It came at the end of the April 27 meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen, a goodbye from outgoing member Paul Silva. In saying his adieu, Silva thanked the selectmen he has worked with over the years and the town employees, many of whom he has come to know well. He gave an extra special shout-out to Dan White for his yeoman work, almost never taking time away from videotaping meetings. “He’s been there every week getting meetings out for the public,” said Silva.
Speaking to the two candidates vying for the seat he is vacating, Jodi Lynn Bauer and Nicki Demakis who were in attendance, Silva said it is easy to be critical when “you are on the outside, but when you get on the inside you’ll see how dedicated employees and residents are.” He extended his best wishes to all.
Selectman Jordan Collyer, with whom Silva has worked for the 10 years Collyer has been a selectman, thanked Silva. “I’ve learned a lot, been frustrated a lot, but I’ve gained a lifelong friend. Thank you for everything you have done for the town, thank you for your service,” he said.
Earlier in the evening, the board met with engineering consultant Jamie Pisano of VHB to get an update on exactly what was contained in the 25-percent submission sent along to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for the village streets project.
Using computer graphics, Pisano gave the board a virtual tour of current conditions from the intersection of Main Street and Route 6 all the way along the waterfront to the intersection of Old Marion Old and Beacon Street. He also included graphics for Old Marion Road. The graphics demonstrated what the roadways will look like if design concepts for sidewalks, parking, and selective tree removal were to be implemented.
The board expressed concern over the possibility of losing parking area on the north side of Water Street and asked for an analysis of what is currently available for parking versus the proposed spaces. Silva suggested that the Police Department help to identify where parking is currently available in order to understand any reductions being suggested.
Of the eight trees selected for removal, Pisano said four are diseased and four others would have to be removed to allow for the construction of sidewalks. The trees proposed for removal are oaks located at 43 and 10 Main Street, an oak at the intersection of Water Street and Main, an oak at 18 Water Street, an oak on Church Street, and two maples – one at 2 Old Marion Road and another close to Oxford Creamery.
The removal of the maple near the intersection of Old Marion Road and Route 6 would allow for the reconfiguration of the intersection long considered dangerous. Collyer said the goal is to save as many trees as possible, but diseased trees need to be removed. All agreed the tree warden should be involved in the discussions.
Pisano discussed other aspects of the project, such as conversations that took place with local boat haulers who asked that the project include contacting utility companies to have overhead wires elevated and out of the way. He also said he met with the town’s safety officer, whom he said likes the concept of additional sidewalks, and also asked that a four-way stop be added to the intersection of Old Marion Road, Church Street extension, and Pine Island Road.
Pisano said there are 16 components to the development of the 25-percent design. The construction estimate stands at $7,600,000, he said. He then explained the DOT review process of the submitted documents and added that the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District had recommended the project for grant monies known as TIP (Transportation Improvement Program), part of the Federal Transit Administration, but not until the 2026 list. He said the public comment period is open and is an opportunity to push for an earlier placement.
In other business, the board approved the Town Meeting warrant and FY22 budget. The selectmen applauded the work done by the town administrator and the Finance Committee in crafting a budget that, as Collyer framed it, “leaves more capacity out there for the third year in a row.” In a follow-up, Town Administrator Mike Lorenco confirmed that $145,000 was left in capacity. The budget now goes before the Finance Committee on April 29 for its final approval before heading to Town Meeting on May 10.
And speaking of Town Meeting, Lorenco said plans are underway now to ensure all safety regulations are met. Town Meeting will be held inside the Old Rochester Regional High School gymnasium. He said that state guidelines will be upheld.
Lorenco said the warrant is available to the public at Mattapoisett.net, and a full presentation of the budget will also be posted. He also said that, at the present time, the regional school district agreement will not be presented to the voters, as the three towns were still reviewing the details.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for Monday, May 10, at 6:00 pm, just prior to Town Meeting.
Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen
By Marilou Newell