Capital Planning Casting Wide Net

            It’s that time of the fiscal year when town departments draft new budgets and review their capital needs. For Mattapoisett’s Capital Planning Committee, it’s also a time to continue casting a wide net that captures all capital expenses in an effort to shed light on all proposed expenditures. The process now includes data on how expenditures will be funded, a data point not previously defined.

            On Tuesday night, the committee met to review the 10-year plan as drafted and accepted by the Select Board in May 2022. Chairman Chuck McCullough said no surprises have arisen since that time that would cause an economic blip for FY24 planning. However, he said that the unexpected feasibility study Old Colony Regional Vocational-Technical High School is planning needs to be added to the FY24 schedule. The school recently met with the Mattapoisett Select Board, saying it plans to ask its member towns to put a warrant article in their spring town meetings to fund the anticipated $1,000,000 needed.

            Old Colony Superintendent Aaron Polansky attended that meeting and provided an updated building plan. Polansky said that in order to provide the level of programming needed by students, improvements to the overall school structure were imperative. He said the first step in bringing the 1970s structure up to today’s standards was the drafting of a feasibility study. McCullough said the estimated total needed for improvements to the school are $16,000,000.

            Speaking of schools, the committee discussed the study being conducted by the UMass Collins Center, part of which includes school facilities and the condition of Town Hall. McCullough said it is important for residents to understand that the study is not intended to provide any recommendations regarding the feasibility of shutting down a local school for the relocation of Town Hall.

            “It’s not a recommendation, it’s just information gathering that can be part of the input used when looking at our options. It will go into a feasibility report,” he said, noting the importance of the distinction between evaluating the buildings versus recommending an action. The Collins Center report, he emphasized, is just an evaluation.

            McCullough shared that having a School Committee member on the Capital Planning Committee is helpful for both the town and the school, helping each to more clearly appreciate the fiscal challenges faced.

            One of the major tasks that lies ahead for the committee is gathering information on the amount of Town Meeting-approved expenditures that have yet to draw financing. McCullough said it is important to understand what’s holding up the spenddown, but he speculated that part of the problem comes from lingering supply-chain lags.

            On the Capital Planning schedule for FY25 are the following proposals: Water Department repair to the Bay Club tank at $500,000 by debt exclusion, Oakland Street water-line replacement at $510,000 by ARPA funds, new Water Department trucks at $35,000 from Enterprise Fund, Sewer Department Route 6 west sewer lines at $2,250,000 by bond, Sewer Department trucks at $35,000 from Enterprise Fund, Waterfront Enterprise Fund replacement of timber pilings at $45,000 and rebuilding of Long Wharf at $10,000,000 by debt exclusion, tennis-courts rehabilitation at $24,000 from tax levy, Police Department radio console from ARPA funds at $50,000, Police Department domain server from ARPA funds at $75,000, new ambulance Department UTV with stretcher at $50,000 from ambulance receipts, Fire Department helmet replacements from grant funding $9,000, Highway Department annual road improvements at $300,000 from free cash, Baptist Street reconstruction at $650,000 debt exclusion, culvert outfall study at $50,000, Highway Department building repairs at $1,500,000 from debt exclusion, Ford F250 truck at $75,000 from free cash, loader tires at $20,000 from free cash, Center School kitchen warmers at $13,500 from free cash, Old Hammondtown School flooring at $25,000 free cash, library carpet replacement at $45,000 from free cash and Mattapoisett Bike Path Phase 2A at $3,845,000 by grant funding.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Capital Planning Committee is scheduled for Monday, January 30, at 5:30 pm, location to be announced.

Mattapoisett Capital Planning Committee

By Marilou Newell

One Response to “Capital Planning Casting Wide Net”

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  1. Debra Ramos says:

    Isn’t the Bay Club a private gated community…with no public access? Than why are the tax payers going to be paying for a million dollar private golf club and residents water supply when it only benefits those residents and golfers? Something is very wrong with this..I encourage you at the Wander to venture pass the 195 overpass on North Street and observe the deplorable and dangerous road conditions, no sidewalks, no crosswalks..our tax dollars pay for the the entire town not just the million dollar residents who live at the Bay Club.

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