Mattapoisett struggles to knock budget back

Mar 24, 2021

MATTAPOISETT — Selectmen continued efforts to trim down the Fiscal Year 2022 town budget in a meeting on March 24.

“The numbers have come down from what they were originally,” Town Administrator Michael Lorenco said. But more cuts are in discussion.

The Mattapoisett Police Department is still deliberating where to make cuts after Selectmen urged Police Chief Mary Lyons to reduce their budget from $2.4 million in early March. Lyons has accepted the elimination of one of two originally requested police cruisers from the budget, which will save the town $55,000 according to Lorenco. But the department remains over budget.

The Mattapoisett Fire Department has also “made some adjustments,” Lorenco said, with Fire Chief Andrew Murray cutting $15,000 from the department’s salary line.

Selectmen also scrutinized salary lines for elected officials as well as employees with the Harbormaster, the Conservation Commission and the Transfer Station. Selectman Jordan Collyer requested an explanation from Lorenco on why the Transfer Station’s indirect costs were as high as $68,000, while the operation of the station sits at $98,000.

“How can indirects be that high for an enterprise like that?” Collyer said. “That doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.”

“I don't know off the top of my head. … I certainly will provide that so that we can go through it,” Lorenco said in response, hedging a guess that “the biggest chunk” might come out for the health agent who heads testing on the cap landfill.

The Selectmen also considered the long-term borrowing of up to $2.6 million for additional road projects — including on Industrial Drive — while interest rates remain low.

“Now may be the time to kind of tackle some of these projects, if we’re going to take them on on debt,” Lorenco said, though he also noted that long-term borrowing is a “costly endeavor.”

“You don't want to long-term borrow for short amounts,” he said. “You want to do it for a large amount.”