The Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen unanimously appointed Ray Andrews as the official Clock Keeper of the Center School Clock. The Board made the decision at their regular meeting on Tuesday, November 13.
In addition to appointing Andrews as Clock Keeper, the Board unanimously voted to establish a clock fund in order to save money for clock maintenance in the coming years. The clock saw a complete restoration, renovation and relocation over the summer, the brunt of which Andrews oversaw.
“I’m very happy to report things are going well,” said Andrews. “For the first time since 1995, we have a working clock at night.”
The clock was recently relocated to a more accessible location for public view in the clock tower. It has been encased in glass and a plaque has been made for it. Andrews hopes to turn the whole space into a Center School museum, commemorating the time when the building was used as Mattapoisett Junior High School until 1961.
“It’s a great place to turn into a museum,” Andrews said.
So far, the clock fund has $4,000, which Andrews had anticipated to be more; however, he underestimated the cost of the relocation of the clock. Originally, he thought it would cost around $5,000, but it ended up being over $11,000 to complete the project.
“That really put a heavy hit on the donation fund,” he said.
Andrews is interested in finding a Junior Clock Keeper who can learn how to maintain the clock and eventually take over in the years to come. Andrews encourages any interested young men and women to reach out to him for more information.
Town Treasurer and Tax Collector Brenda Herbeck updated the Board on the status of her department. She said the town is in the same shape as it was last year in terms of property tax returns. Historically, between 98-99 percent of property taxes are returned by this time each year and they are right on schedule. Herbeck said only approximately 40 people in town have not yet paid their property taxes, but they are working with them individually for payment options.
Veteran’s Agent and Highway Supervisor Barry Denham commended Old Hammondtown Elementary School on their Veterans Day Ceremony held on Monday, November 12. Denham said he was very impressed with both the school’s chorus and band playing patriotic music.
“It was a very good service and a very good turnout,” Denham said. “I was proud to be a veteran and proud to be from Mattapoisett.”
Denham also met before the Board to talk about roadwork proposed for Mattapoisett Neck Road this spring. The majority of the work done to the road’s sewers and some of the paving has been completed. However, Denham has suggested completing the project this spring by repaving all the roads off of Mattapoisett Neck Road. The roads being repaved would be from the start of the Bike Path to the end of the road. The original project only proposed half of the roads be repaved and repaired.
“It didn’t make sense for me to have them come in and have them do half of the paving only to have me turn around and ask them to come back to do the rest of the paving at a later date,” said Denham. “It just makes more sense to do all of the paving at one time.”
In order to complete all of the paving at this time, the Highway Department would need more money from the town. Denham said he has about $70,000 leftover from the work that has already been completed. In order to have the project completed before next summer, the town would need to transfer $230,000 in free cash to the Department to finish it. The transfer of those funds is Article 5 on the Special Town Meeting Warrant.
“If the town does not approve this at town meeting, we will be doing ourselves a big injustice,” said Selectman Jordan Collyer.
Denham said that if the article for road repairs is not approved at special town meeting, it would be tabled for another year when all of the money would be available to complete the project in its entirety and the remaining $70,000 would be used for other projects. Among other streets to be fixed are Church, Pearl and Barstow Streets.
Town Administrator Michael Gagne said the town had submitted damage reports after Hurricane Sandy to the state to determine whether or not Plymouth County is eligible to receive aid from FEMA for repairs. Gagne said Mello Wharf is one area of town that desperately needs repairing.
“I think it’s extremely critical,” he said. “Hopefully we’re going to get some money.”
The Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen will meet again on Tuesday, November 27 at 7:00 pm in Town Hall. The Mattapoisett Special Town Meeting will be held on Monday, November 19 at 6:30 pm in the Old Rochester Regional High School Auditorium.
By Katy Fitzpatrick