By Pattie Pacella, Neighb News Correspondent
At a meeting on Wednesday, 8/10, the Acushnet Selectboard discussed the details of the warrant for the special Town Meeting to be held on Tuesday, 8/30 at 7 p.m. at Ford Middle School. The Selectboard reviewed town counsel’s remarks on the articles.
Activists with Southcoast Neighbors United (SCNU) forced the town meeting by gathering the required signatures. The group wants the town to go on record against the proposed expansion of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility on Peckham Road.
Selectboard Chair Garry Rawcliffe said that town counsel stated that it was a non-binding article. Mr. Rawcliffe said that any vote taken regarding the LNG Project through the article would reflect the opinions of the people that were at the special town meeting.
The article directs all elected and appointed town officials to “state their opposition” to the project, and to use “all authority vest in them” to fight the project. It also includes some specific actions for officials to take, such as filing their opposition with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The second article on the warrant was recommended by Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher, the chairperson of the LNG Committee.
The nine-page by-law will require a “permit for operation of” the new, expanded facility.
Mr. Rawcliffe read from the town’s attorney that the by-law could be discussed and voted on.
If passed, the lengthy by-law would require safety precautions, emergency response training programs, and detailed requirements for employees and emergency response equipment.
Mr. Rawcliffe said there had been a third article put forward by the Town Administrator Screening Committee asking for a charter change or bylaw change to have a waiver in place if the potentially new town administrator would be able to also work elsewhere if he took the Town Administrator position.
Mr. Rawcliffe stated that the town’s attorney stated that there were different ways to get a charter changed and he did not feel the article should be voted on at the upcoming STM.
Selectboard member Kevin Gaspar said he wanted to know if all the screening committee members agreed to create the by-law change or if it was just the person who signed the letter.
“I don’t think it’s fair to the taxpayers to put a town administrator in place for $100,000 plus and have him still be able to work somewhere else,” said Mr. Gaspar. “I wouldn’t agree to that.”
He said he would rather have the committee go before them to discuss exactly what they want to change in the charter regarding the potentially new administrator.
In other business, the Selectboard read a letter from Kopeman & Page, the town’s law firm, stating they will be representing the City of New Bedford regarding the LNG, Access Northeast project and wanted to advise that if the town of Acushnet and City of New Bedford become adverse to each other regarding the project they may have to provide limited services to either client.
“K&P are our town attorneys and now if they take on the city as their client and we don’t agree with the city, what happens then,” asked Mr. Gaspar.
He said it could end up costing the taxpayers more money if there was a conflict and then they had to potentially get another attorney. Mr. Gaspar suggested there be more clarification.
He said that he would actually like to see them put a stipulation in place with New Bedford that if there were any conflict they would drop New Bedford as a client, regarding the LNG project, because they are in fact Acushnet’s town counsel.
The Selectboard also met with Dan Menard of the Department of Public Works, who went over the trash barrel situation. Mr. Menard said there were approximately 15-20 residents who wanted an additional barrel.
Selectboard members stated that it would cost those residents or any resident who wanted a second barrel $65 for the each barrel, plus $65 for tonnage for the year.
Mr. Menard agreed, stating that he would like his office to be able to keep track to invoice the tonnage every year. The Selectboard agreed.
Finally, the Selectboard motioned that for the September 8th election the polls places would be the Council on Aging building for precincts 1 and 3; and the Acushnet Grange for precinct 2.•••
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