Town Meetings tonight!

May 13, 2019

Mattapoisett and Marion will hold their town meetings tonight to allow voters to decide on a school renovation project as well as other projects that are important to each town. 

Both towns will consider a proposed $2 million Old Rochester Regional renovation plan, which would upgrade the high school’s deteriorating athletic fields, track, and auditorium. Before the renovations occur, voters in both towns and in Rochester will need to approve a 15-year Proposition 2-1/2 debt exclusion. It allows the town temporarily raise property taxes beyond the state-mandated limit. This item would also come up for a vote in annual or special elections. 

Taxes would increase by $19.57 a year in Mattapoisett and $25.11 a year in Marion, according to organizers of Restore ORR, a project advocacy group. 

The most expensive proposal in Marion is a $3,009,182 appropriation for a sewer lagoon lining and related design and installation costs, as required by an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Marion will also choose whether the town will purchase a new, automated trash truck, outsource collection to Waste Management, or privatize the issue, leaving it up to individual residents to decide what to do with their trash. The first two options would cost $470,000 for outsourcing trash pickup or $582,090 for the garbage truck. Town officials who have worked on the issue unanimously support outsourcing the collection. 

Marion will also consider a number of other articles, but will skip a number of bylaws as printed in the Town Meeting Warrant mailed out to all residents because they were misprinted and do not include the changes that would be made to those bylaws. 

The biggest question in Mattapoisett would appropriate $9.275 million to construct a new new fire station that would solve 14 health and safety violations, resolve space issues and allow for upgraded equipment. 

It would be funded by several sources, including a debt exclusion. The initial cost would be $13.37 per year for a $444,000 home if the town just focuses on financing and $26 per year if the town borrows additional money for other pending capital projects. 

Mattapoisett Town Administrator Michael Gagne said the town is set to finish paying off older projects within five years. The funds that would have been dedicated to paying off the older projects in a debt stabilization fund could then be applied to the fire station project and other new projects. 

Residents will also vote to change the town’s marijuana bylaw, which currently only allows medical marijuana cultivation. A proposed bylaw change, if approved, would allow businesses to cultivate and grow recreational and medical marijuana, but in-town sales would still be forbidden. A company has approached the town interested in growing both.

If approved, the town could expect at least $200,000 in revenue a year, according to Gagne. Officials have decided not to weigh in with a recommendation on the project. 

Marion Town Meeting will be at 6:45 p.m. at the Sippican School Multipurpose Room. Mattapoisett Town Meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. at Old Rochester Regional High School. Town Meetings will be open to all registered voters.