Town Manager Presents FY16 Budget to Selectmen

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At the February 24 Board of Selectmen meeting, the Town Manager presented the FY16 Comprehensive Budget and Financing Plan. At their March 10 meeting, the Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 to send the budget to the Appropriation Committee who will now hold several public meetings and a public hearing on the budget sometime before Town Meeting. A controversial item seems to be that two new firefighters requested by Chief Ken Clark were not included in the budget sent to Appropriations. Please see two articles in the Metrowest Daily News below for more information.

Hopkinton Fire Department Winter

The next Appropriation Committee meetings are 3/23, 3/25, 3/30 and 4/1, all at 6:30pm in Town Hall.

The next Board of Selectmen meetings are 4/7 and 4/14, all at 6:30pm in Town Hall.

FY16 School Budget Submitted to Town Manager

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On January 22nd, the School Committee approved a budget of $39,143,441 which is a 4.85% increase over last year’s budget.  Dr. MacLeod noted that 3.85% of the increase alone represents fixed costs over which the schools have no control.  Included in the budget is a reduction of bus fees and increased support to help remediate the level 2 designation from the past year’s MCAS scores.  The proposed budget originally presented to the School Committee included funding to expand foreign language at the Middle School to 6th grade.  The decision to remove the foreign language expansion brought the budget below 5%.

Town Election Candidates to Date

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Many candidates have pulled nomination papers already for the upcoming Town Election, but some offices still have no candidates. To become a candidate a person must either obtain and submit nomination papers by securing the signatures of 50 Hopkinton registered voters by Monday, March 30; or a person may qualify by being the top vote getter in one of the town political party caucuses. The Democratic Caucus is Thursday, April 9 at 7:30pm (Town Hall) and the Republican Caucus is Friday, April 10 at 5:00pm (Town Hall).

Offices on the May 18 Ballot

SELECTMEN, For 3 years, Vote for 2

  • Todd Cestari, 19 Elizabeth Rd, Unenrolled
  • Brian Herr, 31 Elizabeth Rd, Republican

BOARD OF ASSESSORS, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • John Duffy, 175 Hayden Rowe St, Unenrolled

BOARD OF HEALTH, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Paul Winshman, 27 Elizabeth Rd, Unenrolled

BOARD OF HEALTH, Unexpired term to 2016, Vote for 1

  • Philip Cohen, 3 John Matthew Rd, Republican

BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

CEMETERY COMMISSIONERS, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Thomas Pratt, 102 Fruit St, Democrat

COMMISSIONERS OF TRUST FUND, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

HOPKINTON HOUSING AUTHORITY, For 5 years, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION, For 3 years, Vote for 2

  • Daniel Terry, 9 John Matthew Rd, Republican
  • Robert Dobinski, 10 Highland St, Republican

PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION, Unexpired term to 2017, Vote for 1

  • Robert McGuire, 4 Huckleberry Rd, Unenrolled

PLANNING BOARD, For 5 years, Vote for 2

  • Frank Sivo, 14 Stone Crossing Way, Republican
  • Second Candidate Needed

PLANNING BOARD, Unexpired term to 2018, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

SCHOOL COMMITTEE, For 3 years, Vote for 2

  • Jean Bertschmann, 4 Cider Mill Rd, Unenrolled
  • Jonathan Graziano, 8 Kimball Rd, Unenrolled
  • Brian Karp, 23 Nicholas Rd, Republican

For more information, contact the Town Clerk’s office at 508-497-9710 or geri@hopkintonma.gov. Click to read more on the Town Clerk’s website.

Candidate Endorsement Policy

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As we head into election season, Educate Hopkinton would like to remind our readers of our candidate endorsement policy.

The primary mission of Educate Hopkinton (eHop) is community education on funding and policy issues pertaining to the Town of Hopkinton, Massachusetts including the Hopkinton Public Schools. Hence, eHop will strive to provide voters with accurate and detailed information on candidates running for state and local office, with a focus on each candidate’s position on both town and school-related issues.

It is eHop policy not to endorse candidates for public office. eHop board members are at liberty, however, to endorse candidates independently.

When eHop collects information from candidates for voter education purposes, eHop may add editorial comments to clarify candidate claims or statements that eHop deems to be deceptive or misleading, or that require further explanation.

In addition, due to eHop policy not to endorse candidates for public office, any endorsements for specific candidates will be deleted from our Facebook page.

Read our full policies and guidelines…

Town Election Candidates To Date

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Many candidates have pulled nomination papers already for the upcoming Town Election, but some offices still have no candidates. To become a candidate a person must either obtain and submit nomination papers by securing the signatures of 50 Hopkinton registered voters by Monday, March 30; or a person may qualify by being the top vote getter in one of the town political party caucuses. The Democratic Caucus is Thursday, April 9 at 7:30pm (Town Hall) and the Republican Caucus is Friday, April 10 at 5:00pm (Town Hall).

Offices on the May 18 Ballot

SELECTMEN, For 3 years, Vote for 2

  • Todd Cestari, 19 Elizabeth Rd
  • Brian Herr, 31 Elizabeth Rd

BOARD OF ASSESSORS, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • John Duffy, 175 Hayden Rowe St

BOARD OF HEALTH, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

BOARD OF HEALTH, Unexpired term to 2016, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

CEMETERY COMMISSIONERS, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

COMMISSIONERS OF TRUST FUND, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

HOPKINTON HOUSING AUTHORITY, For 5 years, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION, For 3 years, Vote for 2

  • Daniel Terry, 9 John Matthew Rd
  • Robert Dobinski, 10 Highland St

PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION, Unexpired term to 2017, Vote for 1

  • Robert McGuire, 4 Huckleberry Rd

PLANNING BOARD, For 5 years, Vote for 2

  • Frank Sivo, 14 Stone Crossing Way
  • Second Candidate Needed

PLANNING BOARD, Unexpired term to 2018, Vote for 1

  • Candidate Needed

SCHOOL COMMITTEE, For 3 years, Vote for 2

  • Jean Bertschmann, 4 Cider Mill Rd
  • Jonathan Graziano, 8 Kimball Rd

For more information, contact the Town Clerk’s office at 508-497-9710 or  geri@hopkintonma.gov. Click to read more on the Town Clerk’s website.

203 Pond Street Results

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At Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd,  Hopkinton voters rejected a proposal to purchase 12 acres of a 43 acre parcel of land at 203 Pond Street for 2 million dollars. The article needed a 2/3 majority vote and failed with 152 residents in favor and 113 against. Several town committees spoke against the purchase of this land including  the Appropriation Committee, Community Preservation Committee, Planning Board and Capital Improvements Committee. The town had the right of first refusal to buy the land but needed to make a decision by a March 14 deadline to match the $2 million offer made by developer Diamond Builders. Diamond Builders plans to develop 12 lots on approximately 12 acres.

The remaining 32.4 parcel of land will be conveyed to the Sudbury Valley Trustees. The land will be permanently protected  and will result in a new public amenity and improved access to the Upton State Forest.

Special Town Election – Tuesday, March 10 – The Special Town Election was still held on March 10, because once an election has been scheduled, it cannot be canceled. However, the results were moot because the land purchase already failed at Town Meeting on March 3.  In order for the land purchase to go forward it needed to pass at BOTH a town meeting and a town election before the March 14 deadline.

May 10 Election Results:

  • 176 Voted in total
  • 50 Yes
  • 125 No
  • 1 Blank

Special Town Meeting Tomorrow 7pm – Pond Street Land Purchase

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Special Town Meeting
Tuesday, March 3 at 7:00pm 
Hopkinton Middle School Auditorium
Read the Warrant (Agenda)

Educate Hopkinton will be live tweeting from the event as usual, follow us @educate01748.

A 2/3rds majority vote is required for the town to purchase 203 Pond Street. All registered voters are invited to participate, but you must attend the meeting IN PERSON to vote.

Summary:

The town has the right of first refusal to purchase land at 203 Pond Street for $2,000,000 and must make a decision by March 14. In order to go through, it must pass both at Town Meeting 3/3 and Town Election 3/10.

A Yes Vote on Question 1 means:

  • The town will acquire 32 acres of land at 203 Pond St designated as “Lot 13 – Open Space Parcel” in the subdivision plan.

A Yes Vote on Question 2 means:

  • The town will acquire 8 acres of land at 22 School St. This gift is contingent on the town purchasing all of the 203 Pond St land.

A Yes Vote on Question 3 means:

  • The town will purchase for $2,000,000 the remaining 12 acres of land at 203 Pond St designated as “Lots 1-12″ in the subdivision plan. A 2/3rd’s majority vote is required. This purchase would be a debt exclusion override and would also require a vote at the polls on 3/10.

A No Vote means:

  • The sale to developer Diamond Builders will go forward. The developer’s plan, already approved by the Planning Board, is to build a 12-lot subdivision with a maximum of 12 buildings to be built on the site, with the remaining 32 acres designated as open space.

Next Week:

  • Special Town Election – Tuesday, March 10 – A simple majority vote is required for the town to purchase 203 Pond Street via a Debt Exclusion override. This is a regular ballot vote at the polls.

Continue reading Special Town Meeting Tomorrow 7pm – Pond Street Land Purchase

Town Meeting 101

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You do not need to bring anything to Town Meeting. However, many people find that bringing a notebook and pen or pencil is helpful to make notes during the discussions. No food or drink is allowed in the Middle School Auditorium. There is a drinking fountain outside the auditorium. Many people also find that something to occupy one’s hands is helpful. If you are a knitter, for example, bring a small project. There are plenty of padded stationary folding auditorium style chairs, which are reasonably comfortable. But remember you’ll be there for a long time, so wear comfortable clothes.

Town Meeting begins at 7:00pm in the Middle School Auditorium. Enter by Grove Street and please allow time to park and walk to the building. As you enter the Middle School, head to the left to the cafeteria to sign in. To actually vote in the auditorium, you must be a Hopkinton resident registered to vote and you must sign in at the voter table. Your name will be checked off and you’ll be given a piece of paper. Hold on to this piece of paper; you will need it when it is time for the votes to be counted! You’ll see a table of handouts and fact sheets regarding all the proposed article to be voted on. There is some terrific information here that may answer many of your questions. Listening devices for the hearing impaired will be available, please ask when you check in.

You do not have to be present for the entire town meeting to vote, though the more that participate in whole, the more balanced the democratic process. A quorum of 100 people is required to open the meeting. There is no set time to check in. The meeting will be broadcast live via HCAM TV (Comcast 8/Verizon 30/Streaming live at www.hcam.tv), but you MUST be present to vote. You just need to check in prior to the vote, whenever you arrive. You only have to check in once, and you can come and go from the auditorium as you please. You can text (with phone switched to silent mode) from within the auditorium, although there is minimal cell coverage. Step outside to make a phone call.

The Board of Selectmen (Todd Cestari, Chair) presides over the meeting, which is facilitated by the Town Moderator (Dr. Bruce Karlin) and recorded by the Town Clerk (Geri Holland). The format of the meeting itself follows Robert’s Rules of Order. Articles are presented, motions made, discussions ensue. Sometimes it can be a little confusing if an amendment comes up, so keep your ears open. Listen carefully — and you’ll learn a lot. There are only 3 articles on the warrant (agenda) for Special Town Meeting, all related to the land purchase at 203 Pond Street.

The committee or board presenting the articles may make a brief presentation at the beginning. The Town Moderator, Dr. Karlin, will facilitate a question and answer period for registered residents. If you choose to ask a question or comment on an article, step up to one of the microphones located in the auditorium aisles. Wait for the moderator, to recognize you, then state your name and address, and keep your comments brief, civil, and to the point. The comment, question and answer period will end when either #1 the moderator sees that no one else is waiting at the microphone to speak or #2 a voter comes to the microphone, is recognized by the moderator, and says “I move the question” or “I call the question.” The motion to end debate must then be seconded and then adopted by a ⅔ vote.

As for the actual voting, most votes start as a voice vote. The moderator asks all in favor and all opposed. If the voice vote sounds close, it will go to a standing count. The moderator will ask all in favor to stand up. Now is the time to get out that piece of paper! Hold out your paper and remain standing until the counters for your section have indicated that your vote has been recorded.

Although you can leave at any time, we recommend you do NOT leave until the meeting is officially adjourned. Someone may ask for a recount, and if a large group has already left, the outcome could be different, especially if the original vote was close. If you have any other questions about Town Meeting, please ask!

Because Information Matters, a Civic League of Hopkinton, Massachusetts