Despite icy patches and hard packed snow mounds surrounding Mattapoisett’s town hall, inside was warm and the conversation inspiring as Recreation Department Director Greta Fox met with the members of the Mattapoisett Finance Committee on February 17.
Fox said it had been an exciting year that included an expanded basketball program. She described a program that brought together school age children from the Tri-Towns, partnering not only with adults to referee games but also sharing facilities at Rochester Memorial and Sippican Elementary schools. Fox said that Rochester does not have a recreation department, which makes Mattapoisett’s program all the more important to the children in the surrounding area.
Fox spoke to the organization her department has brought to the town beach in ensuring lifeguards are fully engaged while on-duty. Also, a study of parking lot usage at town beach on Water Street found that demand for parking passes – a revenue source – was highest Friday through Sunday. With this is mind, Fox believes that staffing could be trimmed at the beach during the weekday for economic efficiency.
Fox complimented Program Administrator Jane Finnerty who manages the beach staff, improving services and operating the summer camp program with excellent results.
Regarding the summer camp program, Fox said that approximately 100 to 120 children are served and, with a newly secured grant from the Mattapoisett Cultural Council planned, field trips would not be funded from the department budget but would be supported by the grant of $600.
The camp program generates approximately $22,000 in revenue.
The list of programs now offered by the recreation department spans such activities as basketball, drama, flag football, gymnastics, Legos-2, nature camp, volleyball, and fencing to name a few.
The FY18 budget estimate Fox presented showed level funding at $32,757.
Also meeting with the Finance Committee was Police Chief Mary Lyons.
Both the police and ambulance departments were presented as level funded for FY18 in the spreadsheet Lyons prepared.
Of the ambulance department, Lyons said that the SouthCoast Health Care facility now fully operational in Fairhaven has increased billable ambulance runs by about 60 trips. Total ambulance runs were 625 in FY17 versus 540 in FY16. Mutual aid transports are a revenue source to the town, Lyons said.
Lyons also discussed capital planning needs, saying that two new cruises are on the list along with the possibility of having to purchase medication pumps for three ambulances.
She said the State may pass a new requirement mandating that all ambulances have medication pumps, but that hearings on the matter are ongoing at present. If, however, the State does require the new equipment, each pump will cost $7,000 and will have to be added to capital plans.
The ambulance budget for FY 18 stands at $372,797 versus FY17’s $368,619.
The Police Department budget for FY18 is pegged at $2,171,337 versus FY17 at $2,067,026.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Finance Committee is scheduled for March 1 at 6:30 pm in the town hall conference room.
By Marilou Newell