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MARION SELECTMEN'S MEETING

Historic Painting Finds Home at Music Hall

Marion Board of Selectmen

By Jean Perry

The Marion Board of Selectmen met for a special meeting on August 21 to sign an agreement with the Sippican Historical Society to allow a cherished painting by a well-known Marion artist to indefinitely grace a wall inside the Marion Music Hall.

The framed oil on canvas titled "The Redhead" by Cecil Clark Davis (1877-1934) portrays an auburn-haired, finely-dressed female, identified in pencil on the back as Miss Adamson, seated in a mission style armchair at the Hotel des Grandes Ecotes in Paris.

The Sippican Historical Society acquired the piece in 2013. It was cleaned and lined and is mounted in a gilded frame.

Davis was born in Chicago but lived in Marion for many years. She was married to Richard Harding Davis, a famous war correspondent. She studied art under famous portrait artist John Singer Sargent.

The agreement the selectmen ratified Friday morning was contingent upon some changes Town Administrator Paul Dawson had made to the contract, which he called "minor edits." Dawson said Town Counsel Jon Witten had reviewed the agreement, suggested the changes, and the amendments were forwarded to a representative of the society.

"It really was minor edits," Dawson said. "I'm certain that the Sippican Historical Society will have no problem with it." The society could come back in disagreement, said Dawson, but he doubted it.

"The Music Hall Committee is eager to have a piece of artwork that was done by Cecil Clark Davis," said Dawson. He said the loaning of the artwork is for a long-term, potentially permanent basis.

The painting is slated for a wall in the front conference room of the Marion Music Hall.

The next meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen is scheduled for September 8 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Police Station conference room.

Marion's Water and Sewer Rates Increased

Marion Board of Selectmen

By Marilou Newell

Interest in the topic of increases in water and sewer rates was expected to bring out the public to the Marion Board of Selectmen meeting on August 25. Only nine residents showed up. But in spite of the surprisingly low turn out, the subject matter was fully vetted.

Speaking first was Finance Director Judy Mooney who explained that rate increases were proposed at 2.5 percent for Tier I and 3 percent for Tiers II and III water consumers. She then stated that a 10 percent rate increase across the board was proposed for those households tied into the municipal system.

"I hate being the bearer of bad news," said Mooney. "If this rate doesn't go through, the state will not approve the enterprise funds.... If this doesn't go, an even larger increase is in the future."

Mooney said, in real terms, a household of four would see an increase of $4.19 per year in water bills and $22.70 in sewer expenses. She further cautioned all in attendance that, although the evening was dedicated to looking at just fiscal year 2016 budget needs, FYs 17, 18, and 19 would see even higher rate increases.

"If we don't have a rate increase in FY16, it impacts things we've already put in place," Mooney said.

Chairman Stephen Cushing asked, "What if we put off a rate increase, we'd be in line for a bigger increase?" Mooney replied, "We'd have to make up four quarter billings in a three quarter cycle."

A driving point in sewer rate increases is the NPDES permit looming in the imminent future, and the town is anticipating this to equate to higher costs in processing sewage. The town's current permit requirements are being handled, said Selectman Jonathan Henry, but new, stricter EPA requirements will affect costs - how much is presently not known.

Resident Jay Ryder then came forward to share information he had found from a Tighe & Bond study. Ryder said, "Annual water rates (in Massachusetts) are $112 to $1560. The average is $532, and Marion's are the second highest. Sewer rates go from $221 to $1,874 with an average of $756. Marion's are the third highest." Asking Mooney he inquired, "Can't we pay for these some other way?"

Mooney came back to the microphone with this response, "You've got Tabor Academy, why aren't we getting a PILOT payment in lieu of taxes?" She continued, "There are 36 properties, at the current rate that comes to $836,000 we could be receiving ... I'm throwing it out there ... their children are going to Sippican School without paying taxes."

Henry responded, "PILOT program is an old issue.... A new Board of Trustees at Tabor will deal with local issues which is new ... it's an open issue."

Henry also pointed to the fact that most cities and towns don't go it alone when it comes to water and sewer service, but those that do are facing the same issues that Marion is facing - higher costs to provide services.

In the end, Chairman Cushing called for a vote. The increases were unanimously approved.

The next scheduled meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen is scheduled for September 8 at 7:00 pm at the Police Station conference room.

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