Marblehead League of Women Voters Observer Reports, Dec. 14, 2022

Marblehead League of Women Voters
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The Marblehead Current is pleased to supplement its coverage of public meetings with Observer Reports provided by volunteers from the Marblehead League of Women Voters. To learn more about the League and its activities, see

Marblehead Board of Health, Nov. 29

Transfer Station Design Review

Andrew Petty, the Marblehead public health director, opened the meeting with a review of the transfer station design, utilizing four enlarged graphics: MTS (Marblehead Transfer Station) – Conceptual Site Plan, MTS – Conceptual Site Plan, Enlarged, MTS – Staff and Scale House and a rendering of a compactor facility.  (These graphics can be seen at During the presentation, Petty went back and forth between the various graphics. 

He reminded the board that residential traffic would enter from Green Street. Here an electronic gate would open at 7:00 a.m. so that traffic could queue inside the transfer station away from Arnold Terrace.  A gate further up the entrance road would open at 7:30 a.m. when the transfer station opens. A new staff kiosk would be located at the intersection of the recycling bin and road to the composting area. (Note: all traffic, commercial and residential, will exit onto Woodfin Terrace and West Shore Drive.)

The presentation then moved to the commercial entrance, in particular the location of the Staff and Scale House. Petty reviewed the layout of this building in more detail, which includes the scale house office, an adjoining restroom, airlock lockers, staff break room and bathroom with shower. The air locker would allow for heating and air conditioning with little escape.  The staff break room would have cubbies for each employee. The roof of the building would be solar panel ready. There is ongoing discussion about the siding for this building to give it some character.  

Much discussion ensued about the flow of commercial trucks in this area, including site lines for the scale house operator and site lines for oncoming vehicles – the trucks going forward over the scale, then back to the compactor, and then forward. Petty discussed the compactor building.  This would have two sides that are metal and two sides that are translucent for the sides not getting the sunlight.  On the translucent side would be two exhaust fans for accumulating dust.

The swap shed would be located in the current location but perhaps rotated facing the entering driveway.  The new design will have an overhang for rain and the roof will be solar panel ready. Ample parking will still be available. There is a discussion about even more parking for high-volume days located along the drive to the left of the current recycling containers. 

Other aspects of the design, such as location of an oil recycling container, light bulbs, etc. were indicated. Petty said five attendants would be needed, two up front and three in back. Board members asked about other design elements: a sliding window for the scale house attendant and an automated light when the trucks exit. At this meeting the board was voting on the design concept.  A motion was made to accept the proposal, seconded and passed unanimously. Thomas Krueger

Marblehead Municipal Light Commission, Nov. 29

Marblehead Municipal Light Department expenses will exceed revenue by $75,000. There is no need to adjust this .09 PPA in December. With the closing of the books, MMLD needs to consider two charges to budget – employee benefits and pension contribution. These figures haven’t come in yet. The budget includes a $330 pilot payment. Should the board discuss using this for the Rate Stabilization Fund? If MMLD does this, it should be communicated to the Select Board. In the past, if MMLD had a surplus it went back to town. MMLD won’t have it this year.

There are also capital improvements that need funding. There was a lengthy discussion of the financial situation and communicating with the town about the status as of this date. The decision did not need to be made that night since there are items that MMLD is waiting to have come in before year-end. MMLD operating cash remains solid at $5.4 million.
Discussion of 2023 budget

There is a 17 percent increase in the budget due to rate changes. There was a discussion of adding a line item for the rate stabilization fund. There was a discussion of the cost of energy with environmental attributes such as wind, solar and batteries. There was a discussion about benefits and downsides of retiring requisitions. There was a discussion of rate restructuring with a PPA of .025 for 2023. The board also discussed its current communication plan and how it should continue in the light of rate increases.

Winter electric service reliability

Marblehead may have supply risks this winter, per ISO New England. There is a “minor” chance of rolling blackouts with a higher probability this year than other years. Under extreme conditions, ISO will load-shed (automatically reduce customers demand).

This will be more likely to happen likely happen if we have a sustained a multi-day cold spell. There was extensive discussion of how load-shedding works. An example of a load-shed plan was reviewed. Customers should sign up for ‘Code Red’ since this is the best way to get information out securely. Customers will need to know which ‘circuit’ they are on. 

Low-income residential rate reduction

MMLD uses Neighbors Helping Neighbors and there was a discussion of the program and allocation of money to the fund.

Certificate of Excellence In Reliability

MMLD received this award in 2022.  It is an award for reliable electric service given by the American Public Power Association.

Sustainability Committee update

No updates for this meeting. Need to set goals for 2023. Looking at setting an executive session for 12/20. – Maggie Smist

Marblehead Harbors and Waters Board, Nov. 14

FY 2024 Capital Outlays Discussion

Marblehead Yacht Club roof replacement is a priority. It will cost $15,000 to $20,000 for full replacement. Water is coming in now.  We are still trying to get someone to do a temporary repair but have been unsuccessful.  The time frame for replacement is after the Town Meeting.  Stripping of the roof requires that all debris be collected.  A roofer with experience at that height along the waterfront is hard to find.  If the roof is stripped all debris needs to be collected. A more costly option is installing a marine metal roof over the existing roof, and it would be noisy.  One contractor was located but the cost was $60,000.  The harbormaster will continue to try to find a contractor.  The possibility of starting an emergency fund transfer before the finance committee was discussed.

Ferry Lane seawall railing replacements will cost $10,000 to $18,000.  They are corroded, old, galvanized railings which have suffered damage from snow plows over the years.  The town engineer has been consulted. Jersey barriers were suggested, as well as the possibility of bollards.

An ADA ramp needs to be installed from Ferry Lane to the State Street Landing, preferably of concrete. The estimate is $10,000. Excavation will be necessary. A width of 48” is required for wheelchair access as well as a side handrail.

Tucker’s Wharf power pedestals (3) replacement with a $9,000 estimate.  Need 50 amp power. Water hydrant at the base of the gangway and water outlets after the grounding system would eliminate attachment from the gangway.  Electrocution can occur if someone is swimming.

Village Street pier railings and pier head with a $7,000 estimateThe deck was completed five to six years ago but the railings are older and wobbly, yet repairable.  The last concrete pedestal is wearing, lost one bolt and needs to pull wood out.  A new plate needs to be made further back on the gangway.  The end result will be better than the current ADA compliance.

Gallows support wires with an $8,000 estimate.  There is corrosion where the wires are crimped at State Street.  N.E. Crane Hoist can check and replace.

Ford Explorer truck replacement for the harbormaster with a $25,000-$35,000 estimate.  The present one is three years old and owned by the Police Department.

The Coastal Zone Management report.  Are seawall improvements under the jurisdiction of the Harbors and Waters Board or under General Town Funds?  Maybe the Harbors and Waters Board could get General Town Funds to help.  The priority of the seawall repairs needs to be determined.  Cliff Street should be first, followed by Parkers Boatyard, Tuckers Wharf and State Street Wharf.

Should Stacey Clark be replaced with a safe boat? It is kept on the harbormaster’s dock to be occasionally used as a public safety boat. The Stacey Clark is not certified as a safe boat and it should not have gone to the fire department, as the harbormaster drives it.  The Harbormaster has been applying for grants for three years. 

Fire Chief Jason Gilliland will work with replacing the Stacey Clark with a safe boat under control of the harbormaster.  There is an option of a three-hull boat similar to one in Hingham.  New York City also has  two to three of them in the Hudson River. Some of the grants are technology-based.  The harbormaster and the fire chief would apply for a grant together. 

These boats can pull water from a boat and from the ocean to fight fires.  The harbormaster will still be driving the boat unless he is not available.  There are a few firefighters who are OK to drive it. They are built in the Pacific Northwest for tough conditions.  The cost is estimated at $450,00-500,000.   – Kathy Breslin 

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