By Thomas D’Agostino
Alcohol and water may not be a good mix according to a few of the Webster Board of Selectmen. The Webster Hydroplane Racing Association appeared before the board one more time with a request for a one-day liquor license to be honored during their 2nd annual race day at Webster Lake. The association drew up an outline of where the beer would be served and how it would be monitored if approved. Chairman Donald Bourque had concerns over the fact that there is no alcohol allowed at the beach and this approval could open up a “can of worms.”
Vice Chairman Deborah Keefe spoke in regard to the license. “I think the way I’m looking at it is that this is a one-time scenario. Pending any issues, it would never happen in the future.”
The board also requested a contract be presented clarifying that the association is responsible for the liability and safety of all in regard to the one-day license. The motion to approve the license passed by a 3-2 margin, pending the contract.
Another main issue of the June 18 meeting was the North Village Development. Selectman Mark Dowgiewicz added this issue to the agenda. In the past year, the police have answered 455 calls to the North Village totaling 204.84 hours.
Mr. Dowgiewicz was concerned over the problems and safety of the surrounding residents. Selectman Dowgiewicz was informed that there are two areas in the state where they place females in drug rehabilitation and Webster’s North Village is one of them. “So now is this place a rehab facility disguised as low income housing, or is it low income housing? …I really think that a lot of the problems we have in the community is probably generated from this development. And it appears that that people who own this, that live in Boston out of Faneuil Hall really don’t give a rat’s rear end of what happens in this town. All they care about is their money.” Selectman Dowgiewicz stated.
The development is owned by WinnCompanies and houses low-income residents. Ninety-nine of the one hundred thirty-four units are extremely low income and the units are government subsidized.
A suggestion was brought up to meet with the owners and relate the situation face to face. “ Never in my wildest dreams I’d have to think that in the town of Webster there would be areas of town you would not want to walk through. Well, North Village has become that, that area.” Selectman Dowgiewicz said.
Mr. Dowgiewicz suggested the housing authority take over and “clean” the area up.
Vice chair Deborah Keefe also agreed with Mr. Dowgiewicz. “ This is a real sore spot in Webster and the owners of that should change the makeup of the rental property, not the town of Webster. So, I would say yes, we should find out legally what can we do as a town in regard to this and start taking action…”
Selectman Dowgiewicz suggested the board go for a walk through the area after the meeting to see first hand what they are up against before contacting the owners. The board agreed to walk through the area after the meeting.
Town Administrator John McAuliffe gave a positive report on the forward progress of the town. “We look forward to a stable financial climate for fiscal 2013.” Mr. McAuliffe said.
One might notice the maple tree on the Church Street side of the town hall is no longer there. The tree was in danger of falling and had to be removed. The state was going to give the town a Liberty Tree to plant but rescinded the offer because of the Centerl Massachusetts problem with beetles.
The Webster/Dudley Business Alliance will hold its 2nd Annual Sidewalk Sale on Saturday, June 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will also be a Civil War re-enactment group, food and French River Park family fun.
MAPFRE/Commerce Insurance has offered to sponsor the 2012 fireworks celebration to be held on Tuesday, July 3.
The issue of a peddler’s license was also brought forward. The board reviewed several local community licenses and will put together a license based on the best aspects of the licenses. Board secretary Jeffrey Duggan proposed a clause to restrict proximity of a peddler selling wares near a business of the same nature. The issue will be on the agenda for the July 9 meeting at 6:30 p.m.
The pledge of license for Tal’s Place was tabled until the July 9 meeting.
The Senior Center received a one hundred dollar donation for a defribulator. The gift had to be approved by the board. It was unanimously accepted. The board for the soccer fields also accepted an irrigation system.
An anonymous donation of $23,985 was given to the town for a side scan sonar unit to be used by fire and rescue. According to Town Administrator, John McAuliffe, there are only three such units of that caliber in Massachusetts.
The board also signed the bond anticipation notes for the items that were voted on during the town meetings. Those notes included the police and fire stations, town hall heating and cooling system, the new plow truck and DPW truck.