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Holliston High School Presents GREASE - see below

Town Meeting Results

by Pam Kyrka
November 1, 2017

" I can see the headline in HollistonReporter.com: Finance Committee saves taxpayers $1.4 million through prudent financial planning for the downtown traffic lighting project by funding it from the Free Cash Account versus the approved tax override. No new taxes", said Dan Alfred, Finance Committee member, before town meeting began.

Town Meeting was held on MONDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Above, left to right, Board of Selectmen Kevin Conley, Chair, Jay Marsden, Mark Ahronian and Town Administrator Jeff Ritter prepare for the start of town meeting.

Above, the Finance Committee appears to be ready as well. Left to right: Vincent Murphy, Ben Sparrell, Tim Maxwell, Sue Nersessian, Daniel Alfred, Michelle Zeamer and Ken Szajda, Chair.

Before the discussion of the articles began, Kevin Conley opened the evening by talking about several projects in the works including water main work, green community grants, and building work. The Blair Square committee needs volunteers. The construction of the lights in downtown will be finished next spring. Flagg School – now Flagg Pavillion – town needs to generate ideas on property use. Andrews School is on the verge of being sold with 3-4 houses planned, congruent with the neighborhood. He also mentioned work on the 8 Arch Bridge and the need for a Capital Improvement Committee to give more structure to projects.

Kenneth Szajda, above, gave a financial update FYI 2018. Final free cash is $2,273,203 to be divided among several articles. He said that there will be no need to raise taxes for the traffic light project due to the committee’s due diligence. There is will debt reduction when the borrowing for the schools is paid resulting in lower taxes.

 

ARTICLE 1:  FISCAL YEAR 2018 BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS

SPONSORED BY:  Board of Selectmen

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money for the purpose of supplementing various accounts for the Town’s Fiscal Year 2018 annual budget, previously voted by the Town under Article 14, of the Warrant for 2017 Annual Town Meeting; or to take any action relative thereto.

Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 2:  STABILIZATION FUND

SPONSORED BY:   Board of Selectmen                                      

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money for the Stabilization Fund; or take any action relative thereto.

Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 3:   CAPITAL EXPENDITURE FUND

SPONSORED BY:   Board of Selectmen                                      

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money from the Capital Expenditure Fund; or take any action relative thereto.

$608,203 to capital expenditure. Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 4:   SALE OF SURPLUS EQUIPMENT

SPONSORED BY:   Board of Selectmen                          

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to hold a public auction and or sale for the purpose of disposing of surplus departmental equipment; or take any action relative thereto.

Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 5:   CAPITAL BUDGET

SPONSORED BY:   Board of Selectmen                          

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds or borrow a sum of money for the purpose of capital expenditures, including replacement of old vehicles and equipment, for the following departments:  Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Department of Public Works (Highway), Police and Fire and authorize the Board of Selectmen to trade or sell equipment toward part of the purchase price; or take any action relative thereto.

 

Project                                                            Department                 Estimated Amount           

Town Hall Door Replacement                          Selectmen                                $30,000

Sound System High School                            School Committee                   $50,000

Technology (Miller/Placentino)                        School Committee                    $100,000

Information System (New Students)                School Committee                    $100,000

Pick-Up Truck with Plow                                  Selectmen/DPW                       $52,000

Livescan Finger Print Machine                       Selectmen/Police                      $17,245

Three (3) Police Vehicles                               Selectmen/Police                      $77,645

Rescue Truck Replacement & Equip               Selectmen/Fire                         $400,000

Total:                                                                                                  $826,890  

Passed unanimously, but with discussion:

Mark Whittaker, above, wanted to know what the money to the high school covers (change from $50,000 to $78,440).

Joan Shaunessy explained that it will be used to replaced an ancient projector as well as a new board and speakers, all of which relate to audio.

The total amount is $835,330 from capital expenditure and includes vehicle replacement and technology.                                                  

ARTICLE 6:  FUND TRANSFER TO AFFECT THE TAX RATE

SPONSORED BY:   Board of Selectmen                                      

To see if the Town will vote to transfer from available funds a sum of money for the purpose of reducing the amount of money to be raised through property taxes for Fiscal Year 2018; or take any action relative thereto.

Voted to postpone the article passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 7:   COMMUNITY PRESERVATION COMMITTEE REPORT

SPONSORED BY:   Community Preservation Committee         

To see if the Town will vote to act on the report of the Community Preservation Committee on the fiscal year 2018 Community Preservation budget and to appropriate or reserve for later appropriation monies from the Community Preservation Fund annual revenues or available funds for administrative expenses of the Community Preservation Committee, the payment of debt service, the undertaking of community preservation projects and all other necessary and proper expenses for the year; or take any action relative thereto.

8 arch Bridge work and Eagle Scout Project

Passed unanimously with discussion:

Frank Chamberlain, above, chair of the Community Preservation Committee, spoke first, stating that the 8 Arch Bridge group is asking for additional funds above the funds approved at the May 2016 town meeting.

Jay Robinson from that committee spoke on the specifics of the bridge work and the request for more money. They put the project out for bid and received 7 bids. Two main pieces of the work involve fixing the bridge deck and putting up railings. The low bid requires an additional $200,000 to award the contract and complete the work as planned. The bridge should be ready for use by next Spring, 2018.

Frank Chamberlain then spoke about an Eagle Scout candidate who wants to replace two boardwalks over wet areas in Wenakeening Woods, a 108 acres open space preserve owned by Upper Charles Conservation Land Trust open to the public with marked trails for walking and biking (http://www.uppercharles.org/). The town voted in favor of $700.00 for materials to complete the project.

ARTICLE 8:   WATER MAIN REPLACEMENT CONSTRUCTION COSTS

SPONSORED BY:  Board of Selectmen

To see if the Town will vote to appropriate from Water Surplus (Retained Earnings) $350,000, and from the Water Infrastructure Reserve Account $1,350,000 for tasks related to the replacement of approximately 6,500 linear feet of water mains and a booster station in the Cedar Street area including Cheryl Lane and portions of Turner Road including 1,200 linear feet of water mains for the water extension on Hanlon Road to Forest Park Drive.  The scope of work includes new water mains, service connections, valves, fire hydrants and a pressure booster station and all related work; or take any action relative thereto.      

Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 9:   WATER MAIN REPLACEMENT DESIGN COSTS

SPONSORED BY:  Board of Selectmen

To see if the Town will vote to appropriate from Water Surplus (Retained Earning) $78,000 for tasks related to engineering services for the design and tasks related to the replacement of approximately 10,600 linear feet of water mains on Winter Street including new water mains, valves, hydrants, service connections and all related work in Winter Street from Ashland Street to Washington Street; or take any action relative thereto.     

   Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 10:   HOPPING BROOK WATER STORAGE TANK AERATION AND VENT  INSTALLATION

SPONSORED BY:  Board of Selectmen

To see if the Town will vote to appropriate from Water Surplus (Retained Earnings) $100,000 for a power aeration and vent system for the Hopping Brook Water Storage Tank allowing for improved water quality and enhanced removal of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and all related work; or take any action relative thereto.

Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 11:   WATER TANKS CLEANING

SPONSORED BY:  Board of Selectmen

To see if the Town will vote to appropriate from Water Surplus (Retained Earnings) $33,600 for all tasks related to exterior cleaning and interior cleaning of the Holliston Water Storage Tanks, pursuant to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations that all public water supply water storage tanks be cleaned every five (5) years and all related work; or take any action relative thereto.

Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 12:   43D PRIORITY SITING BY-LAW

SPONSORED BY:  Planning Board

To see if the Town will vote to re-affirm the May 2010 Town Meeting acceptance of the provisions of Chapter 43D of the Massachusetts General Laws, Expedited Permitting, as amended pursuant to Section 11 of Chapter 5205 of the Acts of 2006 further amended by Section 25 of Chapter 238 of the Acts of 2012 and to enable the Town Planner/Economic Development Director as the designated single point of contact for the community, to file an application with the Interagency Permitting Board for the designation of land at 0 Hopping Brook Road (Map 4, Block 6, Lot 15 – Hopping Brook Park Phase II) as a Priority Development Site; or take any action relative thereto.

Passed unanimously but with discussion:

Ann Chipman wanted more detail about Hopping Brook Park additions.

Town Planner Karen Sherman stated that the property owner should be a partner for Hopping Brook Park, phase 2, covering 1-2million square feet with 5-6 potential buildings. They have 120 days to initiate the request.fpr approval.

Ken Szajda asked why we were reaffirming the 2010 vote. Karen said that we had not completed the process in 2010 so this action completes the process.

ARTICLE 13:   LIBRARY ROOF AND HVAC BID SPECIFICATIONS

SPONSORED BY:  Board of Selectmen

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money for the purpose of engaging a roofing and or HVAC building consultant to assist the Town in the preparation of bid documents for repairs, replacement of the Holliston Public Library roof and HVAC system; or take any action relative thereto.

Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 14:  RAIL TRAIL MAINTENANCE

SPONSORED BY:  Board of Selectmen

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds or borrow $5,100 to be expended by the Rail Trail Committee for the purposes of providing equipment to be under the care and custody of the Department of Public Works for continuous maintenance of the Upper Charles River Rail Trail; or take any action relative thereto.

Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 15:   TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA ESTABLISHMENTS

SPONSORED BY: Board of Selectmen/Planning Board

To see if the Town will vote to amend the Zoning Bylaw by adding a new Section VIII - Temporary Moratorium on Recreational Marijuana Establishments which are not included in the definition of Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers as follows:

SECTION VIII.        TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON MARIJUANA ESTABLISHMENTS WHICH ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE DEFINITION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA TREATMENT CENTERS

VIIIA.             PURPOSE

By vote at the State election on November 8, 2016, the voters of the Commonwealth approved a law entitled the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, codified in G.L. c. 94G, Regulation of the Use and Distribution of Marijuana Not Medically Prescribed, as amended by Chapter 351 of the Acts of 2016 and Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017 (the “Act”), regulating the control, production and distribution of marijuana under a system of licenses and regulations.  Currently under the Zoning Bylaw, Marijuana Establishments are not defined, not established as a permitted use or otherwise regulated in the Town. Regulations promulgated by the Cannabis Control Commission are expected to provide guidance to the Town in its regulation of marijuana sales and distribution.  The regulation of marijuana establishments raises unique and complex legal, planning, and public safety issues, and the Town needs time to study and consider the regulation thereof to appropriately address such unique and complex issues.  The local impacts resulting from this new land use should be evaluated and addressed in a comprehensive manner by appropriate zoning and planning regulations prior to the permitting of a Marijuana Establishment.  Consequently, the Town intends to adopt a temporary moratorium on the use of land and structures in the Town for Marijuana Establishments to permit the Town sufficient time to engage in a planning process to address the impacts of such structures and uses in the Town and to enact bylaws in a manner consistent with sound land use planning goals and objectives.

VIII-B             DEFINITIONS

  1. “Marijuana” and “Marijuana Product” shall have the meanings set forth in the Act.
  2. “Marijuana Establishments” shall have the meaning set forth in the Act.

VIII-C                        TEMPORARY MORATORIUM

For the reasons set forth above, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Zoning Bylaw to the contrary, the Town hereby adopts a temporary moratorium on the use of land or structures for Marijuana Establishments as defined by the Act, which shall not include Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers.  No building permit, special permit, variance, site plan or other permit may be issued under this zoning by-law for the purpose of establishing Marijuana Establishments.  The moratorium shall remain in effect through December 31, 2018.  During the moratorium period, the Town shall undertake a planning process to address the potential impacts of the cultivation, distribution and sale of marijuana in the Town, consider the Cannabis Control Commission regulations regarding Marijuana Establishments, and adopt Zoning Bylaws to address the impact and operation of Marijuana Establishments; or take any action relative thereto.

Mark Schultz, above, said that state will give rebates from Marijuana revenue. (note – this article refers to recreational not medical use.) and questioned whether we had the will to refuse that money if we vote down this article. He recommended voting against the article.

Passed 180 in favor, 67 against.

ARTICLE 16:  ALL-ALCOHOL LIQUOR LICENSES approve

SPONSORED BY:  Petition

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to petition the State Legislature on behalf of the Wine House Inc. for one additional off premise license for the sale of all alcoholic beverages.  This license would be granted to The Wine House, who is currently operating under a ‘Wine & Malt’ Beverages license.

Article 16 – Passed but not unanimously

John Varga wanted to know that if getting a license is based on population growth, how many would be paying customers and how many would be underage. The answer is that the license is based on population growth.

Ken Szajda asked the Town Council Jay Tallerman,above, if there is a need to file a petition and go through the legislature.

The Selectmen’s concern is that additional licenses should be open to all in town, Kevin said that the Wine House wants to add some spirits.

Michelle Zeamer said that the questions is not binding on the selectmen, but is limited to the initiates who apply for the license, limited to the address.

David Duda said he supports the Wine House, stating that she wants to augment her business. He stressed supporting downtown businesses.

ARTICLE 17:   TRASH AND RECYCLING COLLECTION AT CONDOMINIUMS

SPONSORED BY:  Petition

To see if the Town will vote to provide curbside refuse and recycling pickup to condominiums provided their Board of Trustees request such service, allowing the Town or its agents access to any private roads and agrees to insure the Town from any liability or take any action relative thereto.

Passed after much debate.

Larry Bennett, above, submitted an amendment to the bill. He said that all residential and all citizens are taxed. Some condos are now getting trash service, but if the bill passes, all services to condos will cease. He wanted to amend the by-laws of the town to allow trash pick if the owners want it. (This could not be voted on because by-laws cannot be changed in this way.). Ken Szajda voiced several concerns – by law changes, transfer of funds.

Jay Tallerman (Town Council) said that warrant did not provide enough notice to act on the article.

Tracey Jack asked why not allow the trash pick up to be held off and later said she supported the condos getting trash pick up.

Jay Marsden said that it is not clear that there are any trends to open trash pick up on private roads in other towns. It will open a “Pandora’s Box” and he expressed concern about the cost and numbers. It could add $140,000 to $150,000 per year if the town did have condo trash pick up. There is also a liability issue to the town for each condo association; each would need discussion, as condos are free standing companies with their own by-laws and rules. Houses and condos do not operate in the same way, he added.

Paul Hession distributed a handout listing towns that have trash pick up and spoke for condos contributing to the town.

Michelle Zeamer raised the issue of public vs private roads stating that condos choose to have private roads that do not get plowed.

Jay Tallerman answered a question about easement, stating that easement for a condo required another public vote. He added that private roads are not built to public standards. Republic will not enter a private driveway.

Pat Duffey mentioned the use of dumpsters before Regency had curbside pick up. She said that people bought condos with the idea that they would not have to pay. She felt that neither Regency Park nor Balancing Rock should lose the trash service.

Mark Schultz said that the situation had many issues and that one size does not fit all. He added that specific rules and regulations are needed, but stressed that the issue must be decided fairly.

Bob Hilldreth criticized postponements and does not feel a good faith effort has been made.

Ken Szajda brought up concern about the cost, saying that we do not have the money. The problem is that a mistake was made and now it must be corrected. He stressed really needing to look at the situation.

Both Carl Damigella, above, and Mike Mitchell, below, spoke.

Kevin Conley stressed the need to look at where the money will come from and to consider a number of problems.

Robert Cassidy, above, stated the need to get accurate figures for all the boards about the income level and needs of Regency Drive.

Pat Duffey asked to have the January 1st date recinded when service to Balancing Rock and Regency Park is stopped but was ruled out of order.

ARTICLE 18:    ACCEPTANCE AS PUBLIC WAYS

SPONSORED BY:  Petition

To see if the Town will vote to accept as a public way the non-public portion of Mohawk Path, a portion of Governor Prence Way, Indian Circle and Mayflower Landing, all within the subdivision designated as “The Highlands at Holliston”, and to include the necessary easement rights related thereto, all as shown on the plans prepared by Guerrier & Halnon, Inc. dated September 6, 2017 or take any action relative thereto.

Paul Beattie, above,  explained the petition and said that it is a matter of public safety for the children to be picked up. Kevin Conley said the project does not meet requirements on the punch list. He said not to approve the article.

Wan Baht (sp) argued in favor of the article, stressing bus pick and safety. “Asking for basic requirements,” he said.

Jay Tallerman spoke to the question of procedure, stating that without the Board of Selectmen being able to follow procedure, the town should not pass the article. Kevin Conley said that standard procedure is to test the road by letting it go through the winter to see how it stands up to the weather. He did not want the town to accept untested roads. "If the town does, it will be ours, not the builder’s responsibility, to make repairs", he said.  Jay Marsden supported what others said about the roads.

Sean Reese, Director of the Department of Public Works, strongly came out against the article. "Do not vote in favor of this article", he said several times.

The article was defeated.

Good night, Holliston

 

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Comments (2)

One clarification: The question I asked Jay (Town Counsel) on Article 16 wasn't about the process--we've filed special legislation before and know the process well. :-) The question was about the validity of the article itself (whether it was something that Town Meeting could actually do) since Town Meeting does not have authority over all town matters. I also wish that the article had highlighted the fact that the traffic light project will not increase anyone's taxes even though an override was approved earlier. Paying for a project without using a dime of an approved override doesn't happen every day, and to my knowledge hadn't happened in my lifetime until last night. :-)

- Ken Szajda | 11/1/17 6:24 PM

Hahah this is beautiful they're talking safety right? But yet we signed off on the Flagg school with granite curbing all over the place... would really stink to fall on those but that's safe? Once again the fine men downtown really know what battles to choose. Safety haha that's funny good work! Makes zero sense I'm sure if a flower box or a mum was in the wrong place they would say that's unsafe

- Frank | 11/1/17 1:28 PM

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