By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Select Board had three candidates to choose from to fill an opening on the Board of Public Works, and decided to go with former BPW member Steve Riley, who was also recommended by BPW members. The appointment is only until April, 2022, when it will be on the ballot and the person will have to run for election to keep the seat.
Al Martin, who ran for the office twice, once tying with Robert “Hoppy” Hobson, and once losing to Frank Coelho, told the board that he was an Army veteran and was truck driver with the BPW, retiring a few years ago.
He said he knows a lot about what’s going on and watched a lot of board meetings in his day as shop steward.
“I’m retired. I’ve got nothing else to do,” said Mr. Martin. “It’ll keep me out of trouble.”
He told the board he would run in April if appointed.
Mr. Riley touted his nine years on the board. He said he retired three years ago and wants to get back “serving the town.”
He said he could “walk seamlessly into the position.”
He noted that he served with two of the current board members and he and Mr. Hobson were on the board that hired public works superintendent Vinnie Furtado, who still holds the position.
Mr. Riley did note that he was unlikely to run for the position in April because he is also a deputy shellfish warden and he cannot hold both positions simultaneously. That is a seasonal position in the summer.
Louis Dutton told the board that is the Superintendent of Water and Sewer in Braintree. He moved to Fairhaven five years ago.
“I absolutely love it here,” said Mr. Dutton, adding he has wanted to give back for a long time. “I feel this is right in my skill set.”
He said he tried twice before when there were vacancies, but did not succeed. He would run in April.
BPW Chairperson Brian Wotton addressed the Select Board saying that Mr. Coelho, who resigned for health reasons is “adamant” about getting the right person to replace him.
“The next six months are critical,”s said Mr. Wotton, adding that all three candidates are “phenomenal.”
He said the board was recommending Mr. Riley because he most likely will not run in April. It means they will have an experienced person and then the election will choose a new person, which is the normal schedule.
“I don’t have time to train up and bring a new member up to speed,” said Mr. Wotton, adding he needs someone who can make a “educated decisions. “I’m hiring for six months.”
BPW members Marcus Ferro and Mr. Hobson also addressed the board and voiced their support for Mr. Riley.
The board voted unanimously to appoint Mr. Riley to the position.
“Steve,” said Harbormaster Timothy Cox, “I really need you next year, so…”
In another matter, BPW Superintendent Vinnie Furtado also briefed the board on the contaminated water situation. Fairhaven was the last town to be allowed to life its boil water order because it is geographically the farthest from the plant.
Mr. Furtado told the board that the Mattapoisett River Valley Water District, which includes Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester, has 12 wells that feed into the water plant. Four are owned by Fairhaven.
The district has never had to disinfect water from the wells because the water is of good quality.
He reviewed the problems with the sampling from the September incident and the October incident.
The second incident was widespread, affecting 75% of the town, he told the board, whereas the September incident involved a single sample.
The district found a breach in the well casing and repaired it. The plant will, however, continue to disinfect the water with chlorine, and the town will continue to flush hydrants.
Mr. Furtado also told the board that the plant is due for an upgrade, and the district is hoping to be able to add “permanent disinfection.” He said he would like to see it be a non-chemical option, such as ultraviolet light.
To sign up for alerts, visit the Fairhaven Fire Department page on the town’s website at https://www.fairhaven-ma.gov/fire-department-ems-ema
Be sure to sign up for BPW/water department. Call the Fire Department at 508-994-1428 or the BPW at 508-979-4030 for assistance signing up. Alerts can go to your landline, cell phone, email, or all three.
Acting Town Clerk Linda Fredette also addressed the board, explaining that the precinct map has a small change due to the national census results. She noted that the national numbers are “much higher” than her local numbers because census takers go door to door, but she relies on people mailing in their annual census forms.
It is one block that includes Atlas Street and Allen Street, changing some houses from precinct one to precinct four.
“Previously the line for Precinct 4 began on the east side of Atlas Street between Church and Farmfield Streets,” wrote Ms. Fredette in a follow-up email to clarify. “Now it begins on the east side of Pleasant Street and now includes all of Atlas Street and Allen Street.”
Ms. Fredette told the board that the number of houses is less than 50 and each household will be notified their new polling location. The individual addresses will not be available until the state approves the documents.
The board voted to sign the documents to send to the state.
In other business, the board held a public hearing for a liquor license transfer from the former Ebb Tide, 47 Middle Street, to “Bar on Middle.” Lars Vinjerid II, who owns the Ice House, Fathoms, and Fleet Fisheries, has bought the property.
Attorney John Markey, representing the Bar on Middle, said there is no change in location for the license. The owner is upgrading the building they are working with the Fire Department and Building Department ot get the building operational.
The license will be transferred to Bar Manager Pedro Nunes, who currently works for Mr. Vinjerid in another capacity.
Mr. Markey said he was asking the board to forward the application to the ABCC in Boston not to expedite matters, expecting that by the time it is approved, the renovations to the building will be completed.
The board approved the application with the stipulation that it will not be released until the fire department and building department sign off on the building upgrades.
The board also approved a request by Blue Stream Shellfish LLC, which abuts Hoppy’s Landing, to run a feed for electricity from Hoppy’s Landing.
A representative Blue Stream said the company has been waiting for Eversource to provide electrical service to the property. The company wants to move its operation from across the street to the property it owns at 53 Goulart Memorial Drive.
The company will assume all costs of installation and removal, and will pay for all electricity, including at Hoppy’s Landing, while they are tapped in.
Harbormaster Timothy Cox told the board that the Marine Resources Committee supported the proposal.
The Select Board voted unanimously to approve the proposal for six months, with a six month extension.
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