Select Board Meeting 04/29/2024

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

Chair Cronin opened the meeting and announced we would be going out of order pending the arrival of the 300th Committee.

Board Business

Veterans’ District Agreement (7a) on agenda – TA Ahern presented background on the team who had worked on this agreement and specified it had not changed much since the last one. Clerk Sparrell made a motion to accept, VC Hein seconded – motion passed.

Proclamation: Peace Officers Memorial Day – May 15, 2024 – TA Ahern presented the proclamation to Chair Cronin, and it was read into the record.

Request for waiver of fees up to $500, Quilling Card, 123 Washington Street

Mr. and Mrs. Wolf from Ashland (prior residents of Queens neighborhood) had one failed attempt at locating their business in the park prior to construction of the bridge. They have purchased 123 Washington St. and are in the process of reconstructing the inside for their use and helping current residents of the building to relocate. The facility will be a distribution center for handmade greeting cards.

TA Ahern pointed out this is a modest request and a way to encourage new business and has the full support of the EDC since it does impact our ability to get certain grants when we are willing to waive fees.

Clerk Sparrell made a motion to waive various fees up to $500, 2nd by VC Hein, motion passed. Chair Cronin welcomed the Wolf’s to town and wished them luck.

Celebrate Holliston 300th Parade Update (May 11, 2024) – Parade chair Peter Barbieri explained the road closures, staging areas and location of viewing stands. He indicated there is an expectation of approximately 1,300 participants in the parade ranging from local businesses and organizations to the Clydesdales, stilt walkers, and more. Road closure information has been sent to businesses and residents who will be impacted.

Peter extended his thanks to Holliston PD and FD as well as DPW (and those of the surrounding towns) for all the assistance in putting together this event.

Celebrate Holliston committee also reported on other upcoming events over the next couple of months, the full schedule is available here.

May 2024 Annual Town Meeting Preparations

TA Ahern indicated postcards had been sent to all Holliston residents with a QR Code which will take them to the warrant page on the town website. This site allows for translation to numerous languages as well. Printed copies of the warrant are available at the Town Hall and other locations. Also ran through the Table of Contents for the Warrant.

Public Comment

Dr. Liz Theiler made a comment regarding some comments to correct statements made at recent meetings. Specifically, Chair of the School Committee Dan Alfred’s comments regarding Holliston being unfriendly to business. Dr. Theiler pointed out that many various committees have worked hard to be welcoming. She also pointed out that some business owners pay $2,664 less than average residential tax. Businesses pay only 12.08 percent of all Holliston taxes.

VC Hein: Encourage residents to check out the HCAT presentation regarding Town Manager Act which was an interview of Chair Cronin and Mary Greendale discussing the new act.

Wednesday May 1 is the annual walk/bike to school day which has been in force for the last six years. May also starts Mental Health Awareness month and Family services representatives will be on hand.

Chair Cronin: On Friday VC Hein and I were on hand for the tree planting at 9 Green Street, a welcome addition and celebration of Arbor Day. Dedicated trees in honor of our 300th as well as honor our new designation as Tree City.

Weekly Warrants (A/P & Payroll)

Clerk Sparrell made a motion to pay the weekly warrant, VC Hein seconded, motion passed.

Comments from the Town Administrator

On Ask the Town Administrator we’ll be running a recap of the warrant. Nice way to get an overview of what’s going on with the warrant.

Downtown Sewer project funding request has been submitted will be fully submitted this week.

State Earmark Discussion – Central Street Rebranding

TA Ahern mentioned the rebranding grant was originally $50,000 and was reduced to $25,000 through 9(c) cuts.  Decisions need to be made on allocating these funds.

VC Hein mentioned that the improvement recommendations in the 2017 reports have been going on for multiple years and it’s time for us to being some things up to speed to make sure visitors know where to find businesses in town. A message board is the preferred method to allow people to get to other areas.

One recommendation is the solar signs offered by SOOFA and these are generated by software and easily customizable which would cost about $24,000. The remaining $1,000 should be used for parking signs.

Chair Cronin indicated this could possibly be a good solution to deal with the banner loss on Washington Street so this board, and future should consider solutions.

Clerk Sparrell had a couple of questions about the signs and ultimately made a motion to allocate $24,000 to the signage (solar) as well as several years of software and maintenance with the remaining $1,000 to parking signs. 2nd by VC Hein motion passed. Motion passed contingent upon the approval of the Economic Development Committee.

Other Business

VC Hein discussed the Safe Streets task force and mentioned that TA may receive a request for support. Two Holliston activities will be covered by the grant application.

Chair Cronin – May 6th is the regular meeting; May 13 is town meeting and May 21 is town election. Do we want to have a meeting on the 20th? The answer was no, we’ll meet on the 6th and the 13th in the absence of business required on the 20th.

Doreen Martel


  1. Liz Theiler PhD on May 4, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    It is important to note that the fiscal year 24 the average homeowner paid $9,773 in taxes. The homeowners pay 87.92% of the taxes giving business a welcoming break by allowing businesses having the same tax rate as residents.
    In contrast to the residents an established business on Jeffrey Ave fiscal 2024 tax bill was $7,109.
    Financially Holliston is business friendly and our planning board is consistent, predictable and fair, acting in a very professional manner.

  2. Kevin Rudden, Principal Assessor on May 7, 2024 at 11:15 am

    There were 4,544 single-family homes in Holliston when the tax rate was set.

    To further explain Dr. Theiler’s comment: The average value of these homes is calculated by dividing the total value of all single-family homes ($2,949,045,995) by the number of single -family homes (4,544). This gives you an average value of $648,998.

    $648,998 times the Fiscal Year 2024 tax rate of $15.06 gives you an average tax bill of $9,773.91 (without the 1.5% Community Preservation surcharge).

    If you home is assessed at less than $648,998, you are paying less in property taxes; if your home is assessed at more than $648,998, you are paying more in property taxes.

  3. Kevin Rudden Principal Assessor on May 8, 2024 at 8:59 am

    The average commercial building is assessed at $965,556 and pays $14,541.27 in taxes.

    The average industrial building is assessed at $2,020,043 and pays $30,421.85 in taxes.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.