September News Notes
School Committee Member Resigns/Richard Barrett Appointed
Tiffany Bartholomew of Rehoboth has resigned from the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee. She has served on the committee for five years. The board of Selectmen and school committee members from Rehoboth met on August 29 and interviewed candidates to replace Bartholomew. Former school committee member Richard Barrett was appointed to fill the vacancy. He was one of three applicants. Barrett will serve until Bartholomew's term expires next year. He can then run in the April election for a full three-year term.
Special Town Meeting to be Held January 23, Postponed from October
Selectmen have decided to postpone a special town meeting set for October until January 23. Voters will decide in January whether to approve a proposed new municipal government complex which will include a new town hall and public safety facility at the site of the current public safety building on Anawan Street. The project is expected to cost about $8.7 million, but the cost may change. If approved in January, residents will then vote on funding for the project, which will likely be a temporary tax increase, at the April town election.
Info Sessions on Proposed Municipal Complex Scheduled
Two informational sessions have been scheduled to discuss the proposed municipal government complex. The sessions will take place at the Rehoboth Senior Center on Wednesday, Sept. 14 and Oct. 12, 5-7:00 p.m. Tours of the town hall and public safety building will also be held so that residents can see the condition of the buildings. The tours will be held Wednesday, Sept. 21 and Oct. 19 at 5-7:00 p.m. The new project will be constructed behind the current public safety complex on Anawan Street. Selectmen are seeking approval of $8.7 million to fund the project. The cost may change. Residents will vote on it at a special town meeting on Jan. 23.
Town to Consider Green Building Practices for Proposed Municipal Complex
Town officials will be considering sustainable and green building practices in the construction of the proposed new municipal complex, according to an article in the Taunton Gazette. Alternative energy sources, including solar power, will also be considered. Using green building practices and alternative energy would allow the town to pursue various grants.
Meeting on Proposed Gas Pipeline to be Held
Selectmen have arranged an informational meeting between a local group that opposes the proposed Spectra Energy/Algonquin natural gas pipeline, BC Cares (Bristol County Citizens against the Rehoboth Compressor Station) and a representative from Spectra Energy. It will be held Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Rehoboth Senior Center. The meeting is not an open public forum, says Selectman Dave Perry, the purpose is to provide information to the public and address questions that will be submitted ahead of time. BC Cares has prepared a list of questions that will be presented to Spectra and the town is also accepting questions from the public that will be sent to the company. Questions can be dropped off at the town administrator’s office or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to submit questions is Sept. 15 at noon. Officials from Seekonk and Attleboro have also been invited to attend the meeting.
Court Rules against Surcharge on Electric Bills to Pay for Gas Pipeline Project
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled last month that electric companies cannot collect a surcharge from customers to pay for the cost of the proposed Access Northeast gas pipeline expansion project, according to an article in the Sun Chronicle. National Grid and Eversource reportedly withdrew from the project, although they have the option to return. The decision is a setback to the project, but it will likely still go forward. The gas line runs through several local communities and the project includes the installation of a compressor station in Rehoboth as well as other components. Proponents of the project say that the pipeline expansion is needed to supply more natural gas to the area for electric generation. Opponents say the expansion is not needed and are concerned about possible environmental hazards. The court decision means that Spectra Energy will have to find another way to finance the project.