Mattapoisett officials talk Town Meeting articles
MATTAPOISETT — Town Administrator Michael Gagne reviewed some of the biggest issues that will appear on the May 13 Mattapoisett Town Meeting at a Meet and Greet the Candidates event hosted by the League of Women Voters on April 28.
According to Gagne, one of the largest recurring expenses is health insurance for town employees and retirees. Last year was it was $2.3 million and this year it is up 8 percent, or $184,00.
Other post-employment benefits also present a significant liability, but Gagne said that the town has also done a lot to prepare. While the increasing number of retirees in the baby boomer generation still presented a $9.5 million liability, “no town that has done as well in securing or preparing for that issue,” Gagne said.
The town administrator said that school expenses will increase this year because Old Colony has more students.
“But you have to remember that in recent years those numbers have been down, and we put that money into school stabilization funds,” Gagne said.
The other major capital issues are a request from Old Rochester Regional High School to complete renovations of its main athletic field, track and auditorium, and the construction of a new fire station to fix space issues, health code violations, and modernize.
Though the fire station project will cost $9,275 million, Gagne also pointed out that within six years 79.3 percent of the long-term debt exclusions, with the exception of road repairs, will be repaid.
“To me, I think [the town] needs to do this right now,” he said.
Town voters will also be asked to consider zoning bylaw change on the town’s current marijuana bylaws.
The bylaw was just approved in November. However a company has approached the town and offered to draw up a host agreement for $200,000 annually. The agreement would allow the company to grow but not sell medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.
For the new facility to work, the town would need to amend two November articles.
Voters will also be asked to consider putting a solar array on a retired portion of the landfill.