Annual Town Meeting Results

The Annual Town Meeting was held Monday evening at the Placentino/Miller cafetorium.  Following a short wait for quorum, the meeting began at 7:41 with the Moderator William H. Mayer opening.  Mayer asked for a moment of silence for the many lives lost across the world due to the present pandemic.  Mayer also explained that Articles from the Warrant would be lumped together so that this consent agenda might streamline and focus discussion.

Moderator William Mayer
Select Board Chair, John Cronin

John Cronin, Chair of the Select Board, welcomed everyone and reviewed the work of the Board during the past year as well as introduced goals for the Select Board for the coming year.  Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Michael Cassidy reviewed audience procedures for speaking and leaving the area at the conclusion of the evening, so as to keep the evening “touchless.”

Fire Chief Michael Cassidy

Ken Szajda, Chair of the Finance Committee, spoke about the Committee’s recommendations to the Town Meeting.  He noted, “Holliston is in the best financial position to face what we are now facing.”  As was stated on one of his slides, “Fiscal discipline in good times helps us weather the pandemic.”  Szajda briefly reviewed the role of the Finance Committee for the benefit of the community.  He concluded his opening remarks, “It is financially to your benefit to crush the virus as a community as soon as possible.”

Finance Committee Chair Dr. Ken Szajda

Moderator Mayer took an oral vote on the grouping of Articles (a consent agenda—several articles grouped together and voted as one item to expedite the meeting) that included Articles 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 14. All of these Articles were approved with this single vote.

ARTICLE 1: HEAR REPORT OF THE SELECT BOARD              Passed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To hear and act on the report of the Select Board.

ARTICLE 2: HEAR REPORT OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE        Passed

SPONSORED BY: Finance Committee

To hear and act on the report of the Finance Committee.

ARTICLE 3: AUTHORIZE TREASURER/COLLECTOR TO SELL FORECLOSED TAX TITLE PROPERTIES    Passed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Town Treasurer/Collector, subject to the approval of the Select Board, to sell property acquired through foreclosure of tax titles by the Town and other real estate, after first giving notice of the time and place of the sale by posting such notice of sale in some convenient place in the Town . . .

ARTICLE 4: COMPENSATION FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS      Passed

FinCom presented an amendment to reduce stipends of both the Select Board and Board of Assessors to $1. /member. A lengthy discussion on the amendment ensued. The amendment failed, and Article 4 passed.

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds for the purposes of fixing the salaries and compensation of all elected officers of the Town effective July 1, 2020, which salaries and compensation are printed below (table excluded from this text)

ARTICLE 5: AMEND CONSOLIDATED PERSONNEL BY-LAW SECTION 29, JOB AND WAGE CLASSIFICATION PLAN                Passed

An amendment to Article 5 was suggested by Dan Alfred, member of FinCom to change the ranges for M5 and M6 back to their original range.  This amendment failed.  Article 5 passed.

SPONSORED BY: Town Administrator

To see if the Town will vote to amend the Consolidated Personnel By-law Section 29, Job and Wage Classification Plan, by reflecting those revisions, deletions and/or additions to be effective as of July 1, 2020; or take any action relative thereto.  (wage tables excluded from this text)

ARTICLE 6: AUTHORIZE THE SELECT BOARD TO SELL SURPLUS EQUIPMENT           Passed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Select Board to hold a public auction for the purpose of disposing of surplus departmental equipment; or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 7: AUTHORIZATION TO EXPEND CHAPTER 90 (STATE AID FOR HIGHWAYS PROGRAM)  Passed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Department of Public Works, with the approval of the Select Board, to use and expend sums received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as reimbursements under the Chapter 90 State Aid to Highways program for further construction, reconstruction, and improvements, including surface treatments of approved public ways within

ARTICLE 8: AMEND INTEREST RATE PER ANNUM              Passed

SPONSORED BY: Board of Assessors

To see if the Town will vote to amend the interest rate per annum from 8% to 6% under the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 59, Section 5, clause 41A, which regulates tax deferral for homeowners 65 years or older, pursuant to the authority contained in Chapter 136 of the Acts of 2005, thereby amending said clause 41A; or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 9: AMEND INCOME REQUIREMENTS      Passed

SPONSORED BY: Board of Assessors

To see if the Town will vote to accept the provisions of section 51 of Chapter 184 of the Acts of 2002, amending the income requirements under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 59, section 5, clause 41C; or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 10: REVOLVING FUND SPENDING LIMITS             Passed 

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the spending limits of the following revolving funds established under the Town Bylaw and General Laws Chapter 44, Section 53E ½: 17 (limits excluded from this text0

ARTICLE 11: FISCAL YEAR 2021 BUDGET                 Passed

Article 11 was passed as the Moderator read individual spending limits of each section of the Omnibus budget. 

SPONSORED BY: Finance Committee (Omnibus Budget)

To see what money the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds to meet expenses and outlays to Town departments, salaries of Town Officers, sundry and miscellaneous but regular expenditures, for a Reserve Fund, and to appoint trustees or caretakers or authorize the Select Board to appoint caretakers of the cemeteries of the Town not otherwise provided for, the ensuing year; or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 12: TRANSFER FROM AVAILABLE FUNDS A SUM OF MONEY FOR THE CAPITAL EXPENDITURE FUND                Passed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money for the Capital Expenditure Fund; or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 13: CAPITAL EXPENDITURES      Passed

Article 13 was discussed by members of the audience following an amendment proposal to reduce the appropriation by $500,000 for Kamitian Field.  The amendment failed, but Article 13 passed.

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds, or borrow a sum of money for the purpose of capital expenditures, including replacement and new vehicles and equipment, for the Schools, Police, Select Board, Fire, and authorize the Select Board to trade or sell used equipment toward part of the purchase price; or take any action relative thereto.  (expenditures removed from this text)

ARTICLE 14: REPORT OF THE COMMUNITY PRESERVATION COMMITTEE                Passed

SPONSORED BY: Community Preservation Committee

To see if the Town will vote to act on the report of the Community Preservation Committee for the fiscal year 2021 community preservation budget and to appropriate or reserve for later appropriation monies from Community  Preservation Fund annual revenues or available funds for the administrative expenses of the Community Preservation Committee, the payment of debt service, the undertaking of community preservation projects and all other necessary and proper expenses for the year:  (expenditures removed in this text)

ARTICLE 15: TRANSFER FROM AVAILABLE FUNDS A SUM OF MONEY FOR THE STABILIZATION FUND        Indefinitely postponed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money for the Stabilization Fund; or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 16: SOLAR PANELS AT LANDFILL              Passed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to change the use of the top three (3) feet of the landfill located at Marshall Street from landfill purposes to general municipal purposes and authorize the Select Board to enter into a Lease Agreement for up to twenty-five years for the reuse of the former landfill off Marshall Street for the purposes of installing and operating a solar photovoltaic facility on terms and conditions which the Board determines are in the best interest of the Town, and further to enter into a Power Purchase Agreement for periods of up to twenty-five years for the purchase of the solar energy generated by the facility, and further in accordance with G.L. c.59, Sec 38H to authorize the Select Board and the Board of Assessors to negotiate and enter into a tax agreement for the payment of personal property taxes on the solar facility for a period of up to 25 years, or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 17: CENTRAL STREET FIRE STATION EASEMENT AGREEMENT FOR SOLAR ELECTRIC POWER         Passed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to grant an easement, license agreement and or lease agreement with the approval of Town Counsel and the Select Board, and to authorize the Town Administrator to  sign the appropriate documents on behalf of the Town for the installation of a roof top solar panels and any related equipment at the 59 Central Street Fire Station, or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 18: ESTABLISH REVOLVING FUND FOR THE COMMUNITY FARM COMMITTEE     Passed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to accept Massachusetts General Law, 53E ½ for the purposes of  accepting grants and donations to the Community Farm Committee for rentals and fees for  payment of utilities, repairs and maintenance with a limit of $5,000 per year, or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 19: ROAD ACCEPTANCES            Passed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board

To see if the Town will vote to accept as public ways, . . .  all purposed for which public ways are used in the Town of Holliston or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 20: WASHINGTON STREET AT WOODLAND AND HIGH STREET TRAFFIC SIGNAL LED UPGRADE   Passed

SPONSORED BY: Select Board ESTIMATED COST: $5,740

To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds $5,740.00  for labor, materials, and equipment for the installation and upgrades of a traffic signal at Washington, Woodland and High streets, or take any action relative thereto.

ARTICLE 21: STORMWATER AND LAND DISTURBANCE BY-LAW AMENDMENTS   Passed

SPONSORED BY: Planning Board

To see if the Town will vote to amend General By-Law Article XLI Stormwater Management and Land Disturbance By-Law adopted in May 2008 as follows to reflect goals of the Town’s 2019 Stormwater Management Program Plan. (several sections of legal statutes excluded from this text)

ARTICLE 22: PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND ANIMALS IN HOLLISTON     Passed

SPONSORED BY: Petitioners

Janeen Cox presented on behalf of the petitioners.

Motion to indefinitely postpone made by Jay Leary was defeated.

“A significant number of puppies, kittens, and rabbits sold at local pet shops come from largescale, commercial breeding facilities (puppy mills) where the health and welfare of the animals are not adequately provided for. The ordinance proposed for the Holliston Town Meeting is as follows:

Section 1. Restrictions on the Sale of Animals No pet store shall sell, deliver, offer for sale, barter, auction, give away, or otherwise transfer or dispose of cats or dogs or rabbits, except for a dog, cat or rabbit displayed by a shelter or animal rescue organization. (lengthy section not included in this text)

The Town Meeting was adjourned at 10:32 PM. 

The entire text of the Warrant and the Finance Committee recommendations can be viewed here -> https://www.townofholliston.us/sites/g/files/vyhlif706/f/uploads/fy21_annual_report_finance_committee_-_final2_1.pdf

The Publishers

1 Comment

  1. Ken Szajda on July 21, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Last night the Chair of the Select Board declared that the Finance Committee had committed an Open Meeting Law violation. I wanted to clarify for the record that there was no violation. In the Fincom report, our recommendation for Article 5 was that the Finance Committee would make a recommendation at Town Meeting. Because we were not posted for a meeting prior to Town Meeting, I knew we had to wait until Town Meeting convened to conduct business. I waited until the Moderator had convened Town Meeting and called it to order, then had the Fincom take a quick vote on a recommendation for Article 5.

    This was fully within the requirements of the Open Meeting Law, which specifically exempts Town Meeting. To quote directly from the Attorney General’s “Open Meeting Law Guide and Educational Materials” document: “Town Meetings, which are subject to other legal requirements, are not governed by the Open Meeting Law…” The document further says “We have received several inquiries about the exception for Town Meeting and whether it applies…to deliberation by members of a public body…during a session of Town Meeting. The Attorney General interprets this exemption to mean the Open Meeting Law does not reach any aspect of Town Meeting.”

    This is the second time in the last 2 months that Mr. Cronin has declared publicly, without merit or factual determination, that the Fincom committed a violation of the Open Meeting Law. In neither instance was a complaint filed or a determination made by the Attorney General that the Fincom did anything wrong. If Mr. Cronin feels that a violation has occurred he, like any other citizen, is welcome to file a complaint with the Attorney General which would provide the Fincom with the opportunity for due process.

    While I usually refrain from responding to baseless accusations, I feel that I must respond at this time given the repeated attempts to impugn both my integrity and the integrity of the Fincom.

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