Weekly News Update – 10/16/2022
Capital plan, summer programs top School Committee agenda • Board of Health tightens tobacco regulation policy • Voting Information for the November 8 State Election • Election harassment hits home for Degan • Joint meeting outlines school budget process, challenges • Parks & Rec roundup: Commission reports on progress of CPC projects • Zoning Advisory Committee Public Forum Notice – 2022 • 2023 Boston Marathon Invitational Entry Program Policy • Select Board roundup: Town addresses concerns about narrowing of Main Street; Marathon charity number policy set • Town to receive 50 Boston Marathon entries to distribute to local groups • Main Street Corridor Project Update
Capital plan, summer programs top School Committee agenda
The bulk of Thursday night’s three-hour School Committee meeting was devoted to looking at a potential fiscal year 2024 capital plan and needs for the long-term over 10 years as well.
Director of Finance Susan Rothermich outlined the following items and their proposed costs as follows: replacement of maintenance vehicle, $70,000; technology upgrades to replace wireless access points and keep up with systems and security, $75,000; HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) point-to-point testing, $98,520; HVAC additional funding, $300,000; HVAC VAV (variable air volume) replacement and controls, $157,739; and Marathon School playground, $1 million.
Lengthy discussions took place regarding potential options for work on 10 different fields with goal of increasing access and equity. A grant application with the Community Preservation Committee could result in $4.8 million of the $5.8 million Field 3 work covered, if approved, Rothermich said.
Board of Health tightens tobacco regulation policy
The Hopkinton Board of Health at its meeting Monday evening unanimously approved a change to Hopkinton’s tobacco regulation policy, calling for a three-day permit suspension for an establishment’s first violation for selling tobacco or vaping products to minors.
Board members get state survey
McAuliffe discussed the state’s Department of Public Health survey, which he said is more than 100 pages long. Board members need to complete it by Oct. 12. The goal of the survey is to evaluate health departments statewide and look at their credentials.
Strategic plan development discussed McAuliffe said he met with representatives from the Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management Publications based at the University of Massachusetts Boston at a recent conference. One of the group’s specialties, he explained, is helping health and finance departments develop strategic plans, which is a goal of the board. COVID-19 rates hold steady, vaccines offered Public Health Nurse Simone Carter noted that the town’s COVID-19 rates have remained at around 100 cases per month for the past few months.
STATE ELECTION TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8
There is no school on Tuesday, November 8 due to a Teacher Professional Day timed as usual to coincide with election day. Because the polls are located at the Middle School, this reduces parking & traffic congestion and increases student safety on this busy day. There are four statewide ballot questions this year, in addition to the state midterm election. All Hopkinton precincts vote at the Hopkinton Middle School Brown Gym, 88 Hayden Rowe St, Hopkinton, enter by Grove Street. Polls are open 7:00am-8:00pm. Early Voting options are also available, either by mail or in person.
Election harassment hits home for Degan
Town Clerk Connor Degan said he has been “swarmed” with requests for information — sometimes including data that doesn’t exist or can’t legally be shared — and threats of legal action. The requests are coming from individuals outside Hopkinton, and often outside Massachusetts.
“The intention obviously is to harass election officials to prevent them from doing their duties,” Degan said. “It’s a concentrated effort to try to see if they can inundate election offices and harass election officials, unfortunately.”
Degan explained that federal law indicates ballots be destroyed 22 months after an election — in the case of the 2020 presidential election, that meant Sept. 3 of this year — which is why the requests poured in recently.
Joint meeting outlines school budget process, challenges
During a joint meeting with the School Committee and Appropriation Committee on Thursday, the Select Board adopted a budget message with an option for a 5.1 percent capping increase.
In FY24, the town could have a backlog of up to $14 million pending from Eversource. He said it averages $100,000 to $200,000 annually in legal, administrative and engineering costs to fight the utility on the valuation of its assets in town.
School budget impacts described
Superintendent Carol Cavanaugh said positions added in FY23 will impact the FY24 budget and include 1.4 special education (SPED) teachers, 1.9 SPED paraprofessionals, a request for a K-5 SPED coordinator, a part-time (0.4) administrative assistant, a 0.6 social worker and a middle school ELA (English language arts) director.
Elmwood update provided
The superintendent noted that the building committee for the Elmwood School project looked at 44 possible sites for a proposed new school, each of at least 10 acres. The parcels were ultimately narrowed to five. Because some of the sites are privately owned, Cavanaugh said she would not be disclosing their locations at this time.
Mental health days to be considered?
In other business, School Committee member Holly Morand again asked that her suggestion that students be given an excused absence for mental health reasons be considered in the policy.
Parks & Rec roundup: Commission reports on progress of CPC projects
At its meeting on Wednesday, the Parks & Recreation Commission discussed current and potential Community Preservation Committee (CPC) projects and winter programming.
Current CPC projects discussed include the skate park, pickleball courts, the lacrosse wall surface, the Sandy Beach boat dock and a study for bathrooms at EMC Park. A bid has been received and accepted for the skate park; the next steps will include finalizing a contract with the vendor and organizing logistics with Hopkinton Little League.
Future CPC-funded projects discussed
Prior to voting on which items to propose to the CPC, the commission continues to seek cost estimates and additional details on the following projects: a master plan for Parks & Recreation spaces at Fruit Street; the reconfiguration of Pyne Field to accommodate a Little League field and cricket pitch; the construction of EMC bathrooms and a pavilion; the addition of security cameras at multiple facilities; the construction of an additional shelter or gazebo at the dog park; and the installation of an entry/exit system at Sandy Beach.
Zoning Advisory Committee Public Forum Notice – 2022
The Zoning Advisory Committee is holding the 2022 Public Forum on Monday, October 24, 2022 at 7:00 PM, remotely via Zoom. The Zoning Advisory Committee encourages residents to attend this forum and provide ideas and proposals for amendments to the Zoning Bylaws, whether they are changes to regulations currently in place or entirely new regulations.
2023 Boston Marathon Invitational Entry Program Policy
Pursuant Section 2 of the Hopkinton Marathon Policy, the Select Board will distribute invitational applications for the upcoming 2023 Boston Marathon in the following manner.
Invitational entry applications will be distributed to qualified organizations through a random selection that will take place at a duly constituted public meeting. In order to qualify for the random selection, an organization must fit one of two category descriptions outlined in the Town’s Marathon Policy, namely:
- Town Departments, Boards, and Committees (Departments) that perform Marathon functions who may distribute entries to organizations undertaking activities for the benefit of the Town of Hopkinton.
- Registered 501c (3) non-profit organizations (Organization) that undertake public service activities within the Town of Hopkinton.
Select Board roundup: Town addresses concerns about narrowing of Main Street; Marathon charity number policy set
Anyone who has driven on the newly redesigned section of Main Street just east of the Wood Street intersection can see that the area for vehicular traffic is more narrow than it was before this summer’s redesign, with sidewalks on both sides limiting driver’s options. If an emergency vehicle should need to pass, it appears unlikely that space could be cleared.
Marathon charity number policy set
After a lengthy discussion, the board voted to make minor updates to the town’s Boston Marathon charity bib distribution policy.
The Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the Boston Marathon, is providing the town with 50 numbers that are to be distributed to town departments, boards and committees along with nonprofit organizations “undertaking public service activities within the Town of Hopkinton” to be used as a fundraiser.
New town positions proposed
Khumalo announced a plan to create two full-time town positions. One is for a direct services social worker in Youth and Family Services.
It is expected that the application period will open on Oct. 12 and close on Oct. 26. Following the application period, random distribution of the entries will take place on Nov. 1. This schedule is to afford local organizations ample time to find runners for the 2023 Boston Marathon, according to a town press release.
Main Street Corridor Project Update
What to Expect for the Week of October 17, 2022, to October 21, 2022
- Eastbound detour from Pleasant Street to Maple Street to Hayden Rowe will be used Monday-Tuesday
- Eastbound detour from Grove Street to Maple Street to Hayden Rowe will be used Wednesday-Friday
East Side of Project
- Continue underground service connections up to property lines from the Muffin House to Ash Street
- Continue installation of new traffic signals at 85/135 intersection and removal of old traffic signals
- Finalize installation of light pole bases at the 85/135 intersection; remove old poles
- Guard rail work at CVS
West Side of Project
- Guard rail work at Next Generation Children’s Center
- Raise castings on manholes project wide