The Marion Select Board shuffled the deck during Tuesday night’s public meeting, reorganizing to elect Toby Burr as the new chairman, with Randy Parker becoming vice chairman and Norm Hills clerk. The members’ liaison assignments have not changed and will be posted at marionma.gov.
The brief meeting featured many action items and a short report from Town Administrator Geoff Gorman.
In his report, Gorman updated the Select Board on progress with irrigation at the Cushing Community Center. He reported that the Community Center Working Group is contacting a vendor to add irrigation to the front lawn and to add pavilion items.
It was noted that “the living wall” (plantings) look beautiful. Harry Norweb, who was in attendance, told the board the group had money to install pipes and connected to a hose to get water to the plantings.
In an update on Wells Road, Gorman said he was working with Town Counsel and learned that a portion of the road in question is owned by the state. Representative William Straus is working with the state to provide for discontinuance. Gorman will work with Town Counsel to get an easement process started.
In an update on American Tower Asset Sub LLC to lease a Benson Brook parcel for a cell-phone tower, Gorman said that procurement law will require a bidding process. The lease on the parcel ran out in September 2022. Gorman said the best-case scenario will be to miss a month or two of payments. There is no transition period between contracts.
Gorman publicly thanked Facilities Manager Shaun Cormier for his department’s work using an ADA Improvement Grant to build a walkway at Silvershell Beach. Parker noted that crushed gravel is in place and compacted, making the project ready for concrete.
“It still amazes me every day how much those three gentlemen do,” said Gorman. Parker noted that the beach building and sign have been painted.
Thanks to the DPW, Old Landing curb stops are in place, reported Gorman.
The town is also asking for bids by June 2 for the July 1 Fireworks event (rain date July 7.) Tabor Academy was publicly thanked for a donation of $10,000 toward the event.
Noting the recommendation of Chairperson Margie Baldwin, the Select Board approved the appointment of Ellen Bruzelius to the Parks and Tree Committee.
The board approved road closures for two events: the Monday, May 29, 9:00 am Memorial Day Remembrance ceremony (Front Street from the Music Hall to Old Landing) in which U.S. Air Force Major Christopher A. Bonzagni will be the keynote speaker, and the Saturday, July 8, Arts in the (Bicentennial) Park event (Main Street and Spring Street) from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (rain date July 9.)
The board approved Tabor Academy’s request for a performance extension of 30 minutes for its Saturday, June 10, reunion weekend dinner, meaning the music could run until 11:30 pm.
A special, one-day alcohol-beverage license was approved for the Tri-County Music Association at Tabor Academy on Sunday, June 11, from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, as was a special, one-day alcohol-beverage license for The Bartending Service of New England on Saturday, July 22, from 2:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Silvershell Beach.
Discussion items tabled included a letter to Eversource regarding support of the Southeastern Massachusetts Clean Grid Concept and Cemetery Commission fee increases. Both decisions were due to a lack of backup information.
After being told that Department of Public Works Director Becky Tilden would like to meet with Water Department supervisors, annual water restrictions were also tabled.
Two of four seats in the Southeastern Massachusetts Metropolitan Planning Organization are up for election in August. SMMPO develops plans for 27 communities in the Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District (SRPEDD.) Parker asked if the incumbents whose terms are up wish to continue to serve. If a Marion Select Board member becomes interested, he will notify Gorman for application information.
The board approved Water/Sewer commitments of $11,031 (new service on May 3); $155 (sewer reconnection on May 9); $11,000 (new service on May 5); and $659.36 (final readings May 11.)
Upon DPW recommendation, the board approved a Water/Sewer abatement of $2,439.93 at 929 Point Road but voted against another abatement request for $2,000 at 34 Pine Hill Lane after it was learned that a plumber found a crack in the discharge mechanism.
Discussion of the Marion Housing Production Plan 2022 will appear as a New Business item on the board’s next agenda.
The Open Space & Recreation Plan, measuring over 200 pages is available.
The board reviewed a first read of the Public Comment Policy drafted in response to Open Meeting Law. A new policy would provide a way for the board to control the tempo in a public meeting. Burr said he would like such one-off policies all to be accessible in one location.
Parker noted the importance of knowledge management and being up to date, and Hills asked that the policy be posted at marionma.gov.
The next meeting of the Marion Select Board will be held on Tuesday, June 6, at 6:00 pm at the Police Station.
Marion Select Board
By Mick Colageo