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Framingham, state's largest town, will become a city

Framingham has long been known as the Commonwealth's largest town, but now it's making a change.
Framingham
Framingham, Massachusetts Wikimedia Commons

Framingham is no longer the largest town in Massachusetts after residents there voted on Tuesday night to become a city.

Framingham’s municipal status has long been a factoid for many Bay Staters: What is the largest town in the Commonwealth that isn’t a city? It's even been referred to as the “biggest town in the country.”

But now, the 68,000-population place is embarking on a change.

It’s also long been a debate among residents about whether to make the switch. They tried unsuccessfully in 1993, 1997, and 2013 according to Framingham Patch.

The vote was close at Tuesday’s meeting with the decision to become a city winning by only 105 votes, according to Metrowest Daily News. More than 11,000 votes were cast in total.

Those who were against the city charter may seek a recount Wednesday, according to Metrowest.   

This decision doesn’t just change how Framingham is referred to, but also its local government. A city charter establishes an 11-member city council and mayor, beginning January 2018, Metrowest reports.

The designation also abolishes Town Meeting, the Board of Selectmen and the position of town manager, and will merge Framingham’s 18 precincts into nine larger districts as well as create a nine-member School Committee.

The difference between a city and a town is often based on population, but the designations differ in every state.

In Massachusetts, the distinction comes down to the form of government chosen by that region.

Framingham was the largest town with a population of 68,318, according to 2010 census data. In contrast, the smallest city in Massachusetts is North Adams, with a population of 13,708.