Select Board Sets FY22 Tax Rate

Holliston Select Board Chair Tina Hein called the November 22, 2021 meeting to order at 7:03pm.  The agenda included a Public Hearing on the FY22 Tax Rate.  Stay tuned for the new rate below.

COVID-19 Community Update / ARPA Programmatic Update:

Fire Chief Michael Cassidy provided the Board with his weekly update on the pandemic’s impact in Holliston:

  • 20 active cases
  • 1015 total cases
  • 2 .34% positivity rate
  • 82% of residents fully vaccinated
  • 48% of 5 – 11 year-olds have first vaccination (thank you Ashland for the clinic)

Cassidy encouraged ALL who are now eligible to receive a booster to get one. (Reminder: Booster Clinic; Dec. 8th; Senior Center; 1- 2pm)

Mr. Cronin asked about the COVID pill that has been in the news.  The Chief reported that FDA approval is several months away.  It is designed to treat the symptoms of COVID – not prevent infection.

The ARPA Steering Group will meet next Wednesday.  The tentative agenda is below – the meeting is open to the public via Zoom.

Comments from the Town Administrator:

  • November 27th – Tree Lighting; Blair Square; 4:00pm
  • November 29th – Menorah lighting; Town Hall; 6:00pm
  • November 29th – Humanitarian Awards; Upper Town Hall; 6:15pm
  • December 6th – Final Sidewalk / Water Study Reports to Select Board
  • The privacy fence behind Casey’s Crossing has been completed

Tax Rate Hearing (FY2022) – The Public Hearing held jointly with the Board of Assessors was opened at 7:32pm.

Below are some of the exhibits, unanimously approved by the Board of Assessors, that Principal Assessor Kathryn Pierce presented during the Hearing:

The Board thanked Principal Assessor Kathryn Pierce and the Board of Assessors for their work to distill a great deal of data into this report and recommendations.  Mr. Cronin thanked Ms. Pierce, who will retire in Spring 2022 and Board of Assessors member Peter Barbieri, whose term expires in May 2022 for all of their work on behalf of Holliston, lo these past many years.

The Board took the following actions based on the Assessors’ report:

  • Approved the Tax Rate of $17.38
  • Did not approve the Open Space Exemption
  • Did not approve the Split Tax
  • Did not approve the Residential Exemption
  • Did not approve the Small Commercial Exemption
  • Approved the excess Excess Levy of $321,236

The two Boards discussed the Holliston housing market.  Mr. Sparrell pointed to the recent census that reported a 96% occupancy rate in town.  Sparrell also noted how Envisioning Future Holliston factors into future growth.

The Public Hearing was closed at 8:08pm

Preliminary Discussion of 9 Green Street Traffic Impacts:

9 Green Street as it looked on November 22, 2021
  • Update on demolition – Use this link to view the entire demolition plan. Mr. Cronin asked for confirmation that the Town will continue to monitor groundwater in the area. Mr. Ahern confirmed that to be true.
  • An Invitation for Bids will be going out soon for the Construction phase of the project. Mr. Sparrell encouraged residents and business owners to keep adding their thoughts to the ongoing work downtown.
  • Update on the RFQ for Goodwill Park. Goodwill Park Request for Qualifications
  • The Board anticipates a refreshed downtown traffic study after the 9 Green St and Goodwill Park improvements are made in the years to come.

Warrants:  The Board approved the weekly warrant totaling – $1,748,216.95

Public Comment:

Mr. Cronin – Shared his wishes for a happy Thanksgiving

Mr. Sparrell – Echoed Mr. Cronin’s sentiment

Mrs. Hein – Called up Fire Chief Cassidy to provide an update on today’s house fire on Washington St.

  • All occupants were evacuated to safety
  • The structure was a total loss
  • 3 people were transported to hospitals and have been released
  • The investigation as to the cause is ongoing – not suspicious
  • A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Touchette family

Public: None

Board Business: The Board took the following actions:

  • Appointed Gwenyth Swain to fill an unexpired term (term through May 2022) on the Board of Library Trustees. It should be noted that four candidates applied and were interviewed by the Library Board.
Library Trustee Chair Karla Alfred (L) introduced Ms. Swain (R) to the Board
  • Approved the minutes of the October 25, 2021 meeting.
  • Accepted the Chapter 90 reimbursement from the State in the amount of $595,079.10 for the Mudville drainage and resurfacing project.

Other Business:

Mr. Cronin – Reminded us: Winter Parking Ban in effect, curbside leaf pick up NEXT week

Mr. Sparrell – Encouraged all 15,000 Holliston residents to complete the online survey to help the Envisioning Future Holliston committee make recommendations that reflect everyone’s input.

Mrs. Hein – None

The meeting adjourned at 8:32 pm with a wish for everyone to have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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Chris Cain