Using remote-access platforms to conduct the town’s public business, the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen declared a state of emergency in Mattapoisett on March 19, 2020. Selectmen Jordan Collyer and chairman Paul Silva voted unanimously to accept the following that, upon their acceptance, would be sent on to the State House for approval.
The declaration comes on the heels of Governor Baker declaring a state of emergency in Massachusetts and gives municipalities certain rights that will help financially and materially support cities and towns until the emergency period is over. It would allow communities to apply for county, state, and federal assistance programs.
It reads in part: “Whereas the outbreak of COVID-19 and the risk to person-to-person transmission throughout the United States and the Commonwealth significantly affects the safety of the public; and… on March 10, 2020, Governor Baker announced emergency actions to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, including prohibitions on public gatherings, prohibiting on-premises consumption of food and drink at bars and restaurants, as well as suspension of elementary and secondary school…from March 17, 2020, to April 6, 2020; the Board of Selectmen has determined that COVID-19 presents a major disaster which poses an immediate threat to public health, safety, and general welfare of people residing both within and outside the town…the Selectmen have determined that immediate public action is needed in order to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by and among the people of Mattapoisett; declaring a state of emergency will facilitate and expedite the use of resources to protect persons from the impacts of COVID-19 including but not limited to emergency expenditures…and the limitations on operating hours and access to public buildings – a state of emergency be declared.”
The town’s new administrator, Mike Lorenco, drafted the declaration and read it for the selectmen who both called into the meeting.
More than a week ago Governor Baker modified open-meeting rules during this emergency, granting cities and towns the flexibility of conducting business without being physically located in the same public space.
Also present assisting with technical navigation through the meeting was former Town Administrator Mike Gagne, who will be staying on to help Lorenco during the transition process including finalization of the FY21 budget and the fall town meeting.