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6:30PM                                                                                  Memorial Hall

Present:                Vice-Chairman Kenneth Lipka, Anthony Renzoni, Mark Ferguson, Jeremy Kurtz

Absent:                 Chairman Robert Lavigne
Others Present: Jacquie Kelly, Town Manager
                        Elizabeth Helder, Recording Secretary

Vice-Chairman Lipka opened the meeting at 6:30PM.  He announced that Chairman Lavigne was away on business.  The Board participated in the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • Licenses and Appointments
The Board reviewed the application of Kimberly Lynch for the position of Constable in town.  


Sel. Ferguson requested that the administration craft a policy for constables by spring 2014.  He said it was necessary to track the notices being served by these constables in Holden in order to allow the Town to collect the money owed from the process.  Ms. Kelly reminded the Board that the money owed to the Town by these constables was based on the honor system.  The issue will be how to balance the time by public officials to pursue the collection of this money.  It is impossible to know how many warrants these constables serve on an annual basis.  Ms. Kelly said that if the Town has not received any money after one year of implementing the policy, then they have the purview not to reappoint that constable to his/her position.

  • Town Manager Miscellaneous
  • Town Manager Kelly reported that the Holden Fire Department Explorer Post along with members of other posts participated in the annual Fire and Ice Day at Old Sturbridge Village in August.  Holden’s team placed well in all events, which included the bucket brigade, dry hose race, wet hose race, hose rolling, and hand tub competition.  The Holden Explorer Post has been active for over 30 years and fourteen of its members have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.  Thanks also to Department Advisor Lt. Mike Rosen who supervises the Post activities.
  • Ms. Kelly reminded the Board that the Gale Free Library will hold a Gala on September 21, 2013 at Val’s Restaurant from 7-10PM to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Library.  All proceeds will benefit the 125th Endowment Fund.  Tickets may be purchased at the Library Circulation Desk or by calling 508-829-5460.
  • The Town Manager announced that a Community Shredding Day has been scheduled for Saturday, September 21st from 9AM-Noon at the Holden Senior Center.  Residents are encouraged to bring their materials for shredding.
  • The Board reviewed the current enrollment registration for the Before and After School Programs offered by the Recreation Department.  According to Denise Morano, Recreation Director, at total of 259 children have been enrolled at the programs offered at the three local elementary schools.  Fifty students are enrolled at Davis Hill in the AM and 52 in the PM.  There are currently 9 children on the wait list for the afternoon program at Davis Hill.  Mayo Elementary is at full capacity for both AM and PM programs.  There are 7 children on the wait list for both the AM and PM programs at Mayo.  Dawson has 23 children registered for the AM program and 30 in the PM program.  There has been a lot of “movement” within the school program openings due to changes in family schedules.  Several children who were wait-listed were able to enroll in their desired program.
  • The Town Manager and the Selectmen extended their congratulations to Ms. Morano and her excellent and dedicated staff for having another fun, fabulous, and safe summer season at the Holden Pool.  The Recreation Department consistently provides programs that are safe, friendly, wholesome, educational and healthy.  Thanks to Denise and her talented staff, who make a difficult and time consuming job look easy.  The Board asked the Manager to send a letter of thanks and congratulations to Ms. Morano and the Recreation Department staff for their hard work.
  • Ms. Kelly reported that she contacted the District Superintendent regarding the Selectmen’s recent discussion of potential cost savings in monthly heating bills if the boiler/burner at Dawson Elementary School were to be converted to natural has.  Apparently, the District investigated the cost effectiveness of using natural gas instead of fuel oil in 2009.  The estimate at that time to convert the boilers at the school was approximately $70,000.  Sel. Ferguson thanked the Manager for her timely response to his request.  He said he had experience in this field and felt this endeavor would be a “home run” for the town.  He said this is a “won’t” mentality.  The Town will save approximately $70,000 annually if the conversion is completed.  He said that he had received closure on the issue and said the Board would not hear another peep out of him regarding his request.  Vice-Chairman Lipka asked if it would be worth the effort to re-quote the work.  Ms. Kelly said she would request that the District consider the interest of the Selectmen regarding the subject of a natural gas conversion at Dawson.  Sel. Renzoni concurred with Sel. Ferguson that the subject is dead in the water.  It will not pay for the Town to pay for the conversion and then have to share the benefits of the cost savings with the other four towns.  
  • The Board reviewed a traffic count on Main Street, south of Rt. 31 that was taken during the week of August 12, 2013.  According to DPW Senior Engineer Isabel McCauley, the recent count indicates an average of 20,070 vehicles per day.
  • The Manager informed the Board that in late August, a concerned citizen contacted Police Chief Sherrill and herself regarding pedestrian safety on Rt. 31 near Davis Hill School.  According to Chief Sherrill, the primary focus of the Police Department is on schools and school safety. Each year, the Chief assigns an officer to each school in Holden to address pedestrian safety issues.  In addition, staff at the schools are in constant communication with the police on all school and public safety issues.  The Chief indicated the responses had taken place due to the concerns raised by the resident regarding the Davis Hill School: 1. All crosswalks have been or are in the process of being repainted, 2. Speed enforcement is taking place in the immediate area, and 3. Officer Gregg Sculthorpe has been assigned to Davis Hill.  In the recent years due to increased school shootings, the Holden Police Department has placed further emphasis on active “shooter” response and practicing lockdown procedures.  Last winter/spring 2013, Chief Sherrill met with all school PTA groups and heard repeatedly from parents who want more assurance that all is being done to promote physical school safety.  Ms. Kelly also addressed a petition submitted by residents of the “States” subdivision.  She said she is actively working with these residents to resolve their safety concerns in light of the recent traffic fatality.
  • Ms. Kelly announced that the annual softball face-off between Town employees and the Chamber of Commerce will take place on Monday, September 9th at 5PM at Davis Hill.  The Town is out to regain the trophy this year.  All are invited to play or cheer for the home team.
  • Selectmen Subcommittees
Sel. Lavigne: Winter Festival Committee: Committee continues to look at timing and corporate sponsorship.

Sel. Renzoni: Water/Sewer: Has not met.
Veteran’s Committee: The Manager has appointed four members to the Committee.  Sel. Renzoni added that Mr. Ken Starbard has also offered to donate his experience and expertise to the Committee.

Sel. Lipka:

Sel. Ferguson:

Sel. Kurtz: EDC: Preparing for the Business Expo in October.  Next meeting is 9/6.

  • Selectmen Minutes
Motion by Sel. Renzoni, seconded by Sel. Kurtz, it was UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO APPROVE THE MEETING MINUTES OF AUGUST 12, 2013 AS PRESENTED.  

  • Selectmen Miscellaneous
Sel. Ferguson: 1. Inquired about the town’s unfunded pension liability status.  The Manager said the Town is a member of the Worcester Retirement System and is stable.  She concurred that it is important that the Town should put money away each year to fund this unfunded liability.  The Town and the Light Department currently set money aside, although they have been “baby steps.”  However, next years’ contribution was removed by the Finance Committee for budget reasons.  Sel. Ferguson said that the Board should sit down and work with the Finance Committee and the Manager to resolve this issue.  Sel. Renzoni and Lipka both asked that this discussion be scheduled for the Board’s upcoming goals meeting.

The Board interrupted Selectmen Miscellaneous to proceed with Citizens’ Address at 7PM.

  • Citizens’ Address
Ms. Jessica Consenza, 32 Highland Avenue said she was the concerned citizen who raised concerns regarding the traffic safety issues along Highland Ave and Davis Hill crosswalks.  There are no posted speed limit signs posted in the immediate area.  As Rt. 31 is a state highway, she asked the Board to consider petitioning the State to help with these safety concerns.  Visual deterrents are needed on the crosswalks to help aid drivers to the pedestrians using the street.  

  • Selectmen Miscellaneous (continued)
2. Unaccounted for Water and Road paving.  Sel. Ferguson said that a policy should exist where if a road is paved/repaved in town, that the DPW certifies that the water/sewer infrastructure beneath the road is “up to par.”  He added that an aggressive plan to address unaccounted for water should be a top priority in 2014.  Ms. Kelly said the DPW would undertake its annual leak detection program in the Fall.  Sel. Ferguson reiterated that the roads that were paved this summer are ready for the next 30 years.  Ms. Kelly said that 400 feet of water main was replaced on Chapel Street this summer prior to being repaved.

3. Sel. Ferguson said the ECC property recently had an article written about it.  He reminded the Board that it was still a priority to him and other residents to get it cleaned up.   He said that there is an empty building on the property that is a prime target for vandalism.  Ms. Kelly and Sel. Lipka both stated that the vandals have already found the property and the police and DPW are frequent visitors to the site.  Ms. Kelly reminded the Board that she prepared a five page report with her recommendations for the property in the August 12th Board packet.  She said her opinion since writing that report has not changed: it is too costly for the Town to take ownership and it is not on the radar of any government agency to clean it up.  There are no grants available to help clean up the toxic waste.  It is not categorized as a Superfund Site and does not qualify for grant money.  The Town was turned down for a preliminary engineering study at Town Meeting.  Sel. Renzoni said that Sel. Ferguson raises the issues of unaccounted for water, paved roads, and the ECC at every Board meeting.  He said that if the Board wants to make these issues part of the Town Manager’s goals during the Board’s upcoming goals setting meeting then that is when to have the discussion.  He added that Ms. Kelly has provided her opinions on these issues and that the conversation during Board meetings should end.

  • Discussion – Representative to the WRSD Superintendent Screening Committee
Ms. Kelly reviewed the District’s intention to create a Superintendent Screening Committee to hire a new Superintendent.  Sel. Renzoni said that the School Committee intends to invite Selectmen from all five towns to discuss which nominee from each of the five district towns will serve on this committee.

Sel. Lipka volunteered to act as the nominee from the Town of Holden.


Sel. Renzoni said that two citizen-at-large positions also exist on this screening committee.  Candidates should contact the District offices directly to volunteer.

Ms. Kelly will forward at letter to the Chair of the School Committee to indicate the Selectmen’s nomination.
  • Follow Up to Citizens’ Address
Ms. Kelly said that the town had petitioned the state when Davis Hill was built to have flashing lights installed on the crosswalks near the school when it was built.  The state denied the request based on the fact that the school was set too far back from Rt. 31 to qualify for this type of safety lights.  Sel. Renzoni suggested that the Town contact its local representatives to request their help on this State issue.  Ms. Kelly added that increasing police presence in the area is within the purview of the town.  She will also ask the DPW Director to look into putting up speed limit signs in the area.

  • Adjournment
Motion by Sel. Renzoni, seconded by Sel. Kurtz, it was UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO ADJOURN THE SEPTEMBER 3, 2013 MEETING AT 7:30PM.

Approved: September 16, 2013