Margaret “Peggy” Fitzgerald remembered by Halifax Selectmen, Town Gazebo considered
Halifax selectmen, who had not met in three weeks, met Monday to deal with a busy agenda, beginning their meeting with a moment of silence out of respect for Margaret “Peggy” Fitzgerald, who passed away last week at the age of 84. She had resided in Halifax for 75 years.
Fitzgerald, a former Selectmen Chairman, School Committee Chairman, Town Accountant, and member of the Finance Committee (who only resigned from her position several weeks ago), among other boards and committees, served the town and region for more than 50 years.
All of the members of the board had a memory to share about Fitzgerald, and Selectmen Chairman Roy was moved to tears when reading from her obituary, calling her a neighbor and mentor.
“This is a tragic loss,” stated a visibly shaken Roy.
Gazebo on the green
Paul Ledwell and his family have offered to donate a gazebo to the town in memory of their daughter, Caitlin, who passed away in 2012 due to injuries sustained in a car accident.
The Ledwell family and the fund set up in her memory will pay for the gazebo, and its maintenance going forward, according to Ledwell.
“I don’t want this to look like something that was purchased at Home Depot and dropped in,” he said. He showed the board a picture of the gazebo in Pembroke center, which is 20 by 40 feet, which he characterized as large, but not that large.
The board was concerned by the size, but set up a meeting with Ledwell to stake out several options on the lawn, to get a better sense of what size is the best fit for the town and to set up a definitive location. John Campbell, chair of the Building Committee, and John Shea, chair of the Historic District Commission were available as well to give input.
Campbell had some concerns about maintenance, but Ledwell insisted his family or the memorial fund would pay for yearly upkeep. Shea wanted to be sure the structure would blend in. Shea and Campbell will also attend the meeting with Ledwell and the board when they stake out the proposed structure.
Chairman Roy thanked Ledwell for his generosity to Halifax.
Class II license stipulations
Holders of Class II auto dealers’ licenses have been in the news recently due to accusations of having too many vehicles on their properties. Now the board is looking into revising some of the stipulations on the licenses.
One difficult to enforce, but new idea from Town Administrator Charlie Seelig is to put a one-year limit on the length of time a vehicle can physically be on the premises of a dealership.
This would encourage dealers to sell vehicles rather than allowing them to sit and be used for parts, for example, according to Seelig.
The board passed this stipulation, and it will be up to Seelig to enforce.
At the recent FinCom summit between Kingston, Plympton, and Halifax further regionalization was a topic of discussion. The Halifax selectmen discussed this idea in further detail.
There was excitement about the idea of sharing an information technology, or I.T. professional at the summit and the board shared this enthusiasm.
Selectman Tom Millias suggested a Conservation Officer might also be a position that could be shared, likely with Plympton.
“We’ve been down this road before, we just have to do it,” selectman Troy Garron said.
Charlie Seelig will try to set up a meeting of the tri-town selectmen to move forward with these proposals.
In other news:
• Algae counts remain high in the Monponsett Ponds (above 70,000/ppm.) The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is setting up a joint meeting in the near future between the Town of Halifax and the City of Brockton to discuss Brockton’s past diversion of water from the lake, which Halifax officials assert is environmentally detrimental. The City of Brockton is not currently diverting due to the high algae counts.
• The board is researching the title to a property at 5 Short Street that is believed to be town-owned. The property has a house on it, and is valued at approximately $130,000. The board will continue to discuss possibly selling the property.
• The board discussed changing the Treasurer-Collector position from one that is elected to one that is appointed. This must be voted at Town Meeting, and has been defeated before. Although all of the board members expressed a preference towards appointments for positions that require technical expertise, all thought it was too soon to ask voters about this again, for now.
• Edward Gavin, Jr. expressed interest in either the Finance Committee or Capital Planning Committee. There is a vacancy on FinCom and the board is interested in interviewing him for that position.
• The board will next meet on November 24th at 7 p.m. Fire Chief Jason Vivieros is expected to be present to present final findings of the Fire Study Committee. The FinCom will join the meeting at 8:15 to discuss the FY’17 budget with the board.