Select Board Meets

The November 30, 2020 Select Board meeting followed the remote meeting rules implemented early in the pandemic.  Chair John Cronin called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm.  As Chief Cassidy was tending to power outages around town the Board started with the update from Police Chief Matthew Stone.

Chief Stone, EOPSS Grant Award & Traffic Update:

Chief Stone began by stating that HPD’s focus is on education and enforcement, especially in the area of traffic safety.  To that end, earlier this year he formed a Traffic Safety Unit whose mission is to make Holliston’s roadways safer for traffic and pedestrians.  The unit is headed by Lt. George Leurini, with SGT Matt Waugh and Officer Charles Grace on patrol.  To further this unit’s work the HPD recently was awarded nearly $29,000 from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, to purchase equipment such as portable truck scales and e-citation capability for Holliston’s motorcycle.  Officer Grace will be attending advanced training on traffic safety in the near future.  HPD has also applied for a grant from the Police Chiefs’ Association. 

Article 14 on the Special Town Meeting Warrant is for funds to acquire traffic study equipment so the Town will have data on volume and speed of traffic (especially commercial).

Chief Stone gave a heads up that as of January 1, 2021 many streets in Holliston will have a speed limit of 25 mph.  A media blitz will be coming soon to prepare us all to slow down.

The Board complimented Stone and his Department for the consistent approach to traffic safety, grant writing / and awards that keep Holliston moving forward.

Coronavirus Community Update

Our Emergency Management Director returned from dealing with a natural emergency to share his weekly update on the coronavirus emergency.

Fire Chief Michael Cassidy shared the following with the Board:

  • As of today, Holliston has a total of 226 cases / 35 are active
  • The 35 active cases are at 26 different addresses
  • Positivity rate is up to 3.52%
  • Holliston remains in the Yellow category
  • It is still safe for Holliston to hold its Town Meeting this Saturday following all the safety guidelines and with the Quorum set at 50.
  • He advises residents who are at all concerned to refrain from attending and to view on HCAT
  • Watch for continuing reminders via Facebook
  • Cassidy finished by imploring us ALL to make sacrifices now by limiting our interactions to benefit the entire community going forward.

Board Clerk Ben Sparrell reinforced the Chief’s message by paraphrasing a concept he recently read in The Atlantic, “Our decisions to interact seem individually rational, and yet they can be collectively dangerous.”

CARES Act Programmatic update: No requests were presented to the Board for action.

Warrants: The Board approved warrants totaling $725,102.59

Public Comment:

  • Mr. Sparrell:
    • Wear a mask, be vigilant
    • We can kick COVID!
  • Mrs. Hein:
    • None
  • Mr. Cronin:
    • Bill Stickney passed last week. His was a life well-lived, he will be greatly missed
  • Public:
    • None

Comments from Town Administrator

  • At a future date there will be a Public Hearing on the Marshall Street Solar Project.
  • Mr. Ahern and Chief Cassidy will have a final CARES Act report before year end.
  • Ahern continues to explore trash pickup options for Blair Square
  • The door in the Gilman Room at the Library will be replaced tomorrow
  • The Town Hall doors are in process at the manufacturer
  • The Select Board will NOT meet on December 28, 2020.

Annual License Renewal

The Board discussed the idea raised by Mrs. Hein last week regarding waiving all or part of license fees for Holliston businesses.  After each member of the Board weighed the impact to the Town and to the businesses, the Board approved reducing the Annual License fee for Restaurant liquor licenses to $1,250.  Normally the fee is $2,500.  There are four restaurants who qualify for this relief.

Tax Classification Public Hearing

The Tax Classification Hearing was opened at 7:30 pm.  Principal Assessor Kathryn Peirce (below left) and Board of Assessors member Mary Greendale (below right) shared the FY 21 preliminary property valuations.

The overall values went up from the previous year.  The Average one-family home sold for $471,000 in 2018 and the same type home sold on Average for $499,000 in 2019 a 6% increase.

Both Kathryn and Mary reinforced to property owners that they can:

  1. View their individual property on the assessor’s site
  2. Can schedule a 15-minute meeting (Before the Close of Business – THIS WEDNESDAY) to discuss the preliminary valuation – on the same page as above
  3. Can explore any exemptions that taxpayers may qualify for.

The Hearing was continued until next Monday’s Select Board meeting, December 7, 2020.

 Board Business: The Board approved the following:

  • Chabad Center, Light request, Menorah Dec 5 – Dec 20
  • Select Board meeting Minutes November 16, 2020

 Other Business: Mr. Cronin reminded all citizens that the Special Town Meeting starts at 1:00 pm THIS Saturday in the High School Auditorium.

The meeting adjourned at 7:48 pm

Chris Cain

1 Comment

  1. Hillary Freeley on December 1, 2020 at 6:56 am

    An average of 6% across town? Then why are the land values for the following streets assessed at a 24% increase over the previous year: Alpine, Courtland Pines, Deer Run, Forest Park, Great Meadow, Hillside, Old Sawmill, Pond View, Springdale Circle, Whispering Lane, Wilson, Arthur, Beaver Brook? No other streets have a blatant across the board 4 times the average increase in valuation. Scanning through the 186 pages of valuations a 24% increase stands out significantly- most land values are below 15% and many 0% or negative – just these dozen streets an unrealistic 24% increase.

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