Select Board Holds 2-Part Meeting

The Select Board meets with Sam Tyler and the Governance Committee

At 7:00 pm the Select Board kicked off a joint meeting with the Governance Committee. The committee had submitted several questions to the Board regarding the Town’s financial processes – which is the first area of focus for the Committee. Each member of the Board provided their perspective on each item. At about 7:40 the two groups split into separate sessions to conduct the remainder of their agendas (Yvette will post a Governance Committee recap later this week).

The Select Board resumes its weekly meeting after a brief recess.

The new normal has Chief Cassidy leading off with the weekly COVID update.

Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy provides the COVID update
  • In the past week, Holliston has reported 4 new cases bringing our total to 73 – with 6 cases currently active
  • The Chief has not found any trends in the recent uptick in cases
  • Remember the 3 W’s: Wear a face covering; Wash your hands; and Watch your distance from others
  • He presented 2 reimbursement requests: Facilities; $4,000 for Town Hall window updates and Health Dept; $1,000 for additional sandwich board signs
  • Cassidy teed up the CARES Act rental and mortgage proposal
Y&FS Director Jackie Winer and HCAF Chair John Drohan present the rental and mortgage relief program funded by the CARES Act to the Board

Y&FS Director Jackie Winer presented an updated proposal for how the Town could use $25,000 of CARES Act funds to help residents meet housing needs. Jackie and Y&FS would confidentially receive requests and vet the need, the Youth Advisory Committee would vote on those requests that pass muster, the Holliston Community Action Fund (HCAF) would disperse the payment directly to the landlord or lending institution. All approved and disbursed funds would be captured in Chief Cassidy’s weekly financial report on CARES Act expenses.

Finance Committee member Dan Alfred asked that the monetary distribution of public funds by a private entity have financial guardrails.

The Board felt that adequate safeguards are in place and that similar programs across the country have been well received and voted that a sum not to exceed $25,000 of CARES Act funds be allocated for rental and mortgage relief.

The weekly warrant of $1,889,062.27 was approved by the Board

Public Comment:

  • Mr Sparrell:
    • Thanked residents for the great turnout at last week’s Lowland public forum; he specifically thanked, Travis Ahern, Chief Cassidy, Karen Sherman, and Chris Meo for making the event happen seamlessly
    • Thanked the Holliston School Committee and HPS staff for all the hard work they’ve put in this summer preparing for school (he knows this because his wife is a school administrator in Needham and has watched her work diligently on behalf of students and staff)
  • Mrs. Hein:
    • Reinforced Mr. Sparrell’s comments about our School Committee and staff
  • Mr. Cronin:
    • As a follow up to last week’s Lowland forum he suggested that will take “a couple of months'” to put together an action plan -“that will work for most affected parties.”
    • He reminded everyone who hasn’t done early / mail-in voting that the State Primary polls will be open Tuesday from 7 am to 8 pm at the High School

Town Administrator Comments: Mr. Ahern shared the following:

  • The Town Clerk reminds everyone about the polls (see above)
  • Thanks to the many participants who attended the Lowland forum – he expects to have a timeline of action items by the end of September!
  • The Town Hall doors project has gone out to bid (the 3rd times the charm) with bids due Sept 16th.
  • Holliston should hear about its Shared Streets and Spaces grant proposal “any day now” according to the MassDOT
  • Today the Town submitted an MAPC grant to conduct a tree inventory in town as a baseline for future projects
  • Next week the Board should hear about this year’s “Green Communities” grant award.
  • The Board’s next meeting will be Tuesday, Sept 8th.

Capital Request Policy:

Mr. Sparrell presented some edits to the August 17th draft. The Board had a robust discussion regarding capital planning – especially in light of the questions posed earlier by the Governance Committee. The Board approved Mr. Sparrell’s August 27th draft as the new capital policy.

Constitution Village (Old Cart Path, Minuteman, etc.)

The Board juggled agenda topics to have some guests present earlier rather than later. Back in May the Planning Board sent a request to the Board that recently surfaced. The question related to a streetlight installation waiver sought by Fafard builders on the Constitution Village streets.

Karen Sherman Town Planner presented Fafard’s request a waiver on street light installation in the Constitution Village development
Angela Conforti, attorney for Fafard builders and Jim Sullivan an engineer for Fafard

After input from Mrs. Sherman, Attorney Conforti, and Jim Sullivan, a Fafard engineer, the Board recommended that the Planning Board hold a Public Hearing to gather resident input on the requested waiver.

The Board and the Fafard representatives also discussed some outstanding issues related to other development projects Fafard has underway in Holliston.

DPW Articles Strategy:

Mr. Sparrell presented his thinking on how to approach four critical DPW needs: Sidewalks, Future water sources, the DPW facilities (Central and Arch), and Water main replacement. He plans to meet with members of the Finance Committee later this week to strategize how best to tackle these important initiatives. He’s thinking that some of the articles could be ready for the fall Special Town Meeting and the remainder at the Annual Town Meeting in 2021. He will return to the Board with an updated strategy in two weeks.

Finance committee member Vin Murphy, liaison to the Board, consulted on several topics. What lighthouse is in the background?

The Board voted to open the warrant for the Special Town Meeting currently planned for October 26, 2020. A Press Release from the Board is forthcoming from the Board and will be posted in the Holliston Reporter later this week.

Board Business:

  • The July 13, 2020 meeting minutes were approved
  • Erica Plunkett and Daniel Whynot were appointed to the Stipend Sub-committee. There is now a quorum. One seat remains for any interested volunteer – contact Travis Ahern
  • The Board updated and approved the Board and Committee liaison list
  • The Board accepted a $500 donation from the Tiberio Charitable Foundation for the Sr. Ctr. Gift account.

Other Business:

  • None!

The meeting was adjourned just shy of the three hour mark at 9:58 pm.

Goodnight Holliston.

Chris Cain


  1. Verna Hobson on September 1, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    I believe that that is the Portland Head Light in Maine.

  2. Vin Murphy on September 10, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    Yes, I double checked where I got the picture and the picture is of the Portland Head Light, situated on the shores of Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, ME. Sadly I have not been there, and only grabbed the picture for my Zoom background.

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