Select Board – August 10, 2020 Meeting

Due to some technical difficulties with Zoom, Monday’s Select Board meeting was called to order by Chair John Cronin at 7:02 pm

The Select Board and Town Administrator ready for business.

Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy, led off with the weekly COVID-19 update to the Board:

  • Holliston recorded one new case this past week (none of the recent cases have been linked to attendees of the July 20th Town Meeting).  The total number of cases = 63 with 5 active.
  • An expense update = $17,000 from CARES Act funds to replace a 13-year-old network switch that manages network speed for Town buildings.
  • A request from the Town Clerk to spend up to $4,000 to acquire a secure ballot box for installation outside the Town Hall for absentee ballot drop off. The Board approved the request.  This box is will be a permanent installation for all future elections.  Mr. Cronin asked that the Town Administrator research what security monitoring is available to guard the box.
  • The Chief responded to Mrs. Hein’s inquiry about communication about available CARES Act funds by indicating that there is good communication amongst all departments.
  • The Town has spent approximately $289,000 of the $1.3 Million CARES Act funds in the Town’s treasury.
  • The Town is working on a process for residents to request rental/mortgage assistance through the available CARES Act funds.
  • HFD received a FEMA grant of $10,112 for PPE acquisition (this will avoid the expenditure of CARES Act funds for acquiring this PPE)
  • Holliston has been awarded PPE from the MEMA stockpile.  The Town will send a truck to pick up the supplies this Thursday.
  • Mr. Cronin asked the Town Administer and Chief to include all CARES Act expenditures and planned purchases (including Schools) in a regular report to the Board and the FinCom.
Fire Chief Michael Cassidy updated the Board on COVID-19 items.

Two warrants were approved by the Board: $1,025,765.29 and $5,000.

Public Comment:

  • Mr. Sparrell – None
  • Mrs. Hein – She noted that the most recent report on the Town’s investment accounts show an improvement from earlier this year.
  • Mr. Cronin – None
  • Public – None

Town Administrator’s Report:

  • Early voting for the upcoming State Primary will be held in the Upper Town Hall between Saturday, August 22 – Friday August 28.  See the Holliston Happenings calendar for specific times.
  • The healthcare consultant quotes are in and they are competitive.  Mr. Ahern and Ms. Bousquet will complete their due diligence before recommending a vendor.
  • HPD’s Lieutenant George Leurini coordinated a Massachusetts State Police truck traffic enforcement detail in Holliston on Friday, August 7th.
Facilities Manager, James Keast, updates the Board.
  • The Facilities Manager, James Keast, has begun an asset inventory of all Town property and equipment.  He is using software and personnel from ‘Dude Solutions’ (real business!) to input data which will serve as a baseline and be used to plan preventive maintenance and develop capital budget requests.
  • Mr. Ahern reported that new signs are being added at Pinecrest near Anthony’s to prevent parking on the grass behind the building – thus avoiding potential sprinkler damage.

The Board approved and signed the State Primary Warrant which was read into the record by Board Clerk, Ben Sparrell.

Marshall Street Solar Project Update:

Beth Greenblatt of Beacon Integrated Solutions, the Town’s consultant to develop a solar power array at the site of the former landfill, provided the Board with next steps and a potential timeline for the solar energy to flowing into the electric grid.  If all the permitting, paperwork, and weather falls into place, the project could be completed in the 3rd quarter of calendar year 2021.

Beth Greenblatt of Beacon Integrated Solutions

Share Streets and Spaces Grant Proposals

Mrs. Hein presented the current drafts for a State grant to pilot some traffic marking and signage changes that could improve safety for drivers and pedestrians.

This project would cost $12,000 – no cost to the Town.
The cost of installing the signage and striping for BOTH crosswalks would be $9,500 – again no cost to the Town.

Also included would be some ‘wayfinding’ signage as (seen below) that would guide folks to and from Blair Square to and from Downtown and the Woodland Street school campus.

These changes are being piloted as soon as the grant(s) are awarded and through the end of this calendar year.

The Board approved both proposals and authorized Mr. Ahern to submit the grant proposals as soon as possible.  Look for changes (if the grants are approved by MADOT) coming to the downtown traffic and pedestrian flow.

Board Business:

  • The Board discussed the possibility of adding two more members to the Governance Committee. The consensus was that the current panel of five is adequate to address the committee’s charge.
  • Meeting minutes from June 16, 2020 and June 22, 2020 were approved (with Mr. Sparrell abstaining as he hadn’t been elected to the Board yet)
  • After lengthy discuss the Board accepted a gift of $10,118 from CRG Real Estate developers for the purchase of flashing beacons to be installed at the Church St. Rail Trail crossing.  Part of the discussion related to the source – the developer working on the building of a facility at 555 Hopping Brook Road.  The remainder of the discussion related to how this donation would offset the Town’s portion of the State grant of approximately $90,000 to complete the Rail Trail between Exchange and Church Streets.

Other Business:

  • Mr. Ahern read his most recent draft of the charge for the Stipend committee that will soon be appointed by the Board.  The members will digest the text and take action on the charge next week.
  • Mrs. Hein reported that the Friends of Holliston Trails has purchased outdoor exercise equipment and is wondering where to site it.  The Board would like to hear input from citizens about the exercise location and ideas for use of the now vacant lot adjacent to the trail at 260 Lowland Street.
  • Mr. Cronin reminded all citizens of the remote public forum on August 25th at 7:00 pm regarding traffic in and around the Lowland Industrial Park.  This is meant to be a listening session for interested parties and no action by the Select Board is expected at this meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 9:10 pm.

Chris Cain

1 Comment

  1. Kevin Robert (Bob) Malone on August 11, 2020 at 9:57 am

    Robert’s Rules of Order 11th Ed. states “…a member’s absence from the meeting for which minutes are being approved does not prevent the member from participating in their…approval” (p. 355). When you vote to approve the minutes your are expressing your confidence in the veracity of the secretary, the actions of your colleagues, and the correctness of the minutes preparation process. You are not making a personal eyewitness statement that “you were there”. That written, it is often more comfortable, and not inappropriate, for a member to abstain from approving minutes if they were not present. But they do not have to.

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