NAHANT — Town Administrator Antonio Barletta will hold a virtual information session about the upcoming annual Town Meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
This will be the second session out of two. The first information session took place on May 11. The recording of the session is available on the town’s website.
The annual Town Meeting will be held on Saturday, May 21, in-person at the Nahant Town Hall at 12:30 p.m.
There are 32 articles on the warrant for the members to vote on this time. Most of them are related to fund appropriations and approval of borrowing money for various expenditures and infrastructure investments.
The biggest amount of money the Town Meeting will vote on is $18 million that the town would like to raise and appropriate to pay costs of repairing and replacing portions of the town’s sewer collection system. This amount would cover the entire project, including pumping station upgrades, and would be spent over five years.
Multiple engineering studies have indicated that Nahant’s aging sewer infrastructure is nearing numerous severe failure points, and that critical corrections, upgrades and replacement are needed.
The main sewer pumping station and electrical substation are located in the Lowlands. The town is seeking approval to raise $550,000 to fund drainage improvements in the Lowlands neighborhood that consists of Castle Road, Fox Hill Road and Ward Road.
Last year, the Town Meeting voted to appropriate $100,000 for drainage improvements and an engineering study in that area. Currently, an engineering firm is developing recommendations for better stormwater management and flooding in the neighborhood.
Another $400,000 is needed to replace or repair the existing Castle Road storm drain and installing a permanent fixed pump.
The Advisory and Finance Committee is also recommending to raise $500,000 to fund costs and professional services fees associated with pursuing grants and loans for climate change preparedness projects on coastal Town properties. As the town continues to prepare for climate change and applies for federal and state grants, many of the grant programs require a local match of 10 to 50 percent.
The Town Meeting will vote on borrowing $500,000 from the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority at a zero percent interest rate to repair and replace water distribution lines and appurtenant structures. These funds and some of the unspent funds from prior years will be bundled in connection to the major water system upgrades in the next few years.
According to Nahant’s Fire Chief Austin Antrim, Nahant is due for a replacement of a fire truck, because the existing engine has served for 18 year.
“The engine is not only showing its age with costly mechanical problems and corrosion of the frame and chassis, it has a chronic problem with the fire pump that makes it extremely dangerous for personnel,” Antrim said.
The full cost of the new truck is $700,000, but half of the cost will be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money. The Town Meeting will vote on borrowing the remainder $350,000.
Another $350,000 is needed to preserve two historic town-owned structures: the Town Hall and Greenlawn Cemetery Entry Arch, which can no longer be sustained by small-scale repairs.
The Department of Public Works is looking to purchase a new dump truck and loader for a total of $260,000.
“Both vehicles are essential to the functions of maintaining our sewer system and responding to emergency repairs,” said Zach Taylor, the superintendent of Public Works.
Other reserves, expenditures and investments the town is looking to fund include $250,000 for the Stabilization Fund; $125,000 for a feasibility study for possible upgrades to the existing Fire and Police Stations or their replacement with a combined facility; $100,000 for paving throughout town; $100,000 for acoustic and lighting improvements in the assembly room of the Town Hall; replication of the two pairs of Boat Room doors facing Short Beach in the 23 Nahant Lifesaving Station; and planning, upgrade and replacement six playgrounds throughout the town.
The town meeting will also vote on salary rates for all non-elected employees even though it cannot change the terms of the union contracts or the other agreements. The Advisory and Finance Committee believes that this will help assure salary equity among positions.
Lastly, the town meeting warrant provides for an updated dog by-law. Dogs are prohibited on town beaches from May 1 through September 30 each year except for Doggie Beach, which is located on Castle Road across from the Coast Guard Station and may be used year round for off-leash exercising of dogs. The by-law stipulates that Doggie Beach does not extend to the beach behind the residential area of Castle Road.
The by-law increases penalties for violators more than twofold. For example, the first offense will be subject to a $25 instead of $10, while the fourth offense in any given 12-month period will cost the violator $100 instead of $50.
Alena Kuzub can be reached at [email protected].