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September 10, 2013

Voters back funding dispatchers, Pigeon Cove repairs

ROCKPORT — Voters Monday night approved $96,000 to add three dispatchers for the town’s Police Department and fund salary hikes granted under police union contracts.

And they backed allocating $100,000 in Community Preservation Act money toward the restoration of Millbrook Meadow among early decisions at Rockport’s Annual Fall Town Meeting at Rockport Middle/High School.

The 173 voters in attendance also approved carrying out $800,000 in repairs to the breakwater and seawall at Pigeon Cove, which suffered heavy damage from the Blizzard of 2013 as well as other storms.

But the voters backed covering the Pigeon Cove repairs through borrowing, not through seeking a debt exclusion override to Proposition 2 1/2 — a step that would have brought a one-year boost to the town’s property tax rate.

In addition to approving funding for Millbrook Meadow, voters also gave the green light to steering $113,000 for improvements to the American Legion building.

But residents were still waiting to decide upon a number of other Community Preservation Act projects as of press time, including whether to extend $55,200 in CPA funding to expand the town’s Matt Waddell Memorial Skate Park behind Evans Field.

For updates today, look to the Times’ online coverage today at gloucestertimes.com, and to tomorrow’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.

While voters approved borrowing to make the $800,000 in repairs at Pigeon Cove, town officials are also hopeful that at least some or perhaps even all of the money might be reimbursed through Federal Emergency Management Administration, or FEMA.

Schools were not left out of the Fall Town Meeting allocations, with warrant articles seeking $110,000 allocation to upgrade phone systems throughout the schools on the docket for later last night.

As of press time, voters also still had to decide whether or not to accept a land gift toward the end of South Street, allowing an easement on town property from the new owners of the Blue Gate Gardens property on Main Street, and a bylaw for a new methodology for determining the height of a building for zoning and other regulatory purposes.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.

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