Fire Chief Dennis Annear announced at the Dec. 3 selectboard meeting that Hudson will be signing up for a reverse 911 system. Selectman Kathy Reinig noted that no new funds will need to be appropriated for the program, as they were already in the budget.
The program, provided by the same company that serves the school district, will call every Hudson resident in their database with emergency information whenever necessary. Non-emergency calls can also be made, such as reminders about upcoming town meetings and other events, but residents can opt out of those.
According to Annear, the calls can be directed to smaller areas if necessary by selecting sections of town on a digital map. This means that if there is a localized hazardous materials incident or if a rash of break-ins is affecting just one neighborhood, then only those affected will get a call.
Town Administrator Diana Schindler advised the board that there was potential for the Franklin Regional Council of Governments to perform a traffic study on the center of Orange using grant funds. The traffic study was identified as a priority because of the difficulty tractor trailer units have navigating the tight turn and narrow streets.
There have been accidents at the intersection, and a tractor trailer trying to turn from South Main to East Main can hold up traffic on all four streets for an entire light cycle or more. The board agreed that the intersection was no place for such large trucks, especially since cars and delivery trucks park on both sides of the streets, but it was noted that GPS programs often tell drivers to use the intersection even if there is a safer way to go.
They voted unanimously to allow FRCOG to move forward with the study, welcoming any suggestions of alternate routes, new signage or other methods of improving safety in the center of town.
Three-year contracts with the police and fire unions were ratified unanimously following an executive session at the beginning of the meeting. The contracts will end in 2017. Due to difficulty meeting with the clerical union’s outside advisor, the clerical union contract is still not ready for ratification. However, it is anticipated that it will be ready by February or March.
The contracts included wage increases in the current budget which hadn’t been agreed upon at the time of the last town meeting; funding for the $6,500 (fire) and $5,155 (police) increases was approved at the Dec. 4 special town meeting.
The board unanimously approved a request from Tractor Supply, on Route 2A, for a license to store more than 2,000 gallons of propane on their property. Annear explained that he can only personally allow up to 2,000 gallons, but since the store would like to store just over 2,000 (two 1,000-gallon tanks and a smaller tank for filling gas grill canisters) the selectboard’s approval was needed.
The board will meet again on Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the town hall.