May 26, 2018

News Notes


Seekonk Town Election Will be Held Aug. 8
Seekonk will hold a special town election on August 8. There is one question on the ballot and it asks voters to decide on a tax increase, or debt exclusion override of Proposition 2 ½, to pay for the design, purchase and installation of a new Public Safety radio system. The cost for the new system is $3 million and includes replacement of the outdated dispatch console, all Police and Fire portable radios and other equipment. Voting will take place at Seekonk High School from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Seekonk Public Library Put on Wait List for Grant, Construction Project Delayed
The Seekonk Public Library was put on a wait list for a Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program grant. The town is proposing to build a new, two-story, 24,000-square-foot building over the existing footprint. Under the new plan, the main entrance would face the parking lot, the size of the children’s area would be doubled, and a new young adult area would be added along with additional space for meetings, quiet study and casual seating. Thirty-three libraries competed for the grant. Nine libraries received grants and 24 were placed on a waitlist. Waitlisted libraries receive grants as funding becomes available. When funds become available, the library is expecting a grant of approximately $7.3 million. Library officials anticipate that the town will get an offer of funding in fiscal years 2020 or 2021. If the offer is made, the town will have six months to commit to its share of the cost, which is approximately $7.9 million dollars.

Open Meeting Law Complaint Filed against Board of Selectmen
A Swansea resident, Patrick Higgins, has filed a complaint against the board of selectmen for violating the open meeting law, according to an article in the Sun Chronicle. The alleged violation says that selectmen did not list the names of candidates for re-appointment and in another item, did not identify an acronym on the June 28 meeting’s agenda. The matter has been referred to town counsel.

Volunteers Renovate Newman YMCA Playground
Volunteers from Russco, a retail construction company based in Fall River, spent a day last month renovating the playground at the Newman YMCA, according to a WLNE-TV report. Melanie Fletcher, whose son attends the YMCA preschool program, spearheaded the activity. One day when it was very hot, Fletcher saw how uncomfortable the teachers and children were and decided that something needed to be done. Her company was reportedly looking for an opportunity to help the community and they decided to rebuild the Y’s playground.

Small Fire in former North School
Firefighters quickly extinguished a small fire in the former North School building last month, according to a Sun Chronicle report. A worker reported the fire, which occurred in a dryer, and the Fire Dept. responded quickly, putting out the fire and ventilating smoke from the area. There was some smoke damage in two classrooms. The building is used by the South Coast Educational Collaborative. The cause is under investigation.

School Committee Approves School Roof Repair Contract
The school committee last month assigned the contract to repair portions of the roofs at Aitken Elementary and Hurley Middle schools to Capeway Roofing Systems of Westport, according to an article in the Sun Chronicle. The company bid $285,800 for Aitken and $255,300 for Hurley. Last November, voters at town meeting approved $907,000 to repair the roofs at Martin, Aitken and Hurley schools.
The work is expected to begin soon.

EPA Delays Controversial Stormwater Permit
The Environmental Protection Agency has delayed for at least one year the effective date of its Clean Water Act permit for small municipal stormwater systems in Massachusetts due to ongoing litigation. The regulations were intended to protect rivers and ponds by controlling stormwater runoff. The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems permit, or MS4, would require 260 Massachusetts cities and towns, including Rehoboth and Seekonk, to develop new stormwater management programs.


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