The week in government: BOS on prelim budgets and potential Town Meeting Articles; Combined and Regional School Committee meetings

by beth on December 16, 2019

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Here is a selection of the committee and board meetings for the week along with my selected highlights from the agendas. Unless otherwise noted, all of these meetings are open to the public, so you’re welcome to stop on by.

Be aware that changes to the meeting schedule are known to happen throughout the week. For an updated list of meetings, visit the town website.

Monday, December 16, 2019

  • Southborough Planning Board Meeting, 7:00 pm @ Hearing Room, Town House, 17 Common St (agenda with packet and St. Mark’s dorm hearing documents) Agenda Highlights: Hearing on St. Mark’s dorm; discussions on Master Plan Update; Cain’s Crossing 55+ Condos, Lighting Bylaw Working Group Update, Site Plan Review Bylaw, and ZBA Zoning Bylaw Update – Broadcast live and replayed by SAM*

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

  • Board of Selectmen Meeting, 6:30 pm @ Hearing Room, Town House, 17 Common St (agenda with packet) Agenda Highlights: Town Counsel Update; Interview for ZBA Alternate; FY21 Budget Update; Discuss Local Meals Tax recommendation; EDC Update; Update on Planning Board review of draft 5G policy; Review draft of Town Meeting Warrant; Discuss articles/placeholders including vote on requests for placeholders for Noise Bylaw, Local Meals Tax, Adopting MGL to establish safety zones, Zoning Bylaw for downtown district; Close ATM Warrant – Broadcast live and replayed by SAM*
  • Advisory Committee Meeting, 6:30 pm @ Hearing Room, Town House, 17 Common St (agenda) Agenda Highlights: Joint meeting with the BOS on FY21 budget – Broadcast live and replayed by SAM as part of BOS meeting*
  • Conservation Commission Meeting, 6:30 pm @ Hearing Room, Town House, 17 Common St (agenda) Agenda Highlights: Joint meeting with the BOS/Advisory to discuss FY21 budget and part-time administrative assistant – Broadcast live and replayed by SAM as part of BOS meeting*
  • Board of Trustees Southborough Library Meeting, 6:30 pm @ Southborough Library, Eaton Room, 25 Main St (agenda) Agenda Highlights: Financial Report, FY21 Budget Update; Director Evaluation, Facade Restoration Report; Job Descriptions; and Election of Vice Chair
  • Trails Committee Meeting, 7:00 pm @ Historical Society Museum, 25 Common St (agenda) Agenda Highlights: Next steps to prepare for 2020 Mass Trails grant: quotes for fencing, signage; Status update on trail head parking & Kiosk at intersection of Rt.30

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

  • Board of Health Meeting, 1:00 pm @ Board of Health Meeting Room, 9 Cordaville Rd (agenda) Agenda Highlights: Update on Personnel Bylaw – all requests for course reimbursement must be part of employees’ goals/evaluation; Update on on Nicotine, Vaping, & Smoke Shop regulations; Coordination with EDC and Downtown Waste Water Engineering Study; Budget FY21; Discussion of tiny house and composting toilet on Bigelow Rd
  • Combined Northborough-Southborough Regional School Committee & Superintendency Union #3 Meeting, 6:00 pm @ Algonquin Regional High School, Library, 79 Bartlett St, Northborough (agenda) Agenda Highlights: Instructional Rounds; Student Information System update; Recommended 20-21 student calendar – Broadcast live by NCAT**
  • Northborough-Southborough Regional School Committee Open Meeting, 7:00 pm @ Algonquin Regional High School, Library, 79 Bartlett St, Northborough (agenda) Agenda Highlights: English Department Presentation; Blended 1:1 Initiative; Views of Climate and Learning (VOCAL) Student Survey Project; FY21 Budget Priorities and Capital Plan; Policies – 1st reading of Sexual Harassment in school, Rescind Rehab Act Compliance, and distribute reviewed policy on Sexual Harassment in Workplace – Broadcast live by NCAT**

*Southborough Access Media will broadcast the Planning and BOS meetings live on Verizon-37 and Charter-192. Click here to see this week’s schedule with rebroadcast times. (Videos are also usually made available through their YouTube channel by the following morning.)

**Northborough Cable Access Television will live broadcast the meeting on Verizon-29 and Charter-194. (Note: The meeting will eventually be rebroadcast. But expect to wait several days before a time and link are posted to NCAT’s schedule.)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Budgets December 17, 2019 at 2:39 PM

With another significant increase being requested by Youth and Family Services, and a budget of over a quarter million dollars, the town should examine the scope of services it wants to provide and the liability it incurs. Should the town be in the business of providing long term marriage counseling, communication skills, or support for anxiety? It is nice that we have this resource for residents in case of emergencies, but maybe the counseling role of this agency should be referrals, and short term interventions.
The EDC is simply out of control.

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2 Dallas_Corbin December 17, 2019 at 4:55 PM

First off – let’s not confuse ourselves over Southborough Youth & Family Services, a branch, of sorts, of the Youth Commission, and EDC – the Economic Development Committee. Let’s also be careful not to lead people to believe the Youth Commission has a budget of more than $250K. The quoted $250K is for the entire town!

Regarding the Youth Commission’s request for increase, my understanding is it’s intended to provide coverage for: increase to already low salaries as well as funding for two (2) part-time people to provide more immediate referrals for town youth already in crisis. The agency IS already performing referrals, thank you for your concern. The issue today is, mental health professionals accepting these SY&FS referrals are not able to accept the new (already in crisis) clients immediately. The client is required to wait for one, two or more months.

In the interim, a SY&FS professional provides those clients with counseling.

The goal for the two (2) PT staff is to be able to identify counseling services which can accept new clients in a more immediate manner.

In short, the town is NOT in the business of providing the long-term counseling services claimed by Budgets above. SY&FS IS already in the business of referrals and providing, as short term as possible interventions,

The tone taken by Budgets sounds as though it is mocking anyone who would have a mental health issue. Hey Budgets, ask yourself, “What is the second leading cause of death is for teenagers in the US?”.

Those teenagers are the future of this country.

Think about it.

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3 beth December 18, 2019 at 11:04 AM

I don’t think the tone came off as mocking. The “marriage counseling, communication skills, or support for anxiety” seems to come from the listed services on the SYFS counseling page.

That said, I thank you for answering the question about why SYFS needs to do more than just referrals.

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4 Lisa Dunderdale December 21, 2019 at 7:20 AM

I’m writing this on Saturday, and at 6:30 am we had construction trucks with the reverse beeping wake us up. They proceeded to rev the engine to get up a slick driveway covered in ice. Earlier this week at 5:45 am a delivery was made waking up our neighborhood, truck noises and headlights as our alarm. We’ve been dealing with construction for over two years and expect it will continue into next summer. We have made contact with town committees and police as we were instructed about the noise at such early hours and even late hours. Noise bylaws are needed. Beth, can you share with me the resident who brought the proposed by law to selectmen? I’d like to be in contact with them. Thank you.

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5 Open Meeting Law Violation? January 2, 2020 at 11:30 AM

The Town Calendar has a number of new agendas posted for BOS, Planning Board, EDC, etc. The EDC has on their agenda: “Order, Decorum, and Hard Stop”

Can someone please explain what the heck that means? Agendas are supposed to list their discussion items as actual business items with sufficient specificity to the public, so the public can understand what the heck they are talking about. So what does that mean? And where is the business task? It is not comprehensible to the third party reader and the public they are serving: Is this an Open Meeting Law Violation?

More importantly, it is impossible to follow along with what exactly the EDC is proposing on a supposed bylaw change (“Business Village District Zoning Amendment,” which is listed on the 1/6/20 Planning Board Agenda). That is next Monday, only a few business days away. If the EDC is going before Planning Board regarding a Zoning Amendment on Monday, but the Zoning Amendment and all that entails is not on their own agenda for discussion this week and the public cannot make heads or tails of this, is that an Open Meeting Law violation?

Bylaw change? What is it? Bylaw for what? This EDC and BOS needs to stop bypassing the public and respect process themselves. At a recent BOS meeting, Mr. Healy was asking about who can bring zoning bylaws to Town Meeting floor. There should be no monkey business and looking for ways to bamboozle the public. There are actual boards (elected!) charged with the business of zoning and it’s not the BOS, for legitimate checks and balances, non-political reasons.

Most importantly, this should be an open, public process with plenty of information available in sufficient detail to the public that this EDC is supposed to be serving. Remember us, the public? The people you are asking for more tax dollars from? These agendas (and the minutes) are so cryptic it is impossible to be informed. Also, members of this committee have been granted Special Municipal Employee status, thereby lessening Conflict of Interest laws for them. At least one argued for it (no one else from the committee before BOS), Mr. McCay, and then did not take it and resigned. That person was not operating under a vote from the committee to go get the SME designation. But this BOS plowed ahead anyway and gave it to the committee, regardless of breaking their own new policy. Simply unbelievable. (Sam Stivers and Lisa Braccio did not vote in favor, BTW, for that very reason.) That didn’t stop Mr. Healy, Mr. Shea, or Mr. Kolenda.

Taxpayers, remember that in the voting booth in the New Year and at town meeting budget time for the EDC. The EDC is viewed by many as the development community’s voice, not yours. Is it? Reader, you be the judge. Their actual track record is abysmal. And they are asking for more of your money. They are the most vocal negative critics of an elected board, Planning Board, while seeking SME status (getting it!) and operating with barely to no accountability to the public or the actual homeowners. Hang on to your wallets.

These EDC meetings should absolutely be videoed by Southborough Access Media. The working public and taxpayers who are paying for this committee should be able to view these meetings by video to keep up. Thank you.

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6 beth January 2, 2020 at 11:56 AM

Not sure why you commented here instead of the post that lists the meeting and agendas you referred to.

Reply

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