Select Board Meets on Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Holliston Select Board (SB) met on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, as the Town observed Martin Luther King Day on Monday the 17th.  SB Chair Tina Hein called the meeting to order at 7:00pm. First on the agenda was a public forum to discuss the feasibility of upgrading the Linden Street wastewater plant with the potential to process additional sewage.

Public Forum – Feasibility of Downtown Sewerage Connection

Approximately 25 people attended the meeting, in person and by Zoom, during the forum to share input and listen to the discussion.  The discussion was based on the report from the Local Rapid Recovery Plan (LRRP) shown below.

Board members and four citizens spoke – all in favor of pursuing a feasibility study as outlined in the LRRP report.   Most pointed out, “why not take advantage of the report and the infrastructure funds currently available.”  Some questions: Will the High School be connected? Are there water mains in the same area to be replaced? Will there be sufficient excess capacity to outpace future need?  These questions would be answered through the finished study.  The positive impact of sewers downtown might lead to additional truck traffic in the area – will the traffic flow be studied?

After about 45 minutes of discussion, the Board directed the Town Administrator to develop a Request for Proposals for such a study with the goal of having study results available for use before the May 2022 Town Meeting.

Blair Square Committee – Progress Update

Kevin Conley, Blair Square Committee Chair (below right) updated the SB on the Blair Square project.

The completed design (below) illustrates how the trail will bend towards Railroad Street to provide more green space and take advantage of the natural slope for an amphitheater area.

Earlier Tuesday, the Town had received a letter of support from State Representative Carolyn Dykema to add to the several other letters of support from various Town entities.  Anyone seeking a tour of the area should contact Mr. Conley.

The Committee expects the next phase of the project to cost about $585,000.  The Committee has submitted a request for that amount through the CPC.  Donations and grants (below) are expected to offset some of the cost – thus reducing the overall need from the CPC.

The Board voiced its unanimous support for the project and thanked Mr. Conley and the Committee for its hard work to get to this stage to improve this “gateway to the community.”

Warrants: The SB unanimously approved the weekly warrant totaling – $1,736,519.23.

Public Comment: The Select Board members had no Public Comment.

Citizen Cynthia Listewnik thanked the Board of Health for the recent COVID vaccine clinic (a second clinic is planned for February 5th at Town Hall -> February 5th COVID Vaccine Clinic)

Ms. Listewnik also advised those attending the Town Administrator’s financial presentation on January 20, 2022, to have a glossary of financial terms handy.

FY2023 Budget – discussion prior to submission deadline of January 21, 2022

Town Administrator Travis Ahern presented the proposed Select Board budget to the SB.  He noted that elements highlighted in yellow (below) were items that had significant change due in part to the creation of a separate Human Resources Department.

Asst. Town Administrator (ATA) / Human Resources Director Kathleen Buckley (bottom right) presented the HR budget providing slides that outlined the Human Resources function for the Town.  Selected slides appear below.

The Board approved both budgets for advancement to the next phase of the budget compilation process.  In addition, the SB acknowledged the professionalism and experience of the HR Department and what the Town can expect from the ATA in the coming months.

Comments from Town Administrator:  Mr. Ahern shared the following updates to the SB:

  • Warrant for the May Town Meeting is now open and closes March 21, 2022, at 4pm.  The SB approved this schedule.
  • There will be a presentation “Evaluating Financial Condition” ICMA given by Mr. Ahern – Jan 20, 2022 in Upper Town Hall (and remote) from 5:30 – 6:30pm
  • The SB will receive an update from our State legislators at next week’s (January 24, 2022) meeting.
  • On January 31, 2022, the SB agenda will include a discussion / decision regarding the Town’s Water Rate.

COVID-19 Community update / ARPA Programmatic update

Coming in on the agenda a little later than usual did not keep Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy from providing “hot off the presses” updates on testing and treatment for COVID.

  • New terminology has been introduced. “Staying up to Date on Your Vaccines” is now the way to describe that you are fully vaccinated / boosted.  This change in language also connotes that we are moving into the “endemic” phase of this disease which means that the virus will remain in our lives in a less disruptive form.
  • See below for revised guidance regarding Home COVID Tests.  LBOH = Local Board of Health
  • Four FREE Home COVID Tests are available to each household in the country.  Delivery time from date of request should be 7 – 12 business days.  Click the Link below to order your FREE kits.
  • Below is the most recent guidance from the MA Dept of Early and Secondary Education (DESE) that was shared at 10:00 am on Tuesday January 18, 2022 – hence “hot off the press.”  The Holliston School Committee may choose to opt into this approach.  The School Committee is meeting on Thursday, January 20, 2022 (last night) – Stay tuned!

Board Business:  The SB took the following actions:

  • Accepted a $500 donation to the Library from Sheila Adams to purchase books in her husband’s name
  • Accepted a $500 gift to the Holliston Fire Department
  • Accepted a $1,000 donation to Blair Square Gift Account from the Holliston Reporter for metal benches
  • Approved the ABCC Renewal Certification 2022 Form (confirms how many liquor licenses are active in town)

Other Business:

  • Mr. Cronin:
    • The 300th anniversary planning committee should have a liaison from the Select Board
    • The Historical Society sent a letter of thanks for the ARPA grant to make repairs to the Asa Whiting House.

 The meeting was adjourned at 9:12 pm.

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Chris Cain

1 Comment

  1. Shaw Lively on January 21, 2022 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for the thorough recap!

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