Essex Town Administrator’s Report | March 24




Board of Selectmen’s Meeting of March 13, 2023

Report covers from February 25, 2023, to March 10, 2023

Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Caucus

The TA attended the subject meeting to represent the Town on March 10, 2023.  The meeting was held in the Essex Town Hall auditorium and officials from each of the five communities represented in the Chamber provided local updates.  The group had a chance to discuss questions of common interest and both Senator Tarr and Representative Ferrante were on hand to provide the Commonwealth’s perspective.

MA Police Chiefs Association Legislative Breakfast

Mr. Zubricki attended the subject meeting along with Chief Francis on March 1, 2023.  The meeting featured a panel of over a dozen State legislators, including Senator Bruce Tarr, and town administrators/managers had been invited specially to attend.  During the question-and-answer period, the TA raised again the need for small towns to obtain some level of relief under Police Reform since the part-time personnel that made our police force more affordable have vanished under the new rules.  Other administrators of small towns in attendance agreed and Senator Tarr indicated that he would be willing to set up a committee to study the matter further.

Draft Language for Remote Working in Personnel Rules/Regs

At the last meeting, the Board agreed in its capacity as Personnel Board that the Personnel Rules & Regulations should be revised to include guidelines on working from home.  This practice become much more common during the COVID-19 emergency and should be codified. To that end, the TA has developed a draft new section using input from other communities via the Massachusetts Municipal Human Resources Association’s list served for the Board’s review and discussion.

Apple Street Project Monthly Report

Mr. Zubricki worked with our consulting engineer to file the subject report with the Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability (MVP) program during the week of February 27, 2023.  The report featured discussion concerning the recent public hearing before the Essex Conservation Commission, which has been continued until March 14, 2023.

Rural and Small-Town Development Fund Grant Application

Mr. Zubricki met with personnel from the YMCA and the Town Planner on February 28, 2023, to discuss the Town’s development of the subject grant application.  The Board voted to support an application under the subject grant program for physical improvements to the Centennial Grove, an approach also supported by the Economic Development Committee.  At the meeting, we established a plan to develop a competitive grant application.  That process will continue over the next couple of months, since applications are not due until June 2, 2023.

Apple Street Project Federal Funding Update

At the last meeting, the Board agreed that seeking 75% Federal funding for the Apple Street project could be preferable to waiting for the chance of 90% Federal funding if moving to the 75% program might get the project reviewed faster and more favorably at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  The TA has received an update from the program contact at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and we have learned that both potential funding pathways will likely begin in July of 2023 (one will not begin before the other).  As such, at the appropriate time, MEMA will advise the Town on which pathway is expected to be the most advantageous.

Placemaking Grant Meeting Summary

Our placemaking grant technical assistance consultant (Civic Space Collaborative - CSC) met with Town Planner Dana Menon, Chairman Pereen, and Economic Development Chair Harris, along with others, on March 9, 2023.  The group discussed the status of the plan and the schedule for its completion.  Much attention was given to the planting plan for our public spaces, since the Economic Development Committee (EDC) will be facilitating a major refurbishment of public space plantings very soon.  CSC agreed that, once the public input portion of the placemaking project has been completed, the firm will produce and present two or three possible overall themes that could be adopted by the Town moving forward.

Town Administrator Leave

The TA was out of the office, on leave, on March 3, 2023, and for part of the day on March 7, 2023.

This report is available at on the morning after any regularly scheduled Essex Board of Selectmen’s Meeting.

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