Sunday, August 30, 2009

November 23, 2007
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Board discusses town value decreasing, going green By Mary Shane Contributing Writer
Westborough - Chief Assessor Linda Swadel didn't have good news for the Board of Selectman at its Nov. 13 meeting.
"I'll bring it down to a nutshell," Swadel said. "I have nothing good to say. The total value of the town has decreased by $77 million, and the average single-family tax will go up $500."
According to Swadel, the reduction in value was due to a $150 million decrease in the taxable value of Astra Zeneca's personal property.
Town Coordinator Henry Danis and the selectmen agreed the town is facing a problem that needs more discussion.
"Westborough is experiencing a devaluation of the town and an increase of spending," Danis said.
Selectmen Leigh Emery agreed and suggested the topic be a future agenda item.
"We know the homeowner is feeling very crunched right now," Emery said.
Selectman Sue Abladian also expressed her concern for Westborough taxpayers.
"House prices are coming down, but taxes aren't going down," Abladian said. "People are having a hard time figuring out how much their tax bills are going to be."
Walter Kinell, a member of the Board of Assessors, said that residents should take advantage of Town Meeting to express their opinions.
"We're living beyond our means," he said. "I would suggest that this kind of info be made available to the town before the Town Meeting votes. I think we're in a critical financial situation, which doesn't come as any surprise. Most people do not take the time to come to Town Meeting to vote on what the town is spending money on."
Other business
The board unanimously voted in favor to support a single tax rate.
On the green front, Selectman Timothy Dodd showed a PowerPoint presentation outlining the Environmental Protection Agency's challenge to towns to conserve energy. It included a suggestion that the Board of Selectmen create an Energy Conservation and Use Committee to study the town's use of energy.
"Sounds very good," Abladian said. "[It] might be an interesting part of the mix of things, to have an Energy Conservation and Use Committee appointed by the Board of Selectman."
Emery agreed.
"I would like to see the selectmen take a leadership role and bring in green-minded people and build a core of people interested in greening up Westborough," Emery said. "I see this as a first step and as a robust program. [We] can be visionary enough to say we would like to have community support and participation. Maybe in two weeks we can have it as a discussion item."
Catie Foertsch, president of Westborough Public TV, introduced Maria Sheehan, the new General Manager of WTV. Foertsch also recommended the Board of Selectman appoint Bridget Casemyr to the Board of WTV, which the selectmen approved.
John Bademhausem, director of Westborough Youth and Family Services (WYFS), introduced Susan Dodd, who was unanimously approved to a three-year appointment to WYFS.
Selectman Timothy Dodd will investigate forming a liason program "to serve citizens of the town of Westborough." The first step will be "to send a letter and survey to committees we appoint and ask for [their] input." The motion was approved.
Selectman George Thompson introduced a draft of a noise ordinance and suggested publishing it for the community to discuss at the next meeting. The deadline for comments would be Monday Jan. 7, 2008, with discussion scheduled for the following day.
Also passing unanimously was a motion for the transfer of the all-alcohol license from Applebee's to Not Your Average Joes (NYAJ), scheduled to open in the current Applebee's building at 291 Turnpike Road in the spring of 2008.
NYAJ's proposed floor plan was discussed by the board and while the number of seats in the restaurant would not increase, they will be redistributed. NYAJ's has yet to receive approval of the floor plan from the building department, however, and agreed that until it does the all-alcohol license will be held by the town.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dodd Creates Successful Liaison Program

Westborough selectmen serve as liaisons to appointed boards
March 26, 2008 Westborough’s five selectmen have begun serving as liaisons to 19 of the town’s appointed boards and committees.Selectman Tim Dodd said he modeled his proposal on a practice put in place in Boxborough a few years ago. Boxborough Town Administrator Selina Shaw said having liaisons to the appointed boards “keeps the communication lines open, which is very important.”In Westborough, Dodd said his aim is to ensure that selectmen provide “leadership, not micro-management.” When surveys gauging interest in having selectmen serve as liaisons were sent out last fall, Dodd said, a characteristic response among board and committee members was, “If I wanted to get something on the [Board of Selectmen’s] agenda, I wouldn’t know how to do it.”Because of the many professionals living in Westborough, boards and committees often include people with highly relevant experience, Dodd said. The Conservation Commission, for example, has included a geologist, while a historian has served on the Historical Commission. While such individuals have expertise in their areas, Dodd said, “They might not necessarily have expertise in town government structures.”Each of Westborough’s five selectmen are serving as liaison to at least three of the boards and committees.
Written by MMA Associate Editor Mitch Evich

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dodd Votes Against Tax Increase Vote


Worcester Telegram and Gazette

By Priyanka Dayal

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WESTBORO — Selectmen last night decided to allow residents to vote this fall on a new $30 million fire and police building. Although the long-anticipated project was shovel-ready in the spring, selectmen voted to delay the project, because it would require a debt exclusion, which would force residents to pay higher taxes during a tough economy. Last night the vote was 3-2 in favor of putting the project on the warrant for the October town meeting. A separate election will be needed for a vote on the debt exclusion. Selectmen Timothy A. Dodd and Rod B. Jané voted to delay the project, saying it’s still a bad time to ask residents to pay higher taxes; Selectmen Leigh A. Emery, Lydia L. Goldblatt and George M. Thompson voted to go ahead with the project. “I think we can convince the town we need it,” said Ms. Emery, chairman of the board. The vote paved the way for the committee overseeing the project to spend $50,000 on competitive bidding. Once the bids come in, they will be valid for just 30 days. Selectmen also voted unanimously to approve the site plan for the new building, which would be an upgrade for police officers and firefighters, who currently work in cramped conditions in aging facilities. Town Manager James J. Malloy said the town has applied to a $210 million federal stimulus program for new fire stations; if selected, Westboro could receive $3 million.

Pedestrian Safety Brochure Online

The pedestrian safety brochure is now online! This brochure, drafted by Selectman Tim Dodd with assistance from the Westborough Police Department, is now online at:

The brochure is also available at the Town Hall, Police Department, Public Library, and local businesses. To request additional copies, please contact Tim at

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Achievements on the Board of Selectmen

-Establishment of Approval of the Minutes on BOS agendas.
-Creation of the BOS/committee liaison program
-Wrote job description of the Board of Selectmen
-Chaired the Lee Property ad-hoc committee
-Created a pie chart of the town's finances which was distributed with tax bills.
-Hosted a seminar on home enrgy savings through the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
-Wrote and delivered the Arbor Day Proclamation
-Advocated with the state legislature, including on the issues of police cameras at red lights and opposition to the gas tax.
-Pushed for improvements to the town website and an increase of available information.

In Progress
-Proposed tri-board for better communicaion and planning on financial issues
-Proposed customer service review
-Proposed membership in the Tree City USA program.

Town of Westborough Arbor Day Proclamation

Whenever feasible, notice shall be given and Planning Board hearings shall
be held in conjunction with those held by the Tree Warden acting under
MGL Ch. 87. The consent of the Planning Board to a proposed action shall
not be regarded as inferring consent by the Tree Warden or vice versa. The
Planning Board decision shall contain a condition that no work may be
undertaken until all applicable provisions of the Public Shade Tree Law,
MGL Ch. 87 and the Town’s General Bylaws, Chapter Six, Section 6.80
through 6.89, Removal of Non-Hazardous Shade Trees, have been
complied with.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Finalists named for town manager
By John Fenuccio/STAFF WRITER
Wed Feb 25, 2009, 02:36 PM EST

WESTBOROUGH - A search committee tasked with finding candidates for Westborough’s soon-to-be vacant town manager position announced its finalists to the Board of Selectmen last night.
The finalists are Medway Town Administrator Suzanne K. Kennedy, Sturbridge Town Administrator James J. Malloy and former Uxbridge Town Manager Jill R. Myers.
Selectmen plan to conduct initial 45-minute interviews with each candidate next Thursday starting at 6 p.m., with a 15-minute break in between each.
After the first set of interviews, individual selectmen and members of the Finance Committee, Department of Public Works, police and fire departments will visit with each finalist. They will report their findings to the selectmen, who will conduct final interviews and open public sessions, one each night, on March 31, April 1 and April 2.
The Town Manager Search Committee was created in September and charged by selectmen with finding three qualified candidates. Former Town Coordinator Henry Danis is serving as interim town manager.
The committee received 31 applications, 25 of them from New England. It interviewed five from that field, invited four back for second interviews, and then narrowed the field to three.
“I want to assure the board tonight on behalf of the search committee that if we didn’t feel comfortable bringing three quality candidates forward, we would not have brought these three individuals forward,” said Search Committee member and Selectman Lydia Goldblatt.
Myers, the former Uxbridge town administrator, is also up for job of Hopkinton town manager. Her contract in Uxbridge expired last Friday.
Hopkinton named four finalists in its own town manager search on Monday.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Proposed in October, 2007

#1 GOAL:

To improve communication…..

Between the BOS and the community by…

Encouraging residents to share their concerns, questions, and comments during Open Forum at Selectmen’s meetings.
Creating a pie chart of town expenses to be sent with annual tax bills to show residents how their tax dollars are being spent.
Through specialized meetings, seminars, and workshops, communicate specific information to specific groups (I.e. information on tax abatements at the Senior Center.)
Creating a feedback/general comment form on the Selectman’s website for residents to share their concerns.
Regularly update information on the Town’s website by working towards hiring a full-time IT person
Continue to advertise all available positions, both paid and volunteer, including developing a volunteer resource form.
Making as many town documents as possible available on the Town’s website.

Between the BOS and the rest of the town government by….

Discuss the possibility of having goal-planning meetings among different boards and departments.
Creating regular department check-ins for department heads to give overviews of the needs of their individual departments.
Fostering relationships with other boards, commissions, and committees through regular contact and by helping committees establish mission statements and goals.


First of all, I would like to thank the Town Coordinator for his prompt completion of the budget, and for providing it to us last week, well ahead of tonight’s meeting. I also appreciate that, although there are some difficult cuts proposed, we still will be able to avoid an override, otherwise known as a tax increase. I look forward to the coming months, when the Finance Committee, and the community at large, will get a chance to review the proposed budget and the impacts of the proposed cuts. While I appreciate that all proposed personnel cuts will be handled through attrition and through elimination of part time positions, I feel it is still important that we discuss these positions thoroughly.

I would also ask that the budget overview sheet be made available on the town’s website, and that, if possible, full binder copies of the proposed budget be made available to the public, through the Town Manager’s office, and potentially at the library as well.

I do have two specific questions of budget consideriations that I was wondering if they were considered:

Purchasing: Many departments have listed budgets for “office supplies” under their “expenses” line item. I was wondering if any effort had been made to push for elimination of these requests, and to handle all office supplies requests, including paper and printer cartridges, through the central purchasing account?
Recently, the school committee has made a push to make the schools more energy efficient. We have also discussed how to make town buildings more energy efficient, and I appreciate the time that it will take to institute some of these program.s However, I was wondering if you, as per charter the custodian of all town property, has instiuded any energy saving measures, such as limiting the number of lights on at a certain time. I have seen this type of program save money in municipal budgets in other communities, and while it may sound trivial, I believe that we would be able to save some money by looking into this.