By Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday, 1/9, the Fairhaven Board of Public Works hired a new employee for the Highway Department, discussed snow plowing efforts during the last storm, and welcomed Keith Silvia to the board.
Last week the Selectboard held interviews to fill the vacant spot vacated by former BPW member Kathy Sturtevant. Mr. Silvia was selected to fill the spot and was welcomed by the BPW at the start of their meeting.
The board also interviewed one person, Sean Simonin, for a Heavy Motor Equipment Operator for the Highway Department. The board interviewed one candidate for the position, Sean Simonin.
Mr. Simonin told the board that the job would be closer to home and utilizes his licenses more than his current job does.
DPW Superintendent, Vincent Furtado, explained to the board that Mr. Simonin was aware that the job requires a lot of labor, as well as truck driving.
“The job is 75-80% labor,” said board member Robert “Hoppy”. Hobson. “I just want you to understand it is not all truck driving.”
Mr. Simonin explained that he has been a laborer his whole life, which is what he is good at, and what he looks for in a job.
Board member Brian Wotton explained that Mr. Simonin is different because he had all the licenses, but is not utilizing them at his current job.
Board member Jarrod Lussier said he was impressed by Mr. Simonin’s engineering license.
“It’s a huge plus,” Mr. Lussier said.
The board voted unanimously to hire Mr. Simonin.
In another matter the board discussed budgets for the 2018 fiscal year. The Highway Department budget did not have any large changes. One concern in the Highway Department budget was the 2% price increase for the contract with ABC Disposal.
“I am twisted about paying the extra money,” Chairperson Michael Ristuccia said.
He had expressed at previous meetings that ABC Disposal has not been following the criteria they set out in their contract. Instead of picking up only the trash left in the two ABC Disposal bins, ABC has been picking up anything and everything in some Fairhaven neighborhoods.
Mr. Ristuccia said that the ABC Disposal contract is something that needs to be discussed with ABC because, instead of saving money, it is costing the town more money, especially with a 2% increase in ABC’s contract.
The Water and Sewer Department budgets were also relatively the same as last year.
The Water Department allotted some extra money for the well maintenance, such as cleaning, repairing, etc.
The only concern the board had with the Sewer Department was when the digester would be back up and running.
Sewer Department Superintendent Linda Schick said that the digester is ready to go, but the winter time is not a good time to start it up again. The digester needs to be filled with water and the water must be warmed to 100 degrees, which makes it very difficult to get started in the cold weather.
Ms. Schick said they will try to put the digester online again when the weather is consistently in the upper 40’s to low 50’s, so probably sometime in April.
In another matter, Mr. Wotton commended Highway Department Superintendent John Charbonneau, his employees, and all other employees from other departments who plowed in the two snowstorms that just occurred.
“It was the best plowing, I have seen in four or five years,” Mr. Ristuccia said.
“Typically we get four to five pages of complaints… this year we had four complaints,” Mr. Charbonneau said.
Mr. Hobson brought up a concern with some plowing on West Island.
Mr. Charbonneau explained that some of the people plowing ran different routes than usual, so the they had to get used to the different streets. Mr. Charbonneau expressed his pride and gratitude for all the drivers who plowed.
“They did an amazing job, I don’t want to hear it,” Mr. Charbonneau said.
“I want to talk about it, so you’re going to hear it,” Mr. Hobson said.
Mr. Hobson also asked if the town had any sort of plow or machine that was able to plow the bike path, so people in town can still have a place to take walks.
Mr. Charbonneau informed the board that they currently do not have the proper machine to plow the bike path, but one could be added to the budget for next year.
Mr. Hobson suggested hiring a contractor who has the correct machine to plow the bike path.
Mr. Wotton showed some concern with the clearing of the bike path. He said they would have to spend extra money to hire the contractor, as well as extra money to salt and sand the area.
“I’m not opposed to it, but financially we have to see,” Mr. Wotton said.
Mr. Furtado said that he will look at the costs of getting the bike path plowed and they can discuss it at the next meeting.
The board also was supposed to meet with contractor Peter DeTerra about water service at 232 Huttleston Avenue, but Mr. DeTerra was not able to attend the meeting.
Water Department Superintendent, Edward Fortin expressed his concern that the water has not been turned on for 12 years, so he is not sure it will work.
The property owner plans on a commercial development that will most likely require a water service with more capacity than it currently has. Right now the property has residential water service only.
Mr. Ristuccia explained that the owner needs to hire an engineer to get the water calculations before the BPW can approve anything.
There is also a five-year moratorium on digging up Route 6, a state road, because it was just resurfaced.
The matter will be discussed at a future meeting.
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