By Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday 5/17 the Acushnet Selectboard made a decision in regards to a Class III license for the Rep/Weld Corporation, discussed vacation carryovers for union members, and adding an additional employee to the Recycling Center.
First, the Selectboard reorganized due to the recent election. Board member David Wojnar said he has loved working with David Desroches and was excited to continue working with him.
Mr. Wojnar then nominated Mr. Desroches to be Chairperson, which Mr. Desroches agreed to, passing 2-0.
Mr. Desroches and Mr. Wojnar attended the meeting in person; board member Kevin Gaspar was absent from the meeting.
Mr. Desroches thanked Mr. Wojnar and said it was always a pleasure to work with him as well.
Mr. Wojnar also congratulated Mr. Gaspar on winning the election, and said he looked forward to working with Mr. Gaspar.
In another matter the board briefly discussed the updates on the Lake Street improvement project. Mr. Wojnar said the project is moving forward and the Lake Street Improvement Committee selected the company Solitude to do the work.
Mr. Wojnar explained that New Bedford has ownership of the body of water and parking lot on Lake Street, so they also need to get an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) from the city of New Bedford. Mr. Wojnar said that the city of New Bedford said they would approve the project as long as the proper paperwork is submitted.
Mr. Desroches thanked Mr. Wojnar and the Lake Street Improvement Committer for their great progress on the project. Mr. Desroches asked what the estimated schedule for the project is.
Mr. Wojnar said pending New Bedford’s approval they are hoping to start in June or July.
The board voted to award the contract to Solitude for $32,000.
In another matter the board discussed the Class III license renewal request for 734 Main Street/Rep/Weld Corporation.
Mr. Wojnar said that given the town’s history with their “loosey goosey” record keeping, it seems that Rep/Weld had a Class III license for many years. Mr. Wojnar suggested that they grant the license, but put restrictions or accommodations with it to recognize the fact that it is now a residential area.
Mr. Desroches explained that they have been trying to find out if the property was labeled as a preexisting nonconforming lot. He said they found a letter from the town’s building inspector from March 7, 1991 that states that the property has been a business since December 8, 1959 and that it is considered a preexisting nonconforming lot because the property was a business before the neighborhood existed.
Building Commissioner Jim Marot said that he viewed and measured the property, and there was a small change in the measurements. The board previously approved the property as 600 feet from the street, but Mr. Marot recommends they change it to 500 feet.
He also said that the parking spaces for the business’s vehicles can hold 208 vehicles, but the applicant said he will keep the limit at 120 vehicles. Mr. Marot said the applicant agreed to both of his recommendations/restrictions.
The board voted to approve the Class III license for Rep/Weld Corporation with the recommended restrictions.
In another matter a few employees from the Acushnet public works union asked to carry over vacation days to next year due to Covid.
Mr. Desroches said he feels like the employees had opportunities to take that vacation time because there are fewer DPW projects going on now. He said he would rather have four employees take days off now than when there are big projects going on.
He added that he is also hesitant to allow them to carry over the vacation days because the union agreement states that carrying over days is not allowed.
DPW Superintendent Dan Menard said that the DPW can work around any days that employees’ take off.He said he could use the employees now to work on the streets using the Chapter 90 money.
Mr. Wojnar said he has no problem letting the DPW employees carry over their vacation days. He said he supports the DPW employees and loves seeing things moving in the right direction and would like to keep the employees happy.
Mr. Desroches said he respected Mr. Wojnar’s comments even though he did not agree. Mr. Desroches suggested that they continue the matter until another meeting when Mr. Gaspar is in attendance, that way he can be the tie breaker in the vote.
The board voted to table the item.
In another matter Mr. Menard explained that the Recycling Center has been very bust lately and it has been very hard for one employee to oversee it all. He suggested hiring someone part-time or even just to help on Saturdays.
Mr. Wojnar said he is all for hiring someone to help make things at the Recycling Center run smoothly.
Mr. Desroches asked if they want to use a current employee and offer it as overtime or hire someone part time from outside.
Mr. Menard said they would have to switch employees’ schedules, and that hiring from outside would be better. Mr. Menard suggested the Senior Citizen work program. They would just need the extra help from now until Labor Day because that is the busiest time.
The board voted to add the part time position for the Recycling Center.
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