By Beth David, Editor
At the Fairhaven Select Board meeting on 1/9/23, Town Administrator Angie Lopes Ellison informed the board that Eversource will increase its rates by more than 30%.
She implored residents to compare rates with the town’s municipal aggregation aggreement (see sidebar).
Ms. Ellison told the board there was nothing they could do about Eversource price increases, but there are alternatives. She said she was looking at ways to help residents mitigate the cost increase.
Residents should take advantage of coops; the Mass Save program (https://www.masssave.com), which offers free energy audits for the home and many free and discounted products and services to save on energy usage.
Select Board Chairperson Stasia Powers also reminded residents that PACE (508-999-9920, https://paceinfo. org) offers fuel assistance to low income residents.
In another matter, Ms. Ellison outlined some challenges the town is having attracting and keeping employees in certain positions, most notably those with certifications.
She said the Building Commissioner position is being staffed by area commissioners who are being borrowed with the permission of their towns. They will work mostly after hours because they are all full time, she said. The office is staffed during the day.
“We can get inspectors,” said Mr. Ellison, but not commissioners, adding some candidates said they would work as inspectors if the town pays for them to get certified for the top job. Only a licensed commissioner can sign off on permits, she said.
Across the state there is a shortage of building commissioners.
There is an even worse shortage with finance directors, said Ms. Ellison. The town posted the Treasurer/Collector/Finance Director position and only received on applicant. She said they will repost the position as split position.
Meanwhile, she is looking at alternatives, including the use of a consultant. The current Treasurer/ Collector/Finance Director is retiring on 1/20.
The other vacancy is the Conservation Agent/Sustainability Coordinator. Ms. Ellison said she is hoping to hire from within, but that will take some time for the current office person to get certified.
The board also discussed a series of goals and objectives, although there was a bit of confusion on what, exactly, the item was supposed to be about.
Board member Bob Espindola made a slide presentation, making a case for setting goals and objectives the way they had done it for several years.
He said he felt the board did not have enough input. Sending everything by email to the TA, who would then send it to the board members individually, did not give the boards a chance to discuss anything with each other in a meeting.
After a bit of a protracted dissussion, and the usual back and forth between Mr. Espindola and Vice Chair Leon Correy, Ms. Ellison explained that there seemed to be a misunderstanding on what the item was about.
Mr. Correy criticized Mr. Espindola for not sending his presentation/ slides ahead of the meeting for members to familiarize themselves with it. Mr. Espindola reminded Mr. Correy that doing so would be a violation of the open meeting law because the presentation was his opinion, not simply fact sharing.
In any case, Ms. Ellison said the item was a continuation of her evaluation. The goals and objectives they were discussing were supposed to be a way of evaluating her in December, to see if she succeeded in completing her objectives. It was not the same as the overall goals and objectives the board sets for the year.
She also said that the board would, indeed, have chance to weigh in on the list at the next meeting.
Mr. Espindola acquiesced, saying if he had realized that, he would not have made his presentation.
Fairhaven Community Electricity Aggregation
To learn more about rates and how to sign up, visit https://masscea.com/Fairhaven/
Fairhaven Community Electricity Aggregation is a program offered by the Town of Fairhaven to provide residents and businesses with Town-vetted options for electricity supply. Fairhaven Community Electricity Aggregation does not replace Eversource, the electric utility in Fairhaven, which continues to deliver electricity, repair any outages, and billing, so customers continue to receive one bill. The program website, MassCEA.com/Fairhaven, contains a description of the program, forms, and a phone number to call with questions.
Click here to download the entire 1/12/23 issue: 01-12-23 MobyDick
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