Pump out boat, radio conversion OK’d in Mattapoisett

Nov 27, 2018

MATTAPOISETT — With little debate, Town Meeting Monday agreed to appropriate funds for a new Harbormaster boat, an ambulance and, separately, digitizing police radio communications.

One of the proposed appropriations included $225,000 for a new ambulance to replace the current vehicle purchased in 2006. The sum is in addition to the $100,000 already saved for the new vehicle. 

With one of the town’s ambulance’s out of commission for the last six weeks, the need for a reliable vehicle was emphasized by Police Chief Mary Lyons. 

“The current 2006 ambulance that we have operating in town is a diesel engine and is beyond its useful life,” said Lyons. “We’ve spent an enormous amount of money this year alone in repairing head gaskets and other issues that evolved from the age of that ambulance.”

After approving the purchase, voters were asked to consider another proposed appropriation of $135,000 for police radio upgrades.

The Mattapoisett Police Department shares a radio frequency with Fairhaven and Acushnet, since the three towns often work together. However, they are still on an unreliable analog signal and the sum approved by voters will contribute to Mattapoisett’s share of the upgrade.

Voters were also asked to approve $25,000 for a new Harbormaster pump out boat, with the remainder of the boat’s cost being covered by a $56,000 grant. 

According to officials, the 23-foot boat will service the harbor and empty the waste tanks of other boats. Selectman Tyler Macallister told residents that a new pump out boat needs to be purchased before spring Town Meeting to avoid being without one for the next boating season. 

Another appropriation — the largest of the night at $800,000 — was approved to replace a Pease Point water main behind residential houses that has aged and been eroded by tropical storms. The initial planning work was covered by a grant, but the town needed additional funding for the project.

Henri Renauld, Water and Sewer Commission Superintendent, told voters that the proposal only authorizes the borrowing of $100,000. The project will have access to grant money totaling $498,750 and $201,250 from past articles. 

A “yes” vote was given by voters on an appropriation of $155,000 for renovation plans on Industrial Drive and the intersection and crossings at North Street. The sum is related to a grant proposal submitted by the town in July for $8.5 million. 

The grant, called BUILD, is administered by the Federal Highways Administration. It is a funding opportunity for transportation projects and around $450 million is reserved for projects in rural American communities. 

“Currently, the Industrial Drive is close to 50 years old and in desperate need of public works and improvements,” said Selectmen Chair Jordan Collyer. “The lack of sewer creates a little bit of a problem for building out the industrial park and having more businesses.”

Collyer added that the grant money could potentially attract businesses to the empty lots and generate hundreds of jobs and $1 million in tax revenue. 

To close out the night, voters were asked to accept a grant totaling $88,426 from the Massachusetts Housing Choice program to install generators in the Housing Authority Complex.

Macallister recalled last year’s snow storms which cut off power from the building for a large amount of time, negatively effecting seniors living their. According to Macallister, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito notified the town it had been awarded the grant two months ago to maintain power in the facility to protect against future outages.  

The information was met with applause from the audience, who unanimously voted in favor of the grant.