Hudson voters approve funds for Assabet Valley Regional Technical School


By David Fassler, Community Reporter

Hudson – Hudson voters approved a measure at the May 7 Annual Town Meeting to allocate approximately $6 million for renovations for the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School (AVRTHS).

Built in 1972, ASVRTHS has reached the end of its 40-year build life and is slated to undergo a $63 million renovation, according to school officials. The only previous capital work done on the nearly 400,000-square-foot building was a new roof, installed in 1983.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority has agreed to pay 53 percent of the total cost, approximately $33 million. The remaining balance will be paid proportionally by the other member communities, with Marlborough (which is home to AVRTHS) owning nearly 50 percent of the remaining balance, approximately $15 million. The town of Hudson would pay 20 percent of the balance, approximately $6 million.

The project's impact on Hudson homeowners” taxes will be: fiscal year (FY) 2014, $1 increase; FY 2015 increase to $6; FY 2016 increase to $15; and FY 2017 increase to $63. Supporters of the article broke into applause after the moderator announced the passage of the article.

In approving an annual town budget of $63.3 million, the allocation of more than $510,000 for the purchase of new, remotely read water meters triggered a standing teller count, with 143 voting yes and 18 voting no.

An article requesting $349,000 for Joint Dispatch Offset Receipts was questioned by a self- identified representative of the Portuguese community who asked officials if any of the newly hired civilian dispatchers spoke the language. After being told “no,” the resident noted the need for Portuguese-speaking dispatchers; he also referenced a prior situation that he said had been made worse because of the language barrier.

Police Chief Richard Braga spoke on the matter.

“We attempted to hire three or four [dispatchers] who speak Portuguese, but they didn's make it through the final notches of the program,” Braga said. “Presently we don's have a dispatcher who speaks Portuguese; that's a big priority for us.”

In the continuation of a nearly 60-year tradition, the names of town officials and employees who had passed away in the prior year were read into the record. They included a police dispatcher, patrol and reserve police officer, two school cafeteria workers, a firefighter, a school custodian, and a school principal.