The Wanderer - Mobile Edition

MATTAPOISETT SELECTMEN'S MEETING

Waterway Fee Increases Approved

Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen

By Marilou Newell

With summer fast approaching and with a plan to try and inject cash flow into the Waterfront Enterprise Fund, the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen on February 9 voted on a new rate structure that will affect boat owners, marinas, and boat yards effective immediately. But those changes didn't sail along smoothly with residents.

Dana Barrows of Leisure Shores felt that implementing such a large increase in one season was unfair to the boating community.

There had been some confusion on the part of Selectman Jordan Collyer on rate increases for commercial moorings, which, after considerable discussion, was cleared up. But Barrows said, "How are you going to implement this when you're not even sure?"

Barbara Gaspar, assistant town clerk, voiced her concern that people would be in an uproar saying, "As the person standing behind the counter, we're going to take the blame."

Board of Selectmen Chairman Paul Silva said it was the responsibility of Town Administrator Michael Gagne to work out the clerical kinks. Gagne assured Gaspar and the selectmen that he had held conversations with the treasurer, and was confident that appropriate accounting methodology would be employed.

But the biggest change being challenged on this night wasn't really about the impact on boaters - it was about how commercial moorings will be billed and paid for.

The Marine Advisory Board along with the Board of Selectmen had determined that commercial moorings - those assigned to marinas and boatyards - would be paid for up-front by those businesses that, in turn, would be reimbursed by their customers.

Gagne backed off that a bit, indicating that for those commercial moorings committed to return customers, the town would bill the customers directly for the 2016 season. Any moorings that remained unused would be billed directly to the marinas.

Gagne said both the Mattapoisett Boat Yard and Leisure Shores Marina had improved their reporting processes over the last couple of years, but by placing the total fee structure for commercial moorings on an invoice to them, it would aid the town in getting revenue that for decades had merely floated out of the harbor uncollected.

In the end, the selectmen voted to approve the following: sticker fee per foot for residents $2, non-residents $5, and senior residents $1; mooring fee $60; all-inclusive commercial mooring and sticker fee $200; commercial mooring unused $70; all-inclusive commercial dock/float/sticker fee $210; town slip and timber pier fee all-inclusive $50 per foot; skiff fee $150, seniors $75; small boat fee $50.

Another topic that seemed to bring a stink into the meeting room was the issue of dog waste pollution.

Silva said he had received a telephone call recently from a concerned citizen who was horrified to see more than forty piles of dog excrement littering the bike path between Mattapoisett Neck Road and Brandt Island Beach Road.

"I checked myself, and they were there!" he said.

Gagne said that two years ago, dog waste stations had been installed throughout the town including at the bike path, but Animal Control Officer Kathleen Massey said, "No one uses those." She went on to say, "I don't know how to uphold the law." Fines are posted at the stations but, she said, "Some people just don't care."

Silva said the amount of waste represented an environmental hazard in sensitive wetlands areas and expressed concern that something had to be done now to control the issue before the new portion of the bike path was completed.

Massey said that anyone who sees a person leave dog waste on the ground should take a picture of the offending human and send it to her.

Gagne said sometimes it takes other dog owners to get people to do the right thing. He said people could also contact him and Town Hall would take care of it.

Silva asked Gagne to pull together a committee of six people to explore ideas and ways to get dog owners to comply. Anyone interested in participating on this committee or wishing to report a problem should contact Michael Gagne at mgagne@mattapoisett.net, 508-758-4100, ext. 4 or Kathleen Massey at kmassey@mattapoisett.net, 508-400-8910.

Earlier in the evening, the selectmen recognized Police Officers Lenira DaCruz and Brett Ostekowski for their outstanding service during an incident on Christmas morning 2015.

The pair had responded to a call reporting a water leak, but when they reached the scene, they heard an alarm sounding and went to investigate.

What they found was a family asleep in a home filled with carbon monoxide. The officers were able to evacuate the family from the building and away from possible lethal consequences.

Collyer lauded the police officers saying, "The amount of carbon monoxide could have resulted in a bad Christmas morning. Once again, police have gone over and above the call of duty."

The selectmen also voted to approve an application for a grant from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to help purchase land near Wellhead No. 3 currently held by the Tinkham family. The property is part of the Mattapoisett River Valley watershed area and snakes along the Mattapoisett River. This land acquisition is in partnership with the Buzzards Bay Coalition and will be held by the Mattapoisett Water and Sewer Department as town properties under their control.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for February 23 at 7:00 pm in the Mattapoisett Town Hall conference room.

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