Holden’s Agricultural Commission was established by a vote of Town Meeting in May 2009. Since then, members have created a Mission Statement which captures our goals:
Support and promote agriculture and the preservation of open space in Holden
To meet this mission, the Agricultural Commission will:
Advise Town and other local organizations on agricultural and open space activities and projects, including open space acquisitions and other transactions, master planning, bylaws, events, and programs
Serve as a liaison between Town officials and residents on agricultural and open space matters
Promote the business of farm-related activities and traditions
Engage the community in educational programs and events which deepen people’s awareness, appreciation, and involvement in local agriculture and open space
Provide informational resources to assist local farmers and residents
The Holden Bandstand was built as a permanent gift to the Town of Holden in honor of Holden's 250th Anniversary. The Bandstand Committee was created in 1991 and constructed the Bandstand in 1992 with money left over from the 250th Anniversary events. Since 1992, the Bandstand Committee has held concerts each Sunday during the summer. The concerts are sponsored by businesses and organizations in Holden. The Bandstand Committee, since its inception, has been nonprofit and does not use tax dollars for its events and upkeep. We "Pass the Hat" at the concerts and also raise money through Light-a-Light during the holiday season.
Board of Assessors
The Board of Assessors is responsible for the discovery, listing and valuation of all real and personal property in the Town of Holden. The Assessors are statutorily obligated to assess all property at its full and fair cash value as of January 1 of each year in order to meet the triennial certification requirements established by the state Department of Revenue. The Board must annually set a tax rate for the fiscal year in order to assess taxes in an amount sufficient to cover all state, county and local appropriations. In addition to real estate taxes, the Board is responsible for Motor Vehicle Excise, Farm Animal Excise and Forest Products Tax. The Board reviews all abatement and exemption applications. The Board must file numerous reports which are required by law.
Board of Selectmen
The Board of Selectmen is the legislative and policy-making body of the Town composed of five members elected to three-year terms. The Chairman of the Board is selected by the Board from among its members. The responsibilities of the Board of Selectmen include: setting fees, issuing licenses and permits, adopting rules and regulations necessary for governing the Town; appointing a Town Manager and citizens to various boards and commissions; reviewing and adopting the annual budget; representing the Town at official Town functions and in relationship with other organizations.
Cable Advisory Committee
The Cable Advisory Committee continually reviews the operation of the cable television system as per the Final License terms and conditions. In addition, the Committee serves as a buffer between the consumer and the cable company when subscriber problems arise, and represents the interests of Holden residents in providing the best cable services possible. A main objective of the Committee is to foster and enhance the local access programming potential by actively encouraging training programs and production of local programs.
Community Garden Committee
The purpose of the Holden Community Garden Committee will be to establish and maintain garden space, open to the Holden community, on town-owned property at various locations including 175 Highland Street (also known as the “Creamer Property”). The Community Garden Committee will be responsible for planning and making recommendations for potential changes to the site, and will address the need to maintain the garden in the future through volunteer efforts.
Efforts by Holden’s Community Garden Committee are well underway! If you are interested in contributing, the Committee is accepting donations, which can be made online or will be collected by the Town Manager’s Office, 1204 Main Street, Holden, MA 01520.
Check out the Committee's Facebook page!
The mission of the Holden Conservation Commission is to protect wetlands in the town by administering the Massachusetts Wetlands Protect Act (WPA) and the Conservation By law adopted at Town Meeting, which has been extremely successful in regulating projects and reducing environmental degradation. In addition to conducting public hearings for various projects and monitoring permitted projects, the Commission is pursuing the creation of a Town Forest Stewardship plan.
The Holden Cultural Council dispenses state funds to promote artistic endeavors within the community. Funds are dispensed to organizations based on applications submitted annually.
In Massachusetts, public funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences is provided through a central state agency, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and through a network of Local Cultural Councils that serve every city and town in the state. The mission of the Massachusetts Cultural Council is to promote excellence, education, diversity, and inclusion in the arts, humanities, and sciences to foster a rich cultural life for all Massachusetts residents.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council distributes funds through two channels:
Direct grants to individuals and organizations, available through statewide competitive grant processes; and
Distributions to Local Cultural Councils, which then re-grant funds to individuals and organizations in their own communities.
The Holden Cultural Council is made up of volunteers who are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The Council is responsible for making decisions on how it will award monies granted to the Town by the Massachusetts Cultural Council in ways that will serve Holden’s cultural life.
Eagle Lake Committee
The purpose of the Eagle Lake Committee (the "ELC" or "Committee") is to review the current state of the Eagle Lake ("the Lake") along with existing and potential recreation areas and to provide the Town various possible options to develop, fund, and utilize the lake and recreation areas for the citizens of Holden. Additionally, the ELC will develop a report designed to provide the Board of Selectmen, Town Manager, and residents of Holden various options for funding the development of the recreation area, cleaning and maintenance of the lake and ownership and maintenance of the dam at the lake. The report will include up front and annual costs and associated with implementing any recommendations, a current state analysis, and identification of up front and annual funding sources outside and including the Town's budget, with a timeline for implementation.
The Finance Committee is an arm of the Town Meeting and is responsible to consider matters relating to the appropriation, expenditure or borrowing of funds by the Town of Holden. As part of its consideration, it makes recommendations to annual and special town meetings and other municipal boards and officials. The primary responsibility of the Finance Committee is its consideration of the annual town budget. The committee reviews budget requests and furnishes recommendations to the Town Meeting. Finance Committee members are appointed by the moderator.
Historic District Committee
The establishment of the Historic District Commission is to promote the preservation and protection of the historic appearance and characteristics of the buildings and grounds within the district. The Commission also has the authority to approve or reject all facade changes being considered by the residents of the district. The historic district in Holden consists of the Old Burying Ground, the Gale Free Library, the Damon House, Starbard Building, Town Hall, First Congregational Church, First Baptist Church, the Mobil Oil gas station on Main Street and the offices and residences of Boyden Road.
The Historical Commission was established for the protection, preservation and development of historical and archeological assets of the Town of Holden. The Commission keeps an inventory of all buildings, sites and areas of historical or archeological significance. In addition to keeping records, the Committee presents applications to state and local organizations for development and implementation of historic preservation plans. It also submits plans to coordinate local preservation activities. Similarly, the Committee surveys historic buildings and conducts studies on archeological and historic sites.
Holden Housing Authority
The Holden Housing Authority (HHA) administers state and federally subsidized housing programs for low income individuals and families. Our state programs consist of 48 elderly/disabled units at Checkerberry Village (ch. 667), eight units of three bedroom family housing (ch. 705). The HHA also administers 59 vouchers from the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program that is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Individuals assisted by this program, rent units in the private market in Holden, Worcester and other surrounding communities. The main office is located at 9 Flagler Drive in Holden. In November 2018, the HHA entered into a Management Agreement with the Worcester Housing Authority (WHA), which allows the Worcester Housing Authority to bring the management experience of a strong work force to Holden, increasing the services that are provided to the HHA residents.
Municipal Electric Power Advisory Board
The Holden Municipal Electric Power Advisory Board (MEPAB) is established to provide the Holden Municipal Light Department with the operational direction necessary to insure the successful competitive operation of that Department. MEPAB is delegated authority to direct and control the daily operations of the Holden Municipal Light Department. This authority shall extend to and include:
Recommendation to the Town Manager of a qualified individual for appointment to the position of Light Department Operating Manager. The Operating Manager so appointed shall be directly responsible to the Directors for the conduct and supervision of the day to day operations of the Light Department.
Employment of such other servants, agents and attorneys as are deemed necessary to operate the Light Department, subject to such provisions of a merit system which may be established;
Recommendation of salary and wages to be paid to employees of the Light Department;
Purchase of supplies particular to the operation of the Light Department, in accordance with applicable General Laws and Town By-Law and consistent with accepted purchasing procedures;
Control of all plant, equipment, or supplies in the custody of the Light Department;
Establishment of electric rates in accordance with procedural requirements of various State and Federal Regulatory Bodies;
Manufacture and distribution of electricity.
Open Space and Recreation Plan
Holden’s 2020 Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP) is a planning document designed to provide direction to Town government and others interested in protecting the Town’s open spaces, recreational and historical resources. The 2020 OSRP will evaluate property in Holden that has been identified as significantly contributing to the open space and recreation needs and overall character of the Town.
The plan includes a Five-Year Action Program to further the following goals:
To preserve the aesthetic and natural resources in Holden;
To preserve wildlife habitats;
To preserve water supplies for Holden and surrounding towns;
To provide active recreation resources and facilities;
To promote passive recreation resources and integrate them with conservation and open space activities; and
To develop funding sources to accomplish these goals.
The 2020 OSRP, which replaces and supersedes the 2012 OSRP, maintains the Town of Holden eligibility for grant programs administered by the Division of Conservation Services (DCS) of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA).
Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 41, Section 81 lays out the regulations and procedures the Planning Board must follow including but not limited to the Subdivision Control Law and the requirement to file an annual report. The Planning Board has established local regulations under this law to control the establishment of new subdivisions within the Town. Holden's By-laws provide additional procedures for the Planning Board to conduct Site Plan Review of other development projects to assure the safety of access and egress and internal circulation on those sites.
Meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesday of every month except during July and December, when only one meeting per month is held.
The Holden Recreation Committee exists as an advisory board to the Director of the Department of Recreation. Our primary goal is to assist the Director in providing a wide range of recreational opportunities to residents of all ages and interests. To do this, the Recreation Department must have appropriate sites and facilities. The Committee continues to work hard with the goal to improve existing facilities and developing new ones.
We close out each year with our annual Santa's arrival at Town Hall. Last year's attendance was estimated to be the biggest yet to watch the tree lighting, visit with Santa, enjoy the Christmas carols provided by the various groups of Girl Scouts and enjoy hot chocolate and popcorn in the vestry of the First Congregational Church.
Board of Trustees of Damon Memorial
The Board of Trustees of Damon Memorial is the governing body of the Gale Free Library. It is responsible for setting policies for the library's operation, program of service, and selection of materials. The Trustees' duties include custody and management of the Library building and all property owned by the Town related to library operations. It is also responsible for expenditure of any Town appropriations for library support and maintenance as well as any gifts to the library.
Veterans Advisory Committee
The purpose of the Veterans Advisory Committee is to provide advice to the Town Manager on matters relating to Holden Veterans such as the status of the veterans community and those specific areas of interest that most concern or impact the Town’s veterans. The Committee is open to all registered voters of the Town of Holden and Holden veterans discharged under honorable circumstances. The Holden Council on Aging strives to assist seniors and their families by providing services and activities that will enable them to stay independent and living in their own homes for as long as possible.
Zoning Board of Appeals
The Zoning Board of Appeals operates under Section 7.4 of the Holden Bylaws. Zoning laws regulate the use of private property, and also limit the dimensional boundaries of privately owned buildings and land. Holden’s Zoning Bylaws are in place to protect the neighborhoods from the construction of buildings or structures that do not fit into the context of a neighborhood or into the general aesthetics for the town. The Zoning Board of Appeals hears appeals for varying the application of the Zoning Bylaws and determines when it is appropriate to grant deviations from code restrictions.