With a light agenda on Tuesday evening, the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen was able to dispatch action items, appointments, hearings, reports and the Town Administrator’s report with relative speed.
Donald Lake came before the Board for this year’s Cruise Nights Car Shows to be held at Shipyard Park. The application was granted unanimously by the Board. The event will take place on the first and third Fridays between 5:00 and 9:00 pm starting in May and ending in September.
Next, Michael Jackson, District Director for Congressman Keating, came before the Board. With the redistricting complete, the Congressman wanted to assure towns now in the ninth district of his staff’s availability to assist the citizens. Jackson presented the town with contact information and referenced some continuity, having on Congressman Keating’s staff several members previously working for Congressman Frank. Jackson also requested the opportunity to hold open hours at the Town Hall to allow those community members who wish to interface with the Congressman’s staff greater access. The Board agreed to this request.
Dan White, on behalf of the Mattapoisett Road Race, then followed with information on the 43rd Annual Road Race and to request approval. Every July Fourth, the race averages 1,000 participants and is a much-anticipated activity in the town. Registration can be completed online at www.mattaoisettroadrace.com, or the evening before the race at Shipyard Park. All tents, tables, trash and containers will be cleaned from the park area by 2:00 pm, White said. Additional portable rest stations will also be made available by the Race Committee. A motion to approve the request passed.
Action items moved by the Board included approving February 26 minutes and executive session minutes, the temporary appointment of Norman Lussier of Fairhaven as Assistant Plumbing/Gas Inspector, and a vote to accept the resignation of Outreach Worker Kathy DeMello. Selectman Macallister noted that DeMello will be greatly missed.
Town Administrator Gagne gave his report on four subjects: storm damage, brush removal, Clean Vessel Act Grants and extending the scallop season. Storm damage and the resulting cleanup and snow removal have depleted the budget. The state will reimburse the town up to 75 percent; however, those monies are still pending. Any additional costs resulting from storms will need to be discussed with the Finance Committee.
Paul Osenkowski questioned the Board as to why during years when such funds went unused it was required for those funds to go into free cash versus staying in a fund for the sole purpose of storm associated costs. Osenkowski felt that this would help during years where storm impact was greater to alleviate those additional costs.
Gagne and other members of the Board went into detailed accounting regulations which do not allow for budget line items to remain unused and must be placed in surplus, or the commonly referred to Free Cash column.
“That’s not a bad idea,” Macallister concurred.
“But not allowed by financial regulations,” noted Gagne.
On the subject of brush and tree removal, all agreed that Roland Cote and Louie Aielo and their small crew have done an outstanding job. Their Herculean efforts were echoed by the Selectmen.
Gagne said, however, that clarification is needed to insure that yard brush from the interiors of private property is not being removed at the town’s expense. He noted that Rochester had to make such clarification in their town. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to cleanup trees and brush that are not of the town.
Mattapoisett’s scallops will be plentiful this year according to state testing which has been confirmed by the town’s Shellfish Officer, Gagne reported. This will allow the town to extend the season.
Clean Vessel Act grants were touched on, next. Gagne shared that municipalities may be eligible to apply and receive grant monies that could be used to purchase new equipment. These are Federal monies administered by the states. He said, given the number of boats in our waterways, having another boat to help manage pump out and to monitor waterway activities would be a great benefit to the town.
“We are a boating community,” stated Selectman Silva. Although Mattapoisett has a pump station at the end of the pier, Gagne felt it wasn’t sufficient to insure the cleanliness of the water.
“Remote locations such as Brandt Island and Aucoot Cove would benefit from such a service,” Gagne said.
However, Paul Osenkowski felt that another boat and associated costs would burden the tax payers. He asked the Board, “Why can’t you get someone to come in and provide the service and the boat owners could pay for it?”
Silva and Gagne explained that the boat owners are already paying for the pump out services when they pay for various permits and licenses. No tax-collected monies fund the pump out which is required by the state of Massachusetts.
Gagne explained, “Enterprise operations such as the transfer station, waterfront, sewer and water costs are not paid for by the tax payers.” In this case, waterfront activities are paid for by the collection of mooring fees and associated expenses levied on the boat owners.
Silva stated that boat owners won’t pay to have someone come to their boat and pump it out. The Selectmen held that boat owners are already paying and another town-owned boat to help with pump out services would be a great benefit to the town. Again, Gagne explained, “The waterfront enterprise is not paid out of tax dollars.”
The next Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26at 7:00 pm.
By Marilou Newell