Town news updates: Fire Chief contract, Town election, building projects, and committee vacancies (Updated)

I often have trouble keeping up with all of the news I want to share with readers. I have a list of Town news items that I never found time to cover. Since that list keeps growing, I thought I’d just roundup and ramble off a bunch of them from the past month or so. . .

Fire Chief Contract extended:

Chief Joe Mauro’s multi-year contract was set to expire in March. At his request, the Board of Selectmen agreed to extend the terms of the current agreement until March 4, 2019. Southborough Wicked Local writes:

Town Administrator Mark Purple said Mauro requested the extension, to which selectmen agreed. Mauro will receive a 5 percent increase effective March 5, for a total salary of $124,925, according to the agreement.

“While he is currently eligible to retire with a full pension based on his years of service with the Fire Department, I have not had any indication from him that he intends to do so,” Purple wrote in an email to the Daily News. (read more)

Town election update:

  • In the running – In previous posts on who’s filed to run this year, I kept qualifying that candidates still had time to drop out. The April 5th deadline has come and gone. Since no one pulled out, the May 8th ballots will have three races: Board of Selectmen, School Committee, and Library Board of Trustees. For a reminder on who’s running, click here.
  • Candidate’s Night – If you marked it on your calendar, you may have the wrong date. (The schedule changed since first announced.) It is now on Wednesday, May 2nd at the Southborough Library. Meet and greet begins at 6:00 pm. Candidate statements and moderated Q&A begin at 6:30 pm. (And stay tuned for candidate letters later this month.)

Building project updates (I’ve already shared most of this in answers to readers’ questions – but not within posted stories for those of you who don’t follow the comments):

  • 2 East Main St – Some of you were wondering about what’s happening at the corner of East Main and Newton streets. I got updates from Town officials recently. In late March, the Conservation Commission granted another extension on the Order of Conditions that was approved in 2005 for a small office building with parking lot. The extension gives the owner until mid April 2019. He will need to proceed to the Planning Board with a Site Plan Approval and apply for a new septic permit. Work done earlier this year was limited to clearing, which is allowed without pulling new permits.
  • Fitzgerald’s Parking Lot – A reader raised a good question – whatever happened to the pay-for-parking lot for Commuter Rail riders that Fitzgerald’s got approval to build? The 2015 approval had been contingent on meeting some criteria. According to Planning Board minutes, the Town Planner and Conservation Administrator met with the owner last fall to follow up on the project. The special permit expired October 13th and the extension was expiring in November. She advised the owner that he would need to reapply to the Planning Board for permits. (Nothing appears to be scheduled yet.)
  • Park Central – Earlier this year, I may have shared* that the Conservation Commission was soon headed to a meeting with Mass Dept of Environmental Protection on the developer’s appeal of the Order of Conditions denial. That meeting was postponed. I definitely shared an update that the developer had floated the idea with Town officials of building a new office building on Park Central land. (There was controversy over a “floated” idea about how roads could be accessed.) The developer was encouraged to preview his plans to the Planning Board. That has been put on hold by the developer. As for the multiple legal cases related to decisions around the housing projects, those are still working their way through the courts.

Committee Vacancies:

  • Cable Committee: [Editor’s Note: Good news since I wrote this earlier today.  The Board of Selectmen has posted an agenda for Tuesday that shows that former Selectman John Rooney is volunteering to serve on the committee.] The Town is still seeking one more member to make quorum. This winter, Town Administrator Mark Purple reminded that the committee is needed for everything to run smoothly when Verizon’s license is up in 2019 (plus Charter in ’20 and Comcast in ’21). As he shared in the fall, the bulk of work is done by the attorney, but the Town needs a committee of residents to be involved. (Thanks to Barry Rubenstein and Kathleen Wilfert for filling two of the slots.)

  • SHOPC: This winter, I shared that SHOPC was lacking the quorum needed to work on important initiatives for the Town. Thanks to Michelle Ann Horan for stepping up and changing that! (There are still openings for more volunteers, if you’re also interested in pitching in.) We should also thank the members who had already been faithfully committed to serving on it: member Donald Croatti and representatives from other boards – Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf and Planning’s Jesse Stein.
  • Other vacancies: I’m not aware that any are interfering with quorum – but there are still many vacancies on other Town committees. That may be putting an unfair burden on the members who are serving on them. An example is Recreation, which post-Town Meeting has a lot on its plate for a commission down by one member. Plus, this offers an opportunity for anyone who has been thinking of serving the community. Openings include ones on the following commissions: Historical, Conservation, and Open Space Preservation. To view vacancies, click here.
  • If you are interested in applying for a seat, click here to submit an online application. To learn more about the roles/responsibilities of committees, click here.

*I thought I posted mention of the upcoming Conservation Commission update on Park Central at MassDEP – but can’t find where!

Update (4/12/18 4:40 pm):  I just added a note that the Board of Selectmen‘s agenda for this coming Tuesday shows that former Selectman John Rooney  is volunteering to join the Cable Committee.

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