Select Board Addresses A Wide Range of Topics

Just like clockwork, Select Board Chair Mark Ahronian called the meeting at 7:00 p.m.

The Board Clerk, Tina Hein read the warrants which totaled: $1,544,225.84. The warrants were approved.

During Public Comment:

  • Mrs. Hein reported that Holliston’s Complete Streets Plan received a score of 89 out of a possible 100 and moves on to the next phase.
  • Mr. Cronin congratulated the Holliston Pantry Shelf for putting on what appeared to be a very successful SOUPer Bowl.
  • Mr. Ahronian thanked Mr. Ritter and his staff for handling their very ‘full plate.’

Town Administrator, Jeff Ritter had the following updates:

  • The Town Administrator and Staff are meeting with Standard and Poors raters this Wednesday
  • Green Community Phase 3 is completed. To date the work undertaken through these grants has saved the town $490, 532!
  • Solar panel firm met last week with the Town about the Marshall Street solar farm installation plan
  • The Town received $92,122 from a Mass Trails Grant. This money is for the trail work between Central and Church Streets
  • $100,000 was received from Pharma Cannis as a yearly payment for their Host Community Agreement with the Town
  • Matt Zetteck, our new Sustainability Coordinator is busy meeting with many stakeholders and vendors
  • McMahon Associates will be in on Friday to begin the approved upgrades to the downtown traffic signals
  • Gutters at the rear of the Town Hall will be repaired today (Tuesday)
Students from Sara Peters’ 5th grade class present a petition to the Board

Several students from Miller School presented the Board with a Petition containing 153 signatures requesting that the Town officially change the name of the October holiday known as Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. They feel that the name change would recognize the positive attributes of the native cultures that were the original inhabitants of this country. The Board thanked the students for their presentation and took the Petition under advisement.

Vin Murphy and Ben Sparrell

Mr. Murphy and Mr. Sparrell attended the Board’s meeting as individual members of the Finance Committee – not representing the entire Committee. They were present to apologize to Mrs. Hein for mistreatment at a recent Committee meeting and how to improve the Committee’s interactions with all Town Boards and Committees. Perhaps Mr. Cronin stated it best during the discussion: Debate is Good – Listening is Better – and Civil Dialogue is Best. The conversation ended with an agreement to have more interaction between the existing liaisons of each group.

Ryan Clapp, Holliston’s Conservation Agent presented the Conservation Commission’s FY 21 proposed budget – $54,589. It was approved by the Board
Jay Robinson updates the Board on the Pinecrest Clubhouse Committee

Mr. Robinson recommended that the Pinecrest Clubhouse Committee be disbanded – after some housekeeping details – and its work to date be folded into the Pinecrest Advisory Committee. This idea is supported by the Advisory Committee. He further recommends that the Select Board, Finance Committee, and the Advisory Committee work as a triad to make Clubhouse decisions. The Board supported this approach.

Kevin Conley wore two hats: Blair Square Committee and 9 Green Street Committee

Mr. Conley reported on the progress made to date on the work to finish the Rail Trail between Central and Church Streets. With the grant funding (see Town Admin report), construction is planned for this year with completion targeted for year end. He specifically thanked Town Planner Karen Sherman for her help in navigating the State Grant landscape. The Blair Square section of the project plan is still being fine tuned. He expects the Committee will present a more polished plan in 4 – 6 weeks.

The Board approved the Reserve Fund transfer of $13,500 to cover the cost of engineering tests, etc. for the 9 Green Street property. The 9 Green Street Committee plans to hold a public session to gather citizen input about the best use of the space.

In other Board business:

  • Approval of the Jan 21 and 28 meeting minutes was postponed until next week
  • The approval of three contracts related to water infrastructure was postponed until next week
  • The Board approved a one day liquor license for St. Michael’s Church – the event will be held in the Upper Town Hall on March 28th (the event was approved BEFORE the current moratorium on rentals went into effect)
  • Mr. Ritter read the preliminary list of Town Meeting articles. The Warrant for the May Town Meeting closes this Thursday, February 6th.
  • Mr. Ritter reported that Christopher Pizzi, did not accept the Town’s employment offer to become the new Facilities Manager.

Given the news about the Facilities Manager position vacancy, the Board has decided to reconsider Mr. Lefter and call in Mr. Keast for a second interview (from which Mr. Cronin will recuse himself). The plan then would be to decide which one of these two finalists best meets the job criteria. Stay tuned.

The Board accepted a $10,000 gift from Middlesex Savings Bank to be deposited in the Holliston Police Department’s Gift Account.

Mrs. Hein asked for and received the Board’s support for her to contact the Town Moderator and Town Clerk to discuss ways to increase participation at Town Meetings.

The meeting adjourned at 8:48 pm.

Chris Cain

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