Essex Town Administrator’s Report |Nov 25



Board of Selectmen’s Meeting of Nov. 14, 2022

Report covers from October 22, 2022 to November 11, 2022

Community Planning Grant Award

As the Board may recall, the Town had applied with the help of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to the subject grant program for the development of proposals for the amendment of the Essex zoning bylaws, and the grant has been awarded ($75,000 in State funds, plus a $15,000 pledge of matching funds from MAPC).  MAPC has already provided the Town with a full zoning diagnostic process and report under a different grant program and that initial work will be drawn upon as MAPC helps the Town develop actual proposals for zoning amendments.  The TA participated in a webinar on October 25, 2022 that described the contracting and grant management policies and procedures for the grant program and will administer this grant along with MAPC staff.  The State has provided the Town with certain contracting documents, which Chairman Pereen has signed and returned, and MAPC is working out the final scope of services for the project with members of the Planning Board.

Alewife Brook Surface and Groundwater Monitoring Contract

As discussed previously, the Town has received a $30,000 legislative earmark that will allow for additional study of the Alewife Brook and its environs.  The Board had determined that the best use of that funding would be to obtain some long-term surface and groundwater level monitoring within the system.  Interfluve, the consultant that performed the initial study of the system, has provided a proposal to amend its existing contract with the Town to deploy, maintain, and analyze data from water level monitoring loggers in the brook and subsurface, near the Town wells.

Apple Street Project Construction Funding Preliminary Grant Application

As reported previously, the Town may be eligible for 90 percent Federal construction funding for the Apple Street Roadbed Elevation and Culvert Replacement Project after final design and permitting are completed.  In order to remain eligible, the Town needs to submit a preliminary application to the Federal grant program known as the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).  The program is funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) but is administered in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).  If the Town submits the preliminary HMGP application by December 1, 2022, MEMA will likely add it to a waiting list for hazard mitigation projects.  Being on the waiting list is what preserves the possibility of 90 percent Federal funding (as opposed to the usual, 75 percent Federal funding) in the future.  The TA has begun to work on the grant application with assistance from MEMA personnel.  We are hopeful that the minimum Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) threshold will be met since only projects that meet the threshold are allowed to advance to actual grant competition.  The BCA is a very technical process and MEMA’s own technical consultant, Atkins Global, is presently working through that process on behalf of the Town.

Loss Control Grant Award

As the Board may recall, the Town had applied to our insurer’s Loss Control Grant program, requesting a total of $10,000 to purchase a backup device for the new police body camera system and to help defray the cost of two necessary elevator control system upgrades.  Our insurer’s membership applied for so many different things that our insurer had to limit each applicant and we are receiving the total cost of the backup device ($2,256.27) and $2,743.73 toward the elevator work (for a total grant award of $5,000).

Town Administrator Leave

The TA was out of the office, on leave, for much of the day on November 3, 2022, and for a portion of the day on November 7, 2022.

Veterans’ Day Holiday

The office was closed on November 11, 2022, in observance of the subject holiday.

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

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