Select Board Recap 01/29/24

In attendance: Chair John Cronin, Vice Chair Tina Hein, Clerk Ben Sparrell, Town Administrator Travis Ahern

Update from Celebrate Holliston on 300th Celebration Events, including Parade

Members of Celebrate Holliston join the board to provide update

There was an extended discussion about upcoming events for Celebrate Holliston. The CH committee has requested the funds which the town has allocated (e.g. 30K) be transferred to CH so they can pay bills directly versus coming to the Board each time they need funds.  The current budget was presented by CH to the Board for review.

CH also asked for approval to place a banner on the secondary Washington Street site which will remain for the year. Each month the lower portion of the banner will be changed to reflect the month’s activities.

The Board has opted to take a week to discuss releasing the existing fund to CH to allow time to discuss potential events with our new Economic Development coordinator to allow her an opportunity to partner with local businesses for a possible event during the year.

Parade – Peter mentioned that discussions are underway with numerous groups for the parade. The proposed parade route was presented to the SB along with a note that CH is working with the business owners on Lowland to provide space for parking trailers and such on their properties. Peter also stressed the need to get more community involvement in the parade and suggested floats for specific neighborhoods as one possibility. Also a representation from Town Hall would be appreciated and Peter offered some specific ideas regarding this.  Peter also expressed concern about the high costs of hiring bands and has indicated they will be searching for sponsors for specific pieces of the parade such as sponsoring bands, etc.

Peter also indicated that while they will be looking for more parade participants, they will also need a significant number of volunteers to help with parking, act as monitors up and down the route, etc.  Peter will be asking the town to include links on the town website for volunteers, sponsors, etc. for the parade.

The parade will take place on 5/11/24 rain or shine because it is not possible to rearrange the schedule on short notice given the number of participants.

Peter issued a challenge to all of the neighborhoods, community organizations, and individuals to get involved with the parade! Stay tuned for more information.

Event permit 300th Anniversary Parade May 11, 2024 starting at 1:00 p.m.

Peter explained the residents of several streets will be inconvenienced during the parade beginning around 11:30 am. Travis indicated there was a meeting including Chief Stone, DPW, himself and parade committee regarding the route and potential changes which may need to be made if Woodland St. is still under construction.

Ben made a motion to approve the permit for the parade, 2nd by Tina and passed unanimously.

Discussion of EL Harvey’s Contract for Solid Waste (Trash & Recycling) – currently set to expire June 30, 2024

Travis: The biggest concern is the 2025 budget – we have had some ongoing communications regarding the services – original contract is almost 5 years old. Successor agreement or we will submit for bids. If the service levels continue to be competitive, then they will be willing to extend the agreement.

Harvey is stating that the per town processing fee is out of sync with the current going rates and they are asking for an increase from $75 per ton to $105 per ton. Asked for this to be spread over the contract years to avoid sticker shock from taxpayers.

Prevailing wage sheets from AGs office are no longer valid for five years. The current wage sheet covers FY 25 – 27. The way the agreement would work is we would pull a new wage sheet in 12/26 which would allow the town to either increase the rate based on the wages, renegotiate, or send out for bidding for FY 27 – 29. The current proposal is a three-year contract with two one-year extension potentials based on the new wage sheets.

This currently means a 5.1 percent increase in the trash/recycling budget for the town. We’re still buying carts for replacement due to damage from plows and new developments. New bins for the entire town are still at least three years out.

Motion made by Ben to extend the EL Harvey contract with the two/one-year options – second by Tina and passed.

Public Comments

Andres Vargas – Curb Street – vote regarding the flag policy – has caused a lot of consternation. He’d like to address the efficient work that was done and setting up a road map for needed change. At the same time, he’d like to acknowledge the work of groups which worked to make the second proposal.

John: The board is willing to listen to a counter proposal but be aware they have settled on the language of the policy.

Andres: Does the board have any preference as to how they would like this to be presented?

John: He’s seen the general language via email. However, he has not seen any organization which has come forward. This is on the agenda for next week.

Andres also wants to make sure they have provided enough time for Legal Counsel to review.

Travis: Our counsel has been provided with the information we have.

No other public comments were forthcoming.

Ben: Winter parking ban is still in effect.

Tina: In a year that is supposed to bring us together to celebrate Holliston’s 300th anniversary, the online bullying of neighbors over a road name change this past week was difficult to understand. I know that most residents turn away from online mocking and intimidation of neighbors and want to see it stop. I have asked the Town Administrator to look into the use of social media by Town employees and board and committee members. Certainly all residents deserve the respect of Town officials and employees when receiving services through the Town.

There may be disagreement and challenging debate in the work before the Select Board, but I remain committed to welcoming a diversity of opinion and thought in a respectful manner. I am open and available to listen to those who disagree with me and I can be reached by email, in person, or during public comment at the weekly Select Board meetings.

As a member of the Select Board, I am committed to keeping local government open to hearing the concerns and needs of residents and offering a public process by which one can seek a resolution. I do not want the actions of a few online bullies to deter residents from approaching the Select Board and I felt the need to state this tonight.

John: Only one public comment and it relates to the loss of John Charles Losch (displays obituary written by family on Holliston Reporter). John was a public servant who lived many years in Holliston. He served on the Select Board and also on the General Court.  I took the opportunity to watch the interviewed-on Holliston HCAT in 2022 and it was remarkable. John was an institution. We extend our condolences to his family. John had a well-lived life.

Here’s the interview Chair John was referring to:

Chair asking for an item from the agenda to be taken out of order because the parties are assembled on Zoom.

Request for bench dedication (gift) at Town Hall – Dellicker Family

John: We lost both Henry and Jackie Delliker earlier this year and we have representatives from the family here.

Anna Dellicker – she is with other family members. We would like to dedicate a bench on the side of the town hall to be dedicated to our grandparents. They were dedicated servants in town – I sent John a letter

John acknowledges the contributions of Henry and Jackie.

Anna – nothing to add 

John: We received a letter from Anna to purchase a plaque to be affixed to the bench aside town hall. The letter is in the packet distributed to the SB. Point of remembrance to the grandparents.

Ben: Given the amount of service this is a small and a wonderful way to honor the things they did for the community.

Tina: echoes Ben’s sentiments and this is in line with other dedications we have made in the past. Your grandparents would be proud to see all of you up there speaking in such an eloquent way for such a beautiful request in their memory. Your grandparents towards public speaking and serving others is strong in you and perhaps someday we’ll see you sitting up here at this table.

John: thank you and this has my support as well.

Ben made a motion to approve, Tina seconded, and the motion passed.

Warrants

Motion to approve warrant and it was seconded by Tina – motion passed.

Comments from the Town Administrator

Feb 2 meeting request for flag policy to be put on agenda which it has been (first agenda item)

An annual water rate hearing will also take place.

Travis also submitted information to the Holliston Reporter (you can read it here) Travis ran these down quickly during the meeting.

Board Business

EMT Appointments (background complete)

  • Kelley, Michael – Through June 30
  • MacDonald, Mark – Through June 30

Two motions made by Ben and seconded by Tina, motion passed.

Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester Execution of Amendment to Local Initiative Program Regulatory Agreement and Declaration of Restrictive Covenants & Exhibit B for Low and Moderate Income Units

There is a lot of paperwork with this which was signed originally by Mark Ahronian and we just need to reaffirm this is appropriate – this is for the property on Concord Street.

Ben made a motion to sign on behalf of the town and 2nd by Tina – motion passed.

Appointment Memorial Day Committee American Legion Post47, Stephen Bradford, Walter McGrath, and William Withington Term to expire June 2024

Motion made by Ben, second by Tina and passed

Appointment Historical Commission Patricia Pereira term to expire June 2026

Motion made by Ben, second by Tina and passed

Acceptance of Gift to Holliston Police Gift Account from Colantonio ($1,000)

Motion made by Ben, second by Tina and passed

Notice of Award – I.W. Harding Construction Co. for Holliston 2023 Complete Streets (Central Street)

Is this a duplicate? Notice to proceed this is the contract to be signed. While the previous notice would possibly suffice we felt that with the updates it was needed.

Travis showed various images regarding changes to the Safe Streets including

Motion made and carried

Meeting Minutes December 4, 2023

Motion made and carried

Other Business:

John: Town Clerk has announced that nominations papers are available beginning February 5th and he wants to let the community and the board know that he has no intention of running again.

Ben: John while you have a few more months, I want to thank you I have learned a lot from you and also for the time you have given to the town and to this board.

Motion to adjourn passed unanimously.

Doreen Martel

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