Abatements, Appointments and Repairs

Water abatement discussion dominated Tuesday night’s Marion Board of Selectmen meeting, with one resident’s property taking center stage.

Jeff Paula, of 471 Point Road, told the Selectmen that he is being billed for water that he’s not consuming, as he has a private well. Paula was unaware that there is a meter on his property that connects his home to the water main running under Point Road.

“There is service and a meter,” Town Administrator Paul Dawson. “We can tell from the meter that there has been no consumption, but you do have basic service, which is what you’re being charged for.”

Paula challenged the notion.

“What basic service am I getting if I don’t use the water?” he asked. “I think it’s heavy-handed to say that just because I’m a resident with a pipe passing by that I have to write a check. I think it’s a little unfair.”

Selectman Steve Cushing, acting as Chairman with Jody Dickerson absent, told Paula that the charges are to maintain service to the house, and that it preceded Paula’s purchase of the land. He also said that the Board of Health will have to approve Paula’s well to make sure it provides potable water and doesn’t jeopardize public health.

“Their jurisdiction supersedes ours,” Cushing said.

The Selectmen said that Paula would have to consult the Board of Health and then revisit the possibility of shutting off water service to the property.

The Board denied abatement requests at 47 Main Street and 94 Quails Crossing Road.

Elsewhere on the agenda, the Selectmen voted to advertise the newly created position of Facilities Manager, which was recently approved at Town Meeting. However, they tabled approval of the job description until Dickerson’s return.

In addition, they signed off on multiple appointments to the Cultural Council, the Bike Path Committee, the Energy Management Committee and the Council on Aging, while tabling appointments to the Music Hall Committee, which has three candidates for two spots.

Dawson told the Board that repairs at the Natural History Museum are progressing.

“I’m happy to report that they continue to go along well,” he said. “The framing and insulation are complete. They’ve done a nice job. We’re just waiting on the plastering subcontractors.”

Dawson also reported that Arne Excavating and Tree Service of Marion provided the winning bid of just over $47,000 for a bog restoration and dike repair project, while informing the Board that all necessary paperwork for statewide grant funding sources of Phases 1A and 1B of the Capital Improvement Plan – approved at Town Meeting in May after much discussion – is in place.

By Shawn Badgley

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