Mattapoisett Selectman John DeCosta, speaking from prepared notes, addressed the residents of Mattapoisett before the Board of Selectmen’s April 13 meeting got underway. DeCosta told the public that he recently received a cancer diagnosis but believes he is fully capable of carrying out the duties of selectman.
“I ask for your thoughts and prayers,” he said. Both Selectmen Paul Silva and Jordon Collyer expressed their sincere best wishes, offering prayers for DeCosta and his family.
In other business conducted by the board on April 9, the selectmen voted to have a debt exclusion question posed to voters at the May 10 Spring Town Meeting and on the May 18 election ballot – whether or not there is a fiscal appetite to borrow $450,000. The funding, if secured, will be earmarked for roadway design projects, primarily the long-discussed Main, Water and Beacon Street span and improvements to Marion Road.
The funding will be used to complete 75-percent design development already begun by engineering firm VHB as required by the Massachusetts Transportation Improvement Program known as T.I.P. The language in the question will also give the town leverage to use interest on the bond to pay down the borrowing. The impact on the property tax rate for the Proposition 2½ ceiling was estimated at $10 per year. Both the ballot question and the article will have to find favorable responses before further action can be taken.
Coming before the board on April 13 was Alan Decker of the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Mike Huguenin of the Mattapoisett Land Trust with a request to approve the inclusion of 8 additional acres to an existing conserved parcel known as the Old Aucoot District. The additional acreage comes from the MLT’s acquisition of the former Santos Farms, which will become a meadow, Huguenin stated. The board unanimously approved the amendment to the conservation restriction.
The board also unanimously approved the return of the annual Mattapoisett Boat Race sponsored by the Rochester Firefighters Association to be held on May 31. The event was truncated last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic and state restriction on gatherings. Town Administrator Mike Lorenco said that the town could limit to 150 (per the current state guideline) the number of people participating and gathering to watch the boaters come across the finish line at the herring run located on Route 6. The selectmen added that people will not be allowed to congregate after the race is completed and that no concession services will be allowed.
Also discussed were rules for gathering at Ned’s Point, also known as Veteran’s Park. Lorenco asked the board for guidance on how to handle the increasing number of requests that Town Hall is receiving.
After discussing the pros and cons, and desirous to try and come up with a formula that would allow gatherings while maintaining the state’s safety guidelines, the board determined that up to 50 people would be allowed to gather for weddings and picnics, pending permission. They also said that weddings would have a time limit of one hour, and picnics three hours, and that a two-hour separation between events would be in place.
DeCosta added that use of the town’s parks including Shipyard Park and The Landing needs a complete review, including fees and updated policies.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 pm.
Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen
By Marilou Newell