Turnover in Building Department

The Town of Rochester’s building commissioner for only eight months has resigned, but he has already been replaced.

            On Monday night, the Select Board announced that Carl Bizarro, who was appointed as building commissioner in March, handed in his letter of resignation on November 29, stating he will be resigning effective December 18. The board’s next motion was to appoint his replacement, Paul Boucher, who is currently the building commissioner in Carver.

            Before that vote, Town Administrator Glen Cannon noted Boucher was the second choice for the job when Bizarro was hired. Now it is Boucher’s turn to get the job because “it didn’t turn out to be a fit for Bizarro,” Cannon said.

            Cannon added that Bizarro was resigning to take another job in another town. He said the story was the same for the Building Department’s Administrative Assistant Patrice Braz, whose resignation the Select Board also announced Monday night, effective December 18. She, too, is leaving to accept another position, in the private sector.

            It is merely a coincidence of timing that the department is losing two of its personnel at the same time, Cannon said. Braz has served as the department’s administrative assistant for the past 12 years.

            The board began its meeting by appropriating the funds to place two pickleball courts at the Dexter Lane ball fields.

            Park Commissioner David Hughes said he has learned it would cost $3,100 to mark two Dexter Lane basketball courts for pickleball and acquire the pickleball nets that would be kept in a storage box between uses.

            Hughes said the commission budget does not have that kind of money but that the town could take the money out of beach-sticker revenues. “I was hoping you could do something about this tonight,” he said. “I have to let the contractor know tomorrow.”

            The selectmen approved the appropriation but not before making sure enough money was available. Select Board member Brad Morse said he was in favor of the plan but had questions about the money in that part of the budget. Cannon said the account is currently healthy at $50,500, but other draws on that money would actually put the account in an $8,000 hole.

            Morse hinted the town’s Reserve Account would again make up for that loss. He motioned to approve the expense, and the other members, Chairman Woody Hartley and Paul Ciaburri, swiftly agreed.

            The next topic was all about saving the town and residents’ money and headaches under newly proposed, state Title 5 septic-installation regulations.

            Town Health Director Karen Walega said the Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to require nitrogen-reduction systems even for existing septic systems. This new regulation, she said, would require expensive system upgrades or require the town to apply for a Watershed Area designation permit.

            The latter would give the town 20 years to see where the water-polluting nitrogen is coming from, she said. Meanwhile, even the elderly and homeowners on fixed incomes would have to pay $16,000 to $22,000 above their other septic-system costs for a new mechanical system.

            The state-proposed system has only “provisional” approval from the DEP, Walega said. Yet the DEP is speeding through the new regulation’s approval process; the current comment period deadline for these new regulations is early December. The town, she said, needs to request the state slow down with that process until more information can be gathered.

            Hartley said Walega was right that “this is not the time of the year to do this. It’s as if they are just trying to push this through.”

            The Select Board unanimously agreed to request “slowing the process” through letters and telephone calls to Representative William Straus and Senator Michael Rodrigues.

            Ciaburri said he knows an acquaintance in Virginia who is using one of the new mechanical systems. “They don’t work,” Ciaburri noted. “He’s constantly pumping out his system.”

            Walega noted these mechanical systems are different than the gravity systems Rochester residents use. “They use electricity all the time. (The) electric bill will go up too.”

            The Town of Marion wrote a new bylaw earlier this year, requiring denitrification technology in any new septic installations or upgrades, but variances have been voted to multiple applicants. Recent denitrification systems approved by Marion’s Board of Health have been conditioned with a commitment in writing to engage in a prescribed maintenance and recordkeeping program.

            The next meeting of the Rochester Select Board is scheduled for Monday, December 19, at 6:00 pm at Town Hall, also remotely accessible live via Zoom.

Rochester Select Board

By Michael J. DeCicco

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