Weekly Town Manager Newsletter

Below are the latest updates regarding the Coronavirus in our community, the upcoming Special Town Meeting and Special Town Election, as well as department updates.


Special Town Meeting &
Special Election Information
These Special Town Meeting and Special Town Election determine the progress for the Public Safety Building and the Mindess School Building projects. Both projects must pass both Special Town Meeting and the ballot at Special Town Election to proceed.
Special Town Meeting- Saturday, January 23, 2021
CLICK HERE- Access Meeting Procedure, Documents & FAQs
Questions? Contact Town Moderator by email at, townmoderator@ashlandmass.com


Special Town Election- Wednesday, January 27, 2021
CLICK HERE- Access information for voting
Questions? Contact Town Clerk's Office by email at, townclerkoffice@ashlandmass.com or call 508-881-0100 x 7127

CLICK HERE- Learn about the Public Safety Building Project
Questions? Contact PSB Committee by email at, PSBCommittee@ashlandmass.com

CLICK HERE- Learn about the Mindess School Building Project
Questions? Contact MSB Committee by email at, buildingcommittee@ashland.k12.ma.us
Latest COVID-19 Updates
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Weekly Report raised Ashland’s COVID-19 Community Risk Level to HIGH putting us in the Red Zone. It is more important than ever to remain vigilant and exercise caution. Please stay home if you are sick, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and stay socially distanced from others.
Local Cases in Ashland
The following information as of January 14, 2021
Local Confirmed Cases in Ashland = 1012

Ashland has 1012 positive confirmed cases for COVID-19 with 908 cleared cases, 160 probable cases, and 143 The Ashland Board of Health team and volunteer nurses are diligently working to keep our community safe at this time.

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Massachusetts Data
Global Data
Testing Information
If you display symptoms for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with an individual that tested positive, please get tested.

Serology, PCR tests, and Antigen tests are also available.

Local Information
Town of Ashland Receives "AAA" Credit Rating

​​Recently, the rating agency Standard & Poor's reviewed Ashland's credit characteristics, and I am pleased to say that we have once again been assigned a "AAA" rating with a stable outlook; the top rating a municipality can achieve. While it serves as a great report card for our financial management, it also has very practical applications for Ashland taxpayers. Just like people who have higher credit ratings receive better interest rates when they look to borrow money, cities and towns receive better interest rates the higher their credit rating is. With two large building projects on the horizon, the difference between an elite AAA rating and a lower rating can mean saving millions of dollars (literally) for Ashland taxpayers.

In analyzing Ashland's credit characteristics, Standard and Poor's assigned their highest scores possible ("Very Strong") to the following areas: Management, Budgetary Flexibility, LIquidity, Economy. They assigned their second-highest scores ("Strong") to the following: Debt and Contingent Liability Profile, Institutional Framework. They assigned their "Adequate" score to Budgetary Performance. Specifically, S&P highlighted the way Ashland has managed its finances during the pandemic noting that we have actually deposited more money into the stabilization fund than we withdrew. 

I want to really congratulate our financial team, specifically Finance Director Brittany Iacaponi, Treasurer/Collector Cindy Cincotta, Assistant Town Manager Jenn Ball, and School Director of Finance and Operations Chris Mathieu for their continued excellent work managing our complex finances. And as always I want to thank The Select Board, School Committee, Finance Committee, and Superintendent Adams for their continued collaboration and dedication to our financial strategy.

Sustainable Updates at Town Hall

The Town of Ashland Sustainability Department coordinated energy-efficient updates around town with funding from the state grant awarded in September 2020 from the Green Communities Program administered by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER).

In January 2021, Town Hall experienced a building-wide LED lighting upgrade, achieving energy use reductions, cost savings, and the replacement of aging and broken fixtures.

The project replaced existing fluorescent fixtures with more efficient LEDs throughout Town Hall. The LED upgrades are anticipated to save Ashland over $7,000 annually in utility costs. In addition, the upgrades are projected to lead to 37,000 in kWh annual electrical use reductions, which is a 71% decrease in current lighting use.

The lighting project also had the added benefit of replacing existing fixtures, many of which were damaged or broken. In addition, the project also replaced the emergency lighting and exit signage in the building.

This grant also included funds for an electric vehicle charging station at the Ashland Community Center.
The charging station was installed and made operational in December 2020. The charging station bolsters the Town’s commitment to promoting electric vehicles and helps grow Ashland’s existing network of vehicle charging stations.

This station will be publicly accessible for electric vehicle drivers visiting the Community Center, Ashland State Park, or businesses along West Union Street.

Eversource also assisted in making this charging station project possible by financing the site work components via its Make Ready Program.

For more information visit the Sustainability department’s webpage, ashlandmass.com/750/Sustainability, or contact Frank Nakashian, Sustainability Coordinator, fnakashian@ashlandmass.com
Updates from the Ashland Community Center
Town Manager's Coffee Hour with Senior Center
Wednesday, January 20, 2021

We invite you to join us for "Coffee Hour" with Michael Herbert, our Town Manager, to discuss Ashland's current events via Zoom. Please, call or email the Ashland Senior Center to receive a Zoom link.

If interested please, contact the Senior Center by calling 508- 881-0140 x1
Ashland Senior Center Announces a New Program
A.I.D.E for Older Adults
Activities, Internet Connection, Devices & Education

Qualified Ashland Applicants 60+ currently receiving one of the following: Fuel Assistance (LIHEAP), SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, Housing Assistance, VA Pension, will be provided a tablet, internet connection, and a Virtual Senior Center filled with activities and classes. Listen to music, play a game, and more. Connect, Engage, and Stay Active!

Contact Candi Wilson for more information, or to apply for this program:
508-532-7945 or email, cwilson@ashlandmass.com
Grab n' Go Lunch for Seniors
Mondays at Noon

Seniors, pay $4 per meal in advance by calling 508-881-0140 extension 1 to order your meal. You may drop off payment at the Community Center, or mail a check. All orders must be submitted by 3 pm on Thursday for lunch the following Monday.

No lunch on 1/18
1/25 Ham with Macaroni and Cheese
Practically Fit with Meg
Tuesdays 8:30 am, 2 pm and 6 pm
Thursdays 12:30 pm and 7:30 pm
Saturdays 9:30 am

The recorded videos are archived on WACA's website:
http://98.118.96.186/CablecastPublicSite/?channel=1

Stay motivated and moving from your home! Scale the workouts and movements to fit your activity level. This all-levels class, named PRACTICALLY FIT, taught by MaryEllen "Meg" Giombetti, the founder of "Empowered by Meg" will help to keep your body in shape. They share modifications as well as suggestions to elevate.

No special equipment required. Build strength, improve your balance and core and work on your cardio and endurance abilities safely. Class is 30 minutes long.
Upcoming Meetings & Events
Visit the Town of Ashland Website Calendar for committee meetings and agendas

Visit the Town of Ashland Event Calendar for upcoming events
Public Forum-
Public Safety Building Project
Thursday, January 21, 2021

Meeting ID: 865 0834 0662
Passcode: 968829

The Public Safety Building Committee is excited to discuss the opportunity for a new public safety building in town. This is also an opportunity for residents to ask any questions prior to the Special Town Meeting and Special Town Election.

If you wish to submit any questions, prior to the forum, email the Public Safety Building Committee, PSBCommittee@ashlandmass.com
Public Forum-
Ashland Housing Production Plan and Inclusionary Zoning

Did you miss the Ashland Housing Production Plan and Inclusionary Zoning Public Forum back on December 29, 2020?

Help us update our Housing Production Plan and plan for an Inclusionary Zoning bylaw.

Watch the forum and learn more about the current demographics in Ashland and the need for housing in our community.

Cyber Security Customer Protection
Thursday, January 21, 2021, at 12:00 pm

Don't miss out on Ashland Business Association's upcoming event OPEN TO ALL ASHLAND RESIDENTS!

Fidelity Security Service VP and former FBI special agent Gary Rossi will explain how to protect ourselves and our loved ones from cyber threats. This is so important with all that is happening in our world.
Know the facts, protect yourself and your loved ones. Free for all to attend, registration is required.

Visit this link to sign up today!
Shout Outs!
Ashland First Responders receive the
COVID-19 Vaccine

Our Captain Moraghan and Ashland Police Department Chief Alfano received the Covid-19 Vaccination on Monday, January 11th, as well as other members from the departments.

The Town of Ashland partnered with the Town of Sherborn, Town of Hopkinton, MA, Town of Southborough, Town of Northborough, and Town of Westborough to get the COVID-19 vaccine for their First Responders.
Welcome, Madras Market!

Madras Market is a new provisional store in town. The owners of the former restaurant, Dosa Temple, converted their business to Madras market, an Indian Grocery, offering organic products, fresh produce, ready to eat foods, and Indian snacks. Ashland's Business Incentive Program was used to grant funding to this new business as they get started. We wish them the best of luck!

Location: 59 Pond Street, Ashland
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday: 10:30 am - 2:30 & 3:30- 8:30 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am - 8:30 pm
Sunday: 9:30 am - 7: 30 pm
Phone: (508) 309-3020
Email: madrasmarketma@gmail.com
Needham Bank named 2020 Best Place to Work
by the Boston Globe

Congratulations to Needham Bank on this award! It goes without saying that we are so grateful to have Needham Bank as a partner in our community. They are a true community supporter and clearly a wonderful place to work! Congratulations on this honor, well deserved!

Local Business Information
Shop Local Ashland!

Don't forget to support our Ashland businesses! This pandemic is making it so difficult for our favorite places to stay open and provide with goods and food we love to have in our own backyard. If you are a regular diner or if you want to treat yourself to dinner out this week, please choose Ashland! Our restaurants and business owners need your help- pick up your favorite meal or family-style dinners to go, purchase gift cards, and leave positive reviews on social media. During these difficult times, think ASHLAND! Support all of the business owners who have supported our community groups throughout the years.

Click below for a quick list of shopping and dining options!

Store
Updates from Economic Development
The Economic Development Department put together resources to help business owners establish a location in Ashland, maintain their business, and help reopen their establishment in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

GRANTS ARE AVAILABLE TO BUSINESSES!
DON'T WAIT!
To see a full list of possible grants and loans available to you visit the Economic Development Page of the town website:


Read the latest newsletter from Beth Reynolds,
Ashland's Economic Development Director's newsletter here
Stay informed with the Town of Ashland