last updated 3/31/2024

PFAS in Town and Private Wells – updated 3/31/24

The Selectboard continues to work with Town Administrator Sherry Patch, Licensed Site Professional (LSP) Jeffrey Arps from Tighe & Bond, and Attorney Barry Fogel from Keegan Werlin on the   execution of the Immediate Response Action (IRA) Plan filed with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP.) Residents are kept updated on the PFAS situation through updates on the PFAS page on the website (including links to reports filed with MassDEP), by updates during public Board meetings and public information sessions.  At the 1/16/2024 information session, Jeffrey Arps informed residents of the Phase II Report submitted in November of 2023. The report covered the extent of impacts in all media (soil, groundwater and surface water) and a risk assessment. The Phase III/IV report is due in November of 2024. The next info session is scheduled for 4/16/24 at 6:30pm and will include information from the March Immediate Response Action status report.

We have engaged special counsel Kevin J. Madonna, who specializes in complex environmental litigation, to represent Princeton in filing a suit in Federal court as part of the multi-district litigation against companies that designed, manufactured, marketed, distributed, and/or sold PFAS.  We hope to get some reimbursement of our PFAS-related expenditures as result of this litigation. The complaint was filed on 7/1/22 and can be found on the PFAS page under Additional Resources. The Board wants to remind residents that the litigation against the manufacturers and distributors of PFAS is a lengthy process and we have no guarantees of any particular outcome. Our attorney is paid on a contingency basis. We received two updates recently on the multi-district litigation. Links to those updates can be found at the top of the PFAS page.

There are new developments that residents should be aware of:

  • EPA took soil samples this spring at 30 Mountain Rd and found that the results did not meet their threshold for soil removal. The letter from EPA can be found on the PFAS page.
  • Construction is complete on a treatment system for runoff from a pipe coming out of the ledge near 30 Mountain Rd.
  • Our LSP filed the Phase 2 Comprehensive Site Assessment Report with MassDEP. A link to it can be found in the “Filings to and Responses from MassDEP” section of the PFAS page.


New Public Safety Building - updated 3/31/24

Voters at the 2023 Annual Town Meeting approved the transfer of funds to pay for the final design and construction documents of a new public safety building. The Selectboard updated the building committee’s charge and membership. Meeting agendas, meeting minutes, recordings, and other information can be found here

Senator Anne Gobi met with the Selectboard on 11/30/21 and expressed some thoughts on our public safety building. We are not alone in having outdated buildings that need to be replaced. Many towns in Senator Gobi’s district are in the same situation. She expressed concern that we were on our fourth committee. She also encouraged us to demonstrate that we are willing to spend some money on the building since it would help us go after money through the Governor’s capital plan. She noted that having design and construction documents is critical to any efforts to secure outside funding.  This message was reiterated in a subsequent meeting between her office, Helga Lyons and Phil Gott.

The Town did not receive a grant to cover the cost of the design and construction documents. We were told that our application was very strong and compelling but that the State had decided to not fund any building-related projects this year.

Knowledgeable and experienced Fire and Police Chiefs have reviewed our existing designs to help identify both missing and unnecessary spaces. Summaries of their comments can be found here.

The Committee has been reviewing a proposed Scope of Work from the architects, Caolo & Bieniek, and hope to have a signed agreement soon.

Sale of Mechanics Hall - updated 3/31/24

Since Red Cardinal notified the Town that it would not be pursuing a retail cannabis dispensary at Mechanics Hall, the Selectboard decided to revise and reissue the Request for Proposals (RFP).  The Board was hoping to find someone to redevelop the building where it is but was open to having the building relocated. If it were to be redeveloped where it is, the Board was looking for either a commercial or mixed-use application. The Board has discussed the option of razing the building at some point in the future if they can’t find a buyer. Creative proposals from all sources are encouraged including those from Princeton citizen groups who have a realistic plan and proposed funding sources to put the building to good use. No responses to the RFP were received and the Selectboard is considering next steps.

Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program - updated 3/31/24

Princeton received a $20,000 grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to help Princeton meet the challenges of climate change and develop a Municipal Preparedness Plan. The grant funded a Community Resilience Building Workshop aimed at the rigorous identification of climate change impacts and best practices to enable Princeton to meet these challenges. Based on the workshop, the Town and the Central Mass Regional Planning Commission developed a plan and we were notified on 9/9/2022 that we have been designated as an MVP Community.  This accepted plan positions Princeton to gain further grants to create infrastructure to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Mitigation grants could enhance, for example, Princeton’s installation of larger, more robust culverts, provide additional funding for tree trimming and forest management, improved firefighting water sources, natural fire barriers and water retention areas, etc. 

The town was notified in December 2022 that the MVP program had opened its Expression of Interest (EOI) phase for the upcoming round of MVP Action Grants. We were told that submitting an EOI would enable the EEA’s MVP team to provide feedback on our project ideas and help us brainstorm ways to make our projects more competitive.


CMRPC strongly recommended that we submit an EOI as soon as possible, especially since our ideas could use some refinement. This is an excellent opportunity to review our list of priority projects with the EEA’s MVP team and develop fundable project concepts.

The MVP team submitted expressions of interest for Engineering for Fire Pond Upgrade and Culvert Resizing Hobbs Road, Promoting Resiliency through Landscape Stewardship, Climate Resiliency Education Campaign, and a PMLD Sterling Road Power Line. Due to the feedback received from the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs during the expression of interest process, it was decided not to pursue these projects at this time.

Town Administrator Sherry Patch is working with CMRPC and neighboring towns to identify larger, regional opportunities. The MVP process is very cumbersome and lends itself to larger projects. Sherry mentioned that there are easier grants for which we can apply that address some of the same issues an MVP grant would. One example she mentioned was grants for culvert replacement.

Worcester Road Project – updated 3/31/24

VHB was awarded the contract for engineering services for design and preparation of construction documents for full depth reclamation and milling of Worcester Road from the center of town to the Holden Town Line (approximately 3 miles). The project will also include installation of 3200’ of new sidewalk from Sharon Drive to the second entrance of Hickory Drive. The Town applied for a MassWorks grant for a portion of the project but was denied, in part, because the Town hadn’t invested enough of its own money. We have received a $498,000 Complete Streets grant that can be used for part of this project. The Selectboard held meetings on February 13 and September 20 to get input from residents on the sidewalk portion of the project.

The Town must finish the Worcester Rd sidewalks, drainage, and crossings Complete Streets project before applying for additional projects through Complete Streets. The Selectboard authorized the to execute a contract for the Worcester Road Pedestrian Improvements Project to A.F. Amorello & Sons, Inc. The contract amount is $393,245.90 and the Complete Streets Grant funded up to $498,003. Construction will begin soon.

Green Communities - updated 7/26/23

The application to become a Green Community has been approved. The Town has submitted our application for the projects we’d like to complete with our $130,869 designation grant. A team met several times to discuss the projects that were proposed for the designation grant. Central Massachusetts Regional Planning has advised us that the State really likes to see weatherization projects done before projects like new HVAC systems. We worked with a firm called Guardian to select the weatherization projects we should do (those with a good payback) so that we could apply for HVAC-related projects during the next round of funding.  The team agreed to move forward with some lighting projects and a request for funds for plan implementation by CMRPC.

The State approved our plan for the designation grant spending and the project kickoff meeting was recently held. The Town Administrator, Special Projects Coordinator and Building Maintenance Superintendent are currently working with CMRPC to put a Scope of Services together for lighting improvement projects at the Library, Highway Department, and Station 2.  We are also working on getting proposals for weatherization studies of these buildings so that we can apply for HVAC Improvements under a future Green Communities Competitive grant round.  The Energy Audit for the Thomas Prince School is complete and is available on the Town website.  Funding for this project was received under a Municipal Technical Assistance (META) grant.  The audit was conducted by Peregrine Energy Group.

Our first Green Communities project, lighting improvements at the Library, Bagg Hall, Highway and Station 2, is now complete. We awarded the bid for Weatherization Project to Rise Engineering for $7,157. This covers weatherization updates at Bagg Hall, the Library, Station 2, and the Highway Barn. Once we have done the weatherization improvements, we will be able to apply for grants for heating and cooling improvements.


Housing – added 12/15/23

We applied for and received a Community Compact Grant under the Best Practices Program to have CMRPC help develop a Housing Production Plan for Princeton. The Selectboard formed a Housing Production Plan Committee to work with CMRPC. The Selectboard voted to accept the resulting Plan on 12/28/22 and the State has given its approval. The final plan can be found here. The Plan lays out proposed next steps that should be taken by the Selectboard and the Planning Board. The Selectboard formed a Housing Production Plan Implementation Committee which is fully staffed and hard at work.


Updating of Town Master Plan – updated 12/15/23

The Selectboard voted on 1/25/23 to form a Master Plan Steering Committee to work with CMRPC and Town employees and officials on the first phase of the Master Plan update. We received a $50,000 grant from the State that was used to fund CMRPC’s contribution. The Committee has draft versions of the Land Use, Economic Development and Open Space and Recreation chapters which are under review and revision. The Town applied for a grant for the next phase of the Master Plan but did not receive it. The Selectboard will be discussing whether to use other funds or to reapply next year.


Waste & Recycling – updated 3/31/24

Town administrators and representatives from Princeton, Hubbardston, and Rutland have been meeting to explore opportunities to work together to apply for grants that could save residents money while making a positive environmental impact across our communities. To move these conversations forward, Irene M. Congdon, the Central Mass Municipal Assistance Coordinator, met with members of the Selectboards and Boards of Health from the three towns on 3/28. She gave a presentation about the feasibility and benefits of regional partnerships and answered questions.


American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds – updated 3/31/24

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319), also known as ARPA, into law. The $1.9 trillion package was intended to combat the COVID19 pandemic, including the public health and economic impacts.

Princeton has received its full allocation of $1,042,587.02 as of 9/29/2022. Funds must be allocated to projects by 12/31/2024 and must be completely spent by 12/31/2026. Ineligible uses include payments into a pension fund (OPEB), debt payments, transfers into stabilization accounts, and replenishing of reserve accounts. Other limitations on the funds were removed for municipalities that received less than $10 million.

As of 3/20/24, ARPA funds have been allocated as follows:




 $ Allocated-Reported 4/30/23

Bagg Hall Water System



4 Bldg HVAC Assessment



Fire Department Assessment



Deposit Engine 5 Replace



Police Department Assessment



Police Reform Offset



Speed Plateaus



Multi Purpose Trailer



Library Ethernet Cabling



Police Repeater Replacement



Compensation Study



POET Install Project



Ecotourism Grant Match



Wellhouse Demolition Project



Fire Dept Turn Out Gear



Highway Truck Lift



Highway Mini Excavator



Security Improvements TP School



Hwy-Snow Plow Blades/Temp Sensors



Highway Generator - Fuel Pump System



PFAS Engineering & Well Monitoring



Walkway Repairs



Slate Roof Repairs



Window Repairs









Employee & Volunteer Appreciation Party



Police Dept Server / Software



FY 24 costs for a new full-time Police officer



Highway Backhoe



Highway Culvert Repair E Princeton Rd



Police Dept Cruiser



Fire Ambulance Down Pay



Library Boiler Replace



COA Flooring










Awarded--1st Round



Awarded--2nd Round








  • The Selectboard discussed possibly allocated $80,000 to a Ball Hill culvert project as part of a grant application to make the application stronger. We were told that having money allocated was stronger than saying we would vote on it at our Annual Town Meeting.
  • The Board also discussed funding grant writing assistance and sent out an RFP with a proposed budget of $10,000. No allocation has been made yet.


Police & Fire – updated 3/31/24

The Selectboard continues to work with the police department to monitor requirements stemming from police reform legislation. We are already feeling the effects of changes to the certification of part-time officers. We could also be impacted by new certification requirements for police departments but they have yet to be released.

Board member Phil Gott is working with the Chiefs on developing and reporting on metrics that can be used to drive future budgeting and planning decisions. Those metrics can be found here.

The Fire Chief has expressed concern that wages for medics and EMTs are not sufficient to keep employees. The Board will be discussing these concerns and a possible expansion of overnight ambulance coverage with the Chief. One idea that has not been formally voted upon is to come back in the fall at a Special Town Meeting and bring this before voters. That will allow the Department, Selectboard, and Advisory Committee to have time to review and communicate the metrics behind any proposed warrant article.

The Selectboard ratified the new contract with the Police Union and voters approved additional funding for that contract at a March Special Town Meeting. The Board is waiting to receive the final document so they can sign and post the contract on our website.


Speeding – updated 3/31/24

The Selectboard continues to work with the Police and Highway departments on what can be done to control speeding on our streets. The Board hears regularly from residents in all parts of town about this continued problem. The deployment of electronic speed control signs helps in many instances. The Police continue to enforce speed limits to the best of their ability but can’t be everywhere. Though voters said no at a Special Town Meeting on 3/7/23 to two warrant articles that would have allowed the Board to set speed limits as low as 25 mph in some heavily settled areas or 20 mph in a declared safety zone, the Board is going to include those articles on this spring’s Annual Town Meeting warrant. Without these articles, speed limit changes must be approved by the state after a costly speed study.  The Selectboard recently authorized Sherry Patch to form a working group with the DPW Superintendent and the Police Chief to work on measures to address speeding concerns in town.

Budget and Related – updated 3/31/24

The preliminary FY25 budget will be presented to residents on 4/10 at 6:30. The Financial Management Team will discuss which parts of the budget are well understood, like the WRSD budget, and which parts are still in flux. Other dates of interest are:

  • April 22, 6:30pm:  The FMT presents the final budget to the Advisory Committee and Selectboard
  • April 25, 6-8:30pm: Pre-Town Meeting Open House at Princeton Community and Senior Center
  • April 30, 6:30pm: Advisory Committee Public Hearing
  • May 14, 6:30pm: Annual Town Meeting 


The Board hears often from residents who would like to reduce residential taxes by bringing in more commercial and industrial taxpayers. One effort to do this is work on an EcoTourism plan. The newly formed EcoTourism Committee had their kickoff meeting in December and has been talking with residents and business owners in town. They also are asking residents what they like to do in Princeton. Do you hike, bike, ride, bird watch or enjoy Princeton’s natural resources in other ways? They want to hear about your experiences. Help inform Princeton’s Ecotourism Economic Development plan by filling out this survey.

Facilities – added 3/31/24

The Selectboard met on 3/28 with the town department heads and Sherry Patch to discuss issues such as facilities, employee recruitment and retention, the budget, shared and regional service opportunities, and grant opportunities. Phil Connors and Ben Metcalf shared a few things with the group. A large section of the flat roof on the Princeton Center School blew off recently. Quite an effort was required but the loose parts were removed. Phil reported that there is a lot of water infiltration into the building and ceilings and floors are beginning to be really affected. There was a short discussion about how the town might want to consider seeing if there is anything remaining of value to a salvager. Sherry Patch will be looking into it. She will also be looking into getting quotes for possible demolition of the building.

There was also discussion about who is responsible for what with respect to playing fields in town. For example, work done by a sports organization on a ball field created problems with the sprinkler system.