By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – The hiring of a new Assistant Town Administrator, reopening of schools, Applefest and Halloween were among the many discussions at the September 14 Northborough Board of Selectmen meeting.
Town Administrator John Coderre announced that Rebecca Meekins will be starting her position as the new Assistant Town Administrator on Monday, October 5. She has been in this role for the Town of Grafton since 2016.
“Many of the skills set and responsibilities with budgeting, special projects, procurement, insurance, and HR are very similar to the responsibilities to the Assistant position here,” said Coderre. “It was a long process to ensure we had a good fit, and Rebecca was the unanimous recommendation of the screening committee. I’m really happy with the outcome.”
As the Selectmen shared their reports, gratitude to all those involved with the school reopening was high.
“It’s a monumental effort to get those kids back into some sort of routine and the amount of work that has gone into it has been impressive,” said Selectman Tim Kaelin.
He also stressed the importance for drivers to pay attention to the buses that will be back on the streets.
“Please pay attention when driving,” he said. “When those stop signs come out on the bus, that is not a recommendation. You must stop.”
Board Chair Jason Perreault echoed those sentiments and asked that everyone involved do their best to cope with the situation as inevitably there will be glitches.
“Clearly the focus is on trying to make the education delivery as complete and effective as possible,” he said. “It’s going to place a great demand on everyone and we will just need to make an extra effort to cope with the difficulties as they arise.”
On the suggestion of Selectman Hirsh, the town website has an enhancement to the Notify Me link, where residents can subscribe to receive any active committee agendas and meeting minutes. Previously, this capability was only available for a few select committees and boards.
As Applefest weekend approaches, Board members acknowledged that it will be different this year as some events had to be cancelled while others will be modified or held virtually. Applefest is scheduled for September 24-27 and updates can be found at www.northboroughapplefest.com.
Hirsh thanked the Applefest committee for “keeping up the tradition during these trying times even though things have to be different this year.”
Due to the change in format of the annual fall festival and less in-person events, required town resources will be less than in previous years.
Another popular fall celebration that was discussed was Halloween.
Coderre said that Northborough has not been provided with any state guidance yet.
“We are hopeful that whatever guidance is provided, there is some level of consistency so you don’t have the towns next door doing something radically different,” he said. “As we get closer and we don’t hear, we will rely perhaps on our Board of Health to provide some guidelines.”
Fire Chief David Parenti elaborated on Selectman Scott Rogers comment about unauthorized burning.
“We are in a drought; it is not burning season in the Commonwealth,” said Parenti. “You cannot have a fire to dispose debris such as tree limbs. You are permitted to have a cooking fire per state law; however, you need to call the fire station first to advise us if you intend on doing it. If you do have an outdoor fire pit, make sure to have a hose nearby and use great care.”
Perreault recognized the anniversary of the death of SPC Brian Arsenault on September 4 and the 19th anniversary of the events of 9/11.
Boros Cares 4 Troops will be honoring Northborough individuals who have served in the armed services in their Hometown Heroes program. Banners will be hung along Main Street in October through at least Veterans Day.
New appointments have been made to several town commissions. Dan Clark will join the Conservation Commission, Brian Swanson and Mille Minton to the Historic District Commission, Gary Maggiolino to the Parks and Recreation Commission, and Kerry Thornton-Genova to the Scholarship Committee.
All town meetings are still being held remotely, and residents are encouraged to attend. Information is at www.town.northborough.ma.us.