The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of October 13 to October 20, 2022
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Town Meeting and Election Information

Voter Registation Deadlines

Friday, October 14: To vote at Fall Special Town Meeting (October 24, 2022)
Saturday, October 29: To vote in the State Election (November 8, 2022)

The Town Clerk's office will be open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for voter registration on both days. You can register during the regular office hours prior to those days.

Fall Special Town Meeting

Monday, October 24, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. in the Murdock Middle High School Auditorium (3 Memorial Drive, Winchendon).

Final Warrant with recommendations (PDF)
Proposed Town Charter Changes (PDF)

Early Voting Hours for the State Election

Early voting will be held in the Town Hall Second Floor Auditorium, 109 Front St., Winchendon during the hours below. The auditorium is accessible via elevator.

Saturday, October 22, 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
Monday, October 24, 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 25, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 26, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 27, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 29, 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
Monday, October 31, 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 1, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, November 2, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 3, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Voters Will Face Tough Questions at Fall STM on October 24

Winchendon's Fall Special Town Meeting will convene on Monday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m., in the Murdock Middle/High School Auditorium located at 3 Memorial Drive, Winchendon. Voters will consider eleven Warrant articles, a smaller number than average. All but the last article have been recommended unanimously by the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee and when relevant, the Capital Planning Committee.

The final Warrant, with recommendations, may be viewed and downloaded at Final Warrant with recommendations (PDF). Paper copies of the Warrant will be mailed to Winchendon households, will be available at Town Hall (the Town Clerk's and Town Manager's offices) and Beals Memorial Library, and will also be available at Town Meeting.

For previous Courier coverage of the Warrant articles as presented to the Board of Selectmen on September 12, see "Town Manager Presents Draft Town Meeting Warrant to BOS and FinCom" in the September 15-22, 2022 edition of The Winchendon Courier.

A public hearing on the Warrant articles was held before the Finance Committee on Tuesday, September 27. Town Manager Justin Sultzbach led the discussion by presenting the Warrant articles as they currently stood. Some of the articles were unchanged from draft versions and evoked little discussion. Others had some changes in dollar amounts and/or evoked much discussion.

Article 2: $100,000 from Free Cash for Downtown Streetlight Improvements. (Requires a majority vote.) Finance Committee member Dr. Maureen Ward asked whether there had been a contingency built into the funding for the Central Street Reconstruction Project to cover extra expenses. Mr. Sultzbach explained that the extra cost was for more attractive light posts above the basic utilitarian posts funded by the state.

Article 3: $145,000 from Free Cash for Phase 2 Library Repairs. (Requires a majority vote.) The final Warrant reduces the amount requested from the original amount in the draft article by $70,000, an amount left unspent from Phase 1 funding. The article had also been amended to take the money from Free Cash rather than borrow the amount (which might require a debt exclusion).

Mr. Sultzbach acknowledged that this is the third time the Phase 2 repair funding has been brought before voters at Town Meeting. Capital Planning Committee Chair Mike Barbaro said, "Just so you know going forward, we are doing a fundamental change on capital plan." He explained, "What will happen is we will get solid bids in from now on. We will come to ask for money for bid specs to be put in, architectural design to be put in at this type of meeting. And then when we get the bid specs back and the bid goes out, our bid will say going forward, 'subject to town funding.' So when we come back to you, we will have a hard number that's been put through the bid cycle and that way we can hold the prices." The work at historical buildings like the library or old Murdock requires specialized experts, Mr. Barbaro said, and prices have been escalating "astronomically" over the last four years. Contractors with specialized skills are booked out far in advance due to COVID delays.

Article 4: $95,000 from Free Cash for road repair work on Pleasant Street, Summer Street and Island Road. (Requires a majority vote.) Mr. Sultzbach explained again that this is mostly an advance use of $90,000 in anticipated excess funds from the state that otherwise would just "fall into Free Cash." Using the funds now will optimize the value the town can get from them, as costs will continue to rise. In response to questions, Mr. Sultzbach said that it would be possible to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) monies, but "that's not our recommended funding source." While protecting the contingency in the budget is important, "you don't want to do that to a degree that you're starting to diminish the value of the project and you're cutting corners and doing things cheap instead of doing it the right way," Mr. Sultzbach said.

Article 5: Approve a debt exclusion for the Proposition 2-1/2 tax ceiling for borrowing $618,750 for design services for proposed upgrades to the fire station. (Requires a 2/3 majority vote.)

Mr. Sultzbach explained that the debt exclusion would theoretically represent an increase of $33.94 in the "average" tax bill for an "average" home assessed at $242,405 (using FY22 numbers) (To give Courier readers an infinitely more helpful number, this would mean an increase of $0.14, or 14 cents, for each $1,000 that a home is assessed for by the Assessor's Office. So, if a home is assessed for $150,000, the tax bill would increase $21 each year; if a home is assessed at $500,000, the tax bill would increase $70 each year.) Property taxes would increase this much each year for the next five years, and then the increase will drop off the tax bill when the debt is retired. Debt exclusion increases, unlike Proposition 2-1/2 overrides, are temporary.

Previously, proposed upgrades to the fire station had been estimated at $12 million. "Chief Smith and I have been working pretty diligently over the past year and a half or so," Mr. Sultzbach said, "to rein in that cost, and try to find ways to value engineer that project in such a way that will tighten up the budget, but it won't leave you with a fire station that's not realistic in terms of the community's needs today, but also [not] realistic in terms of opportunities to expand in the future and serve the community for the next thirty or fifty years or however long it would be."

Finance Committee Chair Tom Kane said, "I think the burning question here is that this is the prelude to building a new fire station. So the money we're talking about here is for design and spec work or what have you. And the commitment to spending the money for that certainly would hinge, I would think, for a lot of people on what's going to be the cost of the new fire station. Because if you're going to vote to pay $650,000 to make that available, then you'll want to know what you're committing to."

Winchendon Fire Chief Tom Smith rose to explain the plans in detail. He began by reviewing the history of the proposal, starting with plans for a 28,000 square foot station that had a price tag of around $14 million and was rejected by voters in 2019. Following that, the architect worked on scaling down the designs to around 19,000 square feet (a 32 percent reduction). "When Town Manager Sultzbach came to town, he sat down with me and told me he's going to punch 100 holes in the project, and think you did 101," Chief Smith said. "We met with the architects again. We then cut the project down from a station that was going to be two storys and spread out to one that is going to be actually a second non-attached building to the current one with a walkway in-between. What that does is it allows the existing station to be used while the other one is being built."

While it appears that the new plan is more sprawly and bigger, Chief Smith said, "we eliminated any little jogs that would create walls. We changed hallways from seven feet to six feet. We eliminated a few restrooms. We changed the distance between the trucks, I believe it was from six feet to five so that you could still pass through and the doors are open, however you didn't have the additional extra space. We literally tightened down everything that we could to still keep the integrity of the project but at the same time, recognize the community's desire to reduce the cost and reduce the size."

Working with the Capital Planning Committee, Chief Smith said that the plans for the new construction has reduced 20,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet, and the cost estimator on the total project now is $8.2 million. "It does have some cost escalators figured into that to make sure that we are going forward correctly," he said.

Chief Smith emphasized that he wants the designs to allow for a solid project cost estimate because "one pet peeve that I have on a project is I don't want to come back" to keep asking for additional funds. He doesn't want to ask the voters for "a blank check." The cost estimate may go up by the time the design is complete but that should be a final number.

Chief Smith said that it would probably take about ten months for the architectural designs to be completed and another eight to ten months to put together bid documents so the project itself can go out to bid. If voters approve this article it would need to pass a ballot vote before the architects could begin work on the designs. Mr. Sultzbach interjected that the ballot vote for a Prop 2-1/2 exclusion must happen within 90 days of the Town Meeting vote, which in this case would be January. January is not an ideal time since some town residents spend winters elsewhere, and the weather is a barrier for others to get to the polls. Following that, bids would need to go out and the construction itself approved by voters at Town Meeting. Altogether, ground-breaking probably wouldn't happen until 2024 at the earliest.

"I don't know if there will ever be a 'good time'" for a big project, Chief Smith said. Costs will continue to go up. But the town will have architectural designs in hand to go forward with. "It's not a short term process unfortunately, I wish it was quicker."

Mr. Kane said that "putting money into the plans does buy the town something" but he is concerned that having spent this much, the town won't be able to afford the actual project. Dr. Ward commented that it's very difficult to project how much costs will increase even over a short period of time. Chief Smith stated that the architects will be told to design to the estimate of $8.2 million as long as the integrity of the project remains intact and it's still worthwhile for Winchendon to do.

Dr. Ward once again discussed some ideas she had mentioned in previous meetings, suggesting that the Fire Department consider alternate ways of solving their concerns, such as 12-hour shifts instead of 24-hour shifts, relying less on overtime, or contracting with private ambulance services. Chief Smith said that he had looked at some of her suggestions, and that 80 percent of the fire departments in the state schedule 24-hour shifts. He also clarified that the crew does not have "a built in overtime schedule" with guaranteed overtime. "That 48 hours is all straight time. It's not an eight hours of overtime every week," he explained. Legally, they could work 52 straight hours.

Chief Smith said they were talking about ways to assist with the funding, such as taking donations for dedicated rooms in the station. Other fire departments have obtained as much as $500,000 for a community room or facility in memorial of a loved one in their station.

Article 6: Approve borrowing $9,560,000 from the state to design and construct a new water main from the Ashburnham-Winchendon Water Filtration Plant. (Requires a 2/3 majority vote.)

Mr. Sultzbach said, "So this pipe is what was known to me as the six and a half million dollar pipe when I first got into town, and now it's an almost ten million dollar pipe. And we're trying to find a way to address this because we've come to the determination that punting on this item just really isn't an option any longer. It's not going away. It's not going to get any better. It's only going to get worse and it's only gonna get more expensive.

"So working with Director Croteau and a consultant we've been trying to devise a plan to file an application through the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. The benefit in doing that is that it would allow us to borrow at a very low rate of 2.4 percent. It's extraordinarily advantageous for us to borrow at that low rate over a 30 year stretch. But the other part is that there's a built-in loan forgiveness as part of that, at minimum it'd be 19 percent. So on a nine and a half million dollar project, you're looking right off the bat at getting about $1.9 million dollars forgiven. That's the benefit and that's at the minimum. The struggle though is that even with that forgiveness, you're still looking at a pretty sizable number."

Mr. Sultzbach explained that they were trying to "value engineer" the project as much as possible--meaning to look for every possible way to reduce costs in the design choices without diminishing the value of the final result.

When the cost number is squeezed down as far as possible, then the town can look for additional sources of funding, including COVID relief monies such as ARPA. "We've set up meetings with Representative Zlotnik's office, Senator Comerford on the State House level, and last week we had a meeting with Senator Markey down in DC and the week prior I set up a meeting with Laurie Trahan's office, trying to find areas where we can bring some more funds home to Winchendon," Mr. Sultzbach said. But even with every avenue covered, the debt service on the borrowing, over 30 years, will be roughly $350,000 per year.

The big question is who this expense would fall on--"would it be exclusively on the backs of the ratepayers? Would it be some type of blended solution where there is, I think everybody agrees, although not necessarily to the percentage, but there's agreement that there's value to the town on the town side in the existence of our water/sewer system." This needs to be a "community discussion," Mr. Sultzbach said.

"The biggest takeaway is this needs to happen," he emphasized. "It's gonna get worse. We're going to be working to find ways over the next year or two, to try to defray this cost and shrink it down as much as humanly possible whether it be reducing the project cost, or finding additional grant funds or some mix therein. I think the difficult part for this is we can't apply for this trust or funds from this trust without this vote. We can't really start the process of hunting down those grants and other things until we have the votes secured for these funds."

Asked to expand on exactly what the "need" is and why it's so urgent, Mr. Sultzbach explained, "That pipe is failing. That's the main transmission line from the water filtration plant, which is located in Ashburnham, and carries all the water so everybody that's on town water, gets it from that source that runs through that pipe and gets to the town. That is the main. That main, the way it's laid out, a large percentage runs through swamp and woods and rocks and god knows what else. So it makes it exceedingly difficult to maintain.

"That said our system has been having an issue for some time now. A conversation has been going on in this community for a really long time in terms of escalating water costs, the water/sewer rates increasing and why, and one of the components of that is that our infrastructure is failing, and we're losing a lot of water. So we're losing the water that's treated and piped into Winchendon. 28 percent of our water or more is lost before it even gets to a meter, before it even gets to a house or business, that's lost. It's lost somewhere in the road somewhere in the ground, we're not sure where.

"A good chunk of that could be from this main which leaks pretty regularly and is known to have some pretty critical deficiencies. Beyond that, the fact is that it is the main pipe. If that goes down, nobody has water. And we can fix it, but it costs money to fix it and it's gonna go down again and you'll be paying money over and over and over and over again to put a bandaid on this thing. When you need to just replace it."

Mr. Barbaro pointed out that the main was installed in the 1950s and is now some 70 years old. Schools and municipal buildings are on town water. Mr. Sultzbach said that the actual project would be about two years in the future, and that time could be spent sorting out the most economical and equitable way to finance the debt service. But this vote needs to pass first to even get started with the application for the state loan.

Resident Jane LaPointe rose to ask if replacing the pipe will improve the water quality for water users. Mr. Sultzbach said that the water quality is good, and is tested regularly by the state. Department of Public Works Director Brian Croteau stated that with older pipes there is tuberculation (accumulation of rust and corrosive products) inside the pipe, which leads to staining in sinks and toilets. New pipes are ductile iron coated on the inside and have less turbulence. Residents will see an improvement in their water.

Article 7: $110,593 from Free Cash for the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Trust Account. (Requires a majority vote.)

Article 8: $50,000 from Free Cash to a Reserve Account for Contractual Separation Pay-outs. (Requires a majority vote.)

Article 9: $80,000 from Free Cash to the Stabilization Fund. (Requires a majority vote.)

Article 10: $50,000 from Free Cash to the Finance Committee Reserve against increased energy costs. (Requires a majority vote.)

There was considerable discussion by the Finance Committee about the amounts in articles 7, 8, 9 and 10 and the anticipated need with future staff retirements, but all were recommended by the FinCom.

Article 11: Amend the Town Charter. (Requires a 2/3 majority vote.)

A summary sheet of the proposed changes in the Town Charter may be seen at Proposed Charter Changes (PDF). These changes need to be approved by voters at Town Meeting and then go to a ballot vote. If both votes pass, the changes need to go to the state for final approval.

At their meeting on Monday, October 3, the Board of Selectmen had a lengthy discussion about only one of the proposed changes: in Section 3-1 part (f) "Recall of Elected Officers." Selectmen Barbara Anderson and Danielle LaPointe felt that the requirement that recall petitions be signed by at least 15 percent of Winchendon's total number of registered voters set an unreasonably high bar for initiating a recall. (As of August, 2022, that number would be 1,100 signatures, out of 7,330 registered voters.) The prior requirement was 15 percent of the total number of residents who voted in the most recent Town election (in the May, 2022 Town election, 546 ballots were cast; 15 percent of that number would be 82 signatures, out of a population of 10,300.).

Mr. Sultzbach said that while he didn't want to speak for the Town Bylaw and Charter committee, he thought that their reasoning came from the fact that historically, turnout for Town elections is so small, you could have a year when the threshhold for initiating a recall was "unreasonably low."

"I'm concerned that when the people in town feel that they need to make a change," Ms. Anderson said. "You know, it shouldn't be a cataclysmic event to recall somebody from office, it shouldn't be attainable to do it on a whim, but it should be doable, and I think I'm just questioning whether 15 percent is doable."

Board Chair Audrey LaBrie said, "I agree with Selectman Anderson. You know, to a point yes, it should be attainable. But in order to recall an elected official, that's something pretty serious, it's a pretty serious undertaking. And I would like to think that a high enough percentage of the population would be behind it before it moves forward. We've seen how small groups can potentially influence Town Meeting because it's such a small number and such like that. So I can really see on both sides, but I feel it needs to be accessible, yes, but also it can't be done lightly. It's gotta have a high enough threshold to have some teeth."

Board Vice Chair Rick Ward said, "I don't see 15 percent as being too high. I mean, when you think of a recall, there has to be some serious stuff going on. And you're going to recall a person, you need to get a vast majority of the town out there to do this. I don't want to have candidates or a Selectman or School Committee members out there, being thrown out of office for 100 people. When we've got, I think, close to 7000 registered voters it should be at least 1000 of those. It should be if you have done something so egregious that you need to be thrown out of office, then this town will get together and they will get you out of office."

Selectman LaPointe made a motion to not recommend article 11, which was seconded by Selectman Anderson. The motion to not recommend passed 3-2, with Ms. LaBrie and Mr. Ward voting to recommend the article by voting no on the motion.

New Members Sought for Winchendon Cultural Council

What type of entertainment do you like? What type of cultural programs in the arts, humanities or sciences do you think would bring value to our community? You have a unique opportunity to shape "what's going on" by joining the Winchendon Cultural Council (WCC).

Every year the WCC awards grants to the cultural programs town-wide. These include school field trips, afterschool programs, concerts, festivals, art shows, theatre, dance, music, and film. WCC projects take place in schools, community centers, libraries, elder care facilities, town halls, parks, churches and wherever the community comes together. This year the WCC is disbursing over $10,000 in available funds.

The WCC is seeking new members with a demonstrated background in the arts to bring additional perspective to our deliberations. Do you play an instrument or sing with a group? Teach art, science or humanities? Are you a crafter with a sense of good aesthetics? Do you attend public performances in music, theatre or art? If so, please consider adding your perspective to the WCC.

What's involved? WCC members complete basic online training in ethics and our WCC process, and are approved as members by the Winchendon Board of Selectmen. Members serve a period of three years as able. They meet early in the calendar year to set council priorities. They meet again in the fall to view grant applications and award monies. The annual time commitment is about 10-15 hours. You can learn more at:

New members who join this fall will have an opportunity to participate in WCC's annual voting meeting to award funds to grant applicants for 2023. Please email Jill Sackett, Chair though the Town of Winchendon website to express your interest:

You CAN make a difference in our town.

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

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Winchendon Fire Department

OCTOBER 15, 2022
9:00 a.m. to Noon

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Tour the station
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Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

Letter to the Editor

Winchendon maintains 11 percent viral average for 5th straight week

The Town of Winchendon per the most recent Massachusetts Department of Public Health report, released Thursday, October 13, 2022 verifies Toy Town at 11.07 percent SARS-CoV2 or COVID-19 viral positivity, based on 262 molecular tests over the reporting period, ending October 8.

This places Winchendon over the last five reporting periods beginning the consistent eleven percent average with 11.11 on September 15, followed by 11.43 on September 22, closing out September with 11.76% positivity on September 29, then entering this month on October 6, with 10.91%, and now the most recent report of October 13, again over the 11 marker with 11.07% positivity.

Locally five municipalities broke in to double digit viral infection status. Leading the way was the Town of Phillipston with 22.58%, up from last weeks 5.56%. The City of Gardner began to lower after realizing two weeks in the 13% plus range, dropping to 10.20% based on 549 molecular tests, and neighboring Templeton to Gardner's west, increased from 9.03 to 10.18% based on 276 tests. To the east of the Chair City, the Town of Westminster finally realized a drop to 10.00% positivity, after nearly a 15.5% viral positivity average over the last six consecutive weeks.

In other area towns, Ashburnham increased slightly from 6.99 to 7.78%, Ashby from 6.67 to 7.14%, Royalston dropped significantly from 13.16 to just 3.13%, its school district partner, the Town of Athol lowered from 9.52 to 6.74% viral positivity based on 608 molecular tests and a strong testing pool, and Hubbardston to the south of Gardner, also realized a welcome drop from 13.39 to 8.91% positivity. Overall, our local Ten Town Area, in three weeks has lowered slightly, from 10.90 to 9.75% viral positivity, and the Commonwealth Average is 7.87 percent.

Hot Spots around the commonwealth still include the Metro Springfield area, with many towns in the 11 through 16 percent positivity range, and for travelers, Cape Cod is back on the rise 8 towns in the 10 through 13 percent range event with tourist season at a near end. Locally in the Twin Cities, Fitchburg lowered from 9.25 to 8.86% based on 1,188 tests, and Leominster also lowered slightly from 9.54 to 9.10% positivity based on 1,209 molecular tests.

The Board of Health and Town of Winchendon continue to offer for "Residents of Winchendon only", free I-Health COVID-19 home testing kits in the BOH Town Hall Office, during normal business office hours of operation at it's town hall location. These tests kits dated expiring this past July 28, are U.S. FDA approved until this coming January 28, 2023 for usage. Any I-Health Labs home test kit, is FDA approved for 6 months past its expiration date, no matter what the date. The kits are located on a portable table, when you enter the office public door.

To view the Commonwealth COVID-19 Dashboard on line, please click on the following link:

Keith Kent
Chair, Board of Health

Senior Center Seeking Food Donations

We've been so successful we need your help. We love helping our seniors, so now our Food Pantry is running low. If you can do it, we'd love your help replenishing it with such commodities as: Hormel 'Compleats' meals; Chef Boyardee ravioli, spaghetti & meatballs, etc; applesauce; canned vegetables; juice boxes; Ensure; spaghetti sauce; Cookies; Crackers; small (individual) packages of cereal, etc. And anything you think would help. Thank you very much! Bring donations to the Old Murdock Senior Center, 52 Murdock Ave., Winchendon.

Town Committee Vacancies
as of September 26, 2022

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
Community Preservation Act Exploratory Committee - 2 citizen vacancies
Cultural Council - 13 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Library Trustee - 1 vacancy
Master Plan Implementation Committee - 1 vacancy
Open Space Preservation Appraisal and Survey Revolving Fund Advisory Committee - 1 vacancy
Zoning Board of Appeals - 2 alternate member 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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Special Town Meeting October 24, 2022

The Board of Selectmen has scheduled a Special Town Meeting for MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2022 beginning at 7:00 p.m., to be held at Murdock High School.

Please feel free to contact the Town Manager's office at 978-297-0085 with any questions you may have concerning this Special Town Meeting.

The Finance Committee will conduct a Public Hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall to review the warrant and answer any questions the public may have.

FY 23 Senior Tax Work-Off Applications Now Available!

Once again this year, we are pleased to announce the Senior Work-Off program was approved at our Annual Town Meeting. 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 aides, cable station operator, Bike Path clean up, painting, light outdoor work and classroom volunteers. Click here for more information and a downloadable application.

Toy Town FYIs

Transfer Station Winter Hours

TThe Transfer Station has returned to its regular hours:
Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

653 River Street
Sticker price: $70
Pay-As-You-Throw bags required

2022 Street Lists Available

The 2022 Town of Winchendon Street List of Residents is now available at the Town Clerk's office in Town Hall, 109 Front Street. Cost is $8.00 each, $5.00 for seniors.

2022 Dog Licenses Now Available

2022 dog licenses are now available. You may purchase at the Town Clerk's office using check or cash, or you may purchase through the mail, Town Hall drop box, or online through the Town Clerk's page. The licenses will be mailed to you. Please be sure to provide a valid rabies certificate. Spayed and neutered dogs are $10.00. Non-spayed and non-neutered dogs are $20.00.

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.

Report a Pothole to the DPW

You can report potholes directly to the DPW using this form on the town website:

Winchendon Town Hall & Transfer Station Now Accepting Credit/Debit Payments

We are excited to announce that the DPW, Treasurer/Collector's Office and the Transfer Station can all now accept in-person credit and debit card payments. This means next time you need to purchase or pay for:

Trash bags
Transfer station stickers
Excise bills
Tax bills
Water & Sewer bills
And more

You can pay with a credit or debit card! (subject to a convenience fee).

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.