Advisory Board recommends full-time Mattapoisett Harbormaster

Mar 12, 2019

MATTAPOISETT—Carlos DeSousa of the Marine Advisory Board appeared before the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen on March 12 to recommend the hiring of a full time harbormaster, and purchase of a boat and truck for the Harbormaster department.

Current Harbormaster Jill, or Sarge, Simmons, also appeared at the meeting.

DeSousa made clear from the beginning of the meeting that his numbers for the salaries are not yet complete. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Selectmen made plans to attend a Marine Advisory Board meeting March 27 to hear finalized numbers.

The Harbormaster’s office is responsible for various tasks, including the operation, and maintenance of the harbor, safety and enforcement of rules, and commitment to the boating community and public relations.

After a review of the responsibilities, DeSousa told the Board that “a full-time Harbormaster at this point makes a lot of sense.”

DeSousa said that typical salaries ranged from $80,000 to $100,000. Add in benefits to a salary on the higher end of that spectrum, and the total cost could be $130,000.

However, “we feel no need to take an assistant harbormaster at this time,” DeSousa added.

The Marine Advisory Board also examined the price to keep the office open from 6 a.m. to around 9 p.m. seven days a week from July 1 to Labor Day. This would increase the current hours, and cost around $22,700.

The total operating budget with known numbers is $301,300.

Other improvements for the office include updates to a mooring software that DeSousa called “obsolete,” adding a window to better see the wharfs and the purchase of a new laptop

Larger capital expenses include several fixes to the docks, the purchase of a pump-out boat, which was partially funded by Town Meeting last year, purchasing a boat and truck for the Harbormaster.

The boat would cost $130,000 over ten years, while a truck would cost around  $50,000 over the same period. All known capital expenses total $121,803 for a total budget of $434,103.

“$100,000 might be a little generous for a salary upfront,” commented Chair Jordan Collyer. He said it would be good to compare to other towns.

Another Selectman, Paul Silva, commented the department “may be able to save $10,000 or $15,000 on bookkeeping with a full time harbormaster performing additional bookkeeping during the off season.

A version of the Marine Advisory Board presentation with updated numbers will appear on the Town Meeting warrant. If voters approve it there, the Department will post a job description for the position.

Ideally the new Harbormaster would start full-time on August 1. The Selectmen did not ask or discuss whether Simmons would want the position full-time.