WAREHAM – Selectmen voted Tuesday to create two new committees: one to merge public safety resources and the other to potentially regulate non-fossil energy sources.
The board unanimously approved a proposal to establish a Public Safety Assessment Committee aimed at increasing efficiency in town government and stretching tax dollars. The board also endorsed a proposal to create an Energy Committee to explore the feasibility of developing wind power and solar power in the town.
Both committees will consist of top-level municipal representatives as well as at-large community members.
Town Administrator Derek Sullivan proposed the Public Safety Assessment Committee and suggested it consist of the town administrator, harbormaster, emergency medical services director, chiefs of the Wareham Fire Department, Onset Fire Department and Wareham Police Department, and three at-large members. The committee’s purpose will be to determine the wisdom of merging duplicate services among the various departments – including dispatch communications, purchasing procedures and grant-writing efforts – with the aim of reducing budget appropriations.
“This plan can help us eliminate duplication of services in the town and increase the efficiency of town government,” Sullivan said.
Selectmen Alan Slavin and Patrick Tropeano both noted that similar efforts at collaboration were attempted by the town in past years, but failed because of “no follow-up,” the latter said. However, they joined with Chairman Peter Teitelbaum and Judith Whiteside in unanimously supporting Sullivan’s proposal.
Tropeano advocated the Energy Committee devise regulations governing the potential establishment of wind power and/or solar power facilities in the town. He recommended it consist of the town administrator, town planner, representatives of the Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and Finance Committee, as well as three at-large members.
Tropeano said he hoped the committee would convene soon and formulate a definitive proposal in time for a special Town Meeting in October, but conceded this timetable may be “a pie in the sky.” Realistically, he said, its work could be completed in time for the 2014 annual Town Meeting in April.
In other business, selectmen voted to hold a workshop on sewer rates on Aug. 1 at 3 p.m. in the town’s Multi-Service Center. The board also voted to hold a workshop on maintenance of private roads and streets in the community Aug. 8 at 3 p.m. at a location to be determined.
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