A new, more robust community notification system is being rolled out to Hamilton residents and businesses this week.
Police Chief Russell Stevens told the Board of Selectmen this week that the town has licensed the CodeRED Community Notification System to help disseminate important or critical information to residents and businesses in town.
The system uses phone calls, emails, text messages and social media to get out information about everything ranging from evacuations, flood and fires to planned road closures or water main repairs. When signing up, residents have the option or getting only emergency alerts or also getting more general alerts and announcements. Residents can add as many phone numbers, text numbers and emails addresses as they want.
“We encourage all residents and businesses to go to the town website, click on the CodeRED logo to enter your contact information – including additional phone numbers, text numbers and email addresses – to ensure all of the data in our system is accurate and current,” Stevens said.
The CodeRED login page can also be reached directly and there is also a mobile app for Apple and Android smartphones – go to the App Store or Google Play and search for CodeRED.
There is no cost to residents to use the service and all of the information will be kept private.
For anyone that uses call blocking, they will want to add two numbers to the allowed number list – 866-419-500 for emergency calls and 855-969-4636 for general alerts.
If you do not have Internet access, contact a friend or family member to help add your contact information to the CodeRED database, Stevens said. If needed, residents can also call the Hamilton Emergency Communications Center at 978-468-1212 for assistance.
The search is on for volunteers to serve on the new Town Hall Building Committee.
The seven volunteer members of the committee will help make decisions about potential renovations and structural updates to Town Hall, said Scott Maddern, chairman of the Hamilton Board of Selectmen. Committee members will be appointed by the Board of Selectmen and the committee will also include Town Manager Michael Lombardo and another town employee.
Maddern said Selectmen are hoping to get a lot of public input that will also help develop estimated costs and a timeline for work that could go before Town Meeting voters.
Anybody who is interested in becoming a member of the committee is asked to fill out an “application for board of committee membership” and submit it to the Selectmen’s office at Hamilton Town Hall. The committee will be formed within the next few weeks.
Police Chief Russell Stevens will serve as Interim Town Manager while Town Manager Michael Lombardo is out on leave.
Lombardo is out on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, said Scott Maddern, chairman of the Hamilton Board of Selectmen.
Lombardo could be out up to 6-8 weeks, but he could be back before then. When he returns, Maddern said he expects Lombardo “won’t miss a beat when he returns.” There will be no interruption in town services during Lombardo’s leave, Stevens said.
Previously, Stevens has served as interim town manager during Lombardo’s vacations. In the coming weeks, both the Board of Selectmen and the Finance and Advisory Committee will be preparing for the Annual Town Meeting on April 1. Both boards have full confidence in Stevens and have been impressed as he’s helped develop the fiscal year 2018 budget, Maddern said.
The Police Department is in the capable hands of Lt. Scott Janes, according to Maddern and Stevens. The department has been well trained and prepared under Stevens’ “steady hand,” including state accreditation and reaccreditation, Maddern said.
The Hamilton Board of Selectmen will soon hear the findings of a design study that looked at the possibility of installing an artificial turf field at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School.
The presentation by Gale Associates is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17 in the multi-purpose room at Buker Elementary School.
In addition to Hamilton Selectmen, the Wenham Board of Selectmen and Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District Committee will also hear the results of the study, which was funded by money votes approved to come from the Community Preservation Act.
Nomination papers are now available for seats on the Hamilton Board of Selectmen, Planning Board and Housing Authority, among other elected positions.
The papers became available on Monday, Jan. 9 and can be picked up during regular hours at the Town Clerk’s office at Hamilton Town Hall. The nomination papers need to be filed with the registrars with the required numbers of signatures by Thursday, Feb. 16, according to Town Clerk Andrea Carlson.
There are also two three-year terms open on the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District Committee. Nomination papers are available from Donna Bunk at the school district offices at the Center School, 5 School St. in Wenham.
The open positions include:
One three-year term on the Board of Selectmen
One three-year term on the Planning Board
One two-year term on the Planning Board to fill an unexpired term
One three-year term on the Housing Authority
One three-year term on the Hamilton-Wenham Library Trustees
Voting in the general election in Hamilton will happen in the gymnasium at the Hamilton-Wenham Recreation Center on Nov. 8.
The move from Winthrop Elementary School to the Rec Center was approved by the Board of Selectmen last week, in order to avoid the need for the schools to close on Election Day. Signs will be posted at Winthrop School to redirect voters to the Rec Center if they haven’t otherwise heard about the move.
Parking will be in library parking lot, at 16 Union St., with overflow parking across Union Street at Pingree Park, said Town Clerk Andrea Carlson.
Carlson said she expects a heavy turnout all day, with peak periods before work, at lunchtime and after work. She also recommends early voting, which is available at the Town Clerk’s office in Hamilton Town Hall during regular hours, which will allow voters to avoid the polls on Election Day. Polls will be open on Tuesday, Nov. 8 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“This is a busy election and I hope that people will understand waiting is going to be inevitable no matter where this election takes place,” she said. “I really just hope that as a town we can all work together to make this process work.”