Timing could not have been more apropos as the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen expressed their gratitude to Water and Sewer Superintendent Nick Nicholson and Highway Department Superintendent Barry Denham at the November 25 meeting.
Not only did they thank Nicholson and his department, they also read from an award letter he received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on his exceptional work in providing the public with clean drinking water.
Chairman Paul Silva read the letter from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection that noted Nicholson’s exceptional efforts in preserving a safe drinking water supply for the town that exceeded the state’s standards and secured top scores for Mattapoisett. Nicholson also received a citation from Governor Deval Patrick that further acknowledged Nicholson’s accomplishments in this area.
As Silva concurred with the State’s meritorious awards to Nicholson, he also thanked him on behalf of the resident of the town.
Nicholson shared the limelight, saying he was proud to receive this award for the second time and said many others work diligently with him behind the scene.
Silva said that about six years ago, the Town built a water plant that services Marion and Fairhaven. Water from wells throughout the water district is pumped to the plant where impurities are treated or removed. Nicholson’s management of that facility was lauded.
Selectman Tyler Macallister inquired of Nicholson the status of the state-imposed water restrictions. Nicholson said he should have something to report within the next two weeks.
Denham’s work with his team at the Highway Department also received words of thanks from Selectman Jordan Collyer.
Collyer said he has heard nothing but good things from residents regarding work done by the Highway Department over the summer months, including keeping the town looking clean and tidy, and the polite character of the workers when they interface with the public.
Denham accepted those kind words on behalf of his crew.
“They are a good bunch,” said Denham. “We are lucky.”
Macallister also recognized Denham for his work in helping to give the town a grand Veteran’s Day ceremony.
On a topic that was much less cheery, Denham brought the board up to speed on the Acushnet Road closure and associated Tinkham Pond culvert disaster.
Denham said that all temporary repair options were impossible, given that the state required them to be fully engineered and designed. He told the board that the winter season would impair working in the elements, and in the end, the only reasonable course of action was a complete repair in the spring.
He expressed compassion for those who are now forced to use a detour but said, “We knew we had to do [work on the culvert], but didn’t think it was as bad as it really was … it had gone too far.”
Only after an underwater survey of the area by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation was completed did the full extent of the culvert collapse become an emergency.
Silva said there was money in the budget for some of the repair work that will be started in spring 2015 and Denham added that Chapter 90 monies would also be available.
On the topic of tree trimming on private roads, Denham wanted to remind the public that the Town is not responsible for trimming trees on private roadways.
Earlier in the evening, the selectmen, along with Mattapoisett School Committee Chairman Jim Higgins and Town Moderator John Eckland, interviewed prospective Finance Committee member, Marie Bacon.
Bacon has participated on other boards and committees in the past and was now stepping forward to help on FinCom. When asked about her qualifications, she said has an MBA and handles budgets for the health care facility where she is employed.
The board moved to appoint Bacon.
And in the category of “we’ll have a tree lighting if we can find a tree,” Denham and Secretary to the Board of Selectmen Melody Pacheco are trying to find a tree for Shipyard Park. They urged the public to come forward if they have a tree to donate. If a tree is secured in time, the annual tree lighting will be held on Saturday, December 13 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.
The winter farmer’s market will be held on Saturday, December 13 in the ORRJHS gym between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Santa and Mrs. Claus are expected to arrive by fire engine at 11:00 am with entertainment for the children.
Town Hall will be closed from November 27 to November 30 and will reopen with regular business hours on Monday, December 1.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for December 9 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room.
By Marilou Newell