Tropical Storm Irene Blew Through and Left $215,000 in Debt
The board of selectmen voted to deficit spend $215,000 to cover costs related to Tropical Storm Irene.
When Hurricane Irene blew through in late August, she left $215,000 of debt in her wake.
The Department of Public Works incurred all but $15,000 of this debt; $125,000 to repair the retaining wall on E. Main St., and $75,000 on overtime pay. The fire department incurred $11,000 and the police department $4,000.
According to Temporary Finance Director Suzanne Marchand the town is able to deficit spend this amount until it is determined if the money needs to be borrowed at the end of the fiscal year.
"By approving the request to fund emergency expenses you are allowing me to deficit spend to pay the bills," Marchand said. "You (the town) then have until June 30 to determine whether or not to borrow."
It is expected that either or both the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will offer some reimbursement to the town, but nothing finalized has yet come through.
"We have no choice," Selectment Brian Herr said. "This was an unanticipated and therefore unappropriated event."
Fire Chief Ken Clark also noted in a press release that many without power were unable to be in touch about important information. He suggests that you make sure your cell phone is able to receive texts.
"Cell phones can be charged off a car battery," the release reads.
To ensure your text and email addresses are in the database, log onto the Fire Department or the town website and follow the CodeRed link. Those without Internet access may call 508-435-0555 Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm.
In other business the selectmen voted in favor of a Statewide Public Safety Mutual Aid Law which formalizes an already existing practice.
In response to a question from a downtown business owner Department of Public Works Director, John Westerling noted that the 100-year-old Main Street water pipes would not be replaced this fall.
"This project can wait two or three years to coincide with other Main Street projects," Westerling said. "But it cannot wait six or seven years. Either way it will not be done this year."