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From the Town Clerk…

With the new year comes the annual census, which you should be receiving in the mail during mid-January. The census is a legal document the must be submitted annually. It is important to Bellingham, as it is used to determine the amount of State tax dollars that are returned to the Town. Please fill out and return your census promptly so that Bellingham gets its fair share! 
There are two Town Meetings and one Town election scheduled in 2023. That dates are as follows:
• Annual Town Elections – May 2, 2023
• Annual Spring Town Meeting – May 24, 2023
• Annual Fall Town Meeting – November 15, 2023
Deadline dates regarding the above will be forthcoming as soon as they are formulated.
At the Annual Fall Town Meeting held in November of 2022, an updated version of Bellingham’s Bylaws was approved. The dog licensing bylaws were significantly affected by the update as follows:
• Chapter 55 § 55-4:
In accordance with MGL Chapter 140, any owner or keeper who fails to license a dog before May 1 of the current year, said owner or keeper will pay a late fee of $25 per household kennel. Further, if said owner or keeper does not license a dog by June 1 of the current year, that owner will be issued a citation by the Animal Control Officer in amount of $50, plus the late fee as stated above. If, after 21 business days, the owner or keeper has not yet paid the license fee, late fee and cited fine, the matter will be forwarded to the Magistrate of District Court for adjudication.  
To simplify, the annual dog license is due for renewal on April 1 (bills are sent out in January with the annual census). There is a one-month grace period until May 1, at which time late fees are assessed ($25 per household). If not paid by June 1, a citation of $50 per household is issued. This is a change from the past cumulative fines that could reach into the hundreds of dollars. Please send in your dog license payments, accompanied by rabies certificates by April 1 to avoid any late fees or citations.
Beginning in January, filing for marriage intentions will take place Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.; Fridays by appointment. Please contact the Town Clerk’s office for availability, and check the Town website for more specifics.
Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!