Select Board Hears About Water Infrastructure and Discusses Town Meeting Warrant

Following a 45-minute Executive Session with the Planning Board (Reason #3 Discuss strategy with respect to litigation), the Select Board’s public meeting was called to order at 7:15pm on September 27, 2021 by Chair Tina Hein.

The first order of business was to swear in Sergeant Andrew MacGray.  SGT MacGray had been selected by the Board earlier in the year with his promotion to be made when Chief Stone authorized the move.

Town Clerk Liz Greendale administered the oath of office, having SGT MacGray swear to uphold national, state, and town ordnances.

SGT MacGray’s wife pins on his badge.  Several members of the HPD were on hand to witness the event. Congratulations SGT MacGray.

The agenda order was modified to economize Town Counsel Jay Talerman’s (above right) time.  Talerman was part of the earlier Executive Session.  The Board had asked Counsel Talerman to offer his legal opinion relative to the Citizen Petition submitted for the October Town Meeting.  Talerman noted that the petition asked for a Town Meeting vote on educational curriculum and staffing.  Counsel went on to state that curriculum and staffing are solely under the purview of the School Committee by State Statute.

Mr. Justin Thermos (above), the Petition’s author and proponent, spoke in favor of allowing the Town Meeting to vote on the proposed Article.  He gathered more than 400 signatures on his petition.

Mr. Michael Sepanski (above) supported the School Committee / Department as the decision-makers on curriculum and staffing.  He pointed out that voters have a voice when they elect the School Committee and approve the School Department’s budget (which was approved after open discussion at the May Town Meeting).

Mrs. Alecia Thomas read a prepared statement (signed by several other residents) in support of the School Committee / Department.  The key message was that schools should explore all aspects of history – the good and bad – to create more socially aware graduates.

School Committee Chair Cynthia Listewnik (above) invited the public to the School Committee’s October 14th meeting to hear a presentation from Jariel Vergne the district’s Director of Social Emotional Learning and Equity.

Members of the Board had some questions for Counsel Talerman.  Following that discussion, the Board took two actions:

  • The Board authorized Mr. Ahern to release Counsel Talerman’s Board memo to the public.
  • The Board voted unanimously to remove the Citizen Petition Article from the October Town Meeting Warrant.
MGD = Million Gallons / Day
The blue line with dots is Holliston’s population growth to date.

Stantec recently presented a sidewalk study to the Select Board.  Stantec recommends that, when feasible, other infrastructure work be driven by water main replacement priorities, i.e., sidewalks.

FYI – There are 100 miles of water mains in Holliston.

Prior to the mid 1970’s primarily Asbestos Cement (AC) pipes were used. NO asbestos comes in contact with the water supply.  AC pipes have a 50 – 70 year lifespan.  More modern metal pipes last much longer.

DPW Director Sean Reese, who was also present, indicated that the total cost of water main replacement includes repaving the entire road surface after the water main paving has settled.

All the blue lines are existing water mains.

This tool is a web-based mechanism to show how / where different water and sidewalk projects are needed – and in what chronological order!

A table view of the priority water main projects over the next five years.

Stantec recommends the first project because it relates to the new Central St. water treatment plant that will come on line in 2022.

This is one illustration of how the water and sidewalk projects come together.  The color coding suggests the priority.

If this overview doesn’t satisfy your engineering curiosity the entire report will soon be posted on the Town website – >

The Board thanked Ms. Lotz for Stantec’s work to date and looks forward to seeing the final report.  The Board hopes that State and Federal infrastructure funding will go a long way to improving Holliston’s water infrastructure.

Fall Town Meeting Discussion:

  • Review of Capital Budget – Mr. Ahern presented the updated Capital Budget.

The item highlighted in red above, is to complete a chain link fence with visibility blocking along the private property along the recently finished Rail Trail section between Central and Church Streets.  The bulk of the work was paid for by a State Grant – of which $6,500 will go toward the fence.

  • Review of Draft Warrant Articles – Mr. Ahern reviewed the probable articles on the October Warrant. Article 20 on the list was removed by the Board’s earlier vote.

The Planning Board will be holding a Public Hearing at its October 7th meeting relative to Article 16.

The Board authorized the Town Administrator to finalize the Warrant language and publish the final draft.

Weekly Warrant– Accounts Payable and Payroll – The Board approved the weekly warrant of $2,520,945.36. (Mr. Ahern had received questions about the weekly warrant (paying the bills) and the Town Meeting Warrant – items to vote on.)

Public Comment

  • Mr. Cronin – Announced that the Select Board (Cronin and Sparrell) will be taking on the FinCom on HCAT’s new Trivia show – THIS Wednesday.
  • Mr. Sparrell – None
  • Mrs. Hein – The EDC has requested time on a future Select Board agenda to talk about blight and decrepit properties to enhance Holliston’s appeal.
  • Public – None

Comments from Town Administrator:

  • Reminded Board and Committee members that Town Counsel Talerman will be conducting a seminar this Wednesday at 6:30pm as a hybrid (in-person or Zoom).  Topics: Open Meeting Law, ethics and a Q&A
  • The Local Rapid Recovery Program (LRRP) draft report by the State-supplied consultant has been shared with the Holliston members of the LRRP team.
  • Facilities Manager James Keast is now MCPPO (MA Certified Public Procurement Official) certified. Congratulations!
  • Kathleen Buckley, our new Asst Town Administrator will start work in Holliston on November 1.

CARES Act / ARPA Programmatic update

Chief Cassidy presented NO CARES or ARPA requests to the Board.  The Board briefly discussed how the ARPA funds might be used by the Town to assist local businesses.  No action was taken.

Board Business:

  • Approved the minutes of the August 30, 2021 meeting.
  • Re-Appointed Kristen Haddad to the Youth Advisory Committee (Term to expire June 2024)
  • Approved a One Day Liquor License for the Chamberlin Wedding on 10-23-21 at the Historical Society (Bon Fete)
  • Approved One Day Liquor permit for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Cycle for Life on 10-2-21
  • Approved the request for the waiver of fees for the Cycle for Life one day Liquor Permit
  • Accepted the donation of $500 worth of compost for the Community Farm from David Dubin – Thank you.

Other Business:

Mr. Cronin – Made some comments (no appropriate adjective comes to mind here) about the outcome of Wednesday’s trivia match against the FinCom representatives.  Check the Holliston Reporter later this week for our ‘insider’ coverage.

Mr. Sparrell – Reported that Envisioning Future Holliston has acquired domain names to set up a website.  He asked that Envisioning Future Holliston be given some time at the Town Meeting for an update.

The meeting adjourned at 9:48pm. 


Chris Cain

1 Comment

  1. Mary Greendale on October 1, 2021 at 9:27 am

    Excellent reporting!