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Taxes Go Up – 2 cents / $1,000 and Other Select Board Actions

The Select Board started its November 25th meeting right on the dot of 7:00 as printed on the agenda.

The warrant of $3.6 million dollars was approved.

During Public Comment the Board members remembered Mr. Adams who passed last week.  Also the members celebrated the HHS Girls’ Soccer team’s State Championship win – and thanked HFD for the welcome home parade.

Mr. Ritter was on vacation so no public comment from him.

Holliston’s IT Director, Chris Meo, wore two hats at this meeting.  First, he spoke about the annual report due to the state related to Holliston’s Green Community grant.  Overall, energy usage was down 3.2% even with an extended heating season and the heat lost during the library roof repair.  8 projects have been approved for the coming year through the grant.  Did you know that the town’s two electric cars cost about $192 / vehicle / year to operate?

The Board approved the report for submission to the state.

Next, Mr. Meo spoke to the Information Technology Grant Application.  Holliston is one of 96 Massachusetts communities to receive a grant.  The grant provides the town with 112 user accounts to access state data.  The user accounts will be assigned to town and school employees (not elected officials).  The access requires that the users complete 4 hours of online training on IT security between February and December 2020.  In return the town receives progress reports on completion and an informal IT security audit.

The Board approved the employees’ time to complete the required training.

Mary Bousquet, Town Treasurer, proposed a policy for secure and responsible use of the town’s Square Credit Card machine (one specially equipped tablet).  Only employees would be authorized to use the payment system.  The Park and Rec department tested the system this summer with very good results and no security issues.

The Board approved and signed the policy.

As there was time before the posted time for the Tax Classification Public Hearing, the Board approved the following:

Meeting minutes from the November 12 and 18 meetings;

The Lions Club “Light Up Holliston” festive lights display; and

The appointment of Oksana Levchenko to the Economic Development Committee.

At 7:33 the Public Hearing for Tax Classification was opened.  Mary Greendale, Board of Assessors Chair, Lesley Kennally, Vice Chair, and Kathryn Pierce, Holliston’s Principal Assessor presented the report about the proposed tax rate for FY 2020.  Overall, Property Value increased 5% and Spending increased 4% – resulting in a proposed single tax rate of $18.85 / $1,000 of assessed value.  The 2 cent / 1,000 increase would result an AVERAGE yearly tax increase of $400.  The Board presented several pages of backup for their proposal – the entire report will be available today on the Assessor’s webpage –https://www.townofholliston.us/assessors-office

The Public Hearing was adjourned at 8:16

The Board approved the single tax rate of $18.85 / $1,000 and disapproved the Open Space Discount, Shifting Tax Burden to Commercial Properties, and the Residential Exemption.

Before adjourning, Vice Chair John Cronin wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

FYI – The Town Departments will close at noon on Wednesday, November 27th and re-open on Monday, December 2nd.

The meeting adjourned at 8:19 pm.

Chris Cain

1 Comment

  1. Mary Greendale on November 26, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Chris, may I please clarify one thing. The reason that many individuals will see increases in their tax bills is because the values of their properties increased and because of the 4% increase in spending approved by Town Meeting. Some neighborhoods increased more than others, too, based on sales in 2018.

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