The majority of Holliston's special town meeting on Oct. 29, 2013, was devoted to the creation of a DPW which had previously been before the town in 2007 and 2010.
A lengthy discussion surrounded the pros and cons of the new department that will encompass the Highway Deparment and the Water Department (Holliston does not have a sewer department). The DPW would also maintain land overseen by the Park and Recreation Department and would work with the School Department regarding maintenance of their properties.
Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Leary, Jr., started the 1:22 hour discussion with a slide presentation in support of a DPW which he said would provide:
- Better coordination of department resources
- More efficient and accountable management structure
- Better communication and coordination with state agencies
- Better interdepartmental and results-deriven reporting and long-range planning
- Improved management and morale
- Increased opportunity for grants
- Possible cost savings and efficiencies with reduction of staff
- Ability to utilize big equipment that is currently not shared between departments
Some opponents suggested the department was a good idea but that town meeting voters did not have enough information to make a decision at this time. It was suggested the request for a new department should be at the annual town meeting, not a fall special town meeting, which would allow for a solid plan to be put before voters. A motion to postpone the article was defeated.
Other opponents were concerned with the cost of hiring a DPW Director, possible loss of reporting to the taxpayers of the Water Commissioners, and an increased cost to the town.
A voice vote was held at 10:04 p.m. followed by a hand-vote. At 10:07 p.m., the results showed 95 voters in favor and 27 opposed resulting in the creation of the Holliston Department of Public Works.