Archive 2008 - 2019

Town Departments Present Selectmen with Capital Wish Lists

by Eric Niermeyer

Wednesday night marked the beginning of capital request season, with the Department of Public Works, the Holliston Police Department, and the Holliston Fire Department presenting wish lists to the Board of Selectmen.  While the requests presented totaled slightly under $1 million dollars, the amount that is eventually approved will likely be significantly less than that.

The capital requests, if approved, will be subjected to a vote at this year’s Special Town Meeting in October.  Approximately $700,000 of such requests were approved and allocated earlier this year.

The Highway Department began by requesting a new industrial strength wood chipper, estimated to cost about $66,000, and a new truck for the Highway Department fleet, which would likely run around $50,000.  This was followed by the Water Department side, which proposed trading in two of its old utility body trucks and purchasing replacements.

In addition to this, the Water Department also requested funding for two major infrastructure projects, which would largely be covered using existing funds from the town’s Water Infrastructure Fee and other sources.  The first of these projects is the replacement of water pipes and mains in the Shaw Farm Road neighborhood, a process which is slated to begin in April.  The second is updating the water infrastructure in the area of Cedar Street to fix pressure and quality problems. 

The Holliston Police Department had three capital requests: the replacement of the aging radio repeater on Mellen Street for an estimated $20,000, the replacement of two of the department’s Dodge Chargers with Ford Interceptor SUVs for an estimated $85,000, and the addition of a motorcycle to the town’s police fleet for an estimated $28,000.  Unsurprisingly, the motorcycle request garnered more attention and debate than any other single issue.

The officers present argued that a police motorcycle would be a useful tool due to its maneuverability and lower visibility, enabling them to enforce traffic violations in congested areas, access secluded areas such as the rail trail in the event of an emergency, and present more opportunities for positive engagement with the community.  They also noted that they had contacted 25 nearby towns with police motorcycles and received almost universally favorable testimony.

These points generally fell flat among the Selectmen, who countered that the motorcycle would be unusable for at least half of the year, more dangerous to operate than a cruiser, and require special training and accessories.  Concerns over “equipment creep” (the inevitable compounding of new tools over time regardless of whether or not they are useful) were also raised.  The specific vehicle requested by the Department was a 2017 Harley Davidson Police Motorcycle.

Next up was the Fire Department, which had three capital requests: the replacement of Forest Fire 3, a truck that the department has used to suppress brush fires for an incredible 46 years, for an estimated $85,000; the replacement of a 12-part radio apparatus that was last updated in 2002 for an estimated $175,000; and the replacement of an aging ambulance as part of a previously existing plan for an estimated $255,000 .

The capital requests were followed by routine business, which included the approval of a $500 bid made by Diamond Relocation for the sale of 30 cubicles and 25 desks located at 1750 Washington Street.  It was noted that the cubicles and desks in question had come included with the town's acquisition of the building and that a better offer was not received.

Diamond Relocation came up again when the company’s offer to charge the town $1,000 to remove the Flagg School’s metal lockers was rejected.  However, bids for a tricycle, a coat rack, and several other small objects from the school were approved for a total of about $500.  The cleanout of the Flagg School is set to begin in the coming week and will require the use of several 30-yard dumpsters.

Last but not least, the Selectmen encouraged the public to attend Celebrate Holliston this coming Saturday and stated that there will be a tent of public officials present at the festivities.

Comments (1)

For the last few months I have used the Washington street and High Street intersection. When the lights change to allow crossing to Woodland street, vehicles on Washington street violate the red light. A motor cycle officer would be very use full to stop violations like this. In the summer when children are out of school would also be a good time to have the addition to traffic safety in the neighborhoods. Stop sign violations on roads like Westfield Drive could also be addressed. More thought needs to be taken on this. Warren Legee Warren

warren legee | 2016-09-15 03:08:38