By Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At their meeting on Monday, 10/17, the Fairhaven Board of Public Works discussed a wide range of topics, including the hiring of a Working Foreman for the Highway Department, getting the digester working again, and discussions about the remote vote rules and regulations.
The board interviewed Joseph Desroches for the Working Foreman position. He has worked for the Highway Department for about 10 years.
Highway Superintendent John Charbonneau attended the meeting to show his support for Mr. Desroches.
Mr. Charbonneau told the board what that Mr. Desroches was a great worker and was highly recommended for the position.
“I’m behind him 150%,” said Mr. Charbonneau.
The board agreed that Mr. Desroches was deserving of the job, but Mr. Desroches had one concern about the position. He asked the board about starting at a higher pay rate.
Mr. Charbonneau explained that the raise for the job was only around 50 cents and he felt that because of Mr. Desroches’ experience, he should receive a higher pay for the new responsibilities the job will have.
Board members Robert “Hoppy” Hobson and Brian Wotton agreed that the job requires more work and responsibilities, which is worth more than a 50-cent raise.
BPW Chairperson Mike Ristuccia agreed and suggested they start Mr. Desroches pay rate on the top tier.
Mr. Wotton made a motion to hire Mr. Desroches with top tier pay, which was passed by the board.
Mr. Hobson thanked Mr. Charbonneau for attending.
“You put your heart and soul into the job,” said Mr. Hobson. “If all supers ran their departments like you we would be golden.”
In another matter, the board decided to table an appointment with the owner of the Pasta House, Mario Ribeiro. The board had scheduled to meet with him about issues with the restaurant’s internal grease trap.
In the past few weeks Mr. Ristuccia and BPW Superintendent Vincent Furtado visited the Pasta House to look at the line to see if it was filled with grease. Mr. Ristuccia and Mr. Furtado said the restaurant line was clear, but the town line was not.
Mr. Ribeiro informed the town that he installed a new system, which uses microorganisms to eat away at the grease.
Mr. Ristuccia told the board that the new system seems to be working for the Pasta House pipe, but the main line still has grease. He said that they are going to keep checking the line to see if Mr. Ribeiro’s new system continues to work.
Both Mr. Ristuccia and Mr. Furtado will check other lines to see if any other businesses are causing the problem with the town line. The board tabled the discussion to give them time to do that.
In another matter, the board discussed an agreement with Pride Environmental Construction to get the anaerobic digester working again.
Pride will install the “muffin monster,” which cleans out rags, and will work on bypassing, and isolation valves. The contract is about $20,000.
Mr. Wotton explained that every month the town is losing money because the digester is not working.
“When can they start,” Mr. Wotton said “Tomorrow?”
The board agreed that they need to get the digester running again as soon as possible. Mr. Ristuccia said that the work will take two to three weeks.
“It will be on its way to working by Thanksgiving,” Mr. Ristuccia said.
The problem started when a valve blew a few weeks ago. The system was shut down resulting in a congealing of the rags and other debris that clogs the system. The muffin monster will break up that clogging.
The board approved the contract.
“Call now, tell them to start tomorrow morning,” said Mr. Wotton.
The BPW also discussed their continued concerns with the idea of remote voting.
Mr. Ristuccia explained that the BPW would be meeting with the Selectboard that same night to discuss Kathy Sturtevant’ s ability to remote vote while she lives in Florida four months of the year.
Mr. Ristuccia told the board that he had a list of rules and regulations to show the Selectboard if they did decide to approve it. He said he would tell the Selectboard that the BPW would like to make the rules and regulations for Ms. Sturtevant’s ability to remote vote.
Depending on the Selectboard’s decision, the rules and regulations will be discussed at the next BPW meeting.
In another matter, Mr. Ristuccia brought up an issue with the parking lot at Town Beach.
“You can hardly drive in,” Mr. Ristuccia said, because of holes in the unpaved lot. He said the first 50-60 feet going into the parking lot is difficult to drive on.
Mr. Hobson agreed and the road near the Community Center is bad for driving too.
Mr. Wotton added that the roads on West Island need to be filled and paved, specifically near Cottonwood Street and Rocky Point Road. He said the same is true of the side streets near the Bayside Lounge on Sconticut Neck Road.
The department will send the grader to fix the unpaved roads.
Board member Jarrod Lussier brought up a separate issue regarding the Pop Warner football games at Livesey Park. He told the board that currently the football team has two storage crates at the park filled with their equipment and are asking for a third storage crate.
Mr. Lussier suggested that rather than continuing to add storage crates, maybe they should consider a storage building or shed. He said there is a small 18×18 building that is not being used. He suggested revamping/expanding that building, so they can get rid of the storage crates completely.
The board agreed that it was something to consider for next year’s football season.
Mr. Lussier said he would speak to the Pop Warner football team and ask if it is something they would want. He also suggested if they do decide to redo the building for storage, maybe they should consider asking New Bedford Vocational to take it on as a project for students.
In another matter the board discussed a new agreement with the BETA Group.
The contract will update the Highway Department’s information into the computer program. The program helps the department determine which streets should be worked on from year to year.
The contract also includes putting digitized plans on all computers. As of now, only one computer can read the documents.
The money will come from Chapter 90 funds. The agreement will give the town licensing to use the program for three years.
The board approved the contract.
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