Mattapoisett voters approve 29 articles at Town Meeting, deny ‘nip’ ban
This story will be updated with more information
MATTAPOISETT— Mattapoisett voters approved 29 articles and denied one article during the Mattapoisett town meeting on Monday, May 8. One article was removed by the Select Board.
Voters approved Article One which updated elected officers’ compensation including two substantial raises for the Mattapoisett town clerk and highway surveyor.
According to Town Moderator John Eklund, Select Board member Jodi Bauer removed herself from the vote.
Finance Committee Chairwoman Patricia Donoghue raised concerns about the compensation for elected officials.
“I'm troubled by giving raises to elected officials in excess of what we're giving the people that work for us every day and are part of our unions,” she said.
Voters approved the Fiscal Year 2024 operating budget amounting to $31,691,197.
“We're continuing to try to budget conservatively, not use all the money if we don't need to,” said Mattapoisett Town Administrator Mike Lorenco.
Lorenco said that big ticket budget items included the local school budget which amounted to $7,842,347 and public safety department budgets.
The police budget amounts to $2,635,380, the fire department budget totals at $914,402 and the ambulance paramedic budget is $496,200.
“On [the] school budget, we were able to keep it pretty well controlled,” said Donoghue. “But it's largely due to the fact that we have significant reductions in the number of students.”
Additionally, voters approved an allocation of $49,000 toward a feasibility study to look into possible renovations of Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School.
This represents Mattapoisett’s portion of the study’s estimated $500,000 cost. According to Old Colony Superintendent Aaron Polansky, the school is prepared to match $500,000 using its own stabilization funds.
All five of the school’s member towns must vote to approve this item at their respective town meetings in order for it to pass. So far, only Mattapoisett, Lakeville and Carver have approved this item. Acushnet and Rochester have yet to hold their Town Meetings.
Voters approved $1,176,650 in capital plan funds including $170,000 slotted to purchase a CAT backhoe/ loader, $250,000 allotted to go toward road improvements.
Mattapoisett voter Don Cuddy filed a citizen’s petition to ban the sale of “nips” in town.
“It’s the litter problem that bothers me,” said Cuddy. “The litter is a symptom of the social problem, people are driving around drinking these things and throwing them out the window because they don't want them to be found in their vehicle.”
Village Package Store owner Ed Lima responded to Cuddy’s suggestion for the town.
Lima said that 20% of his income comes from nip sales.
“Small bottle sizes for alcohol help control overconsumption where bans would force consumers to purchase larger bottles that could probably raise drunk driving rates,” said Lima.
The petition to ban “nips” was not passed. Forty nine voters favored while 83 voters opposed the petition.