Leaders Summit on School Budget, Other Issues

Coming together to tackle some of the quality of life issues that impact households in Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester, the Tri-Town Boards of Selectmen met on Thursday night.

In attendance were: Town Administrator Paul Dawson, Steven Cushing, Jody Dickerson, and John Henry from Marion; Town Administrator Michael Gagne, Tyler Macallister, and Paul Silva from Mattapoisett; and Town Administrator Richard LaCamera, Brad Morse, Naida Parker, and Richard Nunes from Rochester.

The first issue discussed was the ORR school budget. Gagne took the lead on the subject matter and brought to the group the issue of shortfalls and opportunities for improving communication between the School Committees, Finance Committees, and the Boards of Selectmen. Collectively, they decided to have a summit meeting bringing together members of those entities in an effort to assist the school committee in delivering a more finely tuned budget to the towns. They felt that if the School Committees were advised of the realities of revenue projections and state funding earlier in their budgeting processes, it would make for a smoother system and foster greater cohesiveness with the town budgets. They set December 5 as a date to revisit school revenue and budgets with their finance committees and then invite school committee members to the discussions shortly thereafter.

Taking things a bit out of rotation, necessitated by Cushing having to recuse himself from an agenda item, the third item on the agenda was second up for discussion; upcoming state water management regulations. Henry laid out his suggestion that the towns need someone working with SRPEDD to be on the inside track of any state-mandated water regulations that seem to be around the corner. This was voted on, and Henry will work on pulling that together.

In an unrelated matter, but one also potentially involving SRPEDD, Henry spoke about the unsafe conditions of County Road. LaCamera said that the Rochester portion of County Road had been repaired. The group suggested to Henry that he should reach out to SRPEDD for traffic study data and assistance that could lead to securing some funding for repairs.

The final item the group tackled was upcoming negotiations with cable service providers. Noting that the current contract expires in 2016, they agreed to continue any future agreement as a Tri-Town body versus individual towns. Gagne and Silva, along with Dawson, emphasized how agonizingly complicated contract talks are with service providers. They agreed on the necessity of enlisting a legal expert who could assist the Tri-Town in the process of securing the best agreement possible.

By Marilou Newell



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