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Select Board Kicks Off FY 21 Budget Planning

Board Chair Mark Ahronian called the meeting to order at 7:03 pm. First up was the weekly warrants – totaling $458,152.90 – which were approved.

During Public Comment, Mrs. Hein shared this link to a state website that graphs 6 different components for all communities in the Commonwealth. She recommends that citizens learn how Holliston compares to other comparable communities.

Mr. Ahronian announced that he would NOT be running for re-election when his term expires this May. He thanked his Board colleagues, town staff, and citizens for their support during his term. He cited that this move will allow him more free time to spend with his family. A trip to Alaska is already on his 2020 calendar.

Mr. Cronin commented that, “Mark is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met.”

The Town Administrator began by thanking Mr. Ahronian for his service to the town. Mr. Ritter also thanked Bob Nemet and Chris Meo for their continuing work on winterizing the Town Hall. Nearly $750,000 in grants over the past three years has allowed environmental upgrades throughout the town. Mr. Ahronian asked that a Proclamation be drafted to thank those who have contributed to these grants.

Also, Ritter reported that nearly $30,000 has been saved in trash disposal since moving to the new carts / carrier in July.

Mrs. Hein presented the Complete Streets Policy on behalf of DPW Director Sean Reese. The Policy was approved as amended. This move allows the town to apply for Tier 2 (Technical Assistance) from the State.

Board Business:

  • Approved December 23, 2019 meeting minutes
  • Announced that the Annual Town Meeting Warrant opened on January 6, 2020 and closes on February 6, 2020 – (Town Meeting is on May 4, 2020)
  • Accepted $300 in gifts earmarked for the Fire Department
  • Approved a contract for installation of a generator at Well #4

The Board began FY 21 budget planning:

  • Accepted John Cronin’s edits to the Town’s Financial Policies (which go to FinCom tonight – 1/7/2020)
  • The Budget Guideline for FY 21 is 1% above current budgeted amounts
  • Approved preliminary budgets for Solid Waste (staying level for next year), Streetlights (up 1%), and Fuels (staying level). ACO budget will be reviewed at a later meeting.
Town Treasurer Mary Bousquet was on hand to answer questions about the proposed Financial Policies.

Two hiring updates:

There are five viable candidates for the new Facilities Manager position. The Board asked Mr. Ritter to set up interviews with all five in the near future. The date and time will be published on the town website.

The town has received three resumes for the Sustainability Coordinator contract position.

Joan Levinsohn and Richardson Rosenberry asked the Board questions about funding the position beyond June 2020. Mr. Cronin reiterated the Board’s position that this role should be self-sustaining; paying for itself with future grant funding and in energy savings. The first few months will be a ‘proof of concept’ period. Mrs. Hein shared that there is Sustainability Coordinator funding proposed in the MVP (Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness) grant that was submitted to the State.

The meeting adjourned at 8:27pm.

Chris Cain

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