May 17, 2021 Select Board Meeting

The weekly Select Board (SB) meeting for May 17, 2021 was called to order by Chair, John Cronin.  Cronin invited Emergency Management Director Michael Cassidy to update the Board on all things related to the pandemic.

Coronavirus Community update:

Here are the highlights:

  • NO new cases in the past week in Holliston
  • For the 16th week in a row we are in the Yellow category (Cassidy hinted at a change in color in the next week or two)
  • Vaccine appointments for 12-16 year-olds at our regional collaborative ( are available THIS Wednesday through Friday from 2:30 – 5:30pm
  • Chief Cassidy will be tracking any new cases to see if they are connected to Town Meeting attendees.

The Chief was asked several questions related to Governor Baker’s announcement on Monday about easing restrictions as of May 29th and ending the State’s State of Emergency declaration ending on June 15th.  One point is that youth engaged in outdoor sports no longer need to wear masks while adult coaches do until May 29th.  The Board asked the Chief to plan for “de-coupling” Holliston’s State of Emergency from those pandemic-related actions / expenses that will continue for some time.  The Board also wants to learn how the technology that has become commonplace for Town Boards / Committees will be incorporated into the ‘new normal.’

The Board instructed Town Administrator Ahern to assemble a working group of key stakeholders to plan how the Town can best utilize the funding made available through ARPA.

Cassidy described planning events, budgets, and strategic vision as an exercise in “3-D Chess.”

CARES Act Programmatic update / ARPA Information:

  • No new requests for CARES Act funds were submitted to the Board this week.

The final rules for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) were released on May 10th.  Chief Cassidy is digesting the 134-page document.  Most useful at this time are the four categories of expenses that are covered by ARPA.

Chief Cassidy used his ‘time in the chair’ to recognize people that he / we rely on here in Holliston.  First, he thanked the Town and School employees, HCAT personnel and citizens that made last week’s Town Meeting successful.

Cassidy announced that this is EMS Appreciation Week, and he / we are very thankful to have such dedicated emergency personnel to assist when people are experience medical emergencies.

Warrants: The Board approved the weekly warrants totaling – $1,615,614.25

Public Comment:

  • Mr. Sparrell:
    • Thanked the citizens who participated in last week’s Town Meeting.
  • Mrs. Hein:
    • Echoed Chief Cassidy’s thanks to Holliston’s Public Safety personnel.
    • Echoed Mr. Sparrell’s thanks to citizens at Town Meeting.
    • Wants to explore how to increase participation at future Town Meetings.
  • Mr. Cronin:
    • Thanked Mr. Sparrell for attending last Friday’s HPD memorial ceremony at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
    • Thanked the citizens for a “great Town Meeting, with the focus on discussing important Town business / policy.
    • Supports the idea of continued use of technology for public meetings.

Comments from the Town Administrator: Mr. Ahern shared the following with the Board:

  • The State Senate submitted its budget – Holliston revenue projection is in good shape.
  • The State’s Technical Assistance Bureau, at the Town’s invitation, will be reviewing all aspects of Holliston’s Town government starting in June.
  • A new Code of Conduct web-based seminar was piloted by Town departments.
  • The e-mail policy that was drafted in 2018 needs to be updated and become part of every Board / Committee member’s installation process.  Mr. Ahern will have an updated draft for the Boards’ review next week.  Mr. Sparrell suggested that the policy include a formal opt-out process.
  • Ahern will be reaching out to citizens to assist on several town-wide initiatives in the coming weeks.
  • Two new volunteers have joined the Economic Development Committee: John Drohan and David Menapace
  • Below is a chart that illustrates all the financial decisions made at Town Meeting.

7:45 p.m. – Public Hearing:  Class II Auto Lounge of New England at 86 Washington Street

Attorney Peter Barbieri (above) represented Mr. Jamie McManus the owner of Auto Lounge of New England.  The license would allow Mr. McManus to sell and store ‘collector cars.’  Mr. Barbieri and Mr. McManus responded to several questions from the Board and citizens.  The Board approved the license with the stipulation that all appointments for sales / storage occur during the published hours of operation; 8:30am – 6:00pm.  The hearing was closed at 8:00pm.

Traffic Discussions:

  • Woodland Heavy Commercial Vehicle Exclusion (HCVE) approval from MassDOT
    • As was reported at the May 11th Town Meeting, MassDOT has approved the HCVE for Woodland St.  The application process began several months ago and was just approved.  The application was supported by our State Senator and Representative.  Applications for HCVE submitted for other Town roads were submitted more recently and are working their way through the State approval process. (It is important to note that trucks doing business on a road such as Woodland are exempt from the prohibition.)
    • The Board approved the use of the signs shown below to direct trucks to use the proper access to the Lowland Industrial Park. 
  • The Board asked HPD Chief Matthew Stone to review how the new exclusion will be enforced.  Chief Stone indicated that the lengthy process of “changing behavior of truckers who may have used these routes for a long time,” has already begun with the following actions underway:
    • Determining signage location – and ordering / installing signs
    • HPD utilizing the traffic monitoring equipment recently purchased to reinforce the signage
    • Send a letter from Chief Stone (approved by the Board next week) to all the Lowland Industrial Park businesses about the HCVE on Woodland.
  • TAC Recommendations (incl. Bullard St. and Mellen St.) – The Board approved the following:
    • Add one and move one “Not a Through Street” sign for Mellen Street.
    • Remove the 30 mph sign on Bullard Street and replace it with a 25 mph sign.
    • The installation by MassDOT of “Designated Truck Route” signs on Rt 16 west near Weston Pond.

The next Traffic Advisory Committee meeting is Tuesday (tonight) at 7:00pm.

Board Business:

  • Approved minutes from the April 20, 2021 and April 26, 2021 meetings
  • Approved the contract with ClearWater Recovery to manage the Town’s Wastewater Treatment Plant on Linden St.  
  • Appointed 3 EMTs: Tyler Chapman (on-call EMT); Stephen DeMaio (seasonal EMT); and Matthew Mancini (seasonal EMT)
  • Approved the Friends of Holliston Trails road race on May 22, 2021.
  • Approved Ernie’s Run Softball Tournament at Kampersal Field on June 19, 2021.

Other Business:

  • Mr. Cronin:
    • Reminded voters that the Town Election is Tuesday May 25th at the High School from 7am – 8pm
    • Next week’s SB meeting will include a look back on Board actions and look ahead.

The meeting adjourned at 8:58pm

Chris Cain

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