The tradition of town meetings represents a fundamental aspect of our local governance. Here in Holliston, these meetings are held twice a year, in May and October, and are a direct link between the community and the decisions that shape our town. Despite their importance, town meetings often see low attendance, with less than 200 people attending in person (a requirement for participating in decision making). In this blog post, we explore the significance of town meetings, why they matter for equity and inclusion — and most importantly, why every Holliston resident should show up.

A town meeting government operates on the principle that all community members should have a direct say in their local governance. The first recorded town meeting took place in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 16331 , influenced by both British and Indigenous governance structures. These meetings were initially a way to address the immediate needs of the community, from the allocation of land to the establishment of local militias. Over the centuries, as communities evolved and grew, the town meeting adapted but always retained its core purpose: to serve as the voice of the people, by the people.

Unlike representative democracy, where elected officials make decisions, town meetings allow residents themselves to vote on important issues like zoning laws, school budgets, and local ordinances — but again, in Holliston, that’s only possible if you attend in person.

Voice Your Opinions Where It Counts

Town meetings in Holliston are not just a forum for discussions; they are where real, impactful decisions are made. From setting local property taxes to deciding on the annual budget for our schools, the outcomes directly affect every resident. When you participate, you have the opportunity to voice your opinions and influence these decisions. Your input can lead to changes that better reflect the community’s needs and values. In short, how are tax dollars are spent is determined by those who show up to town meeting

Strengthen Accountability

By attending town meetings, you help ensure that our elected officials and public servants are accountable. These meetings offer a transparent view of how decisions are made and how funds are allocated. When community attendance is high, it sends a clear message to our leaders that we are watching and expect them to represent our best interests faithfully.

Build Community Ties

Town meetings offer a unique opportunity to meet neighbors, make new connections, and strengthen existing ones. These gatherings foster a sense of community and shared responsibility. They remind us that we are not just individuals living in the same town but members of a vibrant community, working together to shape the place we call home.

Drive Inclusivity and Fairness

Low attendance often means that the voices heard are not representative of the whole community. When more people from diverse backgrounds participate, the decisions made at town meetings are more likely to reflect the community’s full spectrum of opinions and needs. Your presence can help ensure that all groups within our town are considered and that policies are equitable and inclusive.

How to Get Involved

Attending a town meeting in Holliston is straightforward:

  • Check the Schedule: Town meetings are held twice per year, with the next one coming up in just four days on May 13th. Future dates will be listed in the Holliston Town Calendar.
  • Understand the Issues: Each meeting agenda is set by warrant. Review the warrant in advance to know what will be discussed. We have also put together a guide to help you understand the topics of discussion and form your opinions
  • Speak Up: During the meeting, ask questions and express your thoughts on the issues that are important to you. Every voice matters.

Town meetings are a cornerstone of our democratic process in Holliston. They empower you to directly influence the local policies that affect your daily life. By participating, you play an active role in shaping the future of our town. Let’s increase attendance and make our community stronger, more inclusive, and better represented. Join the next town meeting — your town, your voice, your power.


(1) Swope, K. (2007). The Puritan Village Evolves: A History of Wayland, Massachusetts. Charleston, SC: History Press.