(See end for employee salaries)
By Beth David, Editor
Fairhaven Town Meeting members will face 59 articles and a $56+ million budget this Saturday, 6/18/22. In addition to the general operating budget and spending articles, TM will also decide the fate of some bylaw proposals/changes.
The Finance Committee report notes that for the last two years, the town has used one-time money to balance the budget. This year, FinCom and the Select Board cut $822,400 in department requests to create a balanced budget without using one-time funds.
Capital expenditures include borrowing $2,175,000 to repair and replace gables on the high school. Total projects in that article add up to $3,765,000, and include: $223,000 to replace the town and school phone system; $125,000 to replace the boiler at town hall; $325,000 for a new ambulance/stretcher; $134,000 for police cruiser replacements; $38,000 to replace voting machines; $220,000 to replace a loader; $25,000 for a beach mat to provide wheelchair access to town beach; $51,000 to replace engines on the Harbormaster’s boat; $54,000 for a new roof on the Senior Center/Recreation center building.
Road work projects proposed by the Board of Public Works include Bayview Avenue from Highland Avenue to Manhattan Avenue; Farmfield Street, from Green Street to Pleasant Street; Bonney Street.
Proposed appropriations from Community Preservation Act funds include $93,000 for sidewalks around the library; $18,000 for renovations to the Spring Street Firehouse; $180,000 for pickleball courts at Livesey Park; $60,000 for the Cultural Center (former carriage house) at the Whitfield Manjiro Friendship Museum;
Bylaw articles include changes to the stormwater bylaw which is designed to protect water bodies and groundwater by regulating discharges into the system. The main change is that the responsibility for public hearings will be with the Conservation Commission not the Board of Public Works.
One proposed bylaw change that could elicit some discussion is a change to the Wetlands Bylaw. The changes will make the law more restrictive for those seeking to build on wetlands.
Article 32 would give the chairperson of the Conservation Commission and the conservation agent the authority to impose fines for non criminal wetlands bylaw violations.
The BPW has submitted an amendment to the solid waste and recycling bylaw. The change would require residents to remove barrels from the sidewalk no later than 5 p.m. on the day of collection.
BPW Superintendent Vinnie Furtado said the article should read 5 p.m. the day after collection. He said he would bring it up at TM and ask for an amendment.
One article that could get some resistance is a proposal to prohibit building residential structures within the setbacks near Wind Energy Facilities (wind turbines). The current bylaw sets requirements for setbacks of wind turbines to residences, but does not prohibit new residences from being built within those same setbacks.
There is at least one proposed project that would build a house near the existing wind turbines in the Little Bay Conservation Area near the bike path and Arsene Street. There are other properties within the setback area that could potentially be buildable lots.
Town meeting will also be asked to amend the bylaws to change the Tree Warden position from an elected to an appointed position. The bylaw also adds requirements for the position, such as training and experience in the field of arboriculture. The Town Administrator would be the appointing authority with the approval of the Select Board.
Two articles would appropriate funds for the propagation of shellfish. One is for $18,000, which seems to be the standard article on the warrant each year; and article 31, which is for shellfish disturbed by dredging and uses funds from Shellfish Mitigation Fees.
Other spending articles include the following
• Setting salaries of town officers, $33,500 for the five Select Board members ($6,700 each); $66,961 for the Town Clerk; $1,000 for the Moderator; $7,321 for the Tree Warden; $5,170 for the three Board of Health members ($1.723.33 each).
• $1,148,000 from the Water Enterprise account (the account that all water fees go into) to fund three capital projects: utility truck with plow ($73,000), repainting Sconticut Neck water tower ($1,000,000), water gate valve maintenance ($75,000).
• $54,825,000 in sewer enterprise funds and borrowing for sewer treatment plant upgrade ($50,000,000), inflow and infiltration prevention ($250,000), Sunset Beach sewer extension ($1,000,000), South Street/Taber Street Force Main upgrades ($3,500,000), blower building roof replacement/treatment plant ($75,000).
• $16,000 from free cash to replace curved windows ($8,000) and clock gears ($8,000) in town hall.
• $5,000,000 from the Capital Stabilization Fund for design work for the proposed safety complex on Bridge Street.
• $80,000 for a 900 sf parcel on Union Wharf;
• Approve $7.2 million in borrowing for the Mattapoisett River Valley Water District, which authorized the debt at its meeting on 5/6/22.
The warrant also has several matching grant articles for TM members to vote on, including:
• $10,000 for a coastal vulnerability and risk assessment related to sea level rise and coastal storms;
• $5,000 for a match to a grant form the Mass. Emergency Management Agency to update the Hazard Mitigation Plan;
• $40,000 match for a $200,000 Seaport Economic Council Grant for dredging around the West Island Causeway
• $250,000 match for a $1,000,000 grant from the Seaport Economic Council grant to start fixing the north side of Union Wharf.
• $1,893 match for a $26,000 grant from FEMA for hydraulic rescue equipment.
• $14,286 match for a $285,715 FEMA grant for a new ambulance
Town Meeting will also be asked to rezone a portion of Narragansett Avenue from business to single residence (RA); and to rezone 114 Sconticut Neck Road (the former Jackson’s Variety) from business to mixed-use.
Click here to download the entire 6/16/22 issue: 06-16-22 Pickleball
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