The Hubbardston Report
Brunch with Santa had a great turn out! Lots of families came and enjoyed the morning with us. The kids made lots of fun crafts, adults got to hang around and socialize and relax during this super busy time of year. Plenty of pictures were taken with Santa! Definitely a fun easy morning.
We also had our 1st annual Gingerbread contest at Brunch with Santa. There was some really good entries!
Gingerbread House Contest Winners:
Evelyn - under 8yrs old,
Lizzie - 9-11yrs old,
Mabel - 13-17yrs old
The Gobars - Family
Hubbardston Light Fight!
This year we had 19 houses/businesses enter in this 2 weekend contest with 2 separate categories. Lots of people came to check out all the displays. Definitely worth the trip down the back roads of town to see all the hard work that was put into everyone’s light displays. A few of the entries had some issues with all the rain we had, but they managed to get the lights back on. Electricity and water just don’t mix well. Great job to everyone that entered.
And the winners are...
1st place - 28 Healdville Rd
2nd place - 36 Geordie Ln
3rd place - 51 New Templeton Rd
Go Big or Stay Home:
1st place - 86 Ragged Hill Rd
2nd place - 1 Worcester Rd
3rd place - 80 Twin Hill Rd
Frozen Assets is here!
Take 5 guesses on when the outhouse will fall through the ice. The Outhouse will be located on Williamsville Rd at The Country Hen pond starting in February. All Frozen Assets forms must be submitted by a February 1st. We suggest a $20 donation per Frozen Assets form, but will accept any donation. All donations collected will help fund future town Special Events.
Entry forms can be found at The Pizza Palace, Broberg Insurance, The Country Trail, Proulx Family Financial, Giacomo’s Gourmet, Hubb Town Dinner and the Town Office in Slade Building or you can print your own from the Town Web site.
Closest Guess - $300 gift card
2nd $150 gift card
3rd - $75 gift card
4th - 1 flat of eggs for 8 weeks courtesy of The Country Hen!
Initial work continued on the FY21 Budget with departments finalizing their requests and the Town Administrator working with the Capital Improvement Planning Committee (CIPC) to update the town's capital plan. This plan will be finalized and presented to the public in early January. The Town Administrator will now meet with every department to understand FY21 budget needs and inform the presentation of his budget on March 2, 2020.
The Finance Team worked hard this month to certify the tax rate with the Department of Revenue. Tax bills were mailed to residents on time. The new tax rate, certified by the Department of Revenue, is $14.82, down from $15.22 in FY19. The average home value in Hubbardston is now $278,986 with this year’s average increase totaling $215. The new tax bills are due on February 1, 2020.
The Town Administrator finalized the town's Green Community Grant Application with the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (MRPC). This multi-layered designation demonstrates a commitment to green initiatives and makes the town eligible for several grants to improve existing infrastructure.
Several contracts were awarded this month as the Town Administrator continued to work through the FY20 Capital Plan. Contracts were awarded to repair/replace the library's low roof, to renovate the Senior Center kitchen and to update the town's human resource policies. The Board of Selectmen will vote on these contracts at their first meeting in January.
The Town Administrator recognized this month the town's senior work-off crew, an invisible Army that assists our departments with filing, shredding, enveloping stuffing and administrative work that allows us to focus on resident concerns and other deadline specific items. Although we have many senior workers around town, in particular he recognized Patricia Woodward, Karen Wolfe, Rebecca Gosse and Patricia Lamoureux for their work in the town offices and Richard Hackett for his continuous volunteerism at the Senior Center.
With a grant from the Hubbardston Cultural Council, Greg Maichack’s Pastel Sailboat workshop started off the month of December at the Library. Eight patrons attended the workshop, and they all took home their beautiful creations. The senior book club met at the beginning of the month and discussed Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. For January, the group is reading The Boys on the Boat. Story time continues to be a popular activity with Miss Michele coming up with wonderful books and activities for the children to enjoy. One of our patrons donated a number of picture frames to the Library. Miss Michele had the children decorate the frames with a winter theme. She then put a picture of each child into the frames, turning them into a lovely gift. We would like to thank Gabbie, our assistant Librarian who put up the holiday decorations. The Library received our FY20 Certification to participate in the State Aid to Public Libraries Program. This certification awards the Hubbardston Public Library $3,280.79 in State Aid. This award gives the Library the opportunity to address repairs and improvements to better serve our patrons.
Overcame and conquered three multiday snow, sleet, freezing rain and Ice storms. The new lean-to built by Monty Tech is almost finished other than a few little things. The new roof is able to cover four pieces of equipment.
Both Evergreen Bridge and Rt.62 bridge projects are out for bid and will be started this year
Continue to keep our roads clear for safe travel throughout the winter. Get bid packages ready for the paving projects next year
December was all about preparing for tax billing. Once the tax rate was approved by the DOR, tax bills were printed in our office. Several of our seniors from our Senior Workoff program folded, enveloped and sealed all our bills for mailing. The due date for these FY20 Real Estate and Personal Property tax bills is Monday, February 3rd, 2020.
Budgets were prepared for the Treasurer/Collector’s office, Hubbardston’s portion of health insurance, Medicare, and retirement, as well as long-term and short-term debt and interest for Fiscal Year 2021.
January’s focus will be on collecting taxes, filing quarterly reports, W2’s, and unpaid FY19 Real Estate taxes.
This monthwas spent prepping for 2020. Census reports were sent to vendor and are expected to be mailed out early January. Please be aware: Failure to respond to the census mailing for 2 consecutive years shall result in removal from the active voting list and may result in the removal from the voter registration rolls. (MGL Ch. 51 Sec. 4[c]) The census can be mailed, dropped off in person or left in the secure drop box outside the Library Basement offices.
Dog Licenses are now available! All dogs over the age of 6 months are required by the State of Massachusetts to be licensed and vaccinated each year. Licensing for 2020 will begin in January and must be paid by April 1st to avoid late fees. Any Resident who will be 70 years or over as of March 31st is exempt from paying a fee for licensing. Dogs may be registered online or in person at the Town Clerk’s office during normal business hours. Fees are as follows: Males & Females $15.00, Neutered Males & Spayed Females $10.00. I will be attending an Elections Mentoring class on Thursday, January 16th. The Town Clerks office will be closed for this training.
February, I will be attending the Annual Massachusetts Town Clerks Association Winter Conference. Classes will focus on the 2020 Elections to include preparedness and challenges. The Town Clerks office will be closed on Thursday, February 6th for this training.
After a busy December that had the department respond to 72 calls for service, the year end call totals are in. Over the course of 2019 the Hubbardston Fire Dept responded to 650 emergency incidents which is a 7% increase from 2018. These calls included but were not limited to:
16 Structure Fires
347 Medical Emergencies
66 motor vehicle accidents
2 brush fires
6 carbon monoxide incidents
The department also responded to hundreds of other calls ranging from alarm activations, fuel spills, arcing power lines, lockouts, public assist calls, investigations and mutual aid station coverage. On top of those incidents the department performed dozens of fire prevention inspections of residential and commercial properties, fire safety public education to our school children and senior citizens and held department fire and ems trainings to ensure all of our members are highly trained and ready to serve our community when called upon. All of this is done with a small staff of 5 fulltime firefighters including the fire chief and a call/per-diem staff of 8, all of whom are cross trained as EMTs or Paramedics.
We would like to thank the community for their support throughout the year, our dispatchers at the RRECC, our mutual aid partners who we work with closely on almost a daily basis and our police and DPW staff. We look forward to continuing to provide high quality fire and ems care to the town of Hubbardston and our neighbors in 2020
This month has historically been a busy month for HPD’s philanthropic endeavors. We were able to provide funds to Janice Rotti to shop for those identified by the school as at risk. It is our position that no kid should go without presents on Christmas morning. We were very successful in collecting the toys for kids in Hubbardston, as well as surrounding areas through the Gardner CAC. Thanks to the generosity of the residents of Hubbardston.
- 9 arrests
- 14 citations
- 13 accidents
- 18 investigations
This month's meeting was canceled for snow. Request for an RDA (determination of applicability) was received for proposed telephone pole placement on New Westminster and Bemis Rd, this will be heard at the ConCom’s next monthly meeting. Site walk for a new build home on Mt. Jefferson Road was completed.
Tax bills have been mailed. These are the 3rd quarter or actual bills. Property owners who wish to discuss values or file for an abatement may do so either online or at the assessor’ office located in the Slade building.
Personal property “Forms Of List” are being prepared and will be mailed out to businesses by the end of the second week of January.
Regional Resource Group staff continues to work with and provide training and assistance for Iris, and will always be available in the future for any issues and/or concerns that may arise.
Ongoing assessor’s activities for January, February, and March include:
1. Building permit inspections
2. Abatement inspections and review
3. Motor vehicle excise
4. Periodic/Cyclical property inspections.
The Planning Board office worked on the following projects:
- There were two public meetings in the month of December. To see those video please go here.
- Managed organization and logistics for the 245 Gardner Road Special Permit including the writing of the Decision.
- Continued work on Planning Board Operational Procedures and associated process checklists (estimated time of completion – Jan / Feb).
- Coordinated a Community Outreach Hearing for members of the Planning Board following the request by Mr. Damon Schmidt (scheduled for 1/6/2020)
- Continued work on Special Permits Project to determine which Special Permits issued in Hubbardston are active / inactive and how the Planning Board can follow up on adherence to permit specifications (estimated time of completion – Feb/March)
- Assisted in Planning Board budget creation / approval for the coming fiscal year.
In addition to these items, the Planning Board Office worked on the other documentation to support Planning Board meetings.
The Planning Board Office will continue to work on:
- Continue work on Special Permits / Operational Procedures / Filing projects as listed in the previous month.
- Begin work on research / drafting of specific bylaw amendments per the Planning Board’s specifications.
This month the Building Commissioner completed his Safety Inspections at 123 Grow With Me and the Netishen Home. Admin began user training on Viewpoint the new permitting software, we have begun uploading all documentation needed for permits so the software engineers can create a program specific to Hubbardston. Admin worked on updating process for next years safety inspection to ensure a timely and smooth inspection season next year. Admin also attending monthly Building Department meeting in Gardner.
Board of Health
The New Year is here, and the Hubbardston Board of Health has some goals for 2020. These goals include:
- Increasing the number of days that the Recycling Center is open to help Hubbardston become a 'greener' town, and work with various town groups that participate in recycling projects to achieve this,
- Continue to improve our portion of the town website so that more forms and guidelines are readily available to everyone,
- Improve our efficiency at getting inspections done in a timely manner,
- Establish guidelines for our trash haulers.
- Lastly, we have plans to use chrome books for better documentation of all BOH matters, and save time and paper.
- Arranged emergency tree removal services for homebound veteran
- Submitted four VA disability claims for Hubbardston veterans
- Processed monthly chapter 115 payments ahead of schedule
- Created informational brochure that give an overview of services
- Request one designated veteran parking space at the town office building
- Re-certify eligibility of all veterans receiving financial assistance
- Schedule meet and greet at Senior Center for Q+A opportunity