By Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday, 3/9/20, the Fairhaven Board of Public Works discussed obtaining an electric vehicle for the BPW, as well as the Pasta House grease trap progress.
The board first met with Mike Saunders of MHT Excavating about becoming a new driveway contractor in the town of Fairhaven.
BPW Chairperson Brian Wotton said that Mr. Saunders had all of his papers in perfect order and would like to start doing driveways in town.
Board member Keith Silvia explained that one stipulation is that once Mr. Saunders completes his first driveway in town the Highway Superintendent John Charbonneau must approve it.
The board approved Mr. Saunders to be a contractor in Fairhaven.
In another matter the board discussed an article that will be going in front of town meeting regarding two electric vehicles being leased, one for the BPW and one for the Board of Health.
The board briefly discussed the article at their last meeting and agreed that the BPW needs a new vehicle for trainings and moving parts.
Board member Robert “Hoppy’ Hobson asked if the vehicle will affect the BPW budget.
BPW Superintendent Vincent Furtado explained that the board needs to decide if they want to support the article at town meeting.
He said that if the board supports the article more money would be added to their budget for the vehicle, so the money would not come out of the existing BPW budget, instead more money would be added to the BPW budget.
Mr. Hobson said that Town Administrator Mark Rees is the one that suggested the vehicles.
Mr. Furtado explained that he is worried that the vehicle will not work for what the department needs it for. He said that some of the trainings the employees go to are far away and if it is an electric vehicle the charge only lasts for a certain number of miles.
Mr. Furtado said he is worried that the trainings are too far for the car to stay charged.
Mr. Hobson also asked if the car would be big enough to deliver parts for the BPW.
Mr. Furtado said he expects the car to be similar to a Prius in size because the town is going green on town vehicles, which is why they have opted for an electric car.
Board member Keith Silvia said he was against the article. He said he believed that the town does not need the two cars and that they will cost $20,000 for the first year and that is money that would come from taxes
Board member Frank Coelho agreed with Mr. Silvia.
Mr. Hobson explained that the car would cost $10,000 this year, but next year that money could be taken out of the BPW budget instead of being given.
Board member Cameron Durant said if it is not needed then the board should not support the article. He asked if there is a need for a new car.
Mr. Furtado said there is a need for a new car for traveling to trainings etc. He said that they currently use an old Ford Explorer but it does not meet the green requirements for the town like the electric vehicle would.
Mr. Durant suggested that the Town Administrator attend a BPW meeting and explain all the information that goes along with getting the new vehicle.
Mr. Wotton said that he was torn on the issue.
Mr. Silvia said that the lease only allows 8,000 miles a year and costs by the mile if they go over that amount. Mr. Furtado said that he did not think they would go over that mileage.
Mr. Wotton asked Mr. Furtado if the Ford Explorer would last a while longer.
“The Explorer is a piece of crap, honestly,” Mr. Furtado said.
Mr. Wotton suggested that they table their decision on the article until they get more information on cost and mileage, etc.
Mr. Furtado said he would get more information.
In another matter Mr. Furtado gave an update on the Pasta House grease trap. He said the Board of Health informed the engineers that they needed to increase the size of the grease trap due to the amount of seats in the restaurant.
Mr. Furtado said he also informed the engineers that they need to make sure the bathroom waste is separated from the grease waste. He said the engineer owes the board a more detailed drawing of the trap.
When he receives the new drawing, he will share it with the board.
The trap is still on schedule to be finished on April 7.
In another matter, North Fairhaven Improvement Association member John Medeiros complimented the board on doing a great job responding to issues within town.
Mr. Medeiros said that he contacted Mr. Hobson about the light not work on a flag pole near the highway on Main Street in front of the cemetery. Mr. Medeiros said that the BPW got right on the issue and had it fixed and communicated with Mr. Medeiros through the whole process.
He said the BPW did a great job.
In another matter Mr. Hobson mentioned that all board members currently on the BPW are from the same areas in Fairhaven.
Mr. Hobson suggested that in the future they should look into having board members from each precinct.
He explained that some people say certain areas of town get better taken care of, or are favored by the BPW because the board members live in those areas. He said if they had board members from each area no one in town could criticize and say one area of town is favored over another.
Mr. Furtado also told the board that the BPW will meet with the landfill engineer and the Board of Health next month to discuss the new recycling center.
In other business, Mr. Hobson suggested they get a head start on the weeds growing this year. He suggested a plan to spray the areas where weeds grow before they start to grow out of control like previous years.
Mr. Wotton suggested they discuss the weeds and a plan to maintain them at the next meeting.
Mr. Hobson also asked about advertising summer jobs for the Park Department, as well as beaches and lifeguards.
Office manager Rebecca Vento said that they will be sending out invitations for re-employment to last year’s employees on April 1, and they have already received some new applications for this year.
Ms. Vento said they always are in need of life guards and they will begin hiring for all summer jobs in May.
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