The April 6 meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen may have been a brief 25 minutes, but the two items on the agenda represented opportunities to improve lives, both everyday life and, for some, the quality of a life being lived in the shadow of medical issues.
One day motorists may be riding on smooth, newly-paved roadways along village streets lined with additional parking and new sidewalks, but first come the funding details as the board discussed ongoing design development for Main, Water, and Beacon Streets.
Town Administrator Mike Lorenco told the selectmen that, currently, the engineering firm VHB had submitted the necessary 25-percent design to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for its comments. Not wishing to delay design development, Lorenco said that to achieve the next benchmark (75-percent design), $450,000 is needed. He said that although the project, which has been on the Massachusetts Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) list for several years, had been pushed out to 2026, it is important to move forward on the design.
But how to fund the $450,000?
Lorenco explained that a 15-year bond at 1.3-percent interest would cost the taxpayers approximately $10 per year over the life of the bond. He said that a bond anticipation note (BAN) is another avenue, but would preclude the town from excluding it from debt at a later date.
Selectman Jordan Collyer and Chairman Paul Silva both wanted to think about a variety of options, including a tax levy, with Silva urging that, before they make any borrowing decisions, Selectman John DeCosta be given the chance to voice his comments. DeCosta was not present at the evening meeting.
However, the clock is ticking. The board discussed putting a question before voters on the May 18 ballot, but without a decision on a borrowing method, it was unclear if they had time to wait for DeCosta’s comments. The town clerk is required to submit election details by April 12.
“I just think we should get John’s comments,” Silva said. “He’s going to have to live with whatever happens; I won’t be here.”
Collyer and Silva reached a compromise. They would wait until Friday to hear from DeCosta and then meet on Friday, April 9, at 12:30 pm to make a final decision.
Earlier in the meeting, coming before the board were Barbara Sullivan, retired town clerk, and her granddaughter, Sophia-Lynne Bechard. Speaking on behalf of the two women, Collyer said they wanted permission to fly the Donor Life Flag outside Town Hall. April is Donor Month and the Ellis family wishes to heighten the importance of organ and tissue donation.
Collyer said, “In every tragedy, there can be hope.” Samuel Ellis was a donor, which his family has found comfort in as they continue to grieve his passing.
After proclaiming April as Donor Month, the selectmen approved the raising of the flag, which will take place on Wednesday, April 7, at 5:00 pm at Town Hall.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for Friday, April 9, at 12:30 pm.
Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen
By Marilou Newell