Category Archives: Special Town Meetings

Vote Monday – New School and Parks & Rec Facility

All Hopkinton precincts vote at the Middle School. Polls are open 7:00am-8:00pm on Monday, November 9. There are two debt-exclusion ballot questions. Although voters at the October 26 Special Town Meeting voted to borrow money for both the new school and the parks and recreation facility in order for the projects 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 these two projects.


 

Article 1 - New School - Exterior View from Southeast

Question 1:

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 bonds issued in order to construct a new Early Elementary School and related site development on Town-owned property located at 135 Hayden Rowe Street in Hopkinton to replace the existing Center Elementary School? Read more details about this project in our previous blog post.

  • 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.

 

Article 8 - Fruit Street Indoor Athletic Facility

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 to fund engineering designs and construction services related to the construction of an indoor recreational facility/athletic center at the Fruit Street Athletic Fields? Read more details about this project in our previous blog post.

  • 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.

New School & Indoor Recreational Facility Pass First Hurdles

Special Town Meeting October 26, 2015

Unofficial Results – Special Town Meeting – Monday, October 26
Read the Special Town Meeting Warrant
Live Warrant Article Tracker Spreadsheet

  1. School Building Project  – $43,229,373 PASSED
  2. Oliver Lane Retaining Wall – $320,000 from Free Cash PASSED
  3. Unpaid Bills from Previous Fiscal Year – $10,701.69 Free Cash  PASSED
    1. Ride Rite Medi-Van, Inc. $1,406.25
    2.  Mark Abrahams $6,000.00
    3. Verizon $48.20
    4. Hopkinton Lumber $3.05
    5. Hopkinton Lumber $14.38
    6. Utilitronics $461.17
    7. Wheelabrator $2,768.64
  4. FY 2016 Supplemental Appropriations – $1,044,346.38 from Free Cash PASSED
  5. Transfer to General Stabilization Fund – $300,000 from Free Cash PASSED
  6. Other Post Employment Benefits Liability Trust Fund – $411,118  from Free Cas PASSED
  7. Pay-As-You-Go Capital Expenses – All items except item i. PASSED together in one vote.
    1. Purchase Portable Radios – Police Chief – $49,500
    2. Replace Police Cruisers – Police Chief –  $78,000
    3. Replace Cardiac Monitor – Fire Chief – $28,099
    4. Purchase Public Safety Dispatch Equipment – Town Manager –  $16,250
    5. Upgrade to Roadway Light System to Energy Efficient LED Lighting – DPW – $175,000
    6. Cleanup Snow Dump located off Cedar Street  – DPW – $140,000
    7. Purchase Loader Mounted Snow Blower – DPW – $115,000
    8. Construct Elmwood Farm Parking Area  – Town Manager – $40,000
    9. Construct Expansion to Police Department Parking Lot  – Town Manager – $75,000 PASSED Yes 154 No 75
    10. Fruit Street Aquifer Analysis – DPW – $75,000
    11. Install Test Wells at Whitehall Property – DPW – $35,000
    12. Procure Sewer System Capacity and Business Analysis  – DPW – $140,000
  8. Fruit Street Indoor Recreational Facility/Athletic Center -Construction – Appropriation Committee first made a motion for NO ACTION which FAILED Yes 74 No 164. Then the Parks & Recreation Commission made a motion to borrow $500,000.
    • An amendment was made by Ron Clark to use Free Cash rather than borrow the money via a debt exclusion. Amendment FAILED Yes 39 to No 172
    • Vote on the main motion for $500,000 Debt Exclusion PASSED Yes 154 No 67
  9. Vehicle Purchase – Assessors Department – Motion for NO ACTION PASSED
  10. Vendor Contract for Personal Property Services – Assessors Department – Motion for NO ACTION PASSED
  11. Zoning Map Change – 79, 81, 83 Hayden Rowe Street – Property Owner’s Petition – Motion for NO ACTION PASSED

Both the New School Project and the Indoor Recreational Facility are debt exclusions and require a vote at Special Town Election on Monday, May 9. Stay tuned…

Special Town Meeting Begins at 7:00pm @ HS Athletic Center

Special Town Meeting October 26, 2015

Hopkinton Special Town Meeting
Monday, October 26 at 7:00-11:00pm
High School Athletic Center – New Location!
Read the Special Town Meeting Warrant
Live Warrant Article Tracker Spreadsheet – Updated throughout the evening by Town Hall

There are 11 articles to vote on in the warrant. We expect Special Town Meeting will only last one evening and may finish before 11:00pm.

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As usual Educate Hopkinton will be live tweeting from Special Town Meeting to let you know the results of each vote as it happens. Follow us @educate01748.

  1. School Building Project  – $43 million
  2. Oliver Lane Retaining Wall – $320,000
  3. Unpaid Bills from Previous Fiscal Year – Free Cash*
  4. FY 2016 Supplemental Appropriations – Free Cash*
  5. Transfer to General Stabilization Fund ≈ $300,000 – Free Cash*
  6. Other Post Employment Benefits Liability Trust Fund ≈ $411,118  – Free Cash*
  7. Pay-As-You-Go Capital Expenses – Free Cash*
    1. Purchase Portable Radios – Police Chief – $49,500
    2. Replace Police Cruisers – Police Chief –  $78,000
    3. Replace Cardiac Monitor – Fire Chief – $28,099
    4. Purchase Public Safety Dispatch Equipment – Town Manager –  $16,250
    5. Upgrade to Roadway Light System to Energy Efficient LED Lighting – DPW – $175,000
    6. Cleanup Snow Dump located off Cedar Street  – DPW – $140,000
    7. Purchase Loader Mounted Snow Blower – DPW – $115,000
    8. Procure Sewer System Capacity and Business Analysis  – DPW – $140,000
    9. Fruit Street Aquifer Analysis – DPW – $75,000
    10. Install Test Wells at Whitehall Property – DPW – $35,000
    11. Construct Elmwood Farm Parking Area  – Town Manager – $40,000
    12. Construct Expansion to Police Department Parking Lot  – Town Manager – $75,000
  8. Fruit Street Indoor Recreational Facility/Athletic Center -Construction $500,000
  9. Vehicle Purchase – Assessors Department
  10. Vendor Contract for Personal Property Services – Assessors Department – No Action is expected to be taken on this article
  11. Zoning Map Change – 79, 81, 83 Hayden Rowe Street – Property Owner’s Petition – No Action is expected to be taken on this article

*FREE CASH – The State had not yet certified Hopkinton’s “Free Cash” amount by the May 2015 Annual Town Meeting, so these articles were held until now. Free Cash may be certified in time for the fall Town Meeting.

Photo Gallery of Special Town Meeting Articles

For your visual reference, here’s a photo gallery of other articles coming up at Special Town Meeting on October 26:

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 HHS Athletic Center. There is a drinking fountain outside the gym or bring some change to get something from the vending machine (minimal selection). 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 will be folding chairs on the gym floor with additional seating in the bleachers. It is not comfortable. Bring a cushion or stadium seat if you have one. Wear comfortable clothes. Babysitting will be provided by the HPTA.

Special Town Meeting begins at 7:00pm at the HHS Athletic Center. Parking will be tight, please allow time to park and walk to the building. (For the last school building vote many people had to park on the Loop Road or in the back parking lots by the fields; consider bringing a flashlight.) Arrive early to find a good seat. As you enter the high school, head downstairs to the cafeteria to sign in. There is an elevator for handicapped access. To actually vote in the gym, 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 the proposed new school from both the town boards and committees, as well as the groups in favor of and opposed to the proposed new school. 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 (Ben Palleiko, 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 11 articles on the warrant (agenda) for this Special Town Meeting.

The committee or board presenting each article may make a brief presentation before each article. 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!

Article #1 Elementary School Building Project

The first article up at the October 26 Special Town Meeting will be to vote on appropriating money to build a new elementary school to replace the existing Center School.  Because it will be funded by a debt exclusion, it must pass by a 2/3 majority vote at the Special Town Meeting and again by a simple majority at the November 9 Special Election in order to go forward. 

While the town must approve the total cost of the $43,229,373 needed to build the school, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has approved a grant to reimburse the town up to $14,058,457 of the eligible costs, which would leave the town’s projected share of the cost to build the school at $29,170,916. 

According to the Committee Chairman, Joe Markey, the Elementary School Building Committee (ESBC) has estimated that in the first year, the highest cost per taxpayer will be about $435 per $500,000 assessed property value.  The actual cost will depend on the exact terms of the loan, including whether the town opts for a 20 or 30 year bond and could be as much as $100 less than the highest case scenario.  The Town Manager and Treasurer will determine the terms of the loan at the time of borrowing and make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen for approval.  If the Town opts for a 30 year loan, the annual cost per tax payer will be less, but the town will pay more in interest over the life of the loan.  The cost per year will likely decline with successive years over the life of the loan.

The proposed new school will house 22 kindergarten and first grade classrooms in an 83,256 square foot building that will also include rooms for the integrated preschool, music, art and health rooms that the Center School cannot accommodate due to size constraints.  For comparison, the Center School is 52,000 square feet while the Hopkinton High School is 190,000 square feet.  Elmwood and Hopkins are each about 80,000 square feet.  The new school site also has the capacity to add 10 additional classrooms if the school sees a significant and sustained increase in enrollment down the road. 

The Board of Selectmen has begun to examine potential future uses for the Center School, but a decision regarding Center School’s future will not likely be made until about 2017, a year before the projected opening of the new school if approved this fall. 

A decision has also yet to be made regarding the use of the so-called Todaro property which the Town purchased following the May Annual Town Meeting.  While the property abuts the site for the proposed new school, it is not part of the plans for the new school. 

On the other side, the proposed school abuts EMC park and a lighted path would both provide emergency egress for the school and allow for reciprocal overflow parking between the properties for events such as baseball games at the park or curriculum night at the school.  According to Superintendent Dr. Cathy MacLeod, the school was also designed to allow community use in areas such as the gym, cafertorium and media center year round while school is not in session. 

The ESBC will offer an additional opportunity for voters to ask questions during their office hours at Water Fresh Farm on October 21 from 4:30-6:30.

Article #8 – Fruit Street Indoor Recreational Facility

Article 8 - Fruit Street Indoor Athletic Facility

The Parks and Recreation Commission sponsored Article 8 of the Special Town Meeting to appropriate $500,000 to build an indoor practice and recreation facility on the Fruit street Athletic Field Complex.  If passed, the athletic facility will be connected to the pavillion which was already approved for construction funding at the May Annual Town Meeting.  While the pavilion will include rest rooms, concessions, and storage space, the indoor indoor practice facility was intended as stage two of the project, and was scrapped from the May meeting because of some unclear wording in the text of the original draft warrant. Additionally, the phase one part of the project used money from the Community Preservation Act, which an indoor practice facility could not. 

According to Parks and Recreation Director, Jay Guelfi,  “Our feeling is that building the entire structure at once will be more economically and operationally efficient.”  Parks and Recreation has been working with an engineering firm for the plans for the front half of the building that was already approved, but they hope if this article passes at Special Town Meeting, that they will be able to construct the entire facility at once.  They would reportedly save the town money by avoiding having to set up a construction area twice if they can build it in its entirety now.   

The facility is expected to serve the needs of in-town sports teams at a low cost and be available for private youth sports groups such as private club softball, baseball, soccer and lacrosse groups to rent, which could generate significant revenue to sustain and fully maintain the building and facilities.  Parks and Rec also plans to use the proposed facility to start some new town programs such as volleyball and wrestling. 

Like the proposed new school, this building will be funded by a debt exclusion and will require both a 2/3 vote at the October 26 Special Town Meeting and a simple majority vote at the November 9 Special Election.  Because of the massive difference in cost between this and the proposed new school, this project would have a much smaller taxpayer impact per $500,000 of assessed property value. 

Photo Gallery of the Other Special Town Meeting Articles

For your visual reference, here’s a photo gallery of other articles coming up at Special Town Meeting on October 26: