The April 16 meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen took place via the new normal, remotely using call-in and or internet applications. Present were selectmen Paul Silva and Jordan Collyer, along with Town Administrator Mike Lorenco and consultant Mike Gagne.
The selectmen wasted no time in voting to extend tax-payment deadlines in light of COVID-19’s impact on the community and its economy. Lorenco read the executive order allowed under Section 10 of Chapter 53 Acts of 2020 from the state.
Lorenco reached out to The Wanderer with a full transcript of the executive order in an effort for full clarity. The order granted extension of real and personal property taxes to June 1. It also extended the date for filing real estate abatements and other statutory exemptions to June 1.
The order explains the reasoning behind the decision to extend payment deadlines reading in part, “…the Town of Mattapoisett is cognizant of its responsibility to act in a fiscally prudent manner regarding municipal revenues necessary to pay for essential municipal functions such as public safety, public health, and first responders during the current State of Emergency, yet is also cognizant of the adverse impact that strict social distancing orders, necessary to prevent the unchecked spread of COVID-19, have had on the finances of taxpayers… We are exercising the authority granted to us…”
On the topic of control and containment of COVID-19 spread within the community, the selectmen were generally pleased with the cooperation demonstrated by its residents. Silva asked if the police department had reported on how people were reacting to social distancing. Lorenco stated that there had been concern expressed about congregating around the tennis courts and the skate park. “Those are now closed,” he said. “People have done a pretty good job but not everywhere.” He said the public needed to maintain distancing, “…so we can keep some amenities open.”
Silva said that, while no one wanted to close recreation areas, he would move to have them closed if necessary.
Collyer said, “The police have been going to the bike path and Ned’s, (because) those are the biggest issues… If we have to step in, we will shut places down.”
Silva pleaded, “Please people, respect distancing so we can keep places open.”
One major public event that has been postponed until 2021 is the Fiftieth Annual 4th of July Road Race. Gagne read a letter from the race committee that noted the event draws hundreds of people into the village each year, making distancing impossible. The committee believed in the interest of public safety that postponing the race was the prudent thing to do.
Gagne also said that families looking for activities that allow for distancing might want to consider shellfishing. He said that last year’s permits would remain valid through the 2020 season and that information on open shellfish beds is available on the town’s website.
Gagne also commented on a more personal level, saying the work being done by the Board of Health, Fire Department, Police Department, and EMS have been exceptional. “They really know their business… I am proud.” He told the selectmen, “You’re running a very good operation here.”
Collyer followed up saying, “We are ahead of the curve on preparation.” He said he hoped the teams could begin looking ahead to the next stages in the coming weeks.
In other business, the selectmen granted Hawkers and Peddlers license to CC&D, a repurposed merchandise mobile-shopping experience owned by sisters Cecile Callahan and Doris McCarthy.
Callahan explained the new shopping experience known as “pop-ups,” that she plans to do in collaboration with existing business in the community. She assured Silva when asked that the truck used as a mobile market will only be parked on private property, that she would not be parked on town spaces.
“This type of business helps to drive new customers into existing businesses,” she said. Callahan said that, along with repurposed linens and other small items, the pop-up would be selling flowers.
The other business receiving the thumbs-up with a Common Victualler License was Ham ‘R Thyme operated by Shaun Murphy. Murphy said that the food truck located at Mahoney Lumber Company parking lot had been a “big investment” on the part of owner David McIntire. Murphy said that people were disappointed that the lunch truck had closed and were looking forward to it reopening under new management. Silva commented that good food and good prices would bring people to the business.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen was not scheduled at the close of the meeting. Go to www.mattapoisett.net for public meeting details.
Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen
By Marilou Newell