Weekly News Update – 01/08/2023
Residents Express Fiery Opposition to RECC • Additional information about RECC • Public pushback to proposed regional dispatch center grows louder • Regional dispatch discussion highlights positives, negatives • What the MBTA Communities law means for your town • 2023 ANNUAL TOWN MEETING & FY24 BUDGET TIMELINE • 2023 Annual Town Meeting Notice • Let’s support Anna Cybulski: eHop’s Boston Marathon 2023 runner!
Residents Express Fiery Opposition to RECC
In August, the Town was presented with a report and an addendum with project costs from the Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management that concluded a consolidation of Police and Fire dispatch functions into a regional communications center is feasible for Hopkinton, and would likely result is cost savings.
The proposed RECC (Regional Emergency Communications Center) would combine emergency dispatch functions in Hopkinton, Westborough, Southborough, and Grafton, who today operate independently.
Hopkinton is researching the feasibility of regionalizing emergency dispatch operations. The final report of the feasibility study, conducted by the third party Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston, was shared at the September 20, 2022 Select Board meeting with the Addendum shared at the December 6, 2022 Select Board meeting.
“I believe that providing 911 services is an important aspect of our menu of services in Hopkinton,” Khumalo told attendees. “And it’s by design — by definition — incumbent upon us to make sure that whatever direction we take going forward incorporates your ideas and suggestions and incorporates your concerns.”
Town Manager Norman Khumalo explained that the decision to include Hopkinton in a regional dispatch center with Grafton, Southborough and Westborough was going to be decided on improving efficiency rather than because of the potential savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Khumalo said that the people who are let go will find “new roles” in their respective departments. One benefit to the RECC system, he added, is that “more people will be working during major events. While Miller gave an emphatic “yes” for the RECC, Police Chief Joseph Bennett was not quite as vocal in his endorsement.
What the MBTA Communities law means for your town
THERE IS A NEW concept in zoning, invented this year by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In promulgated guidelines, the concept has been dubbed “minimum multi-family unit capacity.” I refer to the concept as “zoning capacity.”
How can cities and towns achieve compliance with their zoning capacity targets?
Under the framework of this law, municipalities are responsible for their own zoning. Either their zoning is already in compliance with the MBTA Communities zoning law (by meeting the minimum land area, minimum multi-family unit capacity, and other requirements) or the municipality is now required to revise their local zoning requirements to come into compliance with state law. Since the state in November released the tools for measuring zoning capacity, we do not know yet which, if any, cities and towns served by the MBTA already have zoning in place that meets the assigned minimum zoning capacities.
Some therapy reductions restored in revised school budget proposal
During a budget discussion on Thursday, Superintendent Carol Cavanaugh notified the Hopkinton School Committee that proposed cuts to physical, occupational and speech therapy services had been revised.
As a result of more discussions with stakeholders over the holiday break period, Cavanaugh said occupational therapy would be reduced by 0.4, but the other services would not be cut at all. She added that if it is found that speech/language therapists have extra time, they may be “redeployed” to offer literacy instruction and interventions.
2023 ANNUAL TOWN MEETING & FY24 BUDGET TIMELINE
Budget season for 2023-24 is already underway – we’ll keep our timeline updated as the year progresses so you can follow along.
2023 Annual Town Meeting Notice
The 2023 Annual Town Meeting will commence on Monday, May 1, 2023. Please be advised that warrant articles may be submitted to the Select Board/Town Manager’s office at this time. In accordance with the Town Charter, the warrant will close on January 31, 2023.
Let’s support Anna Cybulski: eHop’s Boston Marathon 2023 runner!
Local civic engagement is important, now more than ever. Civic leagues like eHop provide valuable non-biased non-partisan voter information and engagement. eHop’s annual budget is small, approximately $5,000. A Marathon Invitational Entry Bib from the town of Hopkinton is our one major fundraiser of the year. For the 2022-23 year eHop projected expenses of $5,590.00.