Edgartown ponders boost in shellfish department budget

Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnall asked Edgartown selectmen Monday for $46,400 to increase staffing in Mr. Bagnall’s department.

A total of $10,380 would be used to increase deputy constable Robert Morrison’s scheduled hours from 32 to 40 per week.

“We have the need and have utilized him [Rob] in the past well over 32 hours approaching 40 hours, which he does very happily, and we’ll give him compensation time to make up for it,” Mr. Bagnell said

The remaining $36,020 would be spent to add a new, 30-hour per week deputy constable position.

“The [shellfish]committee makes these requests so that we can continue to meet the needs of expanding the towns’ shellfish propagation program while maintaining a robust enforcement capability,” Mr. Bagnall told selectmen.

Mr. Bagnall said both requests were agreed to unanimously by the shellfish committee, and he reminded selectmen that at the 2013 annual town meeting, voters approved $48,500 for a two-year program to raise 500,000 oysters in Sengekontacket Pond.

Selectmen asked to deal with the requests one by one.

“We need to have this come back to us,” selectman Margaret Serpa said. “I don’t have a problem so much with the first request, but I do have a problem with the second request because you have a figure in there that doesn’t include the incidentals which can add up to $50,000 or more.”

Selectman Arthur Smadbeck asked Mr. Bagnall to outline this proposal before the next meeting with selectmen.

In other business, selectmen appointed David Burke a new member of the Edgartown Water Commission. The vote followed a joint meeting with water commission members John Lovewell and James Kelleher.

In the discussion that preceded the vote, Mr. Kelleher said the commission looked for someone well versed in water quality issues.

“We had two applicants, Scott Ellis and David Burke, both excellent applicants,” Mr. Kelleher told selectmen. “And John and I decided Dave Burke would be good for the water department because of his policies; he’s a sharp guy.”

The water commission is an independent board, elected by voters to oversee the water department.

In other news, selectmen voted to approve two annual reviews Monday. The first, for highway superintendent Stewart Fuller.

“Stewart’s very receptive to phone calls and emails, when somebody comes in with a complaint or a call, there’s been a joint effort with the fire department and the police chief in dealing with signs and issues. It’s been a good working relationship,” town administrator Pamela Dolby said.

Selectmen also voted to approve an annual review for town accountant Kimberly Kane.

“You always manage to get everything done with a smile and you’re very helpful,” selectman Art Smadbeck said.

Finally, selectmen accepted a single bid from road deicing company Eastern Minerals. The bid, for $75 per ton plus delivery, was approved despite a nearly 35-percent cost increase.

“It’s $20 per ton more than last year,” Ms. Serpa said.