Don’t forget to return the annual “Street Listing” form (a.k.a. Town census)

by beth on January 17, 2017

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The annual Street Listing form was mailed out this month. (It’s also known as the Town census) This is your reminder to fill it out and send it in.

The town is required by law to update its street listing of residents each year. All that’s required by you is to review the information, make any necessary corrections, sign, and return it to the Southborough Town Clerk’s office. (Sign and return the form even if no corrections are required.)

Town Clerk Jim Hegarty points out that ignoring their first mailing leads to additional costs to taxpayers. To make it easier, this year, residents can file it electronically. He explains how and answers frequent questions below:

In the past week, every Southborough household has received a 2017 Street Listing which should list all the current residents at that address. We ask that residents return that form immediately so we can update the Street Listing, as required by state law. We’ve reduced the amount of information listed on the Street Listing and we’ve also set a way for residents to scan the form and email the signed form to us at If you don’t have a scanner, you can take a picture of the signed form with your phone and email that to us. If they didn’t receive a form, [you can open one here].

Here are a few questions that people ask each year:

Why do we send out a Street Listing every year?

  • State law requires us to conduct a Street Listing of every resident in the town. This street listing helps the town when grants and state aid to cities and towns are considered.

What happens if you do not return the Street Listing?

  • We are required to send a separate postcard with a second return postcard with prepaid postage to every registered voter at that address. You can see that this extra step adds quite a bit of extra expense to your taxes!
  • If we don’t receive a response from the second mailing, every voter who hasn’t replied becomes an inactive voter and has to fill out lots of extra paperwork at a future election to be able to vote.
  • If you are not listed on the Street Listing you cannot buy a Transfer Station sticker.

Common Questions

  • Why are the prior owners still listed on the street listing even though I marked them as moved last year?
  • If the prior residents were registered voters, we can only remove them when they sign a form acknowledging that they do not live in Southborough. If they won’t sign the form we mail them asking them to confirm they don’t live in Southborough, we are required to keep them on the voting list until they have not voted in two federal election cycles.
  • We will be starting a new process this year to reach out to these people at their new addresses in a different manner.

street listing formIf you didn’t receive the Street Listing (or tossed it aside) click on the form right to open the pdf file.

Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact the Town Clerk’s office at (508) 485-0710 x 3005.

As usual, the census reminds you to update information on new or deceased dogs. So, if you got yourself a new Fido this year, they want to know. (Whereas, if Fluffy had a big litter of kittens, no need to mention. Apparently, as long as you don’t have enough cats to call in the Board of Health, that’s your business.)

1 Rachel January 18, 2017 at 10:36 AM

How about we make these online? That would save us some money! I’m not sure if there is something against that or not, but if we had some sort of code that allowed us to verify who we are it would save on postage and paper. They could attach a code to our property taxes and that could verify that we live there. They could also send out hard copies to those who request it.

2 Southborough Town Clerk January 18, 2017 at 6:58 PM

Hello Rachel,

The process used to conduct the annual Street Listing is governed by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 51 and the Secretary of State’s regulations. Towns have very little latitude in how we conduct these Street Listings and unfortunately we cannot employ your suggestions at this time. Hopefully, we’ll be able to progress to that level of efficiency in the future. Trust me, I do not enjoy all of the manual entry that this archaic system requires.

We have taken steps to improve the process. This year we reduced the types of information requested on the Street Listing, and we started a process to allow people to return the census by mail which is very rare in Massachusetts.

I’d love to be able to conduct all of our business electronically. This year, we’ve made progress in automation by allowing people to use credit cards for all transactions, started the sale of Transfer Station Stickers online, added the ability to order copies of birth, death and marriage certificates online, and we’ll roll out a similar online option to purchase dog licenses later in 2017.

We’re made good progress this year and we’ll keep improving our services.

Feel free to call me or stop by the office if you’d like more information.

Thank you.

Jim Hegarty
Southborough Town Clerk
(508) 485-0710 x 3007

3 Rachel January 19, 2017 at 11:07 AM

Thank you for your thoughtful and quick response! I look forward to paying my dog license online this year!

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