Select Board Holds a Doubleheader Meeting

The Select Board meets virtually with the Governance Committee

Select Board Chair John Cronin called the Board to order at 6:38 pm.  The first order of business was to hold a joint meeting with the Governance Committee.  Speaking on behalf of the Committee, Sam Tyler asked for clarification on the Board’s charge to the committee – specifically what is meant by strategic vision.  In this context, strategic vision is a view of how all Boards and Committees interrelate to complete the work of the town.  Mr. Sparrell added that he thought the committee should focus on any overlaps / redundancies in the existing structure; capital expenditure planning; and the generally, “that government works for the governed.”  Sparrell noted that it appeared the committee was taking a resident’s point of view as to how our town government works.  Mrs. Hein was pleased to hear that the committee will be gathering comparable data from 15 other towns and that the Municipal Modernization Act will be included in the committee’s output.  The Select Board asked for monthly updates so that they could act on the committee’s recommendations as they were formulated.

Fire Chief Michael Cassidy provides the weekly COVID update

Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy provide the weekly COVID-19 update:

  • Currently 62 total cases: 56 recovered; 2 fatalities; 4 active
    • No cases were traced to those who attended Town Meeting
    • The High School has names of all at Graduation IF there is a need for contact tracing
  • The Case count on the Town website is now updated whenever a new case is discovered
  • Cassidy presented a CARES Act request from the Town Clerk for additional storage to handle additional mail-n ballots.  The Board approved the cost of $220.00
  • Board members asked for a report of reimbursable expenses.  The Chief is assembling the report.  There is yet to be guidance from the State regarding how to submit a compliance report that verifies appropriate expenditures
  • Chief Cassidy reminded the Board that there are several State funds for education and other COVID related unique expenses.
  • As of now there is no information about the extension of the CARES Act into 2021
  • When asked how the Town was equipped for PPE, the Chief responded, ‘exceptional!’

The Board approved the weekly warrant of $456,119.31.

Public Comment:

Mr. Sparrell thanked the residents who attended the Town Meeting allowing us to conduct the Town’s business.  He went on to name several Town employees and volunteers who made the meeting work under very unique circumstances.  He finished by welcoming Town Administrator, Travis Ahern to his first Select Board meeting.

Mrs. Hein reported that we recently passed the 100,000 users of the Rail Trail at Blair Square!  The data have been collected for the past seven months. She also reported that, now that the Town Hall is open for public access, she has resumed holding ‘office hours’ on Mondays at 6 pm.

Mr. Cronin, on behalf of the American Legion, reminded everyone that this Friday, August 7th is Purple Heart Appreciation Day.

No members of the Public shared comments at this time.

Town Administrator, Travis Ahern updates the Board

Travis Ahern gave his first weekly update to the Board:

  • He and Mary Bousquet are soliciting quotes for a Healthcare consultant to guide the Town’s search for employee healthcare
  • A Request for Quotes for 9 Green Street has gone out.  This is strictly an information gathering exercise.  Interested parties will submit what it will likely cost for the phases of demolition, remediation, and final outcome.  From these quotes, the Town can develop a plan and a proposed budget for the future work.
  • The bids for the Town Hall doors are due in by August 13th.
  • Mr. Ahern plans to include in his quarterly update the costs of repairs to Town facilities.

Department Head Contracts:

  • The Board directed Mr. Ahern to build into all Department Head contracts personalized goals that link to the Town’s overall plan / strategy.
  • This should be done for the FY 21 period.

Shared Streets and Spaces

Mrs. Hein presented to the Board three proposals for State grants under the Shared Streets and Spaces program.  This is intended to quickly get towns funds to PILOT traffic and pedestrian changes.  The State provides engineering support to the towns at no cost.  This a quick hit type of grant with work targeted for completion ASAP. See the proposed changes here ->

Mrs. Hein proposed three pilot programs for Holliston:

  • Blair Square – several changes in pedestrian access, parking, signage to downtown commerce, bike lane on Central St., increased green space (these temporary changes are in line with the current plans for permanently updating Blair Square)
  • Improved crosswalk at the intersection of Washington and Prospect/Pleasant.  Temporary changes include repainting lane lines to ‘channel’ vehicles, signs announcing a crosswalk is ahead, and a possible ‘median’ for pedestrian safety if needed.
  • Similar changes are proposed for the Linden Street crosswalk (where a student was hit – not seriously injured – this past year)

While almost all the costs of these temporary (up to snow / ice season) will be covered by these State grants.  Some signage and paint costs may be paid by the Town.

A final engineering report is due to the Town by this Friday.  The Board will vote on the proposals next week.

Board Business:

  • The Board approved minutes from 6/8; 6/15; 7/15; and 7/20 (thanks to Peg Driscoll for help getting these done)
  • August 25, 2020 has been set for a public forum / listening session related to truck traffic on residential streets in the area of the Lowland Industrial Park.  A variety of communication vehicles will be used to get the word out to all interested and impacted parties, Boards, Committees, and Departments
  • The following appointments were made:
    • James Lane – Taxation aid committee (1 year)
    • Deborah Doyle – Auxiliary Police (1 year)
    • Jaclyn Winer – Director Y&FS (1 year)
    • Emma Bridges – On-call EMT
  • The following gifts were received:
    • HFD – $80 (South St residents)
    • HFD – $75 (Wilkins St residents)
    • Library – $5,000 Estate of Marion B. Smith
  • Entertainment License – No action taken
  • The Board voted to disband the Town Administrator Screening Committee.  It was noted that the committee did great work under unique circumstances – many thanks.
  • Before adjourning its July 20th meeting, the Board unanimously voted to appoint a sub-committee to look at stipends for elected and appointed volunteers on Boards and Committees.  The Board spent time at this meeting wordsmithing a draft charge prepared by Mr. Ahern.  Citizen input was included in the discussion.  Mr. Ahern will return next week with an updated charge for the Board’s action.

Other Business:

  • Mrs. Hein asked Mr. Ahern to have an update on the status of the crosswalk safety lights at Pinecrest Golf course for the next Board meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 pm

Chris Cain

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