Select Board Completes 1/12 Budget

Select Board Chair, Mark Ahronian called the June 1st meeting to order at 7:02 pm.

The first item of business was the weekly COVID-19 update from the Town’s Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy.

Chief Cassidy reported the following:

  • June 1, 2020 has been designated a National Day of Mourning and Lament as the death toll in the United States reached 100,000.
  • Total cases to date = 56: 31 recovered; 1 fatality; 24 active.
  • Cassidy has been working with the School Department to plan for returning equipment at the end of the school year – and returning personal items to students / parents.
  • Working with Town Clerk on the upcoming Town Election (June 23rd – or vote by mail)
  • Working with the Town Accountant to prepare the CARES Act Grant application due later this week.
  • New Park and Recreation guidance was released today.  Director Mark Frank is digesting those now.
  • The past two weekends have been successful and safe at the Recycling Center (reminder: it will be open Saturday and Sunday again this weekend).
  • Face mask use on the Rail Trail continues to be a challenge.  The Board of Health is working on better guidance.

Following the Chief’s update, Select Board Clerk, Tina Hein asked for a moment of silence in observance of the National Day of Mourning and Lament.  This began at 7:06.

Board Vice-chair, John Cronin has been communicating with Chief Cassidy about the safest structure for the upcoming Town Meeting (currently planned for July 20, 2020.)

Warrants for the week that totaled $1,463,890.03 were approved by the Board.

Public Comment:

Mrs. Hein – None

Mr. Cronin – None

Mr. Ahronian:

  • The Select Board Chair apologized to the citizens for not taking control of last Thursday evening’s rancorous meeting sooner than he did.
  • He noted that Jeff Ritter’s official last day will be July 12, 2020.  Between now and then he will be on vacation Monday – Wednesday through the end of June and the entire first two weeks of July.
  • Mr. Ahronian presented Mr. Ritter with a thank you gift as this is the last time the two will be together in their current roles.  Mr. Ahronian pointed to Mr. Ritter’s extra effort especially in these past weeks.

Public – None

Town Administrator Report:

  • The debris at 260 Woodland Street – which contains asbestos shingles – will be removed from the site within the next week.  Mr. Ahronian asked that a future Board agenda item be a discussion of possible future uses of the cleared land.  He reported, “I’ve heard from some who think it could be a dog park.”
  • All Departments have been notified to use recycling (part of a grant application)
  • The temporary merchants’ policy is ready for the Board’s signatures and then distribution to those merchants who expressed interest
  • The Board should submit their summer vacation dates to Donna Muzzy as soon as possible

Mr. Cronin inquired about who will take Select Board minutes in Mr. Ritter’s absence.  No solution came quickly to mind.

CARES Act Grant Request:

  • Chief Cassidy presented the Board with the total request which is roughly $150,000 for reimbursement of COVID-19 related Town expenses.
  • Mr. Ahronian suggested that the Chief contact the Finance Committee to ensure no expenses have been overlooked.
  • The grant request must be submitted by this Friday (June 5, 2020)
  • The Board is planning to meet this Thursday evening to review and sign the final grant request.
  • The Board authorized the Chair to sign the CARES Act grant request
  • The Board authorized the Chair to sign the Town Accountant’s Bi-monthly report

1/12 Budget:

  • Town Accountant, Sharon Emerick, presented the most current list of 1/12 budgets for all departments.  Mr. Ahronian asked that the list be read line by line for confirmation by all.
  • During the reading some corrections were made.
  • The 1/12 budget to tide the Town over until the FY 21 budget can be approved at Town Meeting is: $8,243,972.50
  • The Board voted to accept this 1/12 Budget for the Town of Holliston
  • The budget will go to the Finance Committee for action at TONIGHT’s meeting

Board Business:

  • Town Meeting Warrant:  Discussions continued.  Articles 4, 5, and 6 are under review and more input from Town Counsel relative to proper wording will be requested.
  • The Board approved the installation of two solar-powered safety beacons on Prentice Street at the existing Pinecrest crosswalks.  The total cost is $24,987 will be covered by remaining capital expense funds from FY 20 and $8,187 from the Golf Course Advisory Committee.  The Board also voted to accept the $8,187 gift from the GCAC.
  • HPD Chief Matthew Stone shared some updated policies to the Board for their review.  The updates are part of the accreditation process that HPD will undergo in mid-June.  The Board accepted the policy changes.
  • Chief Stone also received $100 in gift cards from citizens for HPD’s involvement in birthday parades.  The Board accepted the gift and earmarked it for the HPD gift account.
  • No fund transfers at this time.

Other Business:

Mr. Ahronian provided an update on the Town Administrator search. The field of candidates has been narrowed down to ‘three strong candidates.’  The finalists will be presented to the Board after background and reference checks – probably at next Monday’s Board meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 8:16 pm.

Chris Cain

1 Comment

  1. Daniel Alfred on June 2, 2020 at 8:40 am

    If the Town Administrator, in the middle of a pandemic and before a FY2021 budget and Warrant are finalized, insists on using his accrued time off before retiring to take Monday through Wednesday off for the rest of June and first two full weeks of July, then the Select Board should move their weekly meetings to Thursday night to ensure he can attend. Alternatively, the TA could take Wednesday through Friday off and continue attending the Monday meetings. The Select Board has yet to do a full review and clean up of the warrant, which is understandable given the situation we are in and the amount of time before Town Meeting, but since the Town Administrator puts together the final Warrant with changes made by the Select Board, it is imperative that he attend these meetings. The number of changes made to the Warrant simply makes communication of the changes via email or written notes untenable if we are to have a reliable Warrant. In any event, at all times, but especially now, it is important to have the Town Administrator participating in these discussions in real time and I urge the Select Board to take the actions necessary to ensure this happens.

    Please note that while I am a member of the Finance Committee, the above thoughts are my own personal views and do not represent the Finance Committee’s views.

Leave a Comment