Board of Selectmen, January 16, 2018

-A A +A
Meeting Date: 
January 16, 2018



January 16, 2018

6:35PM                                                                                               Memorial Hall


Present: Geri Herlihy, Jeremy Kurtz, Anthony Renzoni, Tim Ethier


Not Present: Chairman Robert Lavigne.


Others Present:            Peter Lukes, Town Manager

                                    Stephanie Bacon, Assistant Town Manager

                                    Liz Fotos, Town Recorder


Sel. Herlihy called the meeting to order at 6:35PM. The Board stood for the Pledge of Allegiance.


  1. Appointments, Licenses, and Permits




Sel. Kurtz asked if they knew the opening date.


Mr. Lukes replied that he was not sure as of yet.


  1. Regional Public Health


Mr. Lukes stated that this matter was postponed.


  1. Town Manager Update


Mr. Lukes stated that they were excited to announce through Chief Hall that the Fire Department applied for a Home Land Security Grant.  He stated it was for training and equipment and it was a multi department initiative for anti-terrorist training and active shooter training with part of initiatives to be a full scale drill at the high school.


Sel. Renzoni asked if was going through the Fire Department because the Emergency Management was in the Fire Department.


Mr. Lukes replied that this would encompass all the departments. 


Sel. Herlihy asked if they had not done a full scale drill at the High School.


Mr. Lukes replied that they had not in the sense of getting Federal, State, and Local involved.  He stated that they have done mini ones but not a full scale drill.


Mr. Lukes stated that the Resource Profile would be on February 14, 2018 with Fin Com at the Senior Center.  He stated that they would then be meeting on Wednesdays to go over every department’s budget.


Sel. Ethier asked if there was any information on the sewer lawsuit with Worcester.


Sel. Renzoni cautioned the Board as to if this should be discussed in open session or Executive Session.


Mr. Lukes stated that they should possibly go into Executive Session at their next meeting.  He stated that there was a summary judgment that was released on Friday and all of the Worcester complaints to Holden were dismissed and all of Holden’s to Worcester were preserved.


Sel. Ethier stated he brought it up because Holden had invested a lot of money in it and he wanted to know if it looked like the process was moving.


Mr. Lukes replied that they would likely go into Executive Session to discuss this further.


Sel. Kurtz asked how we were doing with the snow removal budget. 


Mr. Lukes replied they were at about $140,000 and had budgeted for $250,000.


  1. Selectmen Subcommittee


Sel. Kurtz: none


Sel. Ethier stated that he was curious about the update on the DPW Building Committee.


Sel. Ethier stated that with regards to the Educational Options Committee he knew that they were on the agenda for February 5, 2018 and that he was hoping to avoid having this on the same night as Eagle Lake.  He stated that he thinks they are both important to get done in February but that he thinks that they should be split up.


Sel. Ethier stated that he knows that they had received something from the Town Manager and that the state did have a legal method for the Educational Options to take left over money.  He stated that this was spoken about before and it was the number one recommendation for educational enrichment.  He stated that there was a concern as to whether or not it was doable and that it did look like they had crafted a way to do it.  He thanked Representative Ferguson for looking into it and he knew that Mr. Madaus, Town Counsel was also looking into the matter.


Sel. Renzoni stated that Fin Com was supposed to meet on January 24, 2018 with the School District but it was canceled and there was nothing rescheduled at this time.


Sel. Renzoni stated that it looked as though Fin Com would be able to use Dropbox to update information to everyone prior to their meetings as well. 


Sel. Ethier asked if it was a joint meeting on January 24, 2018.


Sel. Renzoni stated that it was not; it was a Fin Com meeting that he was in the loop on as the liaison.


Sel. Ethier stated this was the night for the Eagle Lake Meeting as well and that while the Board did not have a meeting, they had asked for some direction to get to Phase 2.  He stated that he would like to see the Board go and show that they were interested in what they have to say and that if needed they could post the meeting.  He stated it was at the Starbard Building on January 24, 2018. 


Sel. Herlihy stated that the DPW Building Committee met on January 8, 2018 for the early stages of site design.  She asked Sel. Ethier what questions he had.


Sel. Ethier stated that he was at the same meeting and he felt it was somewhat tense.  He stated that was a close vote and that there were two concerns.  He stated that the plan they were discussing did not have room to keep all the vehicles inside and that the plan was to keep the Adams Road Facility open as well.  He stated that they voted in favor of this but the assumption was that we were keeping Adams Road open and we needed to do that for additional space.


Mr. Lukes replied that was a last option and he thinks in the end they will find a way to do what is needed within the process.


Sel. Ethier stated that they were also looking at the second floor of the building.  He stated that it could be argued that it would be cheaper to do it now then if it was expanded later.  He stated they estimated a cost of $1.2 million addition and that Mr. Woodsmall said that as it is now there was not enough office space for Department Heads so this was a need.  Sel. Ethier stated that he thinks it should be kept as a separate article but they should add in the second floor.


Mr. Lukes stated that these were very preliminary plans and he hesitates to throw around figures because of how early in the process it was.  He stated himself, the OPM, and Mr. Woodsmall would meet later in the month to address office space and additional concerns.  He stated that there were still lots of changes that needed to be made and that it was premature to speak about a number.  


Sel. Ethier stated that there were a few concerns about the current design.  He stated that someone acknowledged that this would actually be a down size from where we currently were.  He stated that they should be adding more space not spending $20,000,000 for a small space.


Sel. Herlihy stated that the second floor would be to house Holden Cable.


Mr. Lukes stated that they were trying to put Holden Cable in if possible.  He stated that would necessitate a second vote at Town Meeting if it were to move forward.  He stated that when it was completed and presented the square footage would be more efficient and more useful and would be within a budget that the Town can live with.


Sel. Ethier stated that the cost now for renting is $35,000-$40,000 per year.  He stated that it only made sense to look to do that. 


Sel. Kurtz stated that in November the Town had a Special Town Meeting to authorize funds.  He asked if there was a scheduled or if they were on track for the May deadline.


Mr. Lukes replied that they were on track for May baring any unforeseen issues.  He stated that they have proposals in and should have haz mat cleaned and demo done by then.


  1. Selectmen Minutes


Sel. Renzoni suggested passing over the December 20, 2017 Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes until the dates on page 2 could be confirmed.




Motion by Sel. Renzoni, seconded by Sel. Kurtz, it was VOTED TO APPROVE THE DECEMBER 11, 2017 BOARD OF SELECTMEN MEETING MINUTES BY A VOTE OF 3-0-1.  (Ethier: abstain).


  1. Selectmen Miscellaneous


Sel. Kurtz congratulated DPW for the last storm.


Sel. Ethier stated that he had attended a presentation at Wachusett High School with the Civics Class.  He stated that the class did a project on the opiate addition and that it was a short film about Dr. Baker who lost a child to this and it was great to see the kids get involved in this issue. 


Sel. Ethier stated that he attended the retirement party for Chief Chandler and it was amazing the number of people from all over New England that attended.  He stated he did a fine job in Holden and that it was a nice gathering for him.


Sel. Ethier stated that there was a Wachusett Regional Budget Hearing and that they had the first presentation.  He stated that it was interesting that there was a decline in students but the budget did not decline.  He stated that he thinks it will be another difficult budget season.


Sel. Ethier stated that he received the memo from the Recreation Director and her Committee and that they discussed the motion for all of out town daily passes and their counter proposal was to continue to offer the passes but to increase it from $10 to $15.  He stated that they were concerned about the loss of revenue. He asked what the vote was for.


Sel. Renzoni stated that the motion was to send it to the professionals to come back with a proposal.


Sel. Ethier asked if they would review it before a policy was established.


Mr. Lukes stated that this was a review of the Recreation Committee not by the Recreation Director or himself.


Sel. Ethier asked if the Recreation Director could come in to explain her thoughts.


Mr. Lukes replied that if she did not it would be in a report.


Sel. Ethier stated that he would like to see her personally.  He stated that when they cut the number of day passes in half it worked and the Town did not sell the 200 of them.  He stated he would like to hear from her (Denise Morano) about her thoughts.


Sel. Herlihy stated that CMRPC met about the new state initiative that the Governor wanted to add 135,000 housing units by 2025.  She stated it was not well received and it was a grant program with no provisions as to how it would impact a municipal budget.


Sel. Herlihy paused Selectmen Miscellaneous to open up Citizen Address.


  1. Citizens Address




Selectmen Miscellaneous Cont.  


Sel. Ethier asked what the states recommendation was.


Sel. Herlihy stated that there is not enough housing and rent is going up and housing prices are going up.  She stated that it would be a grant but it did not address children in school, roads, or other municipal concerns.


Sel. Herlihy stated that it would enable municipalities to change zoning laws for accessory and multi-use housing units.  She stated that while more housing may be needed it was not very well thought out.


Sel. Ethier stated that if there is not 40B’s developers could be exempt from zoning laws.  He stated that it happened on Newell Road and he is not sure the overall impact.  He asked what the number for affordable housing was.


Sel. Herlihy replied 10%.


Mr. Lukes replied the Town was at 6%.


Sel. Ethier asked what kind of housing it would be.  He stated that it would be a lot of money to the Town and asked if there was anything that could be done to keep Eagle Lake in.  He stated that when the dam is straightened out the property value will increase as well.


Sel. Herlihy stated that the Women’s Soccer Team won the Title and it was never spoken about; she wanted to acknowledge that as well.


Motion by Sel. Renzoni, seconded by Sel. Kurtz, it was UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO ADJOURN THE JANUARY 16, 2018 BOARD OF SELECTMEN MEETING AT 7:07PM.  


APPROVED: _March 5, 2018_____________