League of Women Voters Our town government in action

Observation reports are submitted by Marblehead League of Women Voters members who have attended meetings of various town boards and commissions. Observers are solely responsible for accuracy of the information. Complete reports can be found on the LWV of Marblehead Website www.lwvmarblehead.org.


LWVM Observer: Kay Rieper

Appearances – Mark Babineau from Troop 79 presented his proposal for an Eagle Scout project to build and install bat boxes in various locations at Gatchell’s. Besides helping the environment, this activity would teach younger scouts in the troop new skills including leadership. Only adults would climb ladders to install the boxes. The boxes would be placed 12 to 20 feet off the ground, facing east or south, on various trees and poles around Gatchell’s. They would provide a safe, warm place for bats to live and raise their young. Besides eating many insects, bats act as seed spreaders and pollinators. The Board passed a motion for Mark to build 6 – 8 bat boxes and install them around Gatchell’s.

New Business

Tree roots near the pickleball courts at Seaside are starting to buckle the courts. Peter will work on a solution.

The Conservation Commission approved the plans for the Bike Park, and they can start construction.


After Peter’s vacation, a meeting will be set up to discuss next year’s budget—level funded and level services. Increased costs for level services will be addressed as well as the increased level of responsibility the Department is taking on. Memorandum of Understanding with Schools Jaime and Derek will meet with representatives from the schools to discuss the MOU and what things the Recreation Department provides for the schools.



Parks – Peter

Final fall cleanup has taken place and last trash pickup for winter. Apple tree at Seaside has been removed. The Japanese knotweed is encroaching on the track at Hopkins field. It will be addressed with the Marblehead Conversancy. There are rotted timbers on the step near the double A field at Gatchell’s as well as some vandalism of the chain at the Everett Paine entrance. The tarps (with seeding underneath) will go down before Peter leaves for vacation. A grant for $33,696 was received from the Shattuck fund. At Stramski’s a 2-inch waterline has been installed under the stream and the sewer pipe. The address of the house will be 26 Stramski Way. At Devereux Beach a second pavilion has been ordered. At the next meeting a decision will be made about leaving the nets up at the Seaside pickle ball courts. If there is a snowstorm, the courts will be locked. Fixing the sidewalk at Redd’s Pond wiil be a general override at Town Meeting, The sidewalk still belongs to DPW, not Rec and Parks.

Recreation – Jaime

Basketball programs are in full swing. The gingerbread house workshop was very successful. Winter programming is underway as well as planning and hiring for the summer. Jaime plans to lower the age for the playground counselor in training program from 8th and 9th graders to 7th and 8th, and 9th and 10th graders for junior counselors. Her staff member have been very capable.


LWVM Observer: Steven A. Levy Superintendent’s water report, Contract 174, Water System Improvements, involves cleaning and lining a water pipe on Humphrey Street. The pipe is 6,599 feet long. It is a replacement of the water main on Calthrope Road and Crown Way.

The pipe was installed under the street in 1899. The Cleaning and Lining projects involve scraping and lining the pipe interior. The final payment of $101,741 was made to N. Granese and Sons, Inc. This project was funded by a 10-year zero interest loan from the Mass Water Resource Authority’s Community support Local Water System

Assistance Program.

Superintendent’s water report: Pleasant, Village and Vine streets water main and intersection improvement project. The intersection is Village Street, Pleasant Street and Vine Street. It is a Mass DOT (Massachusetts Department of Transportation road reconstruction project and is fully funded by the MassDot TIP (Transportation Improvement Program).  The Water and Sewer Commission added Water main replacement work to this project.  The water main replacement work is funded from the Town of Marblehead’s Water Construction Articles. MassDOT has certified that work valued at $550,207 of water main work was done. MassDOT has also requested that $292,855, estimate #3, be paid. The piping part of this project included adding more water shut offs.

The group discussed the traffic flow in the intersection. It seems to have improved. Superintendent’s sewer report, Contract 183, Green Street Pump Station Rehabilitation, has been signed.

Superintendent’s sewer report, Contract 184, Pump Station Service Replacement. This contract consists of Traffic Boxes to house electrical meters and automatic transfer switches at various stations. Five bids were submitted ranging from $182,281 to $277,000. Haley Ward, a consulting firm, has said the lowest bidder, Dagle Electric Construction, has the resources and qualifications needed.  The Notice of Award was approved.

Administrative update. The retroactive pay due union employees per the Union Contract 2021-2022 was reviewed.

Four new vehicles have been ordered under the state contract. Prices have increased from original quotes obtained last January. We will probably get four new vehicles. Two vehicles for water and two vehicles for sewer. One F150 Ford Lightning (Electric) is part of this order.

MWRA Report: Our share of MWRA (Massachusetts Water Rescource Authority) water has increased compared to last year. Due to COVID, Boston used less water so our percentage of the whole went up in 2019 and percentages have not followed historic trends since. MWRA pipes our water from the Quabbin Reservoir to Marblehead. Marblehead has over 100 miles of pipe in town. Marblehead’s Lead and Copper Testing program was increased from 15 homes to 20 homes. All results were well below allowable limits set by the Mass Department of Environmental Protection.

SESD, South Essex Sewerage District, Report: Our sewage is processed by SESD in Salem. SESD is next to the power plant in Salem. A project for rehabilitation of concrete in some areas exposed directly to wastewater was reviewed. Request for Abatement, 44 Washington Street. There was a water leak due to frozen pipes at 44 Washington Street After investigation it was agreed that none of the water went into the sewer system. Normally, we pay for water and sewage treatment at the same time. When there is a broken water pipe and it can be proven that all the water went directly into the ground, a homeowner can request an abatement on the sewer charge. The water must be paid since it passed through the meter and was consumed.  The board approved an abatement to the homeowner for the $17,650 sewer charge. But, the home owner will have to pay the $13,696 water bill. 

Request for SAR (Service Accounts Receivable) review, 116 Front Street. Homeowner got a bill for broken water meter. Homeowner has temperature data to show temperature did not go below freezing. But the meter is damaged and looks like it was frozen. Decision postponed to next meeting after report from manufacturer or representative.

Sewer Department openings posted: Mechanic Pipefitter 1, Mechanic Pipefitter 2. Station Mechanic Pipefitter 2.