By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Selectboard showed its support for the New England Patriots and their Superbowl win this week. Or, at least, they showed the spirit of Selectboard Chairperson Charles Murphy, whose love of the Patriots is often worn on his sleeve…literally.
Mr. Murphy convinced his fellow board members, Town Administrator Mark Rees, and Assistant to the TA Anne O’Brien to wear Patriots jerseys a their meeting on Monday, 2/6, to celebrate the Patriots’ Superbowl win the day before.
In Selectboard business, the town decided to hold off on increasing the fees at Union Wharf until next year because construction is not finished.
Harbormaster Tim Cox told the board that the electric service and lighting have not been completed, and he had other work, such as adding a couple of ladders, that also needed to be completed.
He said that he has been looking into fees in surrounding towns and that he will be recommending an increase for next year.
In a related matter, the board approved a change order for around $19,000 for the contractors at Union Wharf to reconfigure the electric service was installed. It should be set up with individual meters that will be billed to individual boat owners, but was originally installed with one meter to the town.
The overhaul of the town-owned wharf has been underway for more than a year with grant money and town matching funds.
The board also discussed the possibility of upgrading the surveillance camera system on Union Wharf.
In another matter, the board voted to support a public art project that would cover up the increasingly unsightly damage to the Rogers School Building.
Planning and Economic Development Director Bill Roth told the board that he has been looking for ways to increase public art in Fairhaven. At the same time, he is in charge of keeping an eye on the Rogers School building which is a favorite target for vandals.
The glass block panels need to be covered up because vandals have used the blocks as target practice for “anything that will break” a 12×12 glass block, he said.
Covering up the 6-foot wide by 8-foot deep panels with plywood will “just add insult to injury,” said Mr. Roth.
But plywood is necessary to protect the building, so he approached the art department at the high school to come up with a mural design to be painted onto the plywood.
The high school and middle school came up with a few designs and Mr. Roth showed them to the board to choose from.
“My goal as Planning Director is to look at public art,” said Mr. Roth.
All three board members voiced support for the public art idea.
Board member Bob Espindola noted that New Bedford has some “incredible murals” that are beautiful in the city.
“It’s better than broken windows or plywood,” he said.
The four designs included two with boats, one with the West Island tower; one with four pictures of Henry Huttleston Rogers, who donated the building to the town; and one of the Rogers School building in “van Gogh” syle.
“I know which one I like,” said Mr. Roth, but did not give it away.
“They’re all fantastic,” said Selectboard member Daniel Freitas, adding he would be “perfectly happy” with any one of the designs.
The board chose the van Gogh, but Selectboard Chairperson Charles Murphy said he really wanted to use the other designs somewhere.
Mr. Roth said he was looking to have public art throughout town, but for the Rogers building, he only had enough money to cover the one side.
The board also approved a photo for the 2016 Annual Report, choosing the human peace sign created by Wood School students for Kindness Week. The school submitted the photo.
The board discussed the place-ment of the photo, though, since it has to wrap around the cover from front to back. The board decided to use the peace sign photo on the front, and to look for a photo from East Fairhaven School from Kindness Week for the back. Mr. Rees and Ms. O’Brien will work on that project.
The Dussaults finally got their licenses renewed to continue selling cars and repairing cars at the Spring Street garage. After months and months of wrangling with the board and various accusations of unpaid taxes, lack of adherence to agree-ments, and other setbacks, the board agreed to allow the garage to operate.
Nichole Dussault, whose parents, Dick and Carol, own the garage, personally promised to pay the $1,010.10 each month agreed upon by her parents.
The Dussaults own back taxes and current year taxes, but have complained that the town is not letting them make an income to pay the fees imposed on them.
Mr. Rees took over negotiations with the Dussaults and recommended that the board approve the licenses.
Mr. Freitas said he had a “rapport’ with the Dussaults and would help negotiate a final agreement and get them “back on schedule” with the payments.
Nicole Dussault told the board that she had moved back to Fairhaven to help with the situation, but continued to work full time in Boston. Because of the move, she said, she is able to afford the payments if necessary.
Carol Dussault told the board yhat she was “very optimistic” that they could finally move forward.
“I’m so encouraged,” she said.
Nicole said that she and her parents had “complied with everything” that the board asked.
Mr. Espindola took note of the comment to remind her that the Dussaults had not, in fact, complied with everything they were supposed to do.
“It’s not true,” said Mr. Espindola, adding that they were all trying to resolve the situation to get the garage reopened. He noted that the Dussaults had not kept up with payments as agreed upon.
“I give you my word, again,” said Nicole. “Those payments will be made. I can assure you of that.”
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