By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Select Board held a marathon meeting to discuss policy goals and objectives on Saturday, 1/22/22. The board identified nine goals, each with a number of objectives to reach the goal.
Former Town Administrator Mark Rees, who is now a Special Projects Coordinator for the town, used the 2019 document, the last time the board met for the purpose, as a starting point. Board members made changes and suggestions to the document.
Mr. Rees made changes in real time, allowing the public to see the changes. He will create a draft document for the board to consider at a future meeting.
The nine goals, which are overall general intentions, are: #1 Human Resources Improvements; #2 Town Committees Collaboration; #3 Inter and Intra Governmental Cooperation; #4 Financial Sustainability; #5 Economic Development; #6 Health, Welfare and Safety of Town Residents; #7 Civic Engagement; #8 Long Term Planning; #9 Improve Municipal Services.
Each goal has a series of specific objectives designed to achieve the goal.
For HR, the goal is to strengthen HR operations to enhance employee productivity and create a better atmosphere, develop competitive compensation, and foster employee accountability.
Objectives include revising the personnel rules and regulations and writing an employee handbook; working with department heads on developing succession and cross training.
Under committee collaboration, objectives include updating the committee handbook; making sure committees are clear on their purpose and meeting at least annually with each committee; develop a policy for committee members’ attendance; and provide training opportunities for volunteers and staff.
Goal 3, to identify and advance opportunities for cooperation between town departments, the objectives include completing cost allocation agreement with the school department, which allows for the school to pay for town costs of running the school department out of the school budget; study revenue sharing with the schools. Ideas for collaboration with other departments also include determining the feasibility of consolidating maintenance with the school department; studying the feasibility of a regional police/fire 911 system; creating online permitting for all departments; and scanning town documents to free up space.
Objectives under financial sustainability, included having department heads report annually on their work to identify and apply for grants; and construct an informational tool so taxpayers can see how tax money is being spent; and a number of financial moves including possibly hiring a new audit company.
Under Economic Development, to expand the town’s tax base by implementing programs to help existing businesses grow and attract new businesses, the board’s former objectives included hiring a consultant to analyze and strengthen the retail market in Fairhaven, which is now partially completed.
Other objectives include developing a strategy to address large vacant parcels redevelopment, such as Atlas Tack and Park Motors; review the current tax structure, taxes commercial properties at a higher rate than residential.
Goal 6, the health and welfare of town residents, notes that the town provides a variety of services and programs. Objectives include continuing to revise the emergency response plan and training employees; and a number of initiatives around fire safety, traffic safety, COVID response. Recruiting volunteers for Emergency Management, cyber security, and the upgrade to the Wastewater Treatment Plant fall under this category. The board also hopes to promote new and existing recreational opportunities for town residents.
Under Civic Engagement (Goal #7), the board touted the importance of volunteers serving on the various town boards and committees.
Objectives include standardizing reporting by town departments on their activities and making them public; promoting expanding public access programming; develop ways to review town bylaws and enforce them for quality of life issues, such as noise, littering, etc.; study the pros and cons of creating a nonprofit to run Cable Access TV; produce videos to help town departments in their public messaging efforts; study the feasibility of installing civic engagement software on the town website and social media platforms.
Long term planning objectives include planning for a new public safety complex; re-establishing the open space and recreation committee; continue work on repurposing the Rogers School; conduct a comprehensive street tree inventory and develop an Urban Management Plan and public tree bylaw.
Their board also set as an objective developing a 40R Overlay district, which would allow for higher density residential units above commercial units.
Goal 9, to improve municipal services, objectives include work on the sidewalks on Walnut and William Streets; work at Livesey Park including to the courts; installing wheelchair mats at town beach; develop intergenerational programs; proceed with West Island dredging project now that the study is complete; plan for reconstruction of the north side of Union Wharf; install an fiber optic telephone system for th town and schools; address historical signage/markings in town, including installation of a monument recognizing Herman Melville’s departure on the Acushnet from Fairhaven.
Click here to download the entire 1/27/22 issue: 01-27-22 UnionWharf
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