Vote Monday on Six Ballot Questions, School Committee and Parks & Rec

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All Hopkinton precincts vote at the Middle School. Polls are open 7:00am-8:00pm on Monday, May 18. There are contested races for School Committee and Parks & Recreation, as well as six debt-exclusion ballot questions.  Please read the following articles for information about each contested race and ballot question.

School Committee Candidate Q & A

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Educate Hopkinton posed the following ten questions to our School Committee Candidates and we are posting their responses here exactly as submitted. We thank them for their time and for their commitment to Hopkinton. Educate Hopkinton as an organization does not specifically endorse any of the candidates, click to read our policy for more info. In addition we recommend voters watch the Women’s Club Meet the Candidates Night, which is available on the HCAM YouTube Channel.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE, For 3 years, Vote for 2


QUESTION 1: Describe how your background and career skills will translate to the role of a School Committee member?

Jean B Bertschmann: I have six years of experience on the School Committee, and 18 years of direct experience volunteering in the schools and across the town. I have a deep understanding of how our schools function, top to bottom. I have developed strong, productive working relationships with staff, teachers, administrators, and other town boards and committees. My broad based institutional knowledge and history are important assets to the Committee, particularly with the pending Charter review. In my previous professional career as the manager of the paralegal staff at a major Boston law firm, and as the parent of four children, I have developed excellent communications and time management skills, which are critical to balancing the perspectives of different constituents, as well as the multiple and varied responsibilities of School Committee members.

Jonathan E Graziano: Currently I work for Liberty Mutual Insurance and am responsible for Continuous Improvement. I believe that the skills I use every day in my job translate very well to my role on the School Committee. I am charged in my profession to question the status quo and look for new and more effective ways to operate. I believe I have brought that mentality to the committee in my three years, asking critical questions about how we can do better and whether or not current programs and practices are still as effective. If reelected I will continue to use these skills to advance the district.

Brian J Karp: As a manager, I am able to identify process improvement opportunities, make changes as needed, and deliver results. I am an excellent listener and can speak to various groups of people. I am very analytical and an excellent problem solver. Continue reading School Committee Candidate Q & A

Question 1: DPW Facility

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Question 1: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to be exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to construct a new Department of Public Works headquarters facility?

Voters at Town Meeting voted to borrow $14.1 million to construct a new DPW headquarters facility to be located at 83 Wood Street, but for the project to go forward, the voters must also pass a debt exclusion at the ballot under proposition 2 1/2 to authorize a temporary increase in the Town’s levy limit to cover the cost of borrowing for this facility.

  • A “yes” vote would approve the funds and the project could proceed.
  • A “no” vote would mean that the Town could not borrow the funds to proceed with the project without a future affirmative ballot vote within 90 days.

If the question passes, it is estimated to cost the average household $157 per year for the life of the loan.  Unlike operating budget overrides, debt exclusions do not cause a permanent increase in the tax base and do not affect the base upon which succeeding years’ tax levy is collected.

The DPW is responsible for:

  • 125 miles of roads
  • 65 miles of water mains
  • 35 miles of sewer
  • 666 hydrants
  • 18 acres of cemeteries
  • 14 acres of parks and fields
  • Maintenance of DPW fleet, valued at $3.9 million
  • on-call for emergencies 24 hours a day

According to the Permanent Building Committee (PBC) and the DPW, the existing facility:

  • is inadequate and in need of repairs
  • has insufficient space to house modern DPW equipment
  • has an inadequate fuel facility to serve town vehicles
  • lacks storage areas that impact the Town’s ability to protect their multi-million dollar fleet,  allowing equipment to deteriorate more quickly than if protected from the elements.

Following the approval of $250,000 at the 2013 Annual Town Meeting to prepare preliminary design and cost estimates, the PBC and DPW evaluated 8 different site layouts and building arrangements before determining the Wood Street site and the proposed design best fit their needs.

If approved, the new 41,000 square foot facility would have trade shops, wash bays and places for vehicle maintenance and storage as well as work space for DPW employees.  It would also include a fuel facility that would service DPW trucks as well as police, fire and other town vehicles.

Question 2: Hopkins and High School Roof Repairs

Question 2: Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order fund engineering designs and construction services related to making roof repairs at the Hopkins and High Schools?

The school committee is asking to have the roof repaired in FY16 as indicated in the town Capital Asset Management Plan and the school district’s 10-year Capital Plan.  The high school roof has required repairs multiple times over the past 10 years due in part to the solar installation and deteriorating materials.  All repairs have been paid for by the roof manufacturer consistent with the warranty which expires in August of 2016.  The Hopkins roof is in need of repair due to normal wear and tear and issues.   If this articles passes at the polls, both roofs will be replaced with PVC roofing which has a longer life span and is more durable.

  • A YES vote would mean that the funds are approved and the expenditure will proceed.
  • A NO vote would mean that the funds are disapproved and the expenditure cannot proceed without a future ballot vote within 90 days.

Voters at the 2015 Annual Town Meeting voted to borrow $1.114 million for engineering designs and construction services related to making roof repairs at the Hopkins and High Schools. This borrowing was made contingent on the passage of a debt exclusion under Proposition 2 1/2, authorizing a temporary increase in the Town’s levy limit to cover the cost of borrowing for this work.  The average single-family homeowner is expected to pay $24 in the first year of borrowing which is expected over 10 years.

Additional information:

Article 27 – Roof Repairs – Hopkins School & High School - $1.1 million
Question 2 – Roof Repairs – Hopkins School & High School – $1.1 million

Article 27 – Roof Repairs – Hopkins School & High School - $1.1 million

Question 3: 135 Hayden Rowe Street – Irvine Property for New School

Article 43 – Acquisition of Property at 135 Hayden Rowe Street – Irvine Site – 28.7 Acres – $1.8 million
Ballot #3 – Acquisition of Property at 135 Hayden Rowe Street – Irvine Site – 28.7 Acres – $1.8 million

Question 3:  Shall the Town of Hopkinton be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to acquire a fee interest in a parcel of land located at 135 Hayden Rowe Street and shown as parcel U23-28-0 on the Assessors Map?

Ballot question 3 seeks authorization for the town to purchase the property at 135 Hayden Rowe also known as the Irvine Property.  This property is the preferred site for the new elementary school and was supported unanimously by the Elementary School Building Committee, School Committee, and Board of Selectmen.  The 28.7 acre property would be purchased for $1.8 million.  The land was chosen by the ESBC as the preferred option due to its central location in town, ability to meet the needs of the educational model for PK-1st grade, and additional space to accommodate any future expansion.  The warrant article to authorize the financing of the purchase passed overwhelmingly at Town Meeting but requires a vote at the ballot because it is being paid for via a debt exclusion.

  • A YES vote would mean that the funds are approved and the expenditure will proceed.
  • A NO vote would mean that the funds are disapproved and the expenditure cannot proceed without a future ballot vote within 90 days.

Voters at town meeting voted to borrow $1.8 million  to purchase the property at 135 Hayden Rowe, consisting of approximately 28.699 acres of land.  This borrowing was made contingent on the passage of a debt exclusion under Proposition 2 1/2, authorizing a temporary increase in the Town’s levy limit to cover the cost of borrowing for this purchase.  The expected cost of the override for the average single-family homeowner is $40 in the first year of borrowing.  The borrowing is expected over 10 years.

 

Question 4: 147 Hayden Rowe Street – Todaro Property

Article 44 - Acquisition of Property at 147 Hayden Rowe Street - Todaro Site - 23.8 acres - $1.5 million
Ballot Question 4 – Acquisition of Property at 147 Hayden Rowe Street – Todaro Site – 23.8 acres – $1.5 million

Question 4: Shall the Town be allowed to be exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to acquire a fee interest in a parcel of land located at 147 Hayden Rowe. 

Annual Town Meeting voted to borrow $1.5 million for the purchase of this property, consisting of approximately 23.8 acres of land on property commonly known as the Todaro Parcel.  To borrow the money the town must also pass a debt exclusion under proposition 2 1/2, authorizing a temporary increase in the town’s levy to cover the cost of borrowing.

Debt exclusions like the one sought here differ from proposition 2 1/2 overrides for operating budget increases in that they only cause an increase in the levy for the life of the loan and they do not affect the base upon which future years’ tax levy will be determined.

  • A “yes” vote would approve the expenditure and allow the town to purchase the land.
  • A “no” vote would mean that the Town could not borrow the funds to proceed with the project without a future affirmative ballot vote within 90 days.

The Todaro parcel abuts Water Fresh Farm and the Irvine property, the site selected for the proposed new elementary school building.  Proponents of this question cite the unique opportunity to acquire the land which is conveniently located in proximity to the schools and could house many different town functions.  The purchase of the property is expected to cost the average single family home owner $34 in the first year, with an expected loan of 10 years.

Because Information Matters, a Civic League of Hopkinton, Massachusetts