Select Board and Finance Committee Talk Capital

On Tuesday, August 9, 2022, the Finance Committee and Select Board held a joint meeting which was called to order by Chairs Ken Szajda and Ben Sparrell.

All members of both groups were present (Fin Com Member Julie Winston participated via Zoom) except Mr. Cronin who was ill. During the meeting, Select Board Chair Ben Sparrell was called out for an emergency and did not return.

Mr. Sparrell kicked off the meeting with some slides summarizing the Select Board’s view of how the evening’s discussion came to be and what the intended outcome could be.

Dr. Szajda, presented his committee’s goals with no slides (as recommended by his committee):

  • Find issues
  • Set up a working group to work the issues and hash out recommended solutions

Next up was Town Administrator Travis Ahern who set the table with as outlined in the exhibit below.  The links in the document are all live so everyone can see the copious documentation that is available.


  • Updated Financial Policies (2021): link
  • 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan (FY23-27): link
  • Capital Planning (Design/Engineering) Studies (2021-2022): link
  • Evaluating Financial Condition (2022): link
  • Glossary of Financial Terms: link
  • ARPA Steering Summary (June 30, 2022): link

Three major items were discussed:

  • Sidewalk repairs / ADA compliance backlog as outlined on the Stantec sidewalk report.
  • DPW facility project.
  • Norfolk Street integrated water, drainage, and sidewalk project as a priority need.

Questions were asked about why the Norfolk project was listed as a priority while many other important needs are around town. Mr. Ahern and the Mrs. Hein pointed out that when Stantec was asked what water / sidewalk project the top priority should be they focused on Norfolk Street.

Mr. Ahern remained open to working any scenario with his comprehensive modeling spreadsheets if the group wanted to see other options – priorities and/or funding / borrowing.

The exhibit below illustrates how data from several different consultant reports came together to show the line items that combined to become the Norfolk Street project.

At the right of the exhibit are three different funding approaches.

The meeting concluded with an agreement to form a working group of Select Board and Finance Committee members to thoroughly discuss the project and make recommendations to their respective Board / Committee prior to the finalization of the Fall Town Meeting Warrant.

The group expressed hope for a continuing two-communication between these two government entities with a dialogue based on shared data and information.

After nearly two hours, Dr. Szajada called for motion to adjourn the Finance Committee meeting (the Select Board lost its quorum so no need to adjourn). The motion was made and approved by a roll call vote

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Chris Cain


  1. Shaw Lively on August 12, 2022 at 9:05 am

    Links did not seem live to me.. Are the documents available on the town website? I could not find them there. Looking at the Norfolk street data presented in the article, does the proposal also include a sidewalk and drainage from the former Arcadian Farm up to Patoma park–very high need to connect existing sidewalk up to the parks ,and stop the flooding of the farm fields and resident front yardss every time there is downpour.

    • Chris Cain on August 12, 2022 at 9:24 am

      Shaw – The links are live. All the documents are on the Town’s website in various locations. Travis provided the information in this format to reduce having to hunt around. Thanks, Chris

  2. Bill Blinstrub on August 12, 2022 at 9:07 am

    How many more years must we wait for a new high school? This inaction is sad.

    Why are we in such a hurry to build a new dpw facility ( based on a very suspect “study” I might add) when our high school is grossly substandard?

    People dont move here for the dpw facility, they come for the schools.

    • Travis Ahern (Town Administrator) on August 12, 2022 at 11:23 am

      Mr. Blinstrub,
      I’d love to discuss any issues you have with study, as I felt that Weston & Sampson performed up to their very high standard. Please feel free to reach out to my office to discuss – (508) 429-0608.

      Additionally, I appreciate and support the desire to move ahead with a High School improvement project, but I’m not sure how that project impacts the need to address the two current DPW facilities on Arch St. and Central St. that are well past useful life and present a variety of concerns for the future operations of critical town services performed by DPW.

      These concerns are best illustrated starting on page 41 of the report below under section: “Existing Conditions Assessment”