Selectmen's Notebook: New Sewer Rates and a New Deputy Chief
Sheehan discuses increased crime rate.
Capt. Al Vasas has been selected by Town Manager Richard Montouri to serve as the town's new deputy fire chief.
Hazel and Vasas will assume their new roles on an acting basis as of 5 p.m. Friday, May 27, when Mackey concludes his last day of work. Mackey will officially retire in July, after his leftover vacation time is used up.
"I believe he'll make an outstanding deputy chief and that he'll be a great asset to the new chief," said Montouri, when announcing the appointment at Tuesday's Selectmen's meeting.
The two finalists for the deputy chief position were Vasas and Capt. Mike Sicard. Montouri called them both outstanding candidates and said it was a difficult decision. He took time to thank Sicard for going through the interview process twice, as he had also been a finalist for the position of chief.
In other business:
- Police Chief Timothy Sheehan appeared before the board to discuss the recent uptick in crime in the community. According to Sheehan, police have logged approximately 18,000 "calls" since the start of the year. That's a significant increase over the same time period last year. Sheehan blamed the increase in crime, largely found in the areas of B&Es, vehicle break-ins, and petty theft, on increases in drug use/addiction and the continued poor economy.
- Selectmen approved the renewal of three pool table licenses for Maverick's. Board member Ann-Marie Stronach noted that these licenses have nothing to do with Maverick's request for a Karaoke license. Maverick's rescinded that application several weeks ago and have yet to reapply.
- Montuori announced the new sewer rates, based on voters approving the shift of 50 percent of the $100 million sewer debt to the tax levy. Rates for residential and commercial sewer users will be slashed anywhere from 15-30 percent, depending on the volume of usage. However, the board also approved sewer rate increases of 55-60 percent for non-property tax paying entities such as churches and out-of-town businesses that are tied into the Tewksbury sewer line. According to Montouri, these increases were proposes in the interest of fairness because these type of property owners should not benefit from the rate reduction if they will not be impacted by the property tax increasae associated with the debt shift.
- Action on a request from a resident, Montouri presented information on the town's funded and unfunded pension liabilities, acknowledged as a large piece of the town's annual budget. Montouri said the total unfunded actuarial accrued liability was $65,676,429. (A complete breakdown and explanation of the unfunded liability and its impact on the finances of the town will be featured in an upcoming Tewksbury Patch article.)
- The board approved a common victualer license for Top Garden restaurant.