Selectmen approve dog park, listen to favorable audit report


Northborough – The Board of Selectmen addressed a number of issues Nov. 22, from the town’s financial year and a Toys for Tots drive to the approval of a dog park at Mustang Ranch.

Town Auditor Bill Fraher began the meeting with a presentation of the audit report for the FISCAL year 2010 that was not problematic despite the recession.

The auditors completed a fiveyear trend analysis that saw ups and downs. This year, there was a 3.4 percent increase in revenues, while expenses increased 1.3 percent. Partly due to the stimulus package, education expenses grew only slightly; employee benefits went up 3.2 percent based on a number of factors from health care to unemployment.

The library was a big reason for the 55 percent increase. The report also revealed that education, employee benefits and debt services make up almost 80 percent of the budget.

Due to a decline in reliance on free cash and a change in how the town views the fund, Fraher was enthused about the future.

Clerk Leslie Rutan was also encouraged by the report.

Fire Department Captain Rob Theve gave a presentation on the department’s collection for the Toys for Tots program. The drive runs through Thursday, Dec. 16 and toys can be dropped off at collection stations at the Fire Department and at Town Hall. Families seeking assistance from the program should call Theve at 508-393-1537.

Virginia Simms George, chair of the Community Aff airs Committee, asked for and received approval for the sixth annual Holiday Trolley Program. It will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec.11 and will feature seven stops at local businesses. Businesses not represented can also advertise on the trolley.

The same night, at 5:30 p.m., the event will culminate in the center of town with a treelighting ceremony and carol singing, featuring performances by high school students. Cider and cookies will be served and veterans who perished in the Vietnam War will be commemorated.

Next, Anthony Ziton, chair of the Friends of the Northborough Dog Park, presented his vision for an 11-acre dog park, located on Mustang Ranch near the Southwest cutoff around Northborough Crossing.

More than 160 families have expressed interest in the policy and the plan will alleviate a lot of the feces pick-up problems that the town has on other public grounds. A similar plan was executed in Medway. The Northborough plan features parking and a 4,000-square-foot fenced-in area.

Jubilant about the board accepting the plan, Ziton reported that he hopes construction of the dog park will begin in the coming spring or summer.