Government

Help Wanted: IT Director, Payroll Manager and Van Driver

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Town of Hopkinton seeks an Information Technology Director - Under the direction of the Town Manager, this position will provide strategic leadership and vision to the Town, and in collaboration with the School operations.

Christopher McClure Resigns as Technology Director

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Last week Christopher (“Chris The Cloud Man”) McClure submitted his resignation from his position as Technology Director for the Town of Hopkinton effective March 25, 2015, which I have accepted. Chris has accepted a new position in the Town of North Andover, which is much closer to his home and family.

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Video Segment: Board of Selectmen talk possible Fire Department Merger and receive Legacy Farms Update

The Board of Selectmen agreed that expoloring a potential merger between the Hopkinton and Ashland Fire Department was a good study but based on the reaction at public forums and the general feeling towards the plan in both towns, the plan for collaboration should go no further. Selectmen Chair Todd Cestari said he was glad the Board did the study to weigh the options; "The reason we were looking into this was to save money, the more information we got, it didn't seem like that was going to pan out or there was some pretty great risk at it kind of being a break even or costing more. It seemed like we were going to be adding management layers and putting a lot more boots on the ground... it did not seem like anything we couldn't accomplish on our own for lesser money...I think this is a great example of something we're going out there, we're studying it and found it's not something we want to pursue."

Roy MacDowell of Legacy Farms gave an update on devolepment adding to the 730 acre site. The proposed plan would add 180 units of age restricted housing in place of 200,000 square feet of commercial space on the north side of Legacy farms, beyond Rafferty Road. "Over the last couple of months we have gone to the zoning advisory committee.. and got approval to move forward to the planning board." Roy is hoping to secure the support of the Selectmen and Planning Board in there meeting on March 23rd.

If the project gets approval at town meeting as part of the host community agreement approximately 1.8 million dollars would go to the town. Roy stated, $360,000 of that would be going to the Fire Department and various life safety issues in town, 1.5 million dollars would go toward downtown improvements and expanding the trail system throughout Hopkinton. MacDowell stated the use of the money will be decided by the Selectmen; "These are choices that I believe were made by the Selectmen but we would be giving you the money to use at your discretion."

In part of further developments set to take place at legacy farms Roy mentioned building on the North Road could start by April 1st and the planned completion date is thanksgiving.

Board Of Health Sees Crossroads, 8 McNeil Circle

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The Board of Health met on Monday, March 16th, 2015.

Special Town Election Results 3-10-2015

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The Board of Selectmen proposal to purchase about 12 acres of land at 203 Pond Street for $2,000,000 failed the required 2/3rd's vote at the Special Town Meeting held on Tuesday March 3rd but the Special Town Election had to be held either way. The Town Election meant very little, if the yes vote passed for the town to purchase the land at 203 Pond Street it would have only meant something in the unlikely event the town was granted an extension of its right to first refusal.

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Video Segment: Ashland and Hopkinton Talk Fire Department Merger

Hopkinton and Ashland held public meetings in each town to talk about a possible merger of the towns Fire Departments. Hopkinton Fire Chief Ken Clark mentioned the potential merger has been talked about since 2003.Throughout the last 12 years or so, studies on budget, needs, equipment, personnel and facility needs have been done in both towns. Both departments have a similar staffing structure, Hopkinton features 5 administrative staff members and 4 duty groups which feature 5 Fire Fighters. Overall Hopkinton features 16 responders and a 21 member staff compared to Ashland's 3 administrative staff, 16 responders and overall 19 member staff.

Hopkinton Town Manager Norman Khumalo talked about reasons the merger is a possibility; "The combined capital plan would allow the communities to use greater efficiency when purchasing new apparatus. This practice is already in place, for example, there is equipment that Ashland purchased and because of that reason there is no reason for Hopkinton to purchase." An example of equipment Hopkinton uses is Ashland's ladder truck.

Hopkinton's Pat O' Brien expressed disagreement with the proposed plan at the Hopkinton meeting stating concern that in certain areas such as Woodville it could take more time to get an Ashland ambulance than a Westborough ambulance. Former Ashland Firefighter Izzy Assencoa also was in disagreement with the proposed plan; "I think both towns should start taking care of their own town, we're fine in Ashland.. We need more guys.. My ladder truck in Ashland comes here all the time, I know it's mutual aid, that's the way it is.. I'm paying for that ladder, I think Hopkinton should get their own ladder."

Hopkinton Selectmen John Mosher closed out the public meeting with the reminder that the merger is only a possibility for both towns and public input is encouraged. "We are looking for creative ways to meet the explosive demands that both towns are experiencing, and I think anyone driving through both towns will see some of the unique demands particularly coming up on the border of the two towns...this merger is an attempt that has the roots and operational demands and has been promoted thus far by both chiefs and we'll continue to take public input and both Boards of Selectmen will consider that and we'll move forward ."

If the plan proceeds Selectmen in both towns are expected to decide if they should seek approval for a town meeting and develop a capital plan sometime during the summer. If the plan ends up passing in both towns, the cross-town fire department is expected to be in full operation by July 1st, 2016.

For More Information watch the video below and stay tuned to HCAM News.

Planning Board Discusses Town Meeting Articles

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Town Meeting Articles were a main topic of discussion for the Planning Board during their Monday, March 9 meeting. Among these were a proposed article for parking in the Downtown Business district and the Crossroads Redevelopment district.

ESBC Approves New Enrollment Numbers

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The Elementary School Building Committee met Monday, March 10th, to update the committee and the public about recent meetings between the committee heads and the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

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Video Segment: Selectmen Honor Louie Mongiat who Retired After 46 Years of Service

Article Contributed by Water-Sewer Manager Eric Carty:
Jean Scarlata, who retired this past fall, was on hand as the Selectman honored, Louie Mongiat, who retired after 46 years of service to the town. Louie started with the Highway Department in 1968. He moved over to the water department and also was on call for emergencies for the sewer department. Louie also worked many years as an on call Fire Fighter. He truly embodied the spirit of helping out any and all departments and any citizen he encountered. He was a member of the Marathon Committee and was a prominent figure involved in the painting of the starting line each year. Louie took over the duties of his late friend, Cookie Kumlin, and made sure the Dough Boy Statue and the war veterans memorials were taken care of each year. Louie is best known as the guy who ”Knows where everything is”. If you need to know where a pipe is buried, where a drain discharges to, or where a rarely used spare part was, you asked. Louie and he always knew.

His Co-Workers wished him the best of luck and his union members presented him with custom DPW jacket. Louie plans to remain active in his bowling league and he still stops by to visit at the Wood Street garage.

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Video Segment: Special Town Meeting about Land at 203 Pond Street

On Wednesday Night (March 3rd) a special town meeting was held to vote on if the town can purchase a parcel of land, approximately 43 acres for open space preservation at 203 Pond Street. The total cost of the parcel would be $2,000,000. The special town meeting was held to meet the March 14th deadline to purchase the parcel. During the meeting it was calculated that the maximum tax impact for the typical household would be $29.98 per year on a 10 year bond should the town purchase the approximately 43 acres of land.

To start the town meeting, it was immediately voted and passed unanimously that the order of the Warrant be changed to start with Article 3: "203 Pond Street - Purchase of Land". In short the article would allow the town to purchase "Lots 1-12" at 203 Pond Street for $2,000,000. Article 3 covered 12 acres of the land, but the rest of the land would have been gifted to the town under Article 1, should Article 3 pass. Also at the beginning of discussion some time was taken to change some minor terminology in the Board of Selectmen proposal. The open discussion started with the Open Space Preservation Committee recommending approval followed by the Appropriations Committee and Capital Improvements not recommending the purchase. John Mosher presented the Board of Selectmen's approval for the purchase stating that the land provides unique and compelling attributes, provides connection and access and is consistent with a part of Hopkinton's vision statement; "Protect open spaces and natural resources, build upon the town’s history and cultural heritage, and treasure our beautiful and special places as they define our community identity and character".

Director of Land Protection for the Sudbury Valley Trustees Christa Collins, backed Mosher stating that the land; balances growth, links existing conservation lands, would be ideal for walkers, hikers and bikers and is in close proximity to sensitive natural habitats. The Sudbury Valley Trustee representative also mentioned that the 203 Pond Street land sits between 1,357 acres of the Upton State Forest and 815 acres of the Whitehall State Park. David Goldman of the Hopkinton Area Land Trust backed the purchase stating the land would provide 800 feet or more of connectivity and if not purchased the connectivity would be limited to 50 feet between Upton State Forest and Whitehall State Park.

Ken Weismantel of the planning board stated that the land was the best open space subdivision development he has seen during his time with the planning board. Weismantel stated $2 million was very high for open space and $15,000-$25,000 per acre is the typical cost spent for open space land. Weismantel has also proposed plans that cut down on the amount of land the town should purchase at 203 Pond Street. The Community Preservation Committee also voted against using CPC funds to purchase the land. Ron Clark of the Community Preservation Committee recommended no vote because of other community needs such as new school, library and DPW needs. Clark also stated that there are other connections to Upton State Forest without the land and the town should spend more on people rather than historic preservation. "We really have more pressing opportunities for money in Hopkinton." Clark also agreed that if the town was going to purchase any land at 203 Pond Street, they should scale down the purchase to 1 or 2 lots. Frank D'Urso of the Planning Board stated the town should consider other options than town funds for the purchase. Former planning board member Sandy Altamura talked about her frustrations of the topic due to the fact the town did not consider purchasing an earlier proposal of 240 acres on Lumber Street for $2 million and was opposed stating the town can't afford 2 million for 12 house lots.

Article 3: Land Purchase - 203 Pond Street was called to a standing vote and failed the 2/3rd majority requirement with 113 voting against the purchase and 152 in favor. Following a motion for no action on Article 1: Gift of Land - 203 Pond Street and Article 2: Gift of Land - 22 School Street passed unanimously.

If the town did not purchase the land, owners of the land John Coolidge and Ann Richards plan to sell to Canton based developer "Diamond Building Inc," which plans to build a 12 home subdivision, Michael Manning, Chair of the Appropriations Committee estimated the town revenue would be approximately $180,000 per year if 12 housing units were built on the land. Manning also stated 12 units of housing would likely be revenue neutral to the town. The other 32 acres of land will likely remain as open space regardless.

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