Mattapoisett using stabilization fund money to match grants for fire department, wharf renovations

Nov 18, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — Grant matching for capital projects was at the center of a Nov. 17 joint meeting between the Select Board, Finance Committee and the Capital Planning Committee.

In the pipeline, the town has three upcoming projects that have grants secured, but need a financial matching in order to use them.

Highway Surveyor Barry Dedham went before the boards to ask for a $25,000 match to a $75,000 grant from the state Coastal Zone Management to repair a culvert on Mattapoisett Neck Road.

Dedham explained there’s a pipe on the road that runs from a salt marsh to Molly’s Cove that has holes in it that have been repaired before. The decaying pipe has also caused a sinkhole in the road.

If left unrepaired, it could eventually shut down Mattapoisett Neck Road. 

The $100,000 would only cover the engineering costs, and Dedham would apply again for the grant to cover the construction costs.

“It’s not a cheap project,” Dedham said. 

CPC Member Ellen Driscoll pointed out that the project isn’t on the town’s 10-year capital plan. This brought up major discussion between every board and Town Administrator Michael Lorenco.

Lorenco said that one of his goals is to get a handle on the 10-year plan to make sure all projects are included on it. 

“We either use it or we don’t,” Selectman Jordan Collyer said. “We’re on borrowed time.” 

Another capital project on borrowed time is Fire Department’s replacement of its self-contained breathing apparatuses. 

Chief Andrew Murray requested $33,755.99 to match a nearly $175,000 grant to replace 23 of the airpacks.

The current apparatuses that firefighters use are 24 years and cost the department $10,000 a year to fix. 

The request is also time-sensitive. If the department doesn’t purchase the packs before the new year, the price to pay would likely go up by $20,000 due to demand during covid.

And like the CZM grant, this project is also not on the 10-year plan list, though multiple CPC members recall it being on the list at some point.

“This sounds like something that’s necessary,” Finance Committee member Paul Amoruso said.

Lastly, Harbormaster Jamie McIntosh requested a $30,000 match of a $120,000 grant to help replace the pilings and cables at the bottom of Holmes Wharf. 

In the end, Selectmen approved a transfer of $33,755.99 from the Town’s Capital Stabilization Fund to assist the Mattapoisett Fire Department in replacing self-contained breathing apparatuses.

After a lengthy discussion, Selectmen also approved a transfer of $30,000 from the Town’s Capital Stabilization Fund for the replacement of haul line pilings and cables at Holmes Wharf. The project funds must be repaid, over a period of 3 years, from the Waterfront Enterprise Fund retained earnings at no less than $10,000 per year.

For the CZM grant match, Lorenco said he would get in touch with the state to see if there could be a grant extension in order to have the funding come from a vote at Spring Town Meeting. Depending on what the state says, Selectmen could make a decision on the grant at their next meeting.