Category: Local

CPC’s thinking regionally

By , May 24, 2013 8:35 am

Tonight I attended a regional CPC meeting that included members of four different area CPC’s. It went very well and I’m hopeful that it will produce benefit for our respective towns, our region, and thereby the state of Massachusetts.

CPA Backstory
The Community Preservation Act is a state law that may be voluntarily adopted by cities and towns. If adopted, a small surcharge on property taxes goes into a local CPA fund. That fund is matched at some level by the state and can only be spent on certain things: Preservation of open space and historic assets as well as the creation of recreational assets and community housing.

The fund is manged by a local CPC – Community Preservation Committee to review funding applications and recommend projects for the legislative body to vote on.

I am a member of Middleboro’s CPC and before we adopted CPA I was a vocal advocate of it. After being appointed to the CPC, I attended meetings of the Bridgewater CPC and Plympton CPC. These committes and their chairmen – Marilee Kenney Hunt(Bridgewater) and Mark Russo(Plympton) were really supportive and really made me feel welcome at their meetings. I started a dialog with Marilee that led to the idea of a meeting of regional CPC’s. We agreed that meeting in person would allow the groups to network, develop relationships, share expertise, help avoid pitfalls, and perhaps to collaborate on regional projects. Marilee is the real deal and is the sort of person that can talk the talk but more importantly can walk the walk.

Regional meeting notes
The meeting took place at the Bridgewater Senior Center and included members from four different CPC’s – Bridgewater, Middleboro, Plympton, West Bridgewater. Special thanks to my associates from the Middleboro CPC who took time out of their lives to attend. Bridgewater CPA planner Jennifer Goldson had a loose agenda and facilitated the meeting. We started off with a brief statement from Marilee about the goals. Each attendee introduced themselves and talked a little about CPA in their own towns. Each CPC chose a representative to talk about the projects they had done or had planned. After that we talked about any ideas for regional projects. After that we had a general “was this worth it and do you want to do it again” discussion. There was wide agreement to continue meeting at roughly 4 month intervals.

A river runs through it
When the time came to talk about regional projects, I brought up the idea of building a pedestrian bridge over the Taunton River at Auburn street to connect the conservation land on the Bridgewater side with the conservation land on the Middleboro side. The response was very enthusiastic – not just about this project but also about the river as a binding thread that runs through several communities. Ted Eayres – who is also a member of the Middleboro CPC – raised the very germane point that preservation projects done on one side of the river, or other town border for that matter, might very well require action on the other side. As far as a theoretical Auburn Street pedestrian bridge – at least one person there who seemed to be familiar with this sort of project didn’t think it would be overly difficult to do from a regulatory perspective. Connecting the Great River Preserve(Bridgewater) with the Taunton River Wildlife Management Area(Middleboro) would be a very unique recreational asset and might bring visibility to the preservation needed on the Taunton and Nemasket rivers. Will it ever happen? I have no idea. If it ever happens it won’t be me running it. The important thing is *not* this particular project – but rather the idea of people from area towns working together and sharing their strengths to do good for the region generally.

After the meeting
So after the official meeting ended, people milled around and talked. “Milling” and “talking” might not sound like a big deal – but to me it is the whole point: Meeting, creating relationships, talking, learning, sharing information. I see these meetings not really as something that is going to change the world by themselves, but rather as a way to get to know other people who are working on the same thing. I spoke at length to a guy that had vast expertise in looking up deeds. I don’t have any need for that today – but maybe someday I will. There were people who had done all sorts of projects that required all sorts of expertise and involved all sorts of pitfalls. This is valuable stuff.

The idea a regional CPC is really nothing new – many professional groups routinely have conferencew where people network and share expertise.

It was great.

FinCom to meet with police station committee

comments Comments Off on FinCom to meet with police station committee
By , March 14, 2013 8:40 am

In addition to the regular important work they do – the Middleboro Finance Committee will be meeting FinCom Agenda 3-19-2013.

With a proposed price tag of $13M, the new police station should be of interest to all.
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Auburn Street redux

By , December 29, 2012 12:18 am

Beautiful Auburn Street

Beautiful Auburn Street

I can’t seem to find links to my column in the Middleboro Gazette, but this week’s gem is about Auburn Street, the junk that continues to sit there, and the idea of building a pedestrian bridge to connect the conservation land on the Middleboro side of the Taunton River with the conservation land on the Bridgewater side. Both towns have CPA which could potentially contribute to funding.

Auburn Street was gated off by the abutter and is used as a private parking lot and junk yard. Meanwhile access to the river is blocked for the rest of us taxpayers. I suggest taking over the road and clearing it in the name of public saftey:

Every so often some boater takes a spill into the river and needs to be rescued. We could have kids drowning three feet off the end of Auburn Street and our rescue apparatus would have to be put in the water way down on Summer Street. In the name of public safety, the town of Middleboro should pull up to that gate with police cruisers, DPW trucks, and most all – with a big honking set of bolt cutters. They should cut that padlock off and start hauling out any vehicle or piece of junk that is currently littering that road. Problem solved.

Rub down

By , December 12, 2012 9:11 pm

So hopefully you’ve been reading my blog and or column all year – blissfully free of commercials and ads.

You can reward me by buying a Gift Certificate from Mary Barry Massage Therapy.

Mary Barry Massage Therapy

Equipment cooperatives

By , October 31, 2012 11:59 am

This sounds like a good idea:

Brookfield and four adjoining towns have formed an equipment-sharing cooperative that has created savings for the towns’ highway departments.

The cooperative, which also includes East Brookfield, West Brookfield, Brimfield and Warren, has helped the towns save on tasks such as keeping catch basins clear, repaving roads, and painting road-center lines. Last spring, the project received a $58,000 state innovation grant.

I’ve long thought that Middleboro specifically and Massachusetts generally could do things more efficiently by using a more regional approach similar to county governments common in the South. If Middleboro, Lakeville, Carver, and Bridgewater were one town, how many police and firestations would we have and where would they be? I would tend to think that there would be some cost savings there. Short of that kind of overhaul, this equipment cooperative sounds like something smaller and more doable that might have some savings for participating towns.

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