Select Board Closes Out 2021
Following an Executive Session related to collective bargaining, the Holliston Select Board convened its public meeting at 7:07pm on Monday, December 20, 2021.
The Board’s first act of business was to recognize HFD Chief Michael Cassidy on his achieving thirty years of service to Holliston, the past 21 as Fire Chief.
Chief Cassidy reported that he was smiling behind his mask as he held up Citations from State Representative Dykema and State Senate President Spilka. Town Administrator Ahern is about to present the Chief with a plaque from the Town.
Coronavirus Community update with Chief Cassidy
Then it was right back to business as Chief Cassidy briefed the Board on the state of the pandemic in and around Holliston:
- There are currently 76 active cases in Holliston
- The top five symptoms of the Omicron variant are:
- Runny nose,
- Fatigue (mild or severe),
- Sore throat
- It could be a cold – OR COVID – PCR tests are quick and easy at the Ashland commuter rail station
The testing schedule is modified this week. Thursday from 8am to noon – CLOSED Friday and Saturday.
- Cassidy shared the following tips:
- Following up on the At-home Test discussion last week, Chief Cassidy explored how Holliston might acquire some tests. Cassidy found 90 kits at a cost of $1,499. There are two tests per kit. The plan is to distribute free 30 kits to the Holliston Pantry Shelf, Holliston Board of Health, and the Holliston Senior Center. This will be viewed as a pilot test to understand the need within the community. The kits will come with instructions attached by the Town to educate users on testing and reporting.
- The Board unanimously approved the purchase using ARPA funds. Cassidy ordered the kits during the meeting, and they should arrive in Holliston by year end.
- The chart below shows Active cases (Green line) and New cases (Orange line) from one year ago to Monday.
- The Chief now has direct access to the MA Virtual Epidemiologic Network (MAVEN) which houses the State-wide COVID infection data. He will be reviewing Holliston’s data and likely be updating Holliston’s case counts on the Town website.
CARES Act / ARPA Programmatic update
- No specific requests (besides the test kits above) were handled by the Board.
- The Board unanimously approved the 50% reduction of 2022 Annual licenses fees for businesses with full food / liquor licenses (Bertucci’s, Casey’s, Bar Athena, and Anthony’s on the Green). All other 2022 license fees will remain in full.
- A process and fiduciary for aid to small businesses through ARPA is still be explored.
Warrants: The Board approved the warrant totaling, $2,730,744.09
Change of address for Authentic Auto Body from 229 Lowland Street to 7 Jeffrey Avenue
A Public Hearing was called to order at 7:30 pm. The petitioner, nor their representative, was present to respond to Board / Public questions and comments. The Hearing was continued to the January 3, 2022 SB meeting.
- Mr. Cronin: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
- Mr. Sparrell:
- Happy Holidays
- Be safe, make good / healthy choices
- Please complete the Envisioning Future Holliston survey – > https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdnyfpz8R-ub-kXPZs_a9DUkYKLjv177byKg-iDpG2Q2uXLug/viewform?pli=1
- Mrs. Hein: None
- Public: None
Comments from Town Administrator:
- The RFP for the Goodwill Park design project is being reopened with the hopes of getting more than one bidder.
- The Senior Center is scaling back its in-person meetings / events. Citizens are urged to contact the Center with questions 508.429.0622.
- Several important agenda items will be on the Board’s agendas in the coming weeks (below)
- January 3 –
- Exit Meeting from Annual Audit (Roselli & Clark);
- Third meeting to discuss HCA request for Zen Growing LLC for 72 Jeffrey Ave;
- DPW Director & Deputy Director check-in (weather permitted)
- January 18 (Tuesday) – (1) Public Forum to discuss Feasibility Study for sewer opportunities in Downtown; (2) Select Board budget meetings begin
- January 31 – Water Rate Hearing
- February 7 – Public Forum on 9 Green St site development (final check list for project details now that demo is complete)
- January 3 –
- Approved the minutes of the November 22, 2021 meeting.
- CY2022 Annual Licenses (see above)
- The Board approved the CY2022 Annual Town Meeting and Fall Town Meeting Dates:
- Annual = May 9, 2022
- Fall = October 17, 2022
(Elections: Town = May 24, 2022; Primary = September 20, 2022; State / federal = November 8, 2022
- Accepted a $250.00 donation to the Fire Department from an anonymous local business
- Accepted a $250.00 donation to the Police Department from an anonymous local business
- Accepted a $5,000 donation to the Police Department for community Outreach from the Stephen & Mary Birch Foundation
- The Board approved an event permit request from the Friends of the Holliston Trails to hold its annual 1st Night Trail Walk on December 31st from 5 – 8 pm.
- Mr. Cronin reminded all residents that trash / recycling pickup schedule will be on the REGULAR schedule for the next two weeks with the Recycling Center open on December 23rd and 30th.
- Mr. Sparrell: None
- Mrs. Hein:
- Updated the Board on the community-wide effort to reduce hate speech / acts.
- Asked the Board, on behalf of the Town to honor Mrs. Jill Malcolm [https://hollistonreporter.com/2021/12/holliston-garden-club-honors-jill-malcolm/] with an appropriate horticultural tribute
- The Town’s 300th anniversary should be a topic on a February 2022 meeting agenda.
- Mr. Ahern:
- The Town Hall offices will be closed this Thursday. Employees will be working from home on that day and available by phone or e-mail. Friday the offices are closed in observance of the Christmas holiday. This closure will allow the final work on the new Town Hall septic system to be completed.
The meeting adjourned at 8:21pm. There is NO MEETING next week. Happy Holidays Holliston!
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