Select Board: August 30, 2021 Meeting
The August 30, 2021 meeting of the Holliston Select Board was called order by Chair Tina Hein right at 7:00pm. Sitting in the Town Administrator’s seat was Acting Town Administrator, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy. During the course of the meeting Cassidy wore three (four?) different hats.
COVID-19 Community Update
For the first time in many weeks, Emergency Management Director Cassidy presented Holliston’s COVID related stats:
The MIAA (MA Interscholastic Athletic Assoc.) has issued a mask mandate for all INDOOR sports.
The Board of Health meets TONIGHT (Tuesday) and is holding public comment at 7:15 to hear citizen input masking. The meeting can be accessed via Zoom, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81701425636; Passcode: 13579. Input may also be e-mailed to Health Director Scott Moles prior to the meeting.
CARES Act / ARPA Programmatic update
Chief Cassidy reported that there remain unallocated / spent funds from the CARES Act that must be committed before the end of October 2021.
CARES Act – October Close Out Discussion
The Board members felt that rent and mortgage relief, Town business licenses, booster shot transportation, and food insecurity were areas that should be eligible. The Board directed Cassidy to reach out to Town departments, especially Y&FS and the Senior Center to see what additional needs would be appropriate for CARES funding.
Chief Cassidy reported back to the Board regarding a question raised at its last meeting about the ARPA request from the Library. Was the request eligible for CARES funds? Cassidy reported that request fit the ARPA guidelines and would have to be “shoehorned” to fit the CARES requirements.
ARPA Discussion – Requests and Capital
No requests were brought before the Board for action.
The graphic below illustrates the ARPA balance sheet to date.
The Board expressed concern that 40% of the allocated funds have been obligated in the first month of the program. The funding extends through December 31, 2024 and members want to be sure funds remain to handle the unknown recovery costs yet to be uncovered. The Board agreed that all ARPA requests should be prioritized with Recovery from the pandemic’s impact as the key metric.
Finance Committee liaison and citizen Jay Robinson both attended the meeting. Liaison Robinson (bottom right above) asked if the ARPA Steering Group asks requesters how they plan to wean off ARPA funds and build in things like full-day kindergarten into their operational budgets. Mr. Cronin and Chief Cassidy, both ARPA members responded that Superintendent Kustka had presented the current plan for transitioning from ARPA support to annual budget in the coming years. Citizen Robinson pointed out that the Woodland Street bridge over the stream from Factory Pond is in need of repair and perhaps is an ARPA or infrastructure project. That bridge does appear on the capital projects list that the ARPA group will be reviewing soon.
The Board further suggested to the ARPA Steering Group that it “pump the brakes.” One step will be for the Steering Group to meet less frequently so that all requests can be prioritized.
Chair Hein reported on a phone conversation with Rep. Carolyn Dykema in which the representative encouraged Holliston to put together a wish list of projects that Rep. Dykema and Sen. Spilka could put forward to the State for a portion of the State’s bucket of ARPA gold.
Warrants: The Board approved the weekly warrant of $453,983.60.
- Mr. Cronin: None
- Mr. Sparrell: Holliston Farms Day is September 12th from 10 – 4
- Mrs. Hein:
- Two finalists for the Asst. Town Administrator position will be interviewed this Wednesday
- Schools open this Wednesday, September 1st
- The September 12th Farmers’ Market will feature a Cornhole Tournament (more info in HR soon)
- Public: None
Comments from Town Administrator (or designee): After one day on the job, acting Town Administrator Michael Cassidy had no update for the Board.
Fall Town Meeting – Warrant development discussion:
The Board reviewed the draft list of possible articles for the October 18, 2021 Town Meeting. A reminder petitions for citizen articles are due the Town Clerk, with sufficient signatures, by the close of the Warrant on September 20, 2021 at 4:00pm.
Board Business: None
The Board returned to discussing possible Town Meeting articles. One involved video monitoring of the downtown signals. This is NOT an enforcement tool. Fire Chief Cassidy sees it as a public safety enhancement for the downtown that could receive ARPA funds (currently on the request list for the Steering Group’s review). The Board asked that Acting Town Administrator Cassidy pass along a request to Town Administrator Ahern to ask HPD Chief Stone for the Department’s policy on digital file / image security.
Chair Hein revisited a discussion preceding the May 2021 Town Meeting about adding an additional officer to the police force. The discussion was brief at this point – more to follow.
The meeting adjourned at 8:22pm. There is NO Select Board meeting during the week of September 6, 2021.