By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Selectboard recognized first responders who saved the crew of the Captain Jeff, a scalloper that took on water and sank on Sunday, 11/20. Six crew members, five men and one woman, needed to be taken off the boat in rough seas.
TowBoat US New Bedford, with Captain Clint Allen at the helm, and Assistant Harbormaster/Firefighter Todd Cox helped the fishing boat crew get off the scalloper and onto the TowBoat vessel.
A Coast Guard rescue swimmer deployed from a helicopter with dewatering equipment, but it was not working. He assisted in getting the crew members off the sinking vessel.
TowBoat US and the Fairhaven Harbormaster are part of the Buzzards Bay Task Force, along with New Bedford, which also assisted in the rescue. Tucker Roy Marine Salvage towed the sinking boat to New Bedford Harbor.
At Monday’s meeting, 12/5, the Fairhaven Selectboard presented a proclamation to all those involved in the rescue, including Mr. Allen, Mr. Cox, Tim Cox, Firefighters and New Bedford officials involved in the rescue.
“Despite cold sea spray, high winds and high seas, they were able to get the crew of the Captain Jeff to safety and salvage the vessel, bringing it to Fairhaven Shipyard for repairs,” reads the proclamation that Selectboard Chairperson Charles Murphy read at the meeting. “…The Fairhaven board of Selectmen would like to extend their gratitude to everyone involved in this bold and difficult rescue.”
Harbormaster Tim Cox, Todd’s father, could not, of course, pass up the opportunity to tell a story or two.
He got a few chuckles as he noted that Lt. Brian Messier of the Fairhaven Fire Department (FFD) kept on the radio warning of each large wave as it approached. Lt. Messier got teased about it, said Mr. Cox, but the warnings were appreciated.
“It was a real nasty day,” said Mr. Cox. “Usually, we don’t get to go out on good days… just the crummy days.”
FFD chief Tim Francis said the whole incident showed that “training does pay off.”
He also noted that other task force members, especially New Bedford Firefighters “had our backs.”
“It’s unbelievable how good we work together,” said Chief Francis.
Mr. Cox also said he appreciated that people offered them food. They had been out there for hours with only a cup of coffee and a pack of gum.
When he got serious, Mr. Cox told the public that his son Todd, and Clint Allen were the two who had the toughest tasks. Capt. Allen had to maneuver his boat close enough to the sinking vessel for crew members to jump, while the younger Mr. Cox hung over side of the boat to help them.
In another matter, the board met with the Board of Assessors to set the tax rate for FY17. BOA Chairperson Ron Manzone told the Selectboard that the BOA recommended a small decrease in the tax rate due to the increase in values throughout town.
The FY17 tax rate will be $12.04 per $1,000 (FY16 was $12.18.). The Commercial rate is $24.27 (FY16 was $24.45).
The average single family home value in Fairhaven is now $264,074. At $12.04 per $1,000, the average residential tax bill will be $3,179.45. In FY16 the average home was valued at $254,645 and the average tax bill was $3,101.58.
The Selectboard also voted to keep the current tax structure, which includes a shift between commercial and residential properties of 1.75, meaning that commercial properties are taxed higher than residential; and did not adopt a residential or commercial tax exemption. All three components are no change from last year.
The assessors reported that Open Space property has increased an average of 3.6% and commercial property has increased an average of 4.5%.
Click here to download the entire 12/8/16 issue: 12-08-16 iss_BenoitLights