Not only are Mattapoisett’s Board of Selectmen facing the challenges of being a two-person board, the added necessity of social distancing came into play on March 19.
That morning Selectmen Paul Silva and Jordan Collyer, along with Town Administrator Mike Lorenco, consultant Mike Gagne and members of the media dialed in to hear that the town was officially declaring a state of emergency.
Lorenco read the declaration that would give the town access to county, state and federal funds for first-responder supplies and other necessary materials, as well as circumventing long-held purchasing rules and regulations in an effort to expedite buying if needed.
After the declaration was read, the selectmen approved it for submission to the state.
Later that same day on a much happier note, the selectmen again met utilizing teleconferencing to discuss the $735,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The grant was approved by town meeting vote both in October 2019 and again in January 2020.
The October vote, however, tied the grant to other types of grants in a bundle slated to be used for roadway and infrastructure improvements to Industrial Drive. While the USDCEDA grant was received by the town, the manner in which it was tied to receiving other grants could place in jeopardy the entire $735,000 sum should only some of the grants fail to materialize.
Just days before the deadline set for accepting the USDCEDA grant would expire, a Special Town Meeting held in January 2020 found town meeting in favor of separating this grant from those that were not received. The modification to the warrant article from the October town meeting was overwhelmingly moved by a packed town meeting in favor of accepting the monies.
The selectmen on March 19 voted to have the town administrator sign documents accepting the grant. The grant, along with a matching $735,000 also approved at town meeting, now means that design, planning and preliminary construction may begin on Industrial Drive.
At press time, the next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen had not been scheduled. Visit www.mattapoisett.net to view the up-to-date meeting schedule. You may also view a full presentation on the Industrial Drive project on the town’s website.
Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen
By Marilou Newell