Petition to Keep Milford Casino-Free

An online petition has been started to “Keep Milford Casino-Free,” please click here if you would like to read more or sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/neighbors-for-a-casino-free-milford.

As you probably know, the casino bill has passed the legislature and been signed by the governor authorizing three resort-style casinos in three different regions of Massachusetts. Milford, Foxboro and East Boston are the top three contenders for the “Northeastern Region” casino. Organized opposition has already formed in Foxboro (No Foxboro Casino http://nofoxborocasino.com/) and East Boston (No Eastie Casino https://sites.google.com/site/noeastiecasino/). There are already over 1800 signatures on a petition against a Foxboro casino. The proposed Milford casino, would be nestled between Route 85 and Route 16 on the Hopkinton/Holliston side of Milford. Click here for a link to the exact location, if you would like to see how close it is to your house.
Please spread the word to residents of Milford and surrounding towns and continue to stay informed on this important issue. Again, here is the link if you would like to sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/neighbors-for-a-casino-free-milford.

Terry Property – Hopkinton has Right of First Refusal to Purchase

A developer has offered to buy 204 acres of property owned by the Terry family for $3 million. Because, through the Massachusetts Chapter 61A program, the land has been zoned as agricultural and has been receiving a discounted tax rate, the Town of Hopkinton has the right of first refusal to purchase the property now that a purchase and sale agreement has been signed. The land borders Lumber, West Main and Chamberlain streets, as well as the Hopkins/Middle School/High School property. The property has marbled wetlands throughout, so it is difficult to determine how much of the land is buildable yet. The various town boards having been reviewing the property this month in order to give feedback on whether the town should purchase the land. The School Committee asked Director of Land Use, Planning and Permitting, Elaine Lazarus, several questions about the land at their February 2 meeting, including is there enough land without wetlands and without a conservation restriction to build an elementary school. Approximately 15 acres would be needed to build an elementary school and there is a section of about that size off Chamberlain Street close to Hopkins School. The Planning Board discussed the property at their February 6 meeting. Hopkinton’s Sustainable Green Committee has suggested the town buy the land to be a solar farm, and sell the portion of the land not needed to the developer. If the town decides to buy the land there would a vote on it at the next Annual Town Meeting (May 7, 2012).

Articles for further reading:

Hopkinton faces $3 million decision on land deal by Michael Morton, Metrowest Daily News
http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1368166927/Hopkinton-faces-3-million-decision-on-land-deal

Green group suggests Hopkinton buy land, use part for solar farm by Michael Morton, Metrowest Daily News
http://www.wickedlocal.com/hopkinton/news/x306962273/Green-group-suggests-Hopkinton-buy-land-use-part-for-solar-farm

Town Election – Candidates Needed

The Annual Town Election will be held on Monday, May 21, 2012. The deadline to submit nomination papers is Monday, April 2. Candidates may also be nominated at their party’s caucus. Both the Republican and Democratic Town Caucuses will be held on Friday, April 13 this year. The following is the list of offices up for election and candidates that have pulled their nomination papers so far. Many candidates are still needed, for more information contact the Town Clerk http://www.hopkinton.org/clerk/elections.htm.

SELECTMEN, For 3 years, Vote for 2
Todd Cestari
Deb Thomas

BOARD OF ASSESSORS, For 3 years, Vote for 1
John Duffy

BOARD OF HEALTH, For 3 years, Vote for 1
Candidate Needed

BOARD OF LIBRARY COMMISSIONERS, For 3 years, Vote for 1
John Belger

BOARD OF LIBRARY COMMISSIONERS, Unexpired Term 2014, Vote for 1
Candidate Needed

BOARD OF LIBRARY COMMISSIONERS, Unexpired Term 2013, Vote for 1
Stanley Pulnik

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
Renee Gilson

HOPKINTON HOUSING AUTHORITY, Unexpired Term 2014, Vote for 1
Warren Johnson

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSIONERS, For 2 years, Vote for 2
Candidates Needed

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSIONERS, Unexpired Term 2012, Vote for 1
Candidate Needed

PLANNING BOARD, For 5 years, Vote for 2
Kenneth Weismantel
2nd Candidate Needed

SCHOOL COMMITTEE, For 3 years, Vote for 2
Jean Bertschmann
2nd Candidate Needed

Town Budget and Capital Project Updates

According to the Town Charter, the Town Manager must submit the proposed budget to the Selectmen by March 1 of every year. The next Selectmen’s meeting is Tuesday, February 28 and, although the agenda is not yet posted, we expect that the budget presentation will take place at this meeting. The Selectmen must either adopt or amend the Town Manager’s budget by March 15, so we expect they will do so at their meeting on Tuesday, March 13. The budget message for fiscal year 2012-13 was level funding on operational costs, except fixed cost increases and strategic initiatives. The police and dispatchers are under a 2-year wage freeze and the DPW has already negotiated a 0.5% increase for FY13. The fire department agreed to a wage freeze last year, but are still in negotiations for FY13.

The School Committee has requested $2.6 million in capital projects for Town Meeting 2012, including a new Center School Feasibility Study, repairs to the High School track and Loop Road, a new roof for Elmwood School, emergency strobe lights for all schools, a new mowing tractor and new windows for the oldest 1928 section of Center School. We do not yet know the full capital request from the town for next year, but you can view the town’s Ten Year Capital Expenditure Plan at http://hcam.tv/sites/default/files/i_cic_schedules_fy12.pdf.

Articles for further reading:

$8.2 Million in Preliminary Capital Expenditure Plan for FY2013
http://hcam.tv/news/82-million-preliminary-capital-expenditure-plan-fy2013

Hopkinton selectmen weigh tax, spending options by Michael Morton, Hopkinton Crier
http://www.wickedlocal.com/hopkinton/news/x183257168/Hopkinton-selectmen-weigh-tax-spending-options

Hopkinton schools seek $2.6 million for projects, equipment by Michael Morton, Hopkinton Crier http://www.wickedlocal.com/hopkinton/news/x219669599/Hopkinton-schools-seek-2-6-million-for-projects-equipment

Presidential Primary – March 6

The Massachusetts Presidential Primary will be held on Tuesday, March 6. All Hopkinton precincts vote at the Hopkinton Middle School Brown Gym. Polls are open 7:00am-8:00pm. There will be no school in Hopkinton on election day due to a Teacher Professional Day. See below for a list of candidates on the ballot.

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY BALLOT
Ron Paul http://www.ronpaul2012.com/
Mitt Romney http://www.mittromney.com/
Rick Perry http://www.rickperry.org/ (Candidate dropped out of the race 01/19/12)
Rick Santorum https://www.ricksantorum.com/
Jon Huntsman http://jon2012.com/ (Candidate dropped out of the race 01/16/12)
Michele Bachmann http://www.michelebachmann.com/ (Candidate dropped out of the race 01/04/12)
Newt Gingrich http://www.newt.org/

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY BALLOT
Barack Obama http://www.barackobama.com/

GREEN-RAINBOW PRIMARY BALLOT
Kent Mesplay http://www.mesplay.org/
Jill Stein http://www.jillstein.org/
Harley Mikkelson http://harleymikkelson.com/

Upper Charles Trail, Fruit Street, Special Education and more

LAND USE
Upper Charles Trail Committee Members Needed, HCAM
http://www.hcam.tv/news/upper-charles-trail-committee-members-needed

Board of Selectmen revisits Fruit Street master plan in Hopkinton by Michael Morton
http://www.wickedlocal.com/hopkinton/news/x50589583/Board-revisits-master-plan-in-Hopkinton

Hopkinton considers solar policy, facility sites by Michael Morton
http://www.wickedlocal.com/hopkinton/news/x1085186117/Hopkinton-considers-solar-policy-facility-sites

Legacy Farms submits plan for private sewage plant by Michael Morton, Hopkinton Crier http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x123147920/Legacy-Farms-submits-plan-for-private-sewage-plant

EDUCATION
Senator Spilka Votes for Improvements to Transitional Planning for Students with Special Needs
http://karenspilka.com/2012/02/09/senator-spilka-votes-for-improvements-to-transitional-planning-for-students-with-special-needs/

No Child Left Behind Waivers Change Progress Measurement by Sean O’Donnell, Hopkinton Patch
http://hopkinton.patch.com/articles/no-child-left-behind-waivers-change-progress-measurement

LIBRARY
Hopkinton Public Library Usage Rises in 2011 by Sean O’Donnell
http://hopkinton.patch.com/articles/hopkinton-public-library-usage-rises-in-2011

DOWNTOWN
Hopkinton Downtown Initiative meeting moved to Feb. 29, Hopkinton Crier
http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1353875741/Hopkinton-Downtown-Initiative-meeting-moved-to-Feb-29

DISC Meeting Re-Scheduled, HCAM
http://hcam.tv/news/disc-meeting-re-scheduled

School Budget Update

A huge “Thank You” to everyone who came to the School Committee Public Hearing and/or wrote to the School Committee with your thoughts on the 2012-13 budget. Your voices truly do make a difference! A few days after the public hearing the School Committee sent the following press release. The budget has now been submitted to the Town Manager and may still go through many changes before Town Meeting (May 7) as it is reviewed by the Town Manger, Selectmen and Appropriations Committee. Please continue to stay informed.

PRESS RELEASE – HOPKINTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE FY13 BUDGET

On January 28, 2012, the Hopkinton School Committee voted a budget of $34,085,238, which is an increase of $1,127,516, or 3.42%, over the FY12 budget.

The budget includes support for the following concerns highlighted by the community:

  • 6 classrooms of Full Day Kindergarten and 4 sections of Half Day Kindergarten, each with a full time teaching assistant;
  • Average class sizes of 20 students or less in all Kindergarten and 1st Grade class rooms;
  • An additional classroom teacher in 4th grade and in 5th grade, resulting in average class sizes of 22 at each grade level;
  • Reinstatement of the Middle School Drama Related Arts course;
  • Funding for curriculum alignment to the new state mandated Common Core frameworks in Mathematics, including increased student and staff support as well as some textbooks;
  • Support for Strategic Plan initiatives in foreign language (funded by the F-1 Visa program that allows foreign students to tuition into the district); and
  • Needed maintenance at Center, Elmwood, Middle School, and High School, as well as the Special Education offices.

To support all of the items listed above, the School Committee:

  • Reduced technology requests;
  • Reduced funding for supplies;
  • Increased athletic fees at the Middle School and High School from $125/sport to $150/sport;
  • Implemented a $25 activity fee for Middle School and High School non-athletic extracurricular activities (one annual fee/student covers as many clubs as the student participates in);
  • Increased Full Day Kindergarten tuition from $3,700 to $4,000; and
  • Implemented a $100/student transportation fee to local daycare/afterschool program providers.

With this budget, the School Committee is able to protect the classroom experience provided to students, continue to work toward Strategic Plan initiatives, and be fiscally responsible to the community. There was a tremendous amount of feedback offered by the community throughout the budget process, and the School Committee would like to thank all who shared their comments and perspectives. Understanding what the community values and prioritizes helped guide the School Committee through difficult choices between many valued programs and initiatives, and the current economic challenges faced by residents. The School Committee would also like to thank the administrative staff for support in revising the budget to meet community desires.