • Precinct 7: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats; and 
  • Precinct 8: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats.

Alper Withdraws From Race To Keep Seat On Health Board; Leaving With Two ‘Victories’


Saying he felt he should go out on top – “like David Ortiz” – Dr. David Alper announced today, Saturday, Feb. 10, he was withdrawing his nomination for election to a record 11th term on the Belmont Board of Health.

“I want to leave before people started saying ‘What’s with that old guy? Get him out of there,'” said Alper, after meeting with Town Clerk Ellen Cushman at 1 p.m. Saturday with formally withdraw from the race.

With Alper leaving the race, the sole resident who has submitted nomination papers for the board is Stephen Fiore of Van Ness Road, an attorney in civil litigation with the Cambridge firm of Foster & Eldridge. Alper said one reason he wanted his decision known over the weekend was to allow anyone interest in serving 48 hours to gather the 50 signatures required to run for the seat.

First elected to the board in 1988, Alper said he several events occurred in the past week that led him to reconsider running for another three-year term on the three-member board. On Monday, Alper was selected to the Board of Trustees of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), the Bethesda, Maryland-based professional medical organization representing 80 percent of the 15,000 podiatrists in the United States.

Saying his inclusion on the national board “an amazing honor,” Alper said the time commitment to the organization “is enormous” with travel and paperwork taking up most of his free time.

Alper and his wife will also become empty nesters as their son will be heading out of the house by the end of the summer, “and I wanted to spend more time with her.” Add his thriving practice from his Oak Avenue residence, “laying all that together, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to the board.” 

But before he leaves in the final eight weeks, Alper said he’ll be completing two major initiatives he’s been heavily involved. By April 1, the board will have created comprehensive health regulations on the future retail sale of marijuana in Belmont, with a final vote on March 26.  

“Useless [residents] votes to withdraw from sales, Belmont will be prepared with common scene rules and regs,” said Alper, as applications for state-issued retail licenses will be accepted on April 1.

Alper said through the work by new Town Administrator Patrice Garvin, funds have been found to allow the town to hire a Youth Coordinator for a revitalized Belmont Youth Commission which Alper has been advocating for several years. 

“So there are a few victories to have before I leave,” said Alper who said he’ll remain a Town Meeting member and “be there when something else needs to be done.” 

“It was really a perfect of storm of events. So I’m happy to be moving on,” said Alper. 

You Still Have Time To Get On The Town Election Ballot; Deadline is Feb. 13

Photo: Nomination papers

Nomination papers for the Annual Town Election on April 3, (Town Meeting Member and Town-wide offices) are available now at the Town Clerk’s Office, and are due back to the Town Clerk for certification by Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 5 p.m. Fifty certified signatures of registered Belmont voters are required for Town-wide office, 25 certified signatures of Belmont registered voters dwelling in the appropriate precinct are required for Town Meeting. It is always wise to obtain and provide at least 20 percent more signatures than the requirement to meet the certification minimums.

Click here for ballot info.

Getting Your Name on the Ballot

Running for election is simple. Pick up nomination papers in the Town Clerk’s office and have your neighbors and friends who are registered voters sign your papers and submit the signed forms to the Town Clerk by the deadline.

Town-wide Offices

To be considered a candidate for town-wide office, you must be at least 18 years old and a registered voter in Belmont.

There are many Town-wide elected offices that will appear on the annual Town Election ballot.

Signatures of at least 50 registered voters of the Town are required on the nomination papers.

Representative Town Meeting: Representatives from Each of the Eight Voting Precincts

In addition to the 12 Representative Town Meeting Members that are elected for three-year terms from each of our eight voting precincts, there may also be openings for one (1), or two (2) year terms.

There are partial terms in the following precincts:

  • One 2-year term in Precinct 1
  • One 1-year term in Precinct 2
  • Two 2-year terms in Precinct 5

Incumbent Town Meeting Members

Incumbent Town Meeting Members who intend to run for re-election have missed the deadline of Jan. 23 to return the Intention Letter. Missing the return date means having to collect signatures on nomination papers.

New Candidates for Town Meeting Member

To be considered a new candidate for Town Meeting Member, you must be at least 18 years old and a registered voter of the Town of Belmont. If you are currently serving as a Town Meeting Member who was elected at the caucus, not by Town ballot, you will need to submit nomination papers as a new candidate.

Signatures of at least 25 registered voters of your precinct are required on the nomination papers. The Town Clerk must certify these signatures so we always suggest obtaining about 20 percent more just to be safe.

Withdrawing Your Name From the Ballot

If you have taken out nomination papers and the signatures have been certified, but you change your mind, you may remove your name from the ballot by notifying the Town Clerk in writing by Feb. 13.

UPDATE: Town Election ’18: Caputo In, Williams Out for Selectmen; A Race For Health Board [VIDEO]

Photo: Tom Caputo delivers his nomination papers to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

There will be a new face on the Belmont Board of Selectmen. The question now is will there be a race for the open seat?

So far the facts are that one-term selectman and current chair Jim Williams said he will not submit papers to retain his seat for a second three-year term. 

“I’m not running. I’m certain about that,” said the Glenn Road resident this week.

As Williams exits town government, Tom Caputo made it official submitting nomination papers to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman on Friday, Feb. 2, accompanied by his campaign manager Ellen Schreiber. 

“I believe Belmont as a town have some very important decisions to make in the next three years, and they will impact our community for the next 30 years,” said Caputo. 

See the accompanying video to hear more from Caputo on why he’s running and issues before the board.

The Richmond Road resident is currently serving his first full three-year seat on the School Committee after being appointed to the committee on Nov. 2014 to replace Kevin Cunningham who resigned. At the town election in April 2015, Caputo ran uncontested for the two-years remaining in Cunningham’s term. In April 2017, Caputo was elected to a full three-year appointment with 3,014 votes running with Kate Bowen to fill two slots.

With nomination papers due to the Town Clerk’s Office in less than 10 days on Feb. 13 at 5 p.m., a challenger to Caputo will have about to week to secure the signatures of at least 50 registered voters.

Race for Health Board Now On

There will be a good race for the seat on the Belmont Board of Health as a Van Ness Road resident has returned nomination papers to take on long-time Board member Dr. David Alper who has submitted his papers. 

Stephen Fiore is an attorney in civil litigation with the Cambridge firm of Foster & Eldridge, LLP, who is a frequent lecturer on medical-legal issues and health care law. If the last name sounds familiar, Fiore’s wife is Lisa Fiore, the current chair of the Belmont School Committee, who is giving up her three-year seat to seek election for a single year, the remainder of Murat Bicer’s term. Bicer has resigned from the committee as he is moving away from Belmont.

Alper is a Podiatry specialist with an office in his Oak Street home. He is currently serving his tenth elected three-year term as a member of a three-person board the directs the seven-member Health Department staff and its $500,000 annual budget.

Editor’s note: The Health Board story has been revised due to Fiore’s submission of nomination papers to the Town Clerk on Monday, Feb. 5.