The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of November 4 to November 11, 2021
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Fall Special Town Meeting will be held on Monday, November 8, beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the Murdock Middle High School Auditorium.
Read the Final Warrant with BOS and FinCom Recommendations (PDF)
Masks are REQUIRED inside the school building

Voters Will Decide on Wastewater and Sewer Budget Deficits, Property Transfers at Fall Town Meeting

The certified Warrant for the Fall Special Town Meeting scheduled for Monday, November 8, 7:00 p.m. at the Murdock Middle High School includes 17 Articles, some of which may evoke some controversy on Town Meeting floor. Following is the annual Winchendon Courier summary for voters.

Some helpful tips for voters:

  • As Fiscal Year designations will come up a few times, we are currently in Fiscal Year 2022, which runs from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
  • When an Article (or public hearing notice, etc) refers to a piece of property by its parcel number (for example, 5B2-0-300), you can find out what parcel it is by going to the Assessor's database, which is linked from the town website, and searching for the parcel number.
Article 1. Reports of the Finance Committee, or any other Board or Committee.
If approved, the Finance Committee will give its report to Town Meeting on the current financial status of the Town and the fiscal consequences of Articles on the Warrant. Other Committees may have reports but usually don't.

Article 2. Transfer funds from Free Cash to pay outstanding bills.
Late bills are always coming in; Town Meeting must approve paying outstanding accounts from prior fiscal years. This Article simply authorizes those payments from Free Cash.

overhead view of parking lot Article 3. Spend $65,000 from Free Cash to build a municipal parking lot on Town-owned parcel 5B2-0-300.
Town Manager Justin Sultzbach explained to the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee that this lot is a response to concerns from businesses about loss of parking during the Central Street Reconstruction Project, and afterwards when fewer spaces will be available on Central Street. The site is now an open grassy area at the corner of Pleasant Street and the drive leading up from the police station. The lot is planned to provide about 30 parking spaces.

Article 4. Spend $66,735.27 from Free Cash for one-ton truck for the Department of Public Works.
Two years ago, one of the DPW's one-ton trucks was damaged during a snow storm and has not yet been replaced. With winter weather approaching, replacing the truck is seen as an urgent need that should not be postponed.

Article 5. Spend $81,562.65 to fund FY21 deficit in the Water Department Enterprise Fund.
Article 6. Spend $154,131.98 to find FY21 deficit in the Wastewater (Sewer) Enterprise Fund.

Articles 5 and 6 ask voters to approve covering shortfalls in the Water and Wastewater Enterprise Funds for the prior fiscal year, FY21, from Free Cash. As these expenses are left over from a prior year, the state mandates that they be paid.

Article 7. Spend $114,406 to fund anticipated FY22 deficit in the Water Department Enterprise Fund, while decreasing the FY22 Water Department budget by $70,000.
Article 8. Spend $199,217 to fund anticipated FY22 deficit in the Wastewater (Sewer) Department Enterprise Fund, while decreasing the FY22 Water Department budget by $100,000.

Articles 7 and 8 raised concerns with the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee voted not to recommend Articles 7 and 8. Enterprise Funds are intended to be self-sustaining, covering all expenses for their department through user fees and fines. Winchendon's Water and Wastewater Enterprise Funds have been consistently falling short of expenses for several years, despite rate increases implemented for FY21 and FY22.

The Finance Committee argued that taking money from Free Cash before the town knows what the actual deficit will be is reckless, and the deficit should be covered, if necessary, at the end of the fiscal year when final numbers are known. Members of the Board of Selectmen have raised many questions about the outside vendor, Veolia International, that manages the Water and Wastewater plants for the town. Additional concerns include some $150,000 in delinquent unpaid ratepayer bills, aging, leaky pipes throughout the system (from the main line from Ashburnham to water lines in streets that are constantly breaking), inaccurate meters, and abuse of the system (such as homeowners illegally draining sump pumps into the sewer system).

There is currently a five-year incremental plan in place to raise water and sewer rates annually.

As a result of the Finance Committee's negative recommendation, the Town Manager and Department of Public Works have adjusted the budget projections and will move to request lower amounts on Town Meeting floor. Because the Warrant was already certified, these amounts will need to be made either in the motion or in an amendment. The Finance Committee may change its recommendation on Town Meeting floor to reflect the new amounts (or it may not).

Article 9: To pay the new Veterans Service Director an additional $1,552.30.
Due to the sudden death of the previous Veterans Service Director, a backlog in services and benefits built up. The new Director has been putting in overtime hours catching up, reconciling some discrepancies and tightening up procedures. The Finance Committee raised some concerns about setting a precedent in putting such a small amount into a Warrant article, but the Town Manager feels that it is justified.

Article 10: Place $50,000 from Free Cash into the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Trust Account.
Article 11: Place $50,000 from Free Cash into a Reserve Account for Contractual Separation Pay-outs.
Article 12: Place $130,000 from Free Cash into the Stabilization Fund.

These three Articles are "fiscal best practices" procedures suggested by the Finance Committee. They ensure that the town will have sufficient funds in reserve to meet future obligations, including retirement and contractual expenses for town employees, and a healthy Stabilization Fund for emergencies. The Town Manager told the Board of Selectmen that these should have been funded regularly long before now, and the town should put money into these accounts every year.

Article 13: Authorize a three-year lease agreement for a Cracksealer for the DPW.
Cracksealing has been outsourced to a third-party vendor. The DPW will save money by buying its own equipment and handling the work in-house. The DPW will also be able to make repairs immediately and as needed rather than wait on the schedule of the third-party vendor. Because the outsourced service is already funded (and will be discontinued), the lease is covered by the existing DPW budget.

Article 14: Accept deed in lieu of foreclosure: 3 Beech Street and 11 Beech Street.
These are the properties at the corner of Beech Street and Spring Street. 3 Beech Street formerly housed an auto repair shop, 4Cs Garage. 11 Beech Street is a duplex that has been condemned and is empty. The property owners are transferring the properties to the town. The town has already invested funds in evaluating the clean-up and rehab needed for these properties. The current plan is to demolish 3 Beech Street and reclaim the property as part of the Gateway Park. The duplex will be renovated and used as a revenue source for the town.

Article 15: Transfer parcels to the Winchendon Redevelopment Authority.
3 Beech Street and 11 Beech Street will be transferred to the Winchendon Redevelopment Authority which will take responsibility for rehabbing the properties with no expense to taxpayers.

Article 16: Convey a parcel of land at 4 Summer Drive.
This is another of those peculiarities in parcels of property around the center of town which keep being discovered. The parcel is a very small and otherwise unusable sliver of land which will be conveyed to Bull Spit Brewing as part of their installation at 4 Summer Drive. How it was separated from the other parcels in that area in the first place will be forever a mystery.

Article 17: Accept Madison Avenue as a public town way.
All paperwork, plans, surveys and other necessary elements are in place and were paid for by the developer. The street acceptance was approved by the Planning Board and just needs to be accepted by Town Meeting. (Madison Avenue is off of Gardner Road/Rte 140, about a quarter mile south of Cornerstone Church.)

Fall Special Town Meeting will be held in the Murdock Middle High School Auditorium (rather than the gym as were the last two Town Meetings). Masks are required inside the school building. Masks will be available for the absent-minded who forgot to bring one.

Quite a Trick! WFD "Treats" Over a Thousand Kids on Halloween

WFD Halloween turnout
WFD Lt. Mark Vitale carefully introduces himself to a T-Rex during WFD Halloween festivities proving Toy Town Fire Fighters fear neither fire nor the wrath of carnivorous dinosaurs.
Photo by Keith Kent
WFD Halloween turnout
In true Ghostbusters fashion, members of the Wante Family of Winchendon have their Proton Packs ready in case the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man tries to get out of line and wreak havoc on Toy Town citizens!
Photo by Keith Kent

It was the Halloween parents and children were looking for, 50 degree temps, no rain, and a Toy Town green light to celebrate, as children just wanting to be children hit the streets, with over 1,000 strong flocking to the Winchendon Fire Department in force for candy, glow sticks and more with many smiles and much jubilation under welcoming and abnormally warm New England fall skies.

From near to the Clark YMCA upper parking lot, all the way to and past the WFD, vehicles transporting Halloween attendees lined both sides of the road as far as the eye could see. The sidewalks were teeming with children in costumes of every kind, with a common goal: lots of candy on each child's cheerful mind.

With conversations by the young ranging from, "You should have seen that house," to, "that street gave out more candy," there was no shortage of information being shared by Winchendon's youngest members with all their fellow adventurers around them. Children attending the WFD could be heard saying they came from not just Toy Town, but Templeton and Gardner, with some parents telling others they were attending the area and Fire Station festivities from both Fitzwilliam and Rindge, NH.

Chief Tom Smith was pleased to say, "Tonight we have given out 4,000 pieces of candy, 700 glow sticks, and a few hundred flashing blinking pumpkins that children hang around their necks to help keep them stay visible and safe while out Trick or Treating. All these items were donated courtesy of the Winchendon Fire Fighters Relief Association, the Union, and individuals. They really step up every time they do this for the children and their families and I am very proud of what they do for all the kids. This tradition at the Fire Department started many years ago as I came on in 2012 and it's been taking place long, long before that."

Smith pointed out the over 1,000 children served were all in the capable hands of only about a dozen volunteer helpers, with members of the WFD, their spouses, and/or significant others happily tending the children during the town scheduled 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. festivities. Smith said, "This is great, it gives the children a safe place to go and enjoy themselves, and it's also nice for the fire fighters because they enjoy both meeting and seeing the children and helping make them happy."

In closing Chief Smith added, "It's nice that the children who come here get to meet the fire fighters and also often thank them for what they are receiving. The parents are focused on making sure their children are safe, and with everything that is going on in society today, it's great to see so many kids can come here and not have to worry and just have fun like they are supposed to be able to. I would also like to thank both the local Union and the Relief Association for helping out and pitching in for the community as well as different members around town who also donated candy. We all come together for the children as a cause and as one big community and that is what it's about, this is really nice."

BOS Updated on Ongoing Plans for Fire Station Upgrade

At the October 25 Board of Selectmen's meeting, Town Manager Justin Sultzbach addressed the Board regarding the current status of the proposed Fire Station upgrades, with Winchendon Fire Department Chief Tom Smith in attendance to bring the Board up to date on the project in both scope and potential costs.

Sultzbach said, "I have been talking with Chief Smith about some of the needs of his department and the needs of the community. We agreed to work together to find a path forward for this project. We are looking at a two point solution here, to address the design to find opportunities here to try to reduce cost, as we don't want to go so bare bones on this that it's not even worth making the investment where your community outgrows the station in five years and you're kind of right back where you were. But we have to be sensitive to the fact that this is a community with a lot of different needs and priorities and limited funding. Our goal is to reduce the cost to $10 million which would when adjusted for inflation come out to a 25 percent reduction in construction costs."

A path forward would require working with Capital Planning, the Finance Committee, the Board of Selectman, and finally Town Meeting for a proposal to the voters in a formal approved article to be voted on, according to the Town Manager. Smith informed the BOS that he thanked Sultzbach for working with the Fire Department to try to move the project forward, saying, "One of the first things he said to me was not to be offended when he picks it apart, and I told him I welcome that because things didn't go well at the last go around, so I think the most important thing is to get a fresh set of eyes and move forward with some new ideas on ways to move forward and get more input from the community. I feel the plan we have moving forward will not only benefit the Fire Department, but ultimately the entire community."

BOS Chair Audrey LaBrie asked Sultzbach if he was looking to propose the station upgrades at the upcoming May, 2022 Annual Town Meeting. Sultzback said yes, and that he was looking to break it into two parts, such as securing funds for schematic design fees for the full build-out and then go out to bid with the "Funding-in-hand" so the town would have a concrete number, due to the continuing fluctuation of construction costs. Sultzbach explained, "We are looking at trying to get rid of the formerly proposed second floor, and instead of having a connecting building, to build a new building right next to it which wouldn't trigger some of the existing code requirements, and then allow restoring the old existing station at their own pace, and at the same time adding a courtyard between the two buildings adding some cost savings."

Selectman Rick Ward said, "If we are going to come up with a whole new approach, then we definitely need to see what is different from the last approach, where are we saving the money, and what are we cutting and so on. That is what I am concerned about, that we get all that information before Town Meeting."

Sultzbach replied, "Absolutely, and we will have public input sessions, with the addition of going through boards, so by the time it goes to Town Meeting, people will be tired of hearing about it and they are going to know every square inch of this fire station."

Selectman Amy Salter commented, "That is what I was going to say, we need to flood the information to the people. Last time we really didn't talk about it that much, and then all of a sudden we hit people with it at the Town Meeting and we hit people with like 12 million dollars and it was a shock. We need to keep asking about it, talking about it, work with the different boards, and get everybody involved so that by the time we go to the Town Meeting we really know what we are talking about so pretty much everybody has a say and we have a plan because we really need to sell this to the voters, we really do."

Chief Smith reassured the Board that once the plans were drawn up, there would be plenty of public input sessions letting the public also go over the numbers, and to go over what was changed and what was reduced to help explain what and why things were reduced down, and why the plans would go in that particular direction. "We will have those information sessions, get the information out there as much as we can, and continue doing just that throughout the process," Smith elaborated.

Salter agreed, "I think now is the time because I think in general we have a whole new appreciation for our first responders and we need to take care of you and I think this time we can do it and just have to keep working at it, so I am excited and you get my support."

COVID Levels Spike in Winchendon Just Days Before Town Meeting

The Town of Winchendon, after finally descending to the high 3 percent range as reported last week, has again achieved a significant increase in viral positivity, rising 22 percent. In the most recent Massachusetts Department of Public Health 7 day weekly update on Thursday, November 4, Winchendon registered at 4.86 percent, just days before the Fall Special Town Meeting scheduled for Monday, November 8, at Murdock Middle High School. If the numerical pattern were to continue, it would place the COVID rate on Monday at just over 5 percent.

Locally, many communities experienced decreases in the same reporting period, while still comparable to Winchendon. As a town, Winchendon registering at 4.86 percent viral positivity, is 2.85 or nearly 3 times higher than the Commonwealth of Massachusetts average of just 1.70 percent. This jump, as previously predicted, comes on the heels of many indoor Halloween parties and gatherings, where less air ventilation and close indoor contact, while also not masking in close indoor spaces, served as plentiful host conditions for increased viral infections.

Many area towns per this new report realized modest but welcome viral decreases. To Winchendon's south in the Narragansett Regional School District, Templeton while still high experienced a considerable drop, dipping from 5.79 to 5.09 percent based on 903 tests, and Phillipston, just weeks ago in the 11th and high 12th percentile, dropped from 6.37 to 4.86 percent, same as Winchendon. Also to our south, the City of Gardner with just under 20,000 residents dipped slightly from 4.61 to 4.33 percent based on 2,284 molecular tests.

To Winchendon's west, the member towns of the Athol Royalston Regional School District both paralleled and achieved zero infections. Athol, a town of 11,500 and Worcester County's largest town, remained virtually the same at 4.76 percent, just .001 higher than the week before when it was 4.75 percent, based on 1,369 tests. School District member Royalston, which borders Winchendon, registered at 0.00 percent, the first in Winchendon's municipal area to achieve that status in quite some time. To Winchendon's east in the Oakmont Regional School District, Ashburnham realized a slight increase from 2.66 to 3.02 percent based on 828 tests, and member town of Westminster which last week was a very high 8.95 percent, dropped considerably to 4.98 percent, a 7 day drop of 44 percent!

In the Commonwealth's three largest cities, numbers continue mostly to be below the Massachusetts average while having the largest population densities, due to higher vaccination rates. The third largest city, Springfield, dropped from 2.70 to 2.55 percent positivity with a population of 155,929 per the 2020 United States Census. The second largest municipality of Worcester, with nearly 210,000 residents not including college and university students achieved a 7 day drop from 1.18 to (Sub-1) at 0.90 percent. At the very largest, the City of Boston which per the 2020 Census realizes a regular yearly residential population of 699,000 and roughly 1.5 Million during the higher educational academic year, dropped to an astonishingly low 0.64 percent viral positivity, despite having the highest population density in the entire Commonwealth.

In closing, as the Monday, November 8, Special Town Meeting is taking place in a public school at the Murdock High School Auditorium, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education mandates masking in all public schools, any person attending must wear a mask. Additionally, there will be social distancing maintained between chairs for seating. Also, please remember that when entering any town owned public buildings, masks must be worn by the public when entering the buildings at this time, due to our viral positivity rate.

Keith Kent
Board of Health
Town of Winchendon

To schedule a free COVID-19 vaccination at any time, go to

Be sure to check out our Classified and Employment Ads on the Events Page!

Veterans Day Ceremony at the Winchendon American Legion

The Winchendon MA American Legion Post 193, located at 295 School Street, will be holding their annual Veteran's Day Ceremony on November 11. The ceremony will begin promptly at 11 a.m. We ask all participants to arrive at 10:30 a.m. Light refreshments and snacks will be provided at the conclusion of the ceremony. Please come out and say Thank You to a veteran!

Great Movies to See at the Beals Memorial Library

Are you looking for something fun to do indoors now that the weather is getting colder? Then head over to the Beals Memorial Library, where they'll be screening some great movies, new and old! Each month, the library hosts four indoor film events, fit for varying audiences. Here's what's playing this month:

On Wednesday, November 10, at 6:00 p.m., the library will be showing My Salinger Year for this month's Adult Movie Night. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Margaret Qualley, and Douglas Booth, the film follows a young woman who takes a job working for the literary agent of the solitary author, J.D. Salinger.

That same week, on Saturday, November 13, at 11:00 a.m., the library selected Paw Patrol: The Movie for this month's Family Matinee. In this spin off of the hit children's cartoon, Ryder and the pups head off to Adventure City to stop the wicked Mayor Humdinger from wreaking chaos on the city.

On November 18 the library will be showing two films on the same day, starting off with their Classic Matinee at 1:30 p.m.. This month's selection is the 1967 prison drama film, Cool Hand Luke. Starring Paul Newman and featuring George Kennedy, the film follows Luke, a man sentenced to two years in a chain gang at a rural prison, who refuses to conform to the rules.

Also on November 18, at 6:00 p.m., the library will be wrapping up the month with their Doc & Talk documentary and discussion program. This month's documentary centers on a forester's unique experience with the trees he worked with.

All movies at the Beals Memorial Library are free and open to the public. All movies are shown in the library's auditorium, and all guests must wear masks while inside the library. All movie-goers are welcome to bring their own snacks to the movies.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. For more information, call the library at 978-297-0300 or visit their website at

Winchendon Lions Coat Drive Collects 150 Coats

Winchendon Lions Coat Drive
The Winchendon Lions collected 150 coats for those in need at their annual Lions coat drive at the Clark Memorial YMCA on Saturday, October 30. Coats for all ages and sizes ranging from small youth to adults where collected as many cheerful supports were more than eager to stop by and support the worthy cause with Winter soon upon us! Seen in this photo from left to right are Lions members, Past President Deirdre Corno, Holt, Tracey Flint Barrows, President Joni LaPlante, Past President and two time Past District 33A Governor Mark Desmarais, Past President Curt Fitzmaurice, and new member, Craig Ashmore.You can view the Winchendon Lions Club on Facebook at
Photo by Keith Kent
Winchendon Lions Coat Drive
Erin Greene of Winchendon happily presents Winchendon Lions Club President Joni LaPlante with a large bag of coats as a donation early on in Saturday's annual Lions Coat Drive.
Photo by Keith Kent
Winchendon Lions Coat Drive
Donate your eye glasses! This Winchendon Lions Club donation drop off box, accepts new and used reading eye glasses, sun glasses, and hearing aids for its charity and never ending mission in it's "Fight for Sight" and is checked year round. Your donation of these products helps those in need not just in the U.S.A. but all over the world. The drop off box is located directly in front of the Clark YMCA along Central Street. (Note) The club would like you to know this drop off box is NOT FOR PUBLIC MAIL, which goes to the USPS directly across the street on Central Street.
Photo by Keith Kent

Subway October 2021 Sub of the Day

State Agencies Investigating Death in Winchendon Home

The Worcester County District Attorney's Office, the Massachusetts State Police and the the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) are investigating a death that occurred in a home on Lakeshore Drive on Tuesday morning, November 2.

Winchendon EMTs responded to a call for an ambulance at 9:42 a.m. Personnel from the Office of the Medical Examiner were observed removing a deceased person from the home. The OCME "investigates the cause and manner of death for deaths that occur under violent, suspicious, or unexplained circumstances."

The Winchendon Police Department refused to comment on the incident or confirm any information, referring the Courier to the District Attorney's office. The DA's office stated only that the ongoing investigation involved an unattended death. The deceased has not been identified.

GALA Art Show

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation approves financing to Homestead Market

Homestead Market gets grant
Photo courtesy of NCMDC

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC), the economic development arm of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, recently approved a $67,500 loan to Homestead Market, located at 59 Gardner Road in Winchendon. Funding approved by NCMDC was in partnership with Athol Savings Bank, which assisted in purchasing the real estate.

Homestead Market, owned by Tony and Morgan Ruschioni, is a small family business that provides homemade products and services focused on sustainable agriculture. Most of the organic and sustainable products are created with items locally sourced from the Ruschioni family farm, including specialty foods, gift shop merchandise, personal care items, lotions, soaps, salves and other homemade products.

In addition to managing the store, Morgan Ruschioni will lead a variety of creativity classes and specialty evenings, including paint, craft and kids' nights. Homestead Market plans to hire one full-time and one part-time employee in the future.

"When you purchase products at Homestead Market, you are supporting a local, small farm that uses regenerative agricultural practices, and raises animals with care and respect," said Morgan Ruschioni. "With the financial assistance and support from the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, we can build a business to help our community have access to healthy, sustainable food options."

As a microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $250,000 for working capital, real estate, equipment, inventory, and expansion and work with its banking partners to provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.

For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, please call 978.353.7607 or visit or

Plant a Clove and Grow a Community at the First Annual Winchendon Garlic Drop

On Sunday, November 7, HEAL Winchendon invites volunteers of all ages to help plant over 100 cloves of garlic at two community gardens in Winchendon. The garlic (which is normally planted in the fall in our climate to give it a head start) will be harvested and donated to town food pantries and schools. At 1:00 p.m., volunteers will start at the community garden at the Winchendon CAC, 273 Central Street.

At 2:00 p.m., volunteers will head over to the Winchendon Community Garden next to Murdock Farm on 62 Elmwood Road. The turn-in is just west of Murdock Dairy Bar; there will be signs. Park on the side of the red metal barn.

Volunteers can attend either or both planting sessions. Free hot coffee and cider will be available. The rain date is November 13.

Learn how to plant garlic and help out your community! The plots will be prepared and ready to plant. Wear gardening shoes and clothes, dress for the weather, and bring garden gloves if you wish. Registration not required, but feel free to RSVP at the Facebook Event Page.

Central Mass Tree

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Click Here for Community Directory

Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

Theme for 2021 Toy Town Tree Festival is "Stories in the Trees"

Registration is open for the third annual Toy Town Tree Festival at the Beals Memorial Library. This year's theme is "Stories in the Trees."

Individuals, businesses and organizations can contribute a tree decorated in any way that represents their personal message or interests--base it on your favorite story or book, or tell your own story.

Trees will be on display to the public in the Beals Memorial Auditorium between November 29 and December 11, at the following times:

Mondays-Thursdays, 1:00-8:00 p.m.
Fridays, 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 11, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Visitors will vote on their favorite tree. Trees donated for auction will be listed in a silent auction for bids. Entrants will be responsible for picking up their tree if there are no auction bids, or they choose not to auction their tree.

All proceeds will go toward funding the new Children's Room at the library.

Click here to download the Tree Festival Guidelines (PDF)

Click here to download the Sign-Up Form (PDF)

Applications Available for Senior Tax Work-off Program

The Senior Work-Off Abatement Program is a program allowing the Town of Winchendon the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills of its senior residents in exchange for credit toward the resident's property tax bill. The purpose of this program is:

  • To employ qualified senior citizens who will apply their earnings toward payment of a portion of their property taxes;
  • To increase senior citizen involvement in local government; and
  • To enhance municipal service by using the skills of resident senior citizens.
Qualified and income-eligible residents will accrue the Commonwealth's minimum wage per hour ($13.50/hr) toward a maximum credit of $1,100.00 per household during the fiscal year. The criteria for this program is:
  • You must be 60 years old or older
  • Homeowner in Winchendon and occupy property
  • Annual income below $40,150 if single; or below $45,900 if married.
Applications for the program are now available in the Town Manager's office or on the town website, and will be accepted until the eight slots are filled. There are different types of positions that are available depending on the preference and qualifications of the resident and the needs of each department. Types of past and current positions have been: Custodial services, clerical help for both School & Town, library aides, Senior Center aids, cable station operator, Bike Path clean up, painting, light outdoor work and classroom volunteers. Click here for more information and a downloadable application.

STILL Seeking Volunteers to Serve on Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC)

At their February 22, 2021 meeting, the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to adopt the Master Plan presented to them, and to establish a Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) for the purpose of overseeing the execution of the Master Plan as outlined.

The Winchendon Master Plan describes the will of the people of Winchendon. All town boards, commissions, committees, staff and citizens should use this Plan to guide their work in creating the future everyone seeks. The Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) is charged with overseeing its execution and will work with the Town Manager and Responsible Leads. Members of the MPIC have a demonstrated interest in and knowledge of the Master Plan, are a Winchendon resident or have vested interest in the community, are a demonstrated team player, are reliable and have at least one of these qualifications:

  • Project management
  • Communications
  • Town history
  • Knowledge of "how things work"
MPIC specific responsibilities include:
  • Coordinate and monitor implementation
  • Collaborate with players to develop and track execution goals
  • Assist with goals that require additional resources
  • Encourage ongoing citizen engagement
  • Assess status of specific actions, evaluate priorities, and suggest new implementation techniques where appropriate
  • Identify successful strategies and barriers to progress
  • Periodically evaluate the plan
  • Create a mechanism to provide updates and progress reports to the Board of Selectmen
To see the full Master Plan, click here.

The Board of Selectmen is currently accepting letters of interest to serve on this committee. If you are interested, please send your letter of interest to the Town Manager's Office, 109 Front Street, Winchendon MA 01475 or to Taylor at

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Residential Water and Sewer Assistance Program Opens For Winchendon Residents

The Town of Winchendon is offering a one time grant of $100.00 (water user only) or $250.00 (water and sewer user) toward your current water and sewer bill. (Commercial properties are not eligible under this program.)

Eligibility: Households who are under 80% (LMI) of the FY2021 Income Limits as determined by HUD qualify for assistance. The Income limits used to determine qualification can be found here.

Proof of income is required.

Program will run from October 4, 2021 through December 30, 2021. Applications received after that date will not be accepted.

The applicant MUST live in the residence and be the/a responsible party named on the account.

All awards will be credited to current bills. Users remain responsible for any past due payments and associated fees due to the town.

All information will be kept confidential to the extent allowed by M.G.L. Chapter 66.

Applications are available here (PDF). Questions? Contact Nicole at or by calling 1-978-297-3537

Funding provided by The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) Details of this program can be found here (PDF).

HEAL Winchendon Offering Financial Coaching Workshops

HEAL Winchendon, in conjunction with the Winchendon CAC, is offering a free financial coaching program to any residents who are interested. The program runs for eight weeks with a flexible schedule and is available in both English and Spanish. Coaching will be scheduled at the Winchendon CAC, 273 Central St. To enroll, fill out the form at HEAL Financial Coaching Sign-Up (Google form) or call 978-621-4524.

If You Call for Emergency Services...

...the Winchendon Fire Department asks that you let the dispatcher know if you have flu-like symptoms, are quarantined or are under self-quarantine. This will allow the first responders to take all necessary precautions to avoiding spreading COVID-19 and to protect themselves and you.

Toy Town FYIs

The 2021 Town Street List is now available at Town Hall and on the town website. You can download a PDF copy at You may purchase the hard copy of the book for $8.00 or $5.00 for seniors. Please call Town Clerk's office at 978-297-2766 to arrange pick up/payment.

The 2020 Annual Town Report is now available at Town Hall and on the town website. You can download a PDF copy at 2020 Town Report PDF. Hard copies are available, free of charge, and can be picked up at the Town Manager's Office during regular business hours (Monday 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). To request a copy, call the Town Manager's Office at 978-297-0085, extension 5, or email

Sign up for Code Red Emergency Alerts
Sign up for our emergency notification program today! Receive up-to-date information before, during and after an emergency in your neighborhood. You can choose to be notified via voice, text and email notifications of emergency and inclement weather alerts.

Is Your House Number Clearly Visible from the Street?
The Winchendon Fire Department reminds all residents to make sure their house number is clearly visible for first responders who may need to find you. Numbers should be at least four inches high and facing the street, with lighting if possible. Put numbers on a contrasting background so they will stand out. If your driveway is long, put the number on a mailbox or pole on the street or at the end of driveway, facing in both directions. (Reflective numbers are helpful.) Check your house numbers to make sure foliage has not grown up in front of them without your being aware of it.

Town Committee Vacancies
as of October 25, 2021

If you'd like to be an active participant in decision-making and management for your community, consider joining a town committee or board. There are a number of vacancies currently open.

Communications Committee - 1 vacancy
Cultural Council - 11 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Historical Commission/Historic District - 1 Alternate vacancy
Master Plan Implementation Committee - 7 vacancies
Open Space Preservation Appraisal and Survey Revolving Fund Advisory Committee - 1 vacancy
Planning Board - 1 Alternate vacancy
Recreation Commission - 1 student vacancy
Zoning Board of Appeals - 2 Alternate vacancies

If you'd like more information about any of these positions or are interested in being considered for an appointment, contact the Town Manager's office at 978-297-0085, or send a letter to Town Manager, 109 Front Street Dept. 1, Winchendon MA 01475.

Complete description of each committee's responsibilities, updated for May 10, 2021 (PDF).

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