Subcommittee Reports on Police Fleet

            On April 28, the Mattapoisett Capital Planning Committee reconvened to continue its discussions on items believed critical to capital planning processes moving forward.

            During previous meetings, several committee members were dispatched to research expenditures or future municipal needs such as facilities maintenance, renovations and rehabilitation projects, and to obtain asset maintenance records for the fleet of vehicles assigned to the Police Department.

            It was good news from members Mike Rosa and Mike Dahill, who spearheaded the collection of data currently available for the Police Department fleet. The members met with Police Sargent Justin King and Police Chief Mary Lyons, saying it was a good meeting and that the department had been very open during their discussion.

            Dahill said they learned that the costs of new vehicles are partly driven by the fact that equipment isn’t always transferrable from a vehicle being retired to a new one coming into the fleet. He said that the union contract negotiation does grant certain officers the privilege of taking a vehicle home, but with the concession of a decreased or deducted allowance in another area such as uniforms.

            Rosa said the department is keeping good maintenance records and other data that will be useful when a vehicle is targeted for replacement. The team also was informed by the Police Department that the average vehicle mileage per year is 20,000. Chairman Chuck McCullough said of Police Department vehicles, “I’d like to see them hit 100,000, not just replace them very three years.”

            Regarding unmarked vehicles obtained from the state via a program that passes along seized vehicles that have been involved in crimes to police departments, Rosa said the police chief preferred to keep the number and identification of those vehicles anonymous “for obvious reasons.” But McCullough thought that the maintenance and other costs need to be included for a full picture of all department expenses. The committee agreed it is time to revisit the town’s vehicle policy.

            Other items that the Police Department needs to plug into the 10-year plan are a motorcycle, body cameras, and telephones, the committee learned.

            The wide-open umbrella of infrastructure, according to McCullough, covers everything from telephone systems and computers to roads, bridges, culverts, municipal water and sewer systems, and municipal buildings. McCullough said it was time to invite Bonne DeSousa to a meeting to discuss costs associated with the bike/pedestrian path. “We need to find out who owns the bike path,” said McCullough, stating the importance of putting it on the plan and understanding both scheduled and unexpected maintenance requirements and any associated equipment.

            On the subject of Old Rochester Regional Schools capital needs, McCullough said the committee should continue to strive towards bringing the three towns together collaboratively with one goal being a reserve fund created solely to address those needs.

            Regarding the upcoming Annual Town Meeting on May 10, McCullough said Capital Planning will not be ready to roll out a 10-year plan at that time but would “commit to having one ready in six months.” He said that warrant articles for capital needs total $147,900 and that there are sufficient monies for all items being presented to the voters.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Capital Planning is scheduled for Wednesday, May 12, at 6:00 pm.

Mattapoisett Capital Planning Committee

By Marilou Newell

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