Marion Town Administrator Paul Dawson commended town employees and volunteers for their excellent effort in helping the town get back on its feet after Hurricane Sandy struck the Tri-Town earlier last week. Dawson gave thanks to the Fire Department, Police Department, Department of Public Works, Harbormaster and EMS at the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting on Tuesday, November 6.
“I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief,” said Dawson. “I’m grateful to all the volunteers and employees of the town.”
Dawson said that given the severity of the storm, Marion was lucky to not have incurred a significant amount of damage. Although the town experienced highs winds and rain, there was minimal coastal flooding. A widespread power outage had 25 percent of residents in the dark; however, power was quickly restored. The emergency shelter at the Sippican School was never opened to the public.
Dawson also updated the Board on the status of both the repairs to the Marion History Museum and the outside lighting at the Marion Music Hall. Two bids were submitted for the Marion History Museum and Dawson was concerned about the discrepancy between the two submissions.
According to Dawson, one bid was for $34,700 and the other was for $96,000. He said they are currently looking into the bids with the insurance company and checking the references of the bidders to see which will be the best option. Dawson said he should be able to make a recommendation for a contract by the Board’s next meeting.
For the Music Hall lighting, the town received four bids ranging in price from roughly $66,000 to $86,000. Dawson said the bids have been turned over to the Music Hall Advisory Committee and they will make a recommendation to the Selectmen as to which bid is the most appropriate. All money will come from the Music Hall Fund for this project.
The Board voted unanimously to keep the town’s tax rating at a single rate as opposed to changing to a split rate. According to the Board of Assessors, who recommended the single rate, the Department of Revenue said a split rate is not advised until the town’s residential percentage falls below 85 percent. Marion is currently comprised of 92 percent residential.
Town Harbormaster Michael Cormier asked the Board to vote to use the parking lot at Silvershell Beach during next year’s Buzzards Bay Regatta. The race, which is traditionally held in the middle of August, utilizes parking in the center of town, creating a lot of congestion. The center of town can accommodate approximately 300 cars, whereas the parking lot at Silvershell Beach can accommodate up to 700 cars when they are parked correctly.
“We feel this area is more practical,” said Cornier. “We’ve been talking about this for years. It’s going to make life a lot easier. I think it’s worth a try.”
Selectman Jody Dickerson further explained the benefits of utilizing the parking lot at the beach, stating that the town could make some revenue by charging money for one-day parking passes. Also, the snack stand at the beach could make money from spectators. The Board voted unanimously for the use of the parking lot.
The Marion Board of Selectmen will meet again on Tuesday, November 20 at 7:00 pm in the Marion Town House.
By Katy Fitzpatrick