Select Board June 4, 2020 Meeting

The June 4th meeting of the Holliston Select Board was called to order by Chair Mark Ahronian at 7:02 pm.

During Public Comment:

Mrs. Hein had no comment at this time

Mr. Cronin congratulated the organizers and public safety departments for making yesterday’s Black Lives Matter demonstration safe and successful.

Mr. Ahronian thanked Chief Cassidy and Chief Stone for working on short notice to make sure the assembly was safe.

No comment from any other participants.

FY 21 1/12th Budget:

Mrs. Hein reviewed the state laws, timing, and process for preparing a 1/12th Town budget to tide the Town departments until a budget can be passed by Town Meeting (currently planned for July 20, 2020).  The Finance Committee during their review noted one budget line that did not meet the law’s “not less than 1/12th of FY 20 funding” guideline.  The Zoning Board 1/12 budget was adjusted to $950.58 bringing the total to $8,244,067.25.  The Board approved this budget for submission to the MA Dept of Revenue for approval.

COVID-19 Costs – CARES / FEMA Grant Application:

Chief Cassidy shares the most current total of COVID-19 related expenses incurred by Holliston.

Fire Chief Cassidy, in his role as Emergency Management Director, presented the Board with an updated estimate of COVID-19 expenses that, based on his experience with such reimbursement grant requests, are eligible for reimbursement.  At the Monday, June 1st Select Board meeting Cassidy estimated the expenses through year end to be $150,000. 

Mr. Cronin double-checked with Chief Cassidy about the timeline for departments to submit their expenses for inclusion in the grant request.  Chief Cassidy asked for requests to be submitted by May 29th (in preparation for the Chief’s June 1st Select Board presentation).

Since Monday’s Board meeting, the School Committee has sent a preliminary request to purchase necessary technology for the new learning environment required by the pandemic.  Ken Szajda, speaking for the Finance Committee, agreed that this expense, was not budgeted previously, is directly the result of the pandemic.

Members of the School Committee Budget Subcommittee and Public Schools Business Manager, Keith Buday were attending two meetings simultaneously – Select and School Committee.  Given the dueling meeting agendas, the School Committee was not quite ready to make their official request for funds to be added to the grant application. 

Chief Cassidy has learned that the original deadline of tomorrow allows for extensions.  The Board will meet with the School Committee representatives at a meeting next Monday or Tuesday – depending when the decision can be added to the Board’s agenda.  There is a possibility that the State will invite a second wave of reimbursement requests.  The Chief shared some anecdotal input from a recent MMA conference call he attended related to Town Elections and Town Meetings.

Chair Ahronian alerted everyone that the Select Board would be interviewing three finalist candidates for the soon-to-be vacant Town Administrator role on Friday, June 12, 2020 at 4:00 pm.

Upper Charles Rail Trail Site Application:

Kevin Conley presented the final plan, developed by Town Planner Karen Sherman and GLM Principal Joyce Hastings, to the Board.  The plan covers the area from Central Street to Church Street passing behind Casey’s Crossing. The Board approved the plan with two amendments: 1) explore the possibility of a sidewalk along Church Street from the rail trail to Woodland Street; and 2) that privacy fencing be used along the private property abutting the trail and that historically proper (similar to the granite and wood fencing near Town Hall) be installed along the trail in that section.

The Board suggested three names (Matt Zetteck, Mary Greendale, and Robert Weidknecht) to Mr. Conley as candidates who might be able write grant applications for the next phase of trail development.

Other Board Business:

Mrs. Hein requested that the Pride flag be flown on June 13th and 14th.  This will be discussed at the next Board meeting (June 8, 2020).

Mr. Cronin clarified that Mr. Ritter is taking his accrued leave time in the coming weeks at the recommendation of the Select Board.

He recommended that the Board complete its work on the Town Meeting Warrant at its June 15, 2020 to give the Finance Committee to complete its report prior to the July 20, 2020 Town Meeting.

Mr. Ahronian added that he had sent a formal e-mail to State Senate President Karen Spilka and State Representative Carolyn Dykema asking about any available information regarding State support for municipalities in FY 21. Both Senator Spilka and Representative Dykema will be attending the Board’s June 22nd meeting (which Mr. Ahronian pointed out will be his last as a member of the Select Board).

The meeting adjourned at 8:22 pm. The Board will meet next on Monday, June 8, 2020 starting at 7:00 pm.

Chris Cain

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