Select Board 09/18/23

Select Board meeting opened at 7 pm – John Cronin is absent this evening.

School Committee Updates

Keith Buday- Capital Expenditure for Chromebooks – given to 5th grade to 8th grade and 8th grade. They are allocated down as appropriate.  #100.000 request part of annual capital plan

Discussion about possible sources of funding for this – looked into potential sources of funding. Question regarding prior funding requests for updates to the school grounds.

This particular request is sp0ecifically for the 2024 School year.  COVID Grants have been looking into to see if there were still funds that fit in. These funds were limited to “learning” only and cannot be used for “upgrades” to playground

Capital Plans – Placentino playground upgrades will be taken care of based on which funding sources are available. One my be able to use these funds for “social/emotional learning” – Can be connected to the learning loss with COVID.

There will be follow-up meetings regarding these expenditures for updates to the playground.

Formal request to mitigate balls outside of baseball area into neighbor’s yards.. The Parks Department has put together a plan. There is no way to ‘reposition’ the diamond because of numerous reasons (placement of base/home plate, girls’ softball, etc.) While we thought there may be other more affordable solutions we have not found one yet.

This came up based on neighbor complaints and is not currently on the capital expenditures budget.

Superintendent Dr. Susan Kustka informed the SB that MSBA grants for updating schools has eliminated 50% of the school districts (30) who applied for grants. Scheduled for Mid-October and Holliston made the cut. They will be told HOW the school is impacting the students’ learning.  More complete information can be found in the meeting at the 7:20 recording location.

This is an application “review” and why they want a small group for questioning/etc. Specific people invited to address their specific questions during the walk-through. No feedback is expected the day of the walk-through. 30 Districts are going through this process.  This is our 5th SOI and we’re further than we were in the past.

This walkthrough is designed to validate and review information in our grants and answer specific questions. This is much different than the previous walk through in so far as it’s more “structured” than “casual”.

Has an educational assessment been started – Did do a semi-formal one, offered to come in and do a writeup for the school and he provided a great deal of feedback and helped with incorporating into SOI.

Select Board Review of Draft Warrant

Travis will deal with the subcommittee meetings for capital expenditures. He generally will work with the various committees who are seeking funding and deal with how to “cull’ the budget.

One of the issues is updated sidewalks and ramps for ADA compliance. We’re making progress but the preference is continuing to make funding available for this project. Some of the decisions about this year’s funding will be made going forward. We’re looking at 2.3 million currently, but we’ll see what the true estimate is subject to subcommittee meetings.

To date: 2 requests configuration of space at 1750 – good problem to have a grant to be able to do this.  Certain things which happen we’ll be working on reconfiguration of space and transitioning to regional dispatch … we have serious space issues for EMT accommodating.  We have this issue with Police and Fire and the space for dispatch is currently not adequate.  In terms of cost these are not expensive and should be prioritized.

We can make a lot of progress and have a longer-term discussion regarding going forward. The big question is what we need to do to bring better service levels to the community.

Most of the budget items are fairly standard with a few exceptions (more in recording at 7:35 time slot).

EMS equipment and bucket truck quotes have been obtained and quotes have been requested for additional police units. Looking for hybrid SUVs for police.

Mayflower Landing 4 parking spots wide enough for vehicles and bike rack.  Please consider listening to the recording if you would like more information regarding this portion of the meeting. This was a very “dense” section and rather than misquote it’s best if you listen!

Calendar year 2024 coming up requires us to review and make sure that our capital plan is in line with the available funds. Ms. Hein asked if the opioid settlement may benefit Holliston? We may have had a small amount of funds (we got $61,000) last year so it’s not a huge help but not bad either.  These funds probably are needed more in operating funds than will be helpful to capital funds.

Checking into synchronization (temporary) because of the feeling it will be beneficial, but it costs $7K per month as a temporary solution. What is the long-term solution can we get $$ from the state (Tina)?  Do we know what the update might be on state funds?  Preliminary discussions with DOT will require a lot of information. We need to inform residents of the new traffic patterns. We’ll be putting in an application for Nov 2023. The last “upgrade’ was 10 years ago.

Ben asked if there were “town” funds that could be used for some of the temporary solutions. DOT is looking at signage at old industrial parks to improve traffic pattern. We may need to change geometry for the intersection. The funds have a specific purpose and must be used in the designated area and these upgrades would suit.

Warrants Presentation – warrant presented and approved

Public Comment – none

Disappointed about Blair Square cancellation but we’re looking forward to increasing parking and making the downtown area more visitor friendly.  Searching for a new date because there were numerous conflicts this week.

Monday October 16 – offering Free Child Care and Parking at high School for town Meeting.

TRAVIS: Someone complained that hybrid meetings were diminishing the quality of meetings and therefore we will be talking about options.

TRAVIS: Someone complained that hybrid meetings were diminishing the quality of meetings and therefore we will be talking about options. The Envisioning Future Holliston Town-Wide Strategic Plan forums (9/18 and 9/19) were split into in-person on one day and remote-only on the next day based on feedback from previous Strategic Plan forums. 

Meeting minutes passed

Event Permits

  • Event Permit Father’s Day Car Show October 1, 2023 at the Historical Society from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Event Permit Three Squares New England ride for Food October 1, 2023 starting 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Event Permit Dalton Road – Block Party October 15, 2023 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 pm.
  • Event Permit Veterans Memorial Rally October 15, 2023 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • One day Beer & Wine license for Cocktails LLC at Oktoberfest Historical Society 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. October 20, 2023
  • Request to waive the fee for the One-day Beer & Wine License for the Oktoberfest October 20, 2023
  • Celebrate Holliston Citizens of the year Proclamations—Richard Ball and Doreen Martel

Additional Business:
Creative Placemaking is postponed will be setting a new date in late October,.

Doreen Martel


  1. Bill Fawkes on September 21, 2023 at 10:52 am

    Why are we concerned about dispatch space for the PD and FD when we are eliminating dispatchers in the next few months?

    • Ben Sparrell (Clerk of the Select Board) on September 22, 2023 at 10:10 am

      Good question. We are concerned about repurposing the space currently being used for dispatchers to allow for current operational needs of the departments, particularly with the Fire Department and the Central Fire building.

  2. Rebecca Donham on September 21, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Holliston was not present on the opioid settlement funds call with technical assistance center (JSI) this week. Many of the other MetroWest region boards of health were on the call. Hopefully the town will participate going forward. Opioid settlement funds have very specific criteria for use.

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