LWV OBSERVER REPORT: Harbors and Waters Board, Feb. 6

Marblehead League of Women Voters Observer Corps
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Observer Corps Reports are provided by volunteers from the Marblehead League of Women Voters. To learn more about the League and its activities, see my.lwv.org/massachusetts/marblehead.

BOARD: Harbors and Waters Board

DATE: Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m. at the Harbormaster’s Office

LWVM OBSERVER: Kathy Breslin

MEMBERS PRESENT: John Doub, Ken Breen, Clarke Smith, Rick Cuzner

OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE: Mark Souza, harbormaster


Meeting called to order and January minutes approved.

Public questions on State Street bathroom

Resident Phil Blaisdell brought up Article 32, sponsored by the Board of Selectmen and others, which was passed at Town Meeting in May 1996. It provided that the State Street bathroom would be kept open year-round, with the Recreation and Parks Department in charge; funding was provided. Ultimately, the furnace for heating during the winter was not serviced or maintained; it failed, and the pipes burst. Jurisdiction was subsequently transferred from Rec and Parks to Harbors and Waters. It has not been kept open during the winter for some years. Phil offered to assemble a group of volunteers to maintain the bathroom as had been done in the past.

The harbormaster, Mark Souza, stated that the furnace would likely need to be replaced. The recent $50,000 state grant to renovate the bathroom did not address the gas bills for heating. In addition, there is no line item for heating the bathroom in the general facilities budget. The Harbors and Waters Board does not feel they should oversee maintaining the bathroom. Souza stated that he would speak to Amy McHugh about the furnace and that he would investigate an alternative department to manage the State Street bathroom. The other public bathrooms are managed by Rec and Parks.

Blaisdell commented that keeping the State Street bathroom open year-round would benefit residents and especially tourists. In addition, Town Meeting voted for it, and the town’s will should be upheld. Rockport has a bathroom open year-round on T Wharf.

Resident Steve Wolf mentioned that the Marblehead Harbor Plan is in the rough draft phase and open for comments. Souza stated that he would submit comments for the State Street revitalization plan.

FY 24 budget discussions

Nothing to report since the last meeting.

Harbormaster report

  • Parker’s boat yard docks are 90% built, awaiting decking. Dave Haley moves all the town’s docks. He recently found the missing Village Street dock and brought it back.
  • New software system update: The software company didn’t understand the department’s customers’ issues. Souza had been on the phone with them daily. The town requires documentation and registration for its mooring permits; other towns don’t. Souza would like to eliminate the
  • documentation and registration requirements. Now, registrants need the expiration date and registration number.
  • The West Shore mooring wait list is now two to three years.
  • Stramski’s Beach accessibility: The eel grass is an issue, unsure about limitations. Ray Bates was consulted and found too many plants, but they are not on the eelgrass map. The town needs a survey; then the area will get on the eelgrass map.

Meeting adjourned.

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