Well repairs, firefighter contract on Onset Fire District Special Meeting agenda

By Matthew Bernat | Nov 09, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Onset Fire District Prudential Committee members discuss the upcoming Special District Meeting set for Nov. 21.

The Onset Fire District’s Special District meeting is scheduled for Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. when voters will consider transferring funds for a repaired well and a new contract for firefighters.

The meeting will be held in the Dudley L. Brown Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, located at 4 Gibbs Ball Park Road. All registered voters living in the Onset Fire District may participate.

The Onset Fire District Prudential Committee on Thursday recommended passing all Special District Meeting agenda items.

Voters will be asked to transfer $36,830 from the district’s free cash account to pay for emergency well repairs made this summer.

Ben Hughes, Board of Water Commissioners chair, said repairs were needed after tests revealed high levels of the bacteria coliform. Additionally, the well’s casing was cracked and required “extensive rehabilitation,” said Hughes.

“We had to get it done,” said Hughes.

He noted the funds are available and that voters just need to approve a transfer.

Prudential Committee members also recommended approving a three-year contract for four firefighters – two captains, the district’s fire inspector and one full-time firefighter.

The firefighters are slated to receive a 2 percent salary increase this year, a 2.5 percent increase for the second year and a 3 percent increase in the third year of the contract.

Prudential Committee Chair Charles Klueber described the new contract as fair. He added that during the contract’s first year the total increase amounts to $4,964 for all four firefighters.

Regarding the meeting’s date – just two days before Thanksgiving – district Clerk/Treasurer Mary McCoy said officials had to schedule it on that day. Under state law, the firefighter contract must be approved 30 days after the initial signing.

“We had no choice,” said McCoy. “It’s just the way the dates fell.”

Comments (5)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Nov 10, 2017 09:04

Is that chocolate frosting?  They get cake at these meetings?

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | Nov 10, 2017 14:57

Now would be a wonderful time to Merge Both departments .... One Wareham

Posted by: Mike | Nov 10, 2017 15:32

The reason there is so much waste is because the voters don't go to the meetings and amend the articles to do what is told to them. Looks like the new fire station is going at sand pond. The special district meeting is probably being held now so the voters may not show up. These articles should be tabled until the annual meeting.


Posted by: cranky pants | Nov 12, 2017 08:34

How about big ticket items be voted on by paper ballot only ? I was surprised when the Onset fire department had the meeting to vote for spending 14 million dollars on a soup kitchen. Why is something like that passed at a coffee meeting ?

Luckily more people showed up than expected and we were able to save some face... Some. That's not the case always and well, you see the results.

Posted by: OnsetTogether | Nov 12, 2017 10:26

Warehambythesea the PC gave special recognition to Fire Inspector Richard Sniger so they had cake. The $36,830 for repairs can’t come from the Water Deparment’s $200,000 (now $300,000?) surplus which can only be used to reduce our water rates or expand the system to additional service, as I understand it. That will have to be clarified at the meeting. The meeting date was entirely under the PC’s control, they have put off ratification of the collective bargaining agreement for months, and they could have ratified it a few days later to push the meeting after the holiday. It’s not even clear to me this meeting is required I can’t find any other municipality that calls, and pays for, a meeting every time they settle a contract. There will be another one when the water department settles, each time costing us hall rental, legal fees, publication of warrant fees, printing fees. Speaking of the warrant, by the Bylaws and MA General Law they have to allow any warrant article brought by 50 taxpayers, but they are unlawfully blocking that. This was brought up at the October 26 meeting and again at the Nov. 9 meeting with a written request to re-open the warrant (denied.) Anything done at this meeting may be voided by the court. This has to stop. There is also a meeting at 6:00 PM on Nov. 21 to discuss whether the commercial and residential rates should remain equal. Should hotels and big box stores pay the same rate as individual homeowners? Did you know we have a choice? How about we establish a water capital fund for repairs? Use the surplus to offset the water rates of senior citizens under 80% of the poverty rate as other districts do? Come to the meeting, anyone can attend but only registered voters can vote, be sure you are on the rolls folks.

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