On a simmering September 4 evening when thoughts of tall cool drinks – water that is – were on the minds of many, the Rochester Board of Selectmen signed a comprehensive 20-year municipal water agreement with the Town of Marion.
Selectmen Chairman Greenwood “Woody” Hartley stated that legal counsel for both towns had thoroughly vetted the agreement.
After numerous meetings, the agreement grants the Town of Marion the right to search for water sources and water supplies within the Town of Rochester, among many other rights granted by the document.
Historically, Marion has depended on freshwater sources within Rochester’s boundaries, while Marion has also provided a number of Rochester households with water from systems it installed and maintains.
The agreement also mandates that, should Rochester elect to develop water sources, the cooperation of both towns is necessary to obtain regulatory approvals.
Rochester Water Commissioner Fred Underhill said, “It’s good to have this done for another twenty years. We fixed some of the glitches in the original agreement.”
Hartley thanked Underhill for his tireless efforts.
Also coming before the selectmen was Rochester Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon to discuss the Municipal Vulnerability Plan and Hazard Mitigation Program. She said that grant monies had been received for the Town to move into brainstorming and planning sessions with the help of Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD). She explained that the program would include two four-hour workshops facilitated by a contractor that would include participants from the Fire and Police Departments, Council On Aging, Board of Health, and other town agencies, along with business owners and large landowners. Farinon said that at the end a report would be produced to assist the Town in moving forward with hazard management planning.
The selectmen asked Farinon to return in March at which time they would determine timing for the workshops.
Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar reported that the Town had finally received reimbursement from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency for storms dating back to 2013. The $56,000 received would go into the General Fund, Szyndlar said.
Szyndler also reported that Acting Police Chief Robert Small was selected for the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Committee’s executive board.
Regarding the annual meeting recently attended with SEMASS, Szyndlar said that the topic of recyclables was broached. She said the solid waste disposal company would be assisting the Town in re-educating its citizens on the proper use of recycle bins. With costs for trash and recycling collection rising, she said it was critical to teach people the importance of clean recyclables. To that end, literature would be distributed to households as well as educational video productions.
On the theme of recycling, Szyndlar said that a textile recycling company, Waste Zero, provides curbside pick up of clothing and similar items which could supplement solid waste removal, she explained. One of the upsides of the service, she said, was a payment to the Town of $20 per ton of acceptable materials. She said the company was interested in giving a presentation to the selectmen. This news was favorably received.
In other matters, Hartley announced that the Council on Aging is seeking three community members to assist the Board of Directors in selecting a new director. Interested parties may call Sharon Lally at the Council on Aging at 508-763-8723 no later then September 10.
Earlier in the evening, the selectmen appointed Kimberly Burke to the Plumb Library Board of Trustees and acknowledged retiring Rochester Chief of Police Paul Magee with a citation for his years of service to the Town. Magee served Rochester from January 2003 until September 2018.
The selectmen also granted use of the Pine Street fairgrounds to the Rochester Lions Club for a Touch-a-Truck event scheduled for October 13.
The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Selectmen is scheduled for September 17 at 6:00 pm in the Town Hall meeting room.
Rochester Board of Selectmen
By Marilou Newell