Exploring new ways to create revenue for the town is one of Mattapoisett’s new town administrator’s goals. On September 8 during the regular meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen, Mike Lorenco demonstrated one way that new revenue sources could be secured: a local meals tax. The quest for ways to increase revenue while leveling or decreasing property tax burden has begun.
Lorenco calculated that over the course of the last several years the town could have collected annually between $80,000 and $90,000 of income through a .75 percent meals tax. In 2020, that sum could have been as much as $94,172. He said that at his prior post in Eastham, where he held the position of assistant town administrator, that that community had joined the ranks of nearly every other community in the commonwealth that generate local revenue in this manner. He said he wanted to open the discussion up with residents and local businesses, but Selectman Paul Silva commented, “That’s a significant sum of money. I think it’s a decision we should make and let it go to town meeting.”
Selectman Jordan Collyer said he sees the local meals tax throughout his professional travels and was in favor of pursuing it, as was Selectmen John DeCosta.
Staying on the theme of money, Lorenco said that additional monies will be coming to the town from the Plymouth County-administrated CARES Act funding to reimburse non-budgeted, COVID-19 expenses and to aid Old Rochester Regional and Old Colony Regional Vocational-Technical high schools with masks and hand sanitizers. He said that the state has calculated a $225 allowance per student. While the town is scheduled to receive another $279,000 for unplanned emergency expenses, Lorenco said the program is set to expire in December and that the greater needs of other communities may impact what Mattapoisett may receive.
Lorenco also brought the board up to date on construction around the police station and location of the new fire station. He said that Hubbard’s Way will be closed on September 11. Entrance to the police station will be through Church Street, as drainage systems for the police station site and construction of the fire station proceed.
Rounding out his updates, Lorenco said that Freetown has expressed an interest in sending students to Old Colony Regional Vocational-Technical High School. He said a public meeting would be held on Wednesday, September 23, at 6:00 pm to discuss what he felt was, “exciting news.”
Town Hall hours of operations were also discussed as the selectmen sought to have expanded evening business hours balanced by a day of early closure. Silva said, “Residents are our customers.” He said that, while employee concerns need to be weighed, the needs of the community are important. “We can find a good balance.”
Lorenco said residents can make their voices heard on the town’s Facebook page as well as its website.
Further discussion on the merging of the Shellfish and Harbormaster departments was tabled, as well as appointments to functional areas therein until such time as the selectmen can meet in Executive Session.
Earlier in the evening, the selectmen appointed a number of existing employees and volunteers to various boards and committees. A full list of those positions can be found at mattapoisett.net. School committee appointments were tabled until members of the school committee could be present as well as the town moderator. Up for the four vacant slots are John Jacobsen, Van Cantor, Mike Rosa, and Mike Dahill.
Mattapoisett will honor its newest and soon-to-be retirees at a brief ceremony planned for September 22 at 4:00 pm at the gazebo in Shipyard Park. While large gatherings are not encouraged, it was decided that holding a brief ceremony at the outdoor venue will allow for adequate social distancing.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22, at 6:30 pm via Zoom.