Select Board’s November 9, 2020 Meeting

The November 9, 2020 Select Board meeting was called to order by Chair, John Cronin at 6:30pm (The earlier time is to allow the Board to conclude business before the Stay at Home Advisory begins at 10:00.)

Coronavirus Community Update:

Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy provided the Board with the weekly COVID update:

Fire Chief Michael Cassidy updates the Board.
  • Holliston’s total case count is now at 164, with 29 active cases
  • The 29 cases are at 24 different addresses in town.
  • Due to a change in the State metrics, Holliston is now in the Yellow category.
  • Cassidy pointed out that this is NOT reason to relax our mitigation efforts
  • Holliston has an average daily active case count that is the highest its been since the pandemic began
  • The Chief reminded everyone of the new Statewide rules that went into effect last Friday.
  • He commended all involved (including the voters) for making last week’s election safe.
  • He will make a recommendation to the Board next Monday about quorum size for the December 5th Town Meeting.
  • Cassidy encouraged any citizen who feels the need, to get a COVID test (the weekly average in town is 1,100 – 1,200).  Check out the Stop the Spread website for FREE testing locations.
  • The Board once again thanked the Chief for his “reasonable and rational” leadership during this most challenging time.
  • The Board asked Cassidy to prepare a communication plan for the remainder of 2020.  One that keeps citizens informed and connected while not causing ‘message fatigue.’
  • There are State resources available that Chief Cassidy may customize for Holliston.

CARES Act Programmatic update:

Chief Cassidy presented the Board with one CARES Act funding request:

  • The Board of Health requested $2,800 to cover increased clerical support due to the expanded workload of the Department.  The Board approved the expense.

Warrants: The Board approved the weekly warrant of $1,771,395.50.

Community Farm Update:

Kriss Westland (above), Chair of the Community Farm Advisory Committee, along with members of the Committee – and with special assistance from a Committee member’s daughter – gave the Board an update on the Farm.  Kriss led off by reviewing the activities that took place in 2020 despite the pandemic.  As the graphic below shows, a lot was grown at the Farm.  Kriss quoted Bobby Blair by referring to this year’s crop as a ‘Victory Garden,’ with much of the output going to the Pantry Shelf.

Below is an aerial view of the 30-acre Farm property.  The property offers citizens a wide range of areas to cultivate, explore nature, and hike.

Thanks to Committee member Dennis Prefontaine’s daughter Becky, the Board was able to ‘see’ what the Farm could become in the future.  A two-phase approach was presented.  No timeline has been established for the work and no costs have been estimated at this point.

The Committee will return to the Board at later date with more specific information on timing and costs/funding.

Public Comment:

  • Mr. Sparrell:
    • Shared his appreciation for the Town Clerk, her staff, and volunteers for conducting a safe secure election in the face of the pandemic
    • There are now Clothing and Shoe drop off boxes located inside the Marshall St. Recycling Center
  • Mrs. Hein:
    • She expressed her pride as a citizen of Holliston and for our Town Clerk, Liz Greendale – in whom she has ‘ultimate confidence.’
  • Mr. Cronin:
    • Holliston’s Town Clerk reported 86% participation in the election.
    • Wednesday is Veterans Day.  While no public events are planned, the VFW, American Legion, and Lions Club will be delivering meals to Holliston Vets. The meals are donated by TJ’s in Ashland with dessert from TC Scoops of Medway
    • Select Board Chair, John Cronin, Dr. Kustka, Keith Buday, Stacy Raffi, Chief Cassidy, and Town Administrator Ahern met last Thursday for an update on CARES Act funds and needs through the end of this calendar year.
  • Public: None

Small Business Update:

John Drohan (left) and John Paltrineri (right) spoke on behalf of Holliston Together.  Holliston Together is a coalition of local businesses who are using the donated services of HCAT and Bruce Gilfoy (designed the logo) to feature local enterprises.  With the holiday shopping season approaches, John and John reinforced how almost every gift can be bought locally.  There will not be the annual Holiday Stroll so every day is an opportunity to shop at a local small business.  As John P. reminded us, you can get ‘Most Everything’ in a local retail shop.

Also, the issue of pedestrian safety downtown was discussed.  Shoppers are reminded to push the crosswalk buttons to avoid having to dodge the vehicles traveling through the center at high rates of speed.

Comments from Town Administrator:

  • Trash pickup will be delayed one day starting on Wednesday
  • The Board’s discussion of reducing the quorum for Town Meeting will take place at next Monday’s meeting as posted by the Legal Notice published in the Holliston Reporter.
  • The Select Board has sent a letter to the Planning Board respectfully requesting that the Planning Board pursue a peer review of this traffic study (555 Hopping Brook project), at the cost to the developer – as well as a noise study to be paid for by the developer.
  • The solar installation on Marshall Street is moving ahead.  A Public Hearing will likely take place in December.
  • The DPW tree pruning and removal continues around town.  The Gorwin Road area is next.  Eversource will also be doing their own work on trees.
  • The window repairs in the Town Hall began on Monday.
  • A culvert under Rt 16 near the Sherborn line will need emergency repairs – probably this Thursday and/or Friday.  Be prepared for a detour / delay.

Special Town Meeting Warrant Discussion:

The Board provided input and recommended changes to Town Administrator Ahern on the current draft of Warrant Articles.  He will present the updated draft to the Board next week for their vote.

Humanitarian Awards update:

Following the precedent set last year by then Board Chair, Mark Ahronian, each Board member presented their 2020 Humanitarian Award recipient.  These individuals demonstrate: Caring, Consideration, and Compassion for others in our community.

  • Mr. Sparrell: Keely Krantz, President of the Board for the Holliston Pantry Shelf.  Mr. Sparrell shared and overview of Ms. Krantz’s contributions and referred to her as the ‘glue that held the Pantry together during the pandemic.’
  • Mrs. Hein: John Drohan, HCAT Board Member and heads up the Holliston Community Action Fund.  Mrs. Hein shared that “John’s love for Holliston has made a major impact on our community.”
  • Mr. Cronin: Debbie Dupuis, Holliston Senior Center driver.  Mr. Cronin noted that senior citizens are greatly impacted by the isolation of the pandemic.  He learned about Debbie from Sr. Ctr. Dir. Linda Marshall.  During the pandemic Debbie has continued to drive seniors when needed AND deliver meals to Holliston seniors.  Mr. Cronin quoted Director Marshall who shared that Debbie always asks, “What can I do to help the seniors?”

The Board will hold a socially distant ceremony next Monday to present certificates to these most worthy recipients. Congratulations!

Board Business:

  • Appointed On-call fire department appointment, Arthur Fenno
  • Approved the Select Board Meeting Minutes of October 26, 2020
  • Accepted a donation in memory of Jeri Chartrand to the Senior Center from Michael and Donna Barry, $100.

Other Business: None

The meeting adjourned at 8:37 pm.

Chris Cain

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