This report was presented by Essex Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki at this week’s Board of Selectmen meeting on November 16th, and it covers topics of interest for town business from October 31st to November 13th.
The next Safety Committee meeting will occur on December 17, 2020. The TA has placed a copy of the agenda in the Board’s reading file.
Chairman Pereen and Mr. Zubricki participated in construction meetings on November 5 and 12, 2020. Work on the exterior of the building was pushed out about a week due to recent inclement weather. The exterior work should be completed shortly after Thanksgiving, by early December. Wall boarding on the top and bottom levels of the building should also be completed near Thanksgiving and ceiling work will commence thereafter. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work on the upper level is almost completed and interior painting has commenced. Flooring will follow in the near future.
As is the case each year, the TA has provided to the Chief of Police and the Superintendent of Public Works copies of forms used to record weekend building inspections during cold weather. As part of our insurer’s rewards program, each Town building is checked for adequate heat once each weekend during the colder months, to avoid pipe freeze-ups. Various employees will begin the building checks as of December 1, 2020.
Mr. Zubricki received the pothole log for the month of October from the DPW during the week of November 2, 2020. No potholes were reported in October.
The restrooms at Memorial Park were closed for the season as of November 1, 2020. The restrooms will open April 1, 2021.
Our fire extinguisher contractor inspected all extinguishers at Town Hall and at the Senior Center during the week of November 2, 2020. Any units that were coming up on expiration were replaced with freshly-charged units. The contractor will also inspect units at the existing fire station and in DPW buildings later this year.
Senator Tarr coordinated a virtual meeting of stakeholders, including Essex and Hamilton officials and private parties on November 9, 2020 to review a variety of environmental issues involving Chebacco Lake. Selectman Phippen joined Mr. Zubricki for the meeting. These issues are important to the ecology of the lake and Alewife Brook but also affect summertime water quality for recreation and periodic flooding of adjacent properties.
At the meeting, participants agreed that issues facing us include beaver activity, vegetation growth in the Alewife Brook, siltation in the Alewife Brook (due to less defined channel and slower current), sedimentation in the lake, water withdrawals for municipal water supplies, nutrient overloading in the lake, and better management of lake inflows.
It seems that the place to begin will be with keeping the Alewife Brook flowing freely for maintenance of good lake level and for the annual alewife fish migration. To advance on this front, Ben Gahagan of the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) will spearhead a Request for Determination (RDA) with the Essex Conservation Commission for clearing vegetation and debris from the Alewife Brook channel using hand tools. The Chebacco Lake Association and the Ipswich Watershed Association will assist with lining up volunteers to actually do the permitted work, in the spring. Perhaps DPW equipment from both Essex and Hamilton could be offered to help collect and dispose of the materials removed from the brook.
The hope is that some of the more complicated items on the list, which may require the development of a management plan for the lake, brook, and watershed, may be undertaken after good stream management is established on an annual basis. It is possible that the two towns could apply for MVP or CZM funding in the future for assistance in writing the management plan.
The TA has revised the draft list of Annual Town Meeting topics based on the Board’s guidance from the last meeting.
The TA has been working on the subject grant application, including recent attendance at a virtual training concerning the Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) component of the application (November 9) and an overall technical assistance session (November 13). As the Board may recall, the BRIC grant program may assist the Town with final design and construction of a project to elevate a portion of Apple Street out of a flood zone. The grant application is being completed on FEMA’s electronic portal, via the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and is due December 11, 2020. Presently, MEMA staff are working to assist the Town with getting the BCA ration up high enough to qualify for consideration.
Mr. Zubricki was out of the office, on leave, for the entire day on November 4, 2020.
The office was closed on November 11, 2020, in observance of the subject holiday.