Select Board Discusses Cannabis Industry Regulations for Town

The Holliston Select Board met on Monday, June 13, 2022.  Having a quorum of two members (Mrs. Hein arrived later), Chair Ben Sparrell called the meeting to order at 7:01pm.

The first item on the agenda was an update from Town Counsel Elizabeth Lydon related to the cannabis industry.

  • Town of Holliston Rules & Regulations for Marijuana Cultivators, Manufacturers, Testing Facilities and Other
  • Also, included in the update was the status of pending legislation that would impact how Holliston partners with the cannabis businesses in Town.  More to come, when / if the legislation is passed and signed by the Governor.

Attorney Lydon (below), of Mead, Talerman, and Costa (MTC), shared updated draft regulations related to the cannabis industry in Holliston.  Work began on these regulations some time ago and for some reason were not completed / enacted.

One area of focus was on developing an annual licensing program similar to the existing liquor license process that reviews compliance with all Town rules and regulations.  The highlighted text below illustrates the current draft language.

Also, the S.B. wanted to include language about cannabis businesses in Holliston reporting any violations of the State’s regulations anywhere in the Commonwealth to the Holliston Select Board.  In addition, the Board felt that monetary fines should be available as a penalty for violations.

Holliston has Host Community Agreements (HCAs) with seven cannabis businesses.  They are in various stages of setting up operations.  The HCAs provide a monetary amount to the Town based on gross sales.  Currently there is no credible way for the Town to know what those sales are.  The regulations should strive to clarify the source of that data.

The Board approved the draft regulations as modified by the Board’s input at Monday’s meeting allowing for non-substantive changes to be made by MTC.

Public Comment

  • Mrs. Hein – None
  • Mr. Cronin:
    • Congratulated Mrs. Hein as a recent graduate of the yearlong MetroWest Leadership Academy.  Congratulations Tina!!
    • DPW updates:
      • Mudville project to be completed this summer.
      • Central St. water plant should be ready to test in Sept. 2022.
    • Council on Aging updates:
      • Holliston seniors are asked to complete two surveys in the coming months: Envisioning Future Holliston (link below) AND a survey focused on the 55+ community being conducted by the UMass Gerontological Institute.
      • Senior Center Director Lisa Borchetta is pursuing State certification for Holliston to be a Dementia-friendly town and an age-friendly community.
      • A safe sidewalk infrastructure is important for senior safety.
  • Mr. Sparrell:
    • The second Envisioning Future Holliston survey is open – > EFH Survey #2
    • Paper copies of the survey are available at the Town Hall, Library, and Senior Center
    • So far, 185 responses have been submitted
    • The goal is 1,000 responses by August
  • Public: None – Please note the following which is now part of each S.B. agenda

COVID-19 Community update / ARPA Programmatic update

Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy (really that’s his back) brought three requests to the Board that had been unanimously passed by the ARPA Steering Group.

  • $35,350 for mobile data collection for the Assessor’s office
  • Extending the use of already approved ARPA funds for public health strategies through June 30, 2023.
  • Increase the approved funds for the downtown sewer feasibility by $5,000 and expand the scope of the project to include hydrological / geological testing.

The Board unanimously approved each of the three requests.

Chief Cassidy notified the Board that the Federal Government has slightly modified how ARPA expenses are to be reported.  He anticipates an easy adjustment to his current spreadsheet.

Memorandum for EMT Compensation Model (Trial Period for Evaluation)

Within two weeks of receiving the MRI Organization Evaluation, Chief Cassidy, with input from current and potential HFD members, proposed a three-month trial of an EMT compensation model.  The trial, if approved by the Board, would begin July 1, 2022, and run through September 2022.  Cassidy expects to see improvement in the reduction of uncovered shifts on the ambulance and a reduction in the number of mutual aid calls.  He projects the increased costs may be manageable in the FY 23 budget.

The proposal is shown below:

The pay rates approved at the May Town Meeting are below:

The Board approved the Chief’s proposed trial and suggested that ARPA funds may be applicable for this purpose.

Warrants: The Board approved the weekly warrant totaling -> $600,049.94.

Comments from Town Administrator:

  • 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) (FY2023 to FY2027)

Mr. Ahern shared the most current version of the CIP with updated detailed models and timelines.  The plan includes debt modeling and prioritized projects – including links to all relevant reports / studies.

The Board provided additional input this week (following last week’s first discussion).  Mr. Ahern will continue to refine the models.

Mr. Sparrell will contact Dr. Szajda regarding a joint S.B. / FinCom review of the CIP using the S.B.’s priorities.

When the CIP is complete, it will be posted on the Town website.

  • Job descriptions for the new DPW Grounds Division have been crafted.  The employee union will provide feedback.  The jobs should start to be filled after July 1st.
  • Two citizens have volunteered to fill the vacant seat on the FinCom.  Both candidates will have a chance to respond to the same set of questions at the Tuesday, June 28, 2022, FinCom meeting – which will be held with the S.B.

Board Business (votes were taken)

  • Approved the Select Board Summer Schedule – no meetings in the weeks of June 20, 2022, and July 4, 2022.  A tri-board meeting (S.B., FinCom, and S.C.) is targeted for early August 2022.
  • Approved the event permit for Team Kermit/Pan Mass Challenge Day Zero cyclists on 08/05/22 at about 9:30am traversing Holliston for about 20 minutes.
  • Approved the implementation of No Parking – within 50 feet of all Mudville intersectionsEffective July 1, 2022, with the Town’s Traffic Rules and Orders to be updated with the change.
  • Appointed On Call EMT’s: Madison Grace and Sebastien Joseph
  • Appointed On Call Firefighter: Alan Greendale Jr.
  • Appointed On Call Firefighter/EMT: Caleb Hagarty
  • Approved the minutes of the May 16, 2022, S.B. meeting.
  • Authorized the submission for Chapter 90 reimbursement for the Mudville project in the amount of $152,435.

Other Business:

  • Mrs. Hein asked for an update on the State’s “Local Bottleneck Program” at a future S.B. meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 9:16pm – or roughly halfway through the first quarter of the Celtics game.  Remember – no S.B. meeting NEXT week.

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Chris Cain

1 Comment

  1. Kevin Robert Malone on June 14, 2022 at 8:02 am

    An example of how we are not yet an age-friendly town is the response that the Blair Square improvement committee made to comments and suggestions that arose during a presentation to the Council on Aging on said planned improvements. Concerns about limited handicap parking, lack of comfortable (not granite bench) seating, ease of access, and toilet facilities (perhaps a bigger issue) were ignored completely in the final design. So much for positive response to senior concerns.