Select Board Focuses on May Town Meeting Preparation

The Monday, March 22, 2021 Select Board meeting began at 7:00pm as advertised. 

The Board welcomed the new Senior Center Director, Lisa Borchetta(below).  Ms. Borchetta comes to Holliston with many years of working with seniors most recently at the Beacon Hill Village – a group of nearly 400 as the member services director.  She is very excited about coming to Holliston.  She is looking forward to learning from Linda Marshall during a transition period of several weeks.  Borchetta stressed that seniors need to feel and be safe as they return to ‘in-house’ activities and that remote participation will likely continue for some.  She sees seniors as a resource to a community and hopes to draw on that resource for the betterment of Holliston.

Coronavirus Community update

Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy (below) provided the Board with his weekly update.

While the Town remains in the Yellow category our positivity rate is creeping upward.
Monday, several groups became eligible to schedule vaccine appointments.
Holliston’s vaccination numbers are going up.
The potential impact of COVID variants requires vigilance to reduce the spread.
Massachusetts is trending in a dangerous direction.
It is important that public health measures: masks, etc. continue to be used even after being vaccinated. It is not yet known if vaccination prevents the carrying of the virus to others.

CARES Act Programmatic update

The big change this week is the $25,000 for rent/mortgage assistance approved by the Board last week. (Munis is the system the State uses to track COVID expenses)
The Board approved both of these requests.

Warrants: The Board approved the weekly warrants totaling $1,077,144.98.

Public Comment:

  • Mr. Cronin alerted residents that next Monday, March 29, 2021 the Select Board agenda will include discussion of the 555 Hopping Brook project.  The meeting will start at 6:30pm with the public discussion of the CRG proposal beginning shortly thereafter.  The Board plans up to 2 hours of public comments and questions – primarily related to traffic and the environment.  The Board hopes to hear questions and comments that have not previously shared with other Town entities.  The meeting agenda will be posted on the Town’s website in the next day or so.
  • Chris Pantano, CEO of Mediri, Inc. wanted to follow up on his firm’s offer of agricultural equipment to Holliston High.  The offer was made some time ago and he is anxious to complete the donation.  He alerted the Board that he will be introducing an economic empowerment candidate to his enterprise in the near future.  More details will be forthcoming.

Comments from the Town Administrator:

  • Holliston’s Local Rapid Recovery Program committee held a kickoff meeting with the State supported consultants Nelson \ Nygaard.  The program’s purpose is to jumpstart business recovery post pandemic.
  • Street sweeping begins March 23rd in the Downtown area and moves out from there.
  • Mr. Ahern asked the Board’s input on a ‘wish list’ of Town projects that would be sent to Representative Dykema and Senator Spilka requesting State aid.  The Board endorsed: 9 Green Street project, Goodwill Park bathroom renovations, Sidewalk Connectivity project, and the Blair Square next phase.  The package totals $880,000.

FY2022 Revenue & Budget Review / Discussion

Mr. Ahern presented a look at the FY 22 budget as it currently stands.  He pointed out that revenue projections have not changed since he last updated the Board. The budget “looks good” at the bottom line.

There was discussion about funding capital expenses that frankly went beyond my financial knowledge.

Dan Alfred commented that there is a difference between what Mr. Ahern lists as Tax Supported Town Meeting Articles ($1,850,000) and what the Finance Committee sees as the total cost ($2,300,000).  Alfred pointed out that the FinCom has not had a final vote on the matter.  All parties agreed that discussion is needed to close the gap.

Warrant Development for May 10, 2021 Annual Town Meeting

  • Long Range Plan –

Mary Greendale presented an article for the Board’s support to be included on the May Town Meeting Warrant.  The article would establish a 13-member committee to pull together all the plans that various Boards, Committees, and Departments and itemize goals, gather relevant data, acquire software to synthesize the data, and solicit public input via forums and surveys.

The Board wholeheartedly thanked Mary for continuously thinking prospectively for Holliston.  It is likely that the Board will sponsor the article when the Warrant is finalized.

  • TAC request

Mrs. Hein, on behalf of the Traffic Advisory Committee, outlined the need for three new signs under the umbrella of School Zone safety.  It was pointed out that these signs are not static signs like Stop, etc. but rather electronic and carry a bigger price tag.

  • Any other articles currently projected for ATM Warrant

The list of articles grew to 34 (31 last week).  It is likely that item 34 will move to the October Town Meeting.   The Warrant closes at 4:00pm on March 29th.

Board Business: The Board took the following actions:

  • Approved the minutes from March 1, 2021 meeting
  • Accepted $400 Donation from Superette patrons to the Senior Center Nutrition program.
  • Authorized a notice to proceed with the Winter Street Water Main replacement

Other Business:

Mrs. Hein – Asked, should Holliston opt out of aerial mosquito plan and use an approved alternative method – placed on future Select Board agenda.

The meeting adjourned at 9:20 pm

Chris Cain

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