A HISTORY OF WESTPORT IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY BY CLAUDE LEDOUX

How Events of 1958 Triggered Serial Official Actions That Determined Westport’s 2018 Conditions.

Claude A. Ledoux, June 2018

REVISED PART NO. 2 OF A HISTORY OF WESTPORT IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

(Original printed in 1995. Titled “A HISTORY OF WESTPORT IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY” authored by Carmen Maiocco, Part 1 and Claude Ledoux  Part 2.)

This is an Updated version of Part 2, as of 2018. Printed as an addendum authored by Claude Ledoux, In Times New Roman (12) format. Updates are added separately to preserve the original edition.

The passage of time has brought many changes and events; many unforeseen or not predictable, others triggered by actions the resulting effects of which were not felt until later. For instance, the Town’s drastic changes and direction caused by the 1950’s Route 88 and the simultaneous State edict to destroy the East River’s upstream dams. Dual actions that triggered early 1970’s official actions that set directions for subsequent actions which determined Westport’s 2018 conditions.  C.L. 2018

 

DEDICATION  This book is dedicated to my wife, Clarisse, for her patience, support and tolerance for my clutter of the kitchen table and to Westport residents past and present whose time has contributed to our town’s desirable living conditions.  And, to future residents in the hope that their life in Westport will be fruitful and enjoyable.  May this historical perspective contribute to that enjoyment.

 

INTRODUCTION  There have been many writings about Westport’s past.  Most have dealt with specific subjects, families or town history prior to this century.  Each of the writings contributes valuable insights into the individual pieces of the composite Westport quilt.  This assemblage of information deals with the governance, population, changes, financial operations, civic organizations and other town matters during the past century.  The evolution of Westport, situated in Bristol County, Massachusetts, in the United States of America, on the planet Earth, in the Milky Way Galaxy, will be traced during this brief speck of time known as the Twentieth (20th) century.  A short re-cap of our town before 1900 is also provided for completeness but more exhaustive information is available from the listing in the Bibliography.  The exploration of the town’s evolution during this turbulent century is intended to provide a valuable historical perspective for those who are interested in Westport’s past and those who will live here in the future.

Most of the required information was gleaned from town reports.  Prior to 1900 such reports were mostly financial in nature.  The 1877 report review is included, since that year was the towns first centennial.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  Quilt weaving is best accomplished by combining many talents.  The feel of Westport gained during nearly 50 years as one of its citizens is an accumulation of a multitude of acquaintances and events.  Recent talks with Edwin Borden, Frank and Grace DeAndrade and others have helped to fill in the picture.  The invaluable records carefully prepared in the Annual Town Reports were the primary source of needed information.  The writers of those reports past and present are credited with making this section of the book possible.

Finally, my most sincere appreciation to my co-author, Carmen Maiocco.  This 1995 book would not have been possible without his expertise and cooperation. (This section not available for update. Book out of print in 2017) C.L.

 

ABOUT THE INFORMATIONAL CONTENTS. A few of the dates and financial figures listed may not be exactly accurate due to the scarcity of some information as well as the changes in methods of reporting during the century.  The approximations given should be adequate to fulfilling the purpose of this book.

 

PART NO. 2

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Sec   Subject                                                                      Page

 

1       Introduction…………………………………………………………. 2

1       Table of contents……………………………………………….. 2-4

1       Bibliography………………………………………………………… 4

2       Brief review of History prior to 1900……………………. 5-7

3       Government Structure in 1900 and 1995………………. 7-9

4       Persons who have Served the Town and Present

Government…………………………………………………….. 9-15

4       People who Represent You……………………………… 15-26

5       Abbreviated Chronological Review of Events that

Shaped the Town’s Evolution and the Life of

It’s Citizen’s During the 1900’s……………………….. 27-36

6       Building Inspector, Growth of Dwelling Units and

Population During the 1900’s…………………………… 37-38

7       Nationality Representations During the 1900’s….. 38-39

8       Farming Activities During the Century……………… 40-41

9       Growth Pattern During the 1900’s………………………… 42

10     Lifestyle Changes During the 1900’s…………………….. 43

11     Civic Organizations…………………………………………….. 44

12     Effect of Inflation on Town Budget……………………… 45

13     Brief Description of the Duties of Town Offices

and Evaluation During the 1900’s…………………………. 46

13A  Workings of the Board of Selectmen During the

1900’s…………………………………………………………… 46-48

13B  Evolution of the Police Department………………….. 49-50

13C  Fire Department……………………………………………… 51-52

13D  Brief Historical Review of Westport’s School

System During the 1900’s……………………………….. 53-56

13E   The Westport Board of Health…………………………. 57-59

13F   Abbreviated History of the Shellfish Department. 60-61

13G  Highway Department Evolution During the 1900’s 62-63

13H  Review of the Smaller Offices; Duties, Contributions

and Lifespans………………………………………………… 63-69

14     Cost of Services During the Century……………………… 70

15     Summary of Westport Statistics at the End of

the Century……………………………………………………. 71-72

16     Synopsis of the Major Issues and Problems Facing

Westport at the End of the Century………………….. 72-76

17     Conclusion…………………………………………………………. 77

 

18     ADDENDUMS:

Route 88……………………………………………………….. 78-89

Farming……………………………………………………….. 90-100

Ponds destruction, BOH……………………………… 100-104

19     Chronological Review of Section 5, events and their

Responsible Town Agencies……………………………….. 104

20     Post 1995 addendums that contributed to Westport’s 2018 conditions.

Mostly Listed in five year increments                           105-108

21     Demographic differences from 1995-2018             108-110

22     Statistical summary in 2017. Including Buildout potential 110-111

23     Present Town Conditions, Farming, Buildout        111-114

24     Major possible changes                                           114-115

25     Conclusion                                                              116

26     About the Author                                              117-118

 

SECTION NO. 1

PRESENT AND HISTORICAL REVIEW MATERIALS

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY  Information for this booklet was largely obtained from a review of town reports from 1879 to the present.  Valuable information was also obtained from the following list of publications.  This listing is not represented as complete, there are other interesting and informative publications.  A complete listing and availability can be obtained from the Westport Historical Commission. And now in 2018 From Westport’s Historical Society.

 

1)   Westport Book of Records, No. 1, Part One 1787-1810,  By Westport Historical Commission, 1991

2)   Westport Book of Records, No. 1, Part Two 1811-1827, By Westport Historical Commission, 1991.

3)   Wesporters and the Civil War,  Andrew C. Macomber and Richard M. Wertz.

4)   Bristol County, Atlas of Surveys, 1895.  Shows the exact location and owner of each household and gives a brief history of its most prominent citizens.

5)   Old Home Week at the Head of Westport, Massachusetts, August 23-28, 1908.

6)   The Village of Westport Point, Massachusetts, Katherine Stanley Hall and Mary Haunch Sowle, 1914.

7)   Westport Bicentennial Ball, May 30, 1987., Westport Bicentennial Committee.

8)   The Head of Westport, Westport Historical Commission, 1987-1988.

9)   The Narrows, Carmen J. Maiocco, 1993.

10) Massachusetts Selectmen’s Handbook.  Current ed.

11) 1980’s GHR and Boston University studies of the Rivers

120 Dept. of marine Fisheries Scientific Study of the Westport Rivers.

 

11) From 1995 to 2018. Town reports, relevant events, recollections and new perspectives (hindsight) on effects past events had on directions and present Town conditions. )

   

SECTION NO. 2

BRIEF REVIEW OF HISTORY OF WESTPORT PRIOR TO 1900

 

The first white settler to this area was Richard Sisson.  His homestead was situated in the area now known as the Head of Westport on an ancient Indian and game trail which connected the areas now known as New Bedford and Stonebridge in Tiverton, RI.

 

The Westport area was designated as a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Centers of activity developed; for manufacturing and milling at the Head of Westport, using water power, and fishing at the point.  Farming spread out over the land causing much of it to be cleared.

 

On July 2, 1787 the town was incorporated as a separate entity from Dartmouth and the name WESTPORT was adopted to designate it as the more westerly part on the Massachusetts coast.  EASTPORT, now in Maine, being the most easterly port.  The 1787 population was about 2400..

 

Other town centers grew during the 1800’s serviced by an increasing road network and other amenities.  The year 1900 found Westport well settled with villages at the Narrows, Head of Westport, Central Village, Westport Factory and Westport Point.  Summer colonies developed at East Beach and others on Horseneck and at the Harbor.  Public transportation was eased by the Point Bridge and a primitive road network approximating that of today.  There was a railroad which is still in existence but little used, as well as an electric trolley line along the present course of Route 6.  The town was also serviced by a stage line which ran between the Point and what is now the Lincoln Park area. (By 2018 this area has mostly been converted to Housing development).

The following is a brief synopsis of important events which transpired from the beginning of Westport’s settlement until 1900.  Refer to the bibliography for more extensive information.

 

1787 – 1810

  • Town government was by men only. There were many office holders.  Voters were limited to wage earners  and/or estate holders.
  • Highway maintenance was a form of redistributing income.
  • Caring for poor and elderly was considered a necessity
  • First meeting August 20, 1787 at William Gifford dwelling.
  • Moderator William Almy, Town Clerk Abner Brownell, William Almy, Richard Kirby, Edward Borden selectmen for one year, Richard Kirby Assessor, Thomas Tripp, Stephen Cornell, and Pardon Brownell Fence Viewers (arbitrators of boundary disputes), Abner Brownell Treasurer, Stephen Davis and Bajonas Devol Surveyors of Lumber, Thomas Tripp and Stephen Cornell Field Drivers, Nathaniel Kirby, Pound Keeper, Benjamin Brownell Sealer of Weights and Measures, Benjamin Cory Sealer of Leather, Abner Brownell Warden, Caleb Earle, Edward Boomer Tithingmen, Stephen Davis and Bajonas Devol Measurers of Wood, Geo. Tripp 2nd, William Almy Hog Reeves, 12 persons surveyors of highways, 3 persons (one lawyer) committed to settle with New Bedford and Dartmouth for incorporation according to acts of General Court. A budget of 50 pounds L.M. was voted for poor support and other expenses, 3 persons constables.  Collector’s, salary 3% of collections.

1788 A town house was approved and erected at Ichabod Potter’s land.

  • No swimming in rivers was allowed during October and November. Lemuel Bailey made the Jury Box, still in use today.
  • There were 116 voters at town meeting.

1790    Overseers for town landings were instituted.  One schoolhouse was built on George Brightman’s land

1791    Treasurer received 2½% salary for receipt and payment amounts.  Constable and Collector of rates received 5% salary on collections, the town was fined for not sending representative to Boston General Court.

1792    A committee appointed to act as auditors found discrepancies in tax collectors returns to the Treasurer

  • Oyster fishing at present Hix bridge area was controlled.
  • Overseers were appointed to care for paupers and poor.
  • Taxes were due 1st day of March.

1793    Survey of Head landing, part of it sold.

1794    Store allowed on town landing, town retains land ownership

  • Powder and balls purchased for the town.
  • Hicks bridge mentioned and Hicks bridge landing Building allowed on landing, town retains land ownership.
  • acceptance of survey of drift way from highway to Tiverton line.
  • Selectmen dispose of the poor by assigning them to persons who will keep them at the cheaper rate.
  • Expense of corporation from 87 – 94; 557 pounds.

1795  Head bridge construction approved

  • Hix bridge to County Road (now Drift Road) layout accepted.

1796    Dollars now being mentioned as well as pounds L1:19:6=$6.58

  • Highway budget $600.00 assessed on polls, real and personal estates list of persons and sums due from assessors to each surveyor in his district. Voted 17¢ for plow or cart/day, 50¢ for days work.

1797    Town taxation $800.00.

1799      Town school master hired.

1800    Division Road and Hixbridge Road accepted.  School districts established

1800    No meat cattle or horses to run at large on the Horseneck.

1801    $120.00 voted for school support.  Tree planting within road layouts regulated.

1802     Surveyor of lumber shingles and clapboards and corder and  measurer of wood and culler of hoops and staves was established.

1803    General Court prohibited seining of fish and catching of oysters in the Rivers.  (It looks like the fisheries were in trouble 200     years ago.)

1806    Consideration to limit number of grog houses  Benjamin Brownell 2nd found to be “deficient tax collector” will be forced to     pay or be sued.  He was imprisoned by virtue of town vote to prosecute.

1809    Male teachers get twice what female teachers do.

1810    Budget $250 for schools, $800 highways $800 poor.

1824    Committee authorized to purchase a farm for support of paupers (present poor farm).

1825    Town sued for not having schools agreeable to law.  29 surveyors of highways (each has a district and budget) Town budget $3000. and $1000 for highways.  Tax collector’s salary 1½ % on collections.

1826    Town meeting ordered NO oysters taken in ensuing years.

1850    Population 2795, 467 farmers, 199 sailors.  There were 34 trades and professions in town.

1864    Town school committee formed to replace individual districts.

1871    Town buys Hixbridge, no more tolls.

1870’s Railroad across North Westport

1876    Start of Macomber Turnip development

1880’s, 1890’s Tourism and summer residents increasing.

1890    2599 residents, 1922 at Westport Factory 392 at North Westport, 172 at Westport Point and 91 at Central Village.

1893    Point Bridge built.

1894    Trolley service begins.

1900    Population 2900.

1877    Centennial year saw town appropriations of $13,500 with $2500 dedicated to paupers in and out of almshouse.  Selectmen were   Overseers of the Poor.

 

 

SECTION NO. 3

GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE

IN 1900 AND 1995

The differences which were enacted during this Century are in bold letters.

 

–  TOWN MEETING

–  ELECTED OFFICIALS

  • Town Clerk (1)
  • Treasurer and Collector of taxes, to become separate offices in 1912
  • Selectmen (3)
  • Board of Health (3), 1st election 1903.
  • Assessors (3)
  • Overseers of the Poor (3), terminated during sixties.
  • School committee (3), now (5)
  • Regional school committee (1)
  • Fish commissioners (3)
  • Constables (3), now (2)
  • Trustees of the Free Public Library (6)
  • Registrars of Votes (3) plus town clerk
  • Moderator (1) appoints finance committee
  • Housing authority (5)
  • Highway surveyor (1)
  • Planning Board (5)
  • Board of Commissioners of Trust Funds (3)
  • Landing Commissioners (4)

 

–  APPOINTED OFFICIALS

  • Single Highway Surveyor, by Selectmen, now elected (1)
  • Superintendent of Schools, by School Committee
  • Constables (6), by Selectmen, now (3)
  • Fence Viewers (3), by Selectmen
  • Landing Commissioners (5), by Selectmen, now elected
  • Auditors (2), by Selectmen, (1) Town Accountant
  • Tree Warden (1), by Selectmen, terminated 1980
  • Point Bridge Draw Tender (1) by selectmen, terminated
  • Superintendent of Beech Grove Cemetery (1), by Selectmen, now Cemetery Superintendent
  • Inspector of Animals (2), by Selectmen, by Board of Health
  • Sealer of Weights and Measures (1) by Selectmen
  • Surveyors of Lumber and Measurers of Wood and Bark (4), by Selectmen, terminated
  • Forest Fire Warden (1), by Selectmen, Fire Department
  • School Enrollment Officer (1), by School Committee, terminated
  • Truant Officer(1), by School Committee, terminated
  • Superintendent of Town Farm (1), by Selectmen, terminated
  • Librarian of Free Public Library (1), by Selectmen, now full time, by library trustees
  • Janitor of Town Hall (1), by Selectmen

 

Annual Town Meeting; 2nd Monday in March

Board meetings; last Saturday afternoon of each month, now Monday evenings

Public Library; open every Saturday evening for two hours, at Town Hall.  Now a separate building, offering a wide variety of services and open six days per week.

 

NOTABLE CHANGES WERE:

  1. There were (3) women in government in 1900. In 1993 (13) women were elected and 80 were appointed to various committees.
  2. In 1900 the Selectmen appointed a few persons in contrast to 1993 when the Board appointed 357 persons to 36 different Committees, Boards and Commissions. In effect, transferring much of the executive and administrative control of town affairs to appointed (rather than elected) officials.

 

GROUPING THE TOWN’S GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE BY BASIC FUNCTIONS: (BOLD PRINT SHOWS 1995 STATUS)

 

  1. Board of Selectmen, 36 appointed Committees, 357 appointments, Administrative Assistant.
  2. Town Clerk
  3. Registrars, now appointed by Selectmen (3), Town Clerk is also registrar.
  4. Moderator, appoints finance Committee, elected
  5. Planning Board, elected
  6. Board of Appeals (appointed by Selectmen)
  7. Town Counsel

 

  1. Financial

 

  1. Tax Collector
  2. Treasurer
  3. Assessors
  4. Auditors, now Accountant appointed by Selectmen
  5. Finance Committee, appointed by Moderator

 

  1. Protection of Citizens and Law Enforcement

 

  1. Constables (appointed by Selectmen), now Police Department (appointed by Selectmen)
  2. Forest Fire Warden, now Fire Department (Chief appointed by Selectmen)
  3. Constables elected, now (3) constables also appointed by Selectmen
  4. Landing Commissioners, now elected
  5. Fish Commissioners, elected
  6. Fence Viewers, appointed by Selectmen
  7. Sealer of Weights and Measures, appointed by Selectmen
  8. Surveyors of Lumber and Measurers of Wood and Bark (4) appointed by Selectmen, now terminated
  9. Pound Keeper, now Dog Officer, by Selectmen
  10. Inspector of Animals by Board of Health
  11. Board of Health, started 1903. Now appoints Nursing Department
  12. Shellfish Warden and Department, by Selectmen

M   Wharfinger, appointed by Selectmen

  1. Building Inspector, appointed by Selectmen
  2. Board of Appeals, appointed by Selectmen

 

  1. Citizens Welfare

 

  1. Overseers of the Poor and Board of Public Welfare, now a State administered function
  2. Highway Surveyor
  3. Superintendent of Town Farm (Selectmen appointed) now house and land rented separately
  4. Draw Tender of Point Bridge (Selectmen appointed), terminated
  5. Cemetery Superintendent, Selectmen appointed
  6. Housing authority, elected
  7. Council on Aging, appointed by Selectmen

 

  1. Education

 

  1. School Committee (3) appoints Superintendent of Schools, now (5)
  2. Enrollment Officer, terminated
  3. Truant Officer (appointed by Committee), Terminated
  4. Regional School Committee, elected

 

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 4

PERSONS WHO HAVE  SERVED THE TOWN AND PRESENT GOVERNMENT

 

Thousands of persons have dedicated time to town services during the last century.  Administrative functions include elective, appointed and civic bodies.  This combination promotes adequate services and helps to insure administrative consensus and promotes the well being of townspeople.

 

The impracticality of listing everyone who has served necessitated limiting recognition to those who served more than three terms (9 years) or ten years.  Ten years can be considered an appreciable portion of someone’s adult life and is certainly worthy of recognition.

 

Listing of Town Officials in 1900

 

Town Clerk………………………. Edward L. Macomber

Tax Collector……………………. John C. Macomber

Selectmen…………………………. Andrew H. Sowle

George E. Hardy

Albert S. Sherman

Assessors………………………….. Peleg S. Sanford Jr.

Albert D. Manchester

Johnathan Chace

 

Overseers of the Poor………… Charles R. Tallman

Johnathon B. Wicks

James A. Gifford

School Committee…………….. Augustus R. Wood

Annie E. Sherman

John W. Gifford

Single Highway Surveyor…… Peleg S. Sanford Jr.

Fish Commissioners…………… Richard S. Gifford

Lafayette L. Gifford

Henry B. Tripp

Trustees of Free Public Library           John C. Taylor

William H. Pettey

Samuel H. Macomber

Edward L. Macomber

Mary E. Taylor

Addie E. Sowle

Constables………………………… Daniel M. Sanford

Lafayette L. Gifford

Charles H. Reynolds

Landing……………………………. C. Edward

  1. Howland

George A. Tripp

Eli Handy

Charles Wing

Fence Viewers………………….. Samuel A. Peckham

Isaac D. Earle

George F. Lawton

Auditors…………………………… Cortez Allen

Henry A. Allen

Draw Tender…………………….. Barton B. Manchester (deceased)

William P. Sowles

$150 salary

Superintendent Beech Grove Cemetery

………………………………………. Joseph T. Lawton

$200 salary

Sealer of Weights & Measures Preserved

……………………………………….. Tripp

Surveyors of Lumber and Measurers of Wood and Bark

……………………………………….. Thomas E. Borden

Peleg S. Sanford Jr.

Arthur M. Reed

Velator E. Macomber

Albert F. King

Isaac D. Earle

Lysander F. Howland

Sylvester C. Manley

Frank Whalon

Charles Brightman

Field Drivers…………………….. Welcome S. Borden

Will O’Brien

George P. Brownell

Pound Keeper…………………… William O’Brien

Inspector of Animals & Provisions

……………………………………….. Eli Handy

George A. Tripp

Forest Fire Warden……………. Jacob Cornell

Lysander W. White

Eli W. Blossom

Frank Whalon

Registrars…………………………. Edward L. Macomber (T.C.)

Charles R. Wood

Zelotes L. Almy (deceased)

Edward M. Boyer

Harry L. Potter

Enrollment Officer…………….. Annie E. Sherman

Truant Officers…………………. Daniel M. Sanford

Lafayete L. Gifford

Charles H. Reynolds

Superintendent of Town Farm

……………………………………….. Donald A. King

$400 salary

Listing of Long Term Selectmen during this Century.

 

 

(Note: Some terms were not served concurrently)

NAME                                 # TERMS       YEAR STARTED

Albert F. King                               3                     1905

Frank R. Slocum                           7                     1910

(a descendant of Joshua Slocum of “Spray” fame)

George W. Russell                        13                   1912

Norman Kirby                               3                     1952

John Smith                                    11                   1925

  1. Douglas Borden 3 1943

Carlton A. Lees                             3                     1958

Alford Dyson                                3                     1963

Charles R. Costa                           4                     1971

Richard P. Desjardins                   3                     1978

George T. Leach Jr.                       3                     1983

 

In total 43 persons have been selectmen.  Two women, Phyllis G. Bernier 1975, Ann Chandanais 1983.

 

Long Term Town Clerks

 

There have been five (5) Town Clerks

Edward L. Macomber                   17                   1900

Elmer B. Manchester (B)              7                     1951

Edna Tripp                                    1                     1974

Althea M. Manchester (B’s wife) 4                     1978

 

Long Term Tax Collectors

 

Charles H. Gifford                        3                     1916

Albert C. Wood                            7                     1943

Pauline Raposa (still in office)      5                     1978

There has been a total of 13 tax collectors

 

Long Term Treasurers

 

Charles H. Gifford                        3                     1919

Alexander Walsh                          10                   1936

Eileen W. Martin                           8                     1965

There were 9 treasurers

 

Long Term Assessors

 

Albert F. King                               7                     1901

Frank R. Slocum                           13                   1908

  1. Douglas Borden 10 1941

Russell T. Hart                              3                     1958

Arthur V. Tripp                             4                     1927

Oscar Palmer                                 6                     1943

George R. Medeiros                      9                     1968

John McDermott (still in office)   7                     1974

Lido Jerome                                  4                     1981

 

A total of 27 have served as assessors

 

Long Term School Committee members

 

Philip Manchester                         4                     1940

Alford Dyson                                3                     1953

Augustus R. Wood                       4                     1900

Loren W. Park                               4                     1922

Charles T. Gifford                        7                     1931

George K. Dean                            4                     1940

Roger M. Acheson                        8                     1940

Matthew W. Kirby                        8

Forty-eight persons have served on the school committee

 

Long Term Fish Commissioners

 

Charles H. Hitt                              9                     1919

Arthur J. Manchester                    8                     1915

John H. Ellen                                5                     1924

Josiah A. Bowes Jr.                       4                     1940

Edward T. Earle                            12                   1958

Willard T. Buhl                             5                     1959

Kenneth E. Wood                         3                     1966

Daniel Sullivan                              4                     1981

Eighteen persons have served as Fish Commissioners

 

Long Term Library Trustees

 

Augustus R. Wood                       6                     1902

Nason R. Macomber                     16                   1906

John W. Gifford                           5                     1900

Frederick C. Tripp                         6                     1907

James Walsh                                  3                     1966

Kate W. Tallman                           4                     1906

Abram J. Potter                             13                   1915

Ada S. Macomber                         11                   1922

Louise A. Freeman                        4                     1923

Ann C. Gifford                             7                     1933

Dorothy W. Smith                        12                   1954

Audrey L. Tripp                            6                     1940

Allen M. Shorey Jr.                       6                     1959

Harriet W. Barker                         3                     1966

Henry J. Sampson                         3                     1960

Joan E. Pratt                                  3                     1967

Frances Kirkaldy                           9                     1976

Octave “Ozzie” Pelletier               3                     1977

Edwina Cronin                              3                     1984

Twenty-six have served as Library Trustees

 

Long Term Landing Commissioners

 

George W. Russell                        9                     1907

Robert A. Gifford                         3                     1924

Samuel L. Boan                            4                     1926

George A. Tripp                            7                     1900

Arthur Denault                              10                   1954

Edward T. Earle                            3                     1956

Herbert G. Hadfield                     8                     1961

Joseph Botelho                              9                     1967

There have been 15 Landing Commissioners

 

Long Term Highway Surveyors

 

Peleg S. Sanford Jr.                      3                     1900

Robert A. Gifford                         3                     1909

Charles A. Haskell                        8                     1912

Elton C. Tripp                               5                     1938

Frederick Cambra                         3                     1960

Russell T. Hart                              7                     1971

Ten persons have served as Highway Surveyor.

 

Long Term Overseers of the Poor and Board of Public Welfare

 

Robert A. Gifford                         3                     1901

John A. Gifford                            7                     1906

John H. Allen                                3                     1914

Samuel L. Boan                            15                   1914

Normand Forand                          4                     1954

Nine persons have served on these committees.

 

Long Term Registrars of Voters

 

Edward L. Macomber                   18                   1900

Oscar H. Palmer                            16                   1906

George E. Hardy                           3                     1906

Lysander W. Howland                 3                     1910

Leslie J. Tripp                                10                   1928

Elmer B. Manchester                    7                     1951

Herman L. Coggeshall                  3                     1954

Twenty-four persons have served as Registrars.

Many persons have served in multiple positions.  It is not possible to mention them all but some of the more notable ones are listed.

 

Frank R. Slocum; Selectman, Landing Commission

John Smith Selectman, Moderator 37 years

Philip Manchester; Selectman, School Committee

  1. Douglas Borden; Selectman, Assessor

Alford Dyson; Selectman, School Committee, Housing Authority

Russell T. Hart; Selectman, Assessor, Highway Surveyor

Charles R. Costa; Selectman, Board of Health

Claude A. Ledoux; Planning Board, Selectman, River Improvement Commission, Shellfish Advisory, Conservation Commission

Harold Wood; Selectman, School Teacher, School Principal, Civic Leader

Thomas McGarr; School Teacher, Regional School Committee, School Committee, Diman Regional School Superintendent

Richard P. Desjardins; Selectman, School Committee

Ann Chandanais; Selectman, Personnel Board

Thomas Perkins; Selectman, Cable Advisory

David P. Dionne; Selectman, Solid Waste Committee

Edward L. Macomber; Town Clerk, School Committee, Library Trustee

Elmer B. Manchester; Town Clerk, Accountant, Registrar

Johnathan B. Hicks; Tax Collector, Treasurer

Charles H. Gifford; Tax Collector, School Committee

George Norman; Tax Collector, Treasurer, Assessor

Peleg S. Sanford Jr.; Assessor, Highway Surveyor

Augustus R. Wood; Assessor, School Committee, Library Trustee

Nason R. Macomber; Assessor, Library Trustee

Arthur V. Tripp; Assessor, School Committee, Landing Commission, Library Trustee, Overseer of the Poor

Frederick L. Tripp; School Committee; Library Trustee

Robert A. Gifford; Highway Surveyor, Landing Commission

Samuel L. Boan; Overseer of the Poor, Landing Commission, Board of Health

Normand Forand; Overseer of the Poor, Constable

Lafayette C. Gifford; Constable, Fish Commission

George W. Hart; Fish Commission, Shellfish Warden

 

Many more deserve recognition.  Some will be recognized during the treatment of the separate offices.

The 1993 list of town offices and committees is included to provide insight into the growth of Town Government.  The proliferation of committees is an indication that elected officials have relinquished some of their decision making duties to appointed officials.  This causes many conflicting directions in the town’s governance.  The basic governing bodies have not changed.  Their duties have been spread out and this greatly confuses official accountability.

Town employees in the various departments stayed for long terms, usually to retirement, an observation which persists to the present.  There is a long list of long term employees who have contributed to the town’s welfare.  Unfortunately, this list is beyond the scope of this book.

 

 

THE PEOPLE WHO REPRESENT YOU

 GOVERNOR

His Excellency, William F. Weld (R)

Room 360, State House

Boston, MA 02133

 

SENATORS IN CONGRESS

The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy (D)

S.R. – 113, United States Senate

Washington, D 20510

2400 John F. Kennedy Federal Building

Boston, MA 02203

 

The Honorable John Kerry (D)

Russell Senate Office Building

Room 166

Washington, D 20510

 

REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS 3rd DISTRICT

 

The Honorable Peter Blute (R)

1029 Longworth Hob

Washington, D 20515

 

SENATOR IN GENERAL COURT 2nd BRISTOL DISTRICT

 

The Honorable Thomas C. Norton (D)

Room 407, State House

Boston, MA  02133

 

REPRESENTATIVE IN GENERAL COURT

8th BRISTOL DISTRICT

BRISTOL COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

P.O. Box 208

Taunton, MA  02780

Sylvester Sylvia, Chairman

Maria F. Lopes

Arthur Machado

Marc J. Santos, Esq., Clerk of the Board

(508) 824-9681

 

TOWN OFFICERS – 1994

 

SELECTMEN                                  TERM EXPIRES

Marjorie A. Holden                                1997

David P. Dionne                                    1995

George T. Leach, Jr.                               1996

 

TOWN CLERK

Marlene Samson                                     1996

 

MODERATOR

Brad C. Brightman                                1995

 

TREASURER

George E. Foster                                    1996

 

COLLECTOR OF TAXES

Pauline M. Raposa                                 1996

 

ASSESSORS

Charles Barboza Jr.                                1997

George R. Medeiros                               1995

John J. McDermott                                1996

 

BOARD OF HEALTH

John J. Colletti                                       1994

David P. Cabral                                     1995

Robert J. Chandanais                             1996

 

SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Laurie J. Andrews                                  1997

Deana Chase                                          1997

Joan M. Tripp                                         1995

Robert S. Wicks                                     1995

June LaBonte                                         1996

 

REGIONAL SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Thomas J. McGarr                                  1996

 

HIGHWAY SURVEYOR

Paul Pereira                                            1996

 

FISH COMMISSIONERS

James S. Manchester                              1997

Daniel P. Sullivan                                  1995

Russell Hart                                           1996

 

CONSTABLES

William A. Pariseau                               1996

Daniel P. Sullivan                                  1996

 

TRUSTEES OF FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY

Mary L. Medeiros                                  1997

Janet M. Edmonds                                 1994

Frances C. Kirkaldy                               1995

Annamarie K. Towne                             1995

Ruth S. Manchester                               1996

Rhoda W. Sheehan                                1996

 

LANDING COMMISSIONERS

Joseph Botehlo                                       1994

Albert H. Field                                       1994

George P. D. Hancock                           1995

Robert Albanese                                    1994

 

HOUSING AUTHORITY

Timothy Ford                                         1996

George A. Yeomans                              1995

Kevin Hill                                              1997

John H. Marques                                  1998

Patricia D. Pariseau (State Appointed)

PLANNING BOARD

John S. Penney                                       1994

Daniel T. George                                    1995

John Montano                                        1996

Timothy H. Gillespie                              1997

William H. Russell                                 1998

 

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF TRUST FUNDS

Lori Ann Ethier                                      1994

Roberta V. Costa                                   1995

Stafford Sheehan                                   1996

 

 

APPOINTMENTS 1993

 

NAME                                 POSITION                    TERM

                                                                                 EXPIRES

Robert T. Reed          Administrative Assistant          6/30/94

Charlene R. Wood     Sec. to the Board of Selectmen

Robert T. Reed          Parking Clerk                            6/30/94

Denise Bouchard       Confidential Clerk to the

Board of Selectmen

Kevin P. Feeley         Temporary Town Counsel

Leonard Kopelman    Town Counsel                          6/30/94

Atty. Walter Smith    Special Counsel                        6/30/94

Atty. Betty I. Ussach                                           Special Council

Katherine Benoit       Accountant

Lionel Ravenalle        Custodian-Town Hall/Police Station

John Mano                 Assistant Part-time Custodian

Michael C. McCarthy                                     Civil Defense Director            6/30/94

Paul Ledoux              Deputy Civil Defense Director 6/30/94

Leonard Moniz          Civil Defense Radio Equip, Operator  6/30/94

Charlene R. Wood     Civil Defense Secretary            6/30/94

Michael C. McCarthy                                       Energy Coordinator  6/30/94

Elaine Rioux              Dog Officer                              4/30/94

Brian Rioux               Assistant Dog Officer              4/30/94

Ronald E. Costa        Veterans Service Agent            4/30/94

Ronald E. Costa        Graves Registration Officer     4/30/94

Ronald E. Costa        Citizens for Citizens Rep.        6/30/94

Richard B. Earle        Harbormaster                             6/0/94

Everett Mills              Assistant Harbormaster            6/30/94

Johnathon Paull         Assistant Harbormaster            6/30/94

John R. Bevcis           Assistant Harbormaster            6/30/94

Gary Sherman            Wharfinger

John A. Taylor, Jr.     Assistant Wharfinger                6/30/94

Vernon Whitehead    Inspector of Buildings              6/30/94

Clarence Cole            Asst. Inspector of Buildings    6/30/94

Ernest Vohnoutka     Wire Inspector                          6/30/94

Joseph A. Goslin       Assistant Wire Inspector          6/30/94

Dane R. Winship       Assistant Wire Inspector          6/30/94

Robert Labonte         Plumbing Inspector (by Bldg Insp.)     6/30/94

Robert Labonte         Gas Inspector (by Bldg Insp)   6/30/94

Roger A.J. Labonte   Assist. Plumbing Inspector       6/30/94

(by Bldg Insp)

Roger A.J. Labonte   Assistant Gas Inspector            6/30/94

(by Bldg. Insp)

Gerald Anctil             Assist. Plumbing Inspector       6/30/94

(by Bldg. Insp.)

Gerald Anctil             Assistant Gas Inspector           66/30/94

(by Bldg Insp.)

Paul Audet                Sealer of Weights & Measures 6/30/96

George Robichaud    Asst. Sealer of Weights & Measures    6/30/96

John Ciccotelli           Environmental Certifying Officer 6/30/94

 

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS APPOINTMENTS

AND/OR OFFICIALS

 

NAME                      POSITION

Robert T. Reed        Chief Procurement Officer

Robert T. Reed        Affirmative Action Officer

Charlene R. Wood   National Organization on Disability Representative

William D. Tripp      Municipal Coordinator of the “Right to Know” Law

Stephen A. Motta    Acting Coordinator of the “Right to Know” Law

John Ciccotelli         Hazardous Waste Coordinator

Gary Sherman          Oil Spill Coordinator

Thomas Perkins        Mooring Assignment Coordinator

James M. Morton III Railroad Commissioner (Deceased)

James M. Morton III M.B.T.A. Representative (Deceased)

George Foster          Custodian of Tax Title Properties

Denise Bouchard     Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator

John Andrade          E-9-1-1 Coordinator

 

ACCESS TO TOWN COUNSEL ADVISORY COMMITTEE

 

David Cabral                              John Colletti

Christopher Cooney                   James Morton (Deceased)

Pauline Raposa

 

ARTS LOTTERY COUNCIL

Deborah Coolidge 11/09/93        Denise Donatelli      2/18/94

Beth Easterly        6/30/94         Susan Branco           1/21/94

Nancy Rodriques  2/22/95         Marie Woollam        6/30/95

Betsy Borba-Szel  6/30/94         Mary Ellen Guptill   2/03/94

Elaine Stevens       2/03/94         Natalie Bowen         6/30/96

Geraldine Millham 6/30/95

 

BEACH COMMITTEE

James A. Burns         Precinct A                      6/30/96

Carol Lague              Precinct B                      6/30/95

Damase Giguere       Precinct C                      6/30/93 (Resigned)

Lisa Grillo                 Precinct C                      6/30/96

Arthur G. Caesar      Precinct D                      6/30/94

Eleanor Jerome         Precinct E                      6/30/94 (Resigned)

Pauline Larsen          Precinct E                      6/30/94

 

BOARD OF APPEALS

5 Year Terms – Regulars                        2 Year Terms – Alternates

Joseph L. Keith III, Clerk     6/30/95     Eliot C. Holden 630/94

Clayton Harrison                   6/30/94     John Preston    6/30/94

Raymond Medeiros, Vice Chmn.          6/30/98

James M. Morton, III, Chmn.                6/30/97 (Deceased)

Gerald Coutinho                    6/30/97

Kendal Tripp                         6/30/96

 

 BOARD OF SURVEY

David Bernier (by Inspector of Buildings)

Fire Chief William D. Tripp 6/30/94

Fred Hanack 6/30/94

 

BUZZARDS BAY ACTION COMMITTEE

Gary Sherman 6/30/94

John Ciccotelli 6/30/94 (Alternate)

 

CABLE ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Thomas Perkins      Paul Izyk

Robert Rayno      Edwin Horky

Paul Bernier   George T. Leach, Jr.

Edward A. Martins

 

CONSTABLES

Jacqueline Forand 6/30/94         Thomas Peters 6/30/94

Joseph Migliori 6/30/94

 

COUNCIL ON AGING

Harriet A. Barker  6/30/93(Resigned) Margo Boote      6/30/94

Cynthia Reynolds 6/30/96                  Joanne R. Devlin 6/30/94

David D. Wicks    6/30/95 (Deceased)                    Beatrice Potter   (Honorary)

William E. Greeley                              6/30/95        Dorothy Tongue  6/30/95

Clifton Greenwood 6/30/94 (Resigned)                 Lois E. Spirlet       6/30/96

Paul B. Thomas     6/30/96 (Resigned)

 

EARLE & HEAD SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Veronica Beaulieu                      George Costa

Frank X. Harding, Jr.                 Norma K. Judson

John Marnik                               Barbara Porter

 

WESTPORT REPRESENTATIVE TO

THE GREATER FALL RIVER

EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES COORDINATING

COMMITTEE, INC. REGION 7

Arthur Briggs        6/30/94

 

LOCAL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE

Paul Pereira                                Michael C. McCarthy

Richard Earle                             William D. Tripp

Thomas Porter                            Charles A. Pierce

Stephen Pettey

 

FAIR HOUSING/HOUSING PARTNERSHIP COMMITTEE

Michael Alexander                     Sara Lou Motta

Douglas Baer                             John Montano

Thomas Perkins                          Anthony Melli

William Greeley                         James Morton, III (Deceased)

Ruth Heath                                Katherine Preston

John Jennings                             Shirley Lakin

Helene Korolenko

 

(3) FENCE VIEWERS (3 YRS)

Paige Gibbs           6/30/95

Armand Goyette   6/30/95

Frank Napert III   6/30/95

 

 

G.W.E.N. MONITORING & REPORTING COMMITTEE

Christine Ash                             David Dionne

Anne Barnes                              Francois Napert

Judy Beaven                              Elizabeth Roulon

Timothy Bornstein, Alternate    Rennard Waldron

Robert Chandanais, Alternate

 

HARBOR ADVISORY COMMITTEE

John Azevedo                            Jack Reynolds

John Doherty                             Robert Reynolds

Harold F. Tripp, Jr.

 

HISTORICAL COMMISSION (3 YRS.)

Regular                                             Alternates

Geraldine Millham         6/30/95      Virginia Edgecomb 6/30/96

Barbara Koenitzer          6/30/94      Christopher Wise 6/30/95

Katherine Preston          6/30/96      Eleanor Jerome   6/30/95

Jacqueline Hill                6/30/96      Suzanne Lentini 6/30/96

Lincoln Tripp                 6/30/95      Charles Nelson, Jr. 6/30/944

William Underwood, Jr. 6/30/94      Barbara Porter    6/30/94

Richard Wertz                6/30/96

Katherine R. Keith (Honorary)

Eleanor S. Tripp (Honorary)

 

LOCAL PARTNERSHIP COMMITTEE

Daniel George                            Albert E. Lees, Jr.

Chris Lafrance, Jr.                      Patricia Siemenski

James W. Coyne, Jr.                   Carlos Costa

Robert Russell                            Robert Wicks

Gerald Coutinho                        Michael Rodrigues

Wayne Turner                            James long

Steven Tripp                               Chris Cooney

Robert Reed

 

PARK STUDY COMMITTEE

Joanne Cadieux                          Norma K. Judson

Daniel T. George                        Geraldine Millham

Ben Guy                                     Paul Pereira

 

PERSONNEL BOARD (3 YRS)

Ann Chandanais            6/30/94   Marjorie Holden    6/30/96

Selena Howard              6/30/96   James W. Coyne, Jr. 6/30/96

Susan Read (Resigned)  6/30/96   Peter G. Fradley    6/30/96

Edgar Towne, Jr. (Resigned)        6/30/93

 

POLICE DEPARTMENT

Chief of Police:                 Charles A. Pierce

Lieutenant:                        William C. White

Lieutenant:                        Joseph E. Carvalho

 

SERGEANTS

Pauline Q. Field                         John Gifford

Paul E. Holden                           Stephen D. Kovar, Jr.

 

REGULAR POLICE OFFICERS

John J. Bell                                 Michael D. O’Connor

Douglas Britland                        Michael S. Perry

John P. Couto                            Thomas Plourde

Reginald Deschenes                   Richard Rodrigues

Gary M. Foley                            Marshall Ronco, Detective

Donald J. Frederick                   Michael R. Roussel, Detective

Mario Lewis, Chief of Detectives                         Keith Pelletier

Jeffrey Majewski                       David Simcoe

David Morrissette

Stephen D. Kovar, Jr. (Range & Firearms Officer)

Donald J. Frederick (Assistant Range & Firearms Officer)

 

STAFF

Nancy Braga – Secretary/Dispatcher

 

RESERVE POLICE OFFICERS

Raymond Araujo                       Francois A. Napert III

David Arruda                             Keith J. Novo

Gregory Bell                              Douglas Orr

Darrin M. Blais                          Steven Ouellette

Gary L. Cambra                         Fernando Pontes

Craig Carvalho                           Mark C. Rosinha

Svea Kirsten Carlson                 Michael Silvia

Antonio Cestodio                      Brian Souza

Mario DaCunha                         Daniel R. Sullivan

Kenneth Furtado                        Stephen Teixeira

Robert J.. Goulet                        Andrew P. Wheaton

Raymond Benoit (Special F.R. Rod & Gun Club)

 

PUBLIC WEIGHER (1 YR TERM)

Raymond Giasson          at 548 State Road                6/30/94

Herman Gitlin                 at 548 State Road                6/30/94

Louis Gitlin                    at 548 State Road                6/30/94

Mark Gitlin                     at 548 State Road                6/30/94

Jeffrey Clarke           at 536 Old County Road          6/30/94

Jason Dessert            at 536 Old County Road          6/30/94

 

RECREATION COMMISSION (3 YR TERM)

Paula L. Smith      6/30/94         Steven Pimental       6/30/94

Steven Ouellette   6/30/96         Diane Colletti           6/30/95

George Michaels   6/30/95         Stephen Teixeira      6/30/96

Joanne Teixeira     6/30/96

 

REGISTRARS OF VOTERS (3 YR TERM)

Democrats                                  Republican

Marlene Samson     4/1/96          Jean Louis Clapin      4/1/95

Robert St. Amour  4/1/94          Geraldine Craveiro    4/1/96

 

RIVER DREDGING COMMITTEE

Thomas Perkins                          Claude Ledoux

Richard Earle                             James Robeson

Richard Hart                              Gary Sherman

Russell T. Hart                           Alexander Smith

 

ROUTE 88 TASK FORCE

Gerald Coutinho                        Edward Lambert (at large)

Robert Daigle (at-large)             Francois A. Napert

Linda Pacheco                           Paul Pereira

Romeo A. Fortin                        Robert E. Reynolds

William J. Shea                          Mike Roussel

 

 

SAFETY REGULATION BOARD

(Art. 30 – Section 1, 1978)

Romeo Fortin, Selectmen’s Representative    6/30/93

Paul Pereira, Highway Supervisor

Paige Gibbs, Fence Viewer

 

SENIOR CENTER SITE SELECTION COMMITTEE

Voting Members                     Non-Voting Members

Lucille Chase                          Jacqueline B. Hill – Consultant

Gerald Coutinho                     George Koenitzer – Advisor

William Greeley (Resigned)    Marilyn Whalley- Selectmen’s Liaison

Irene Pacheco                          Theodore J. Moore – Advisor

Jay Ritter                                 Donald Bernier – Advisor

Lori Robertson                        Daniel. George – Advisor

Dorothy P. Tongue

Ernest W. Brosseau

Olivia P. Maynard

Paul Thomas

Calvin Hopkinson

 

SHELLFISH WARDEN/WHARFINGER (3 YR TERM)

Gary Sherman    6/30/95

 

DEPUTY SHELLFISH WARDEN (3 YR TERM)

Edmie P. Bibeau   6/30/96         Robert W. Pierce      6/30/96

John Doherty        6/30/96         Walter D. Quinn      6/30/94

Edward T. Earle    6/30/96         Mike Andrade          6/30/96

Kelly Hicks           6/30/94         Daniel P. Sullivan    6/30/96

Daniel Ledoux      6/30/94

 

SHELLFISH ADVISORY COMMISSION (1 YR TERM)

Kenneth Manchester 6/30/94      Edward A. Martins  6/30/94

John Owen            6/30/94         Alexander Smith      6/30/94

Kendal B. Turner  6/30/94

 

SOIL CONSERVATION BOARD & CONSERVATION COMMISSION (3 YR TERM)

Donald Bernier     6/30/94         Robert J. Caron        6/30/95

Wendy Henderson 6/30/95         Richard Lambert      6/30/94

Claude Ledoux     6/30/94         Charles Goldberg     6/30/96

Helene Korolenko 6/30/96         Christopher Capone, Agent

 

SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL COMMITTEE

David Cabral, Chmn.                 Board of Health Rep.

Todd Cormier                            At-Large Member

David Dionne, Vice Chairman  Selectmen’s Rep.

Timothy Gillespie                       Planning Board Rep.

Charles Goldberg                       Alternate Member

Anne Gouveia (Resigned 5/20/93)                     At-Large Member

Richard Lambert                        Conservation Committee Rep.

Gregory Barnes (Resigned)       Alternate Member

Anne Barnes                              Alternate Member

Paul Pereira                                Highway Supervisor

Veronica Beaulieu                      Finance Committee Rep.

Rhoda Sheehan                          Alternate Member

 

SPREDD & SRTA

Donald Bernier                          David Cabral

John Ciccotelli                           John Colletti

David Dionne                            Robert Edgcomb

Romeo A. Fortin                        George Koenitzer

Richard Mandile                        Francois Napert

Thomas Perkins                          Paul Pereira

Walter Quinn                             Jack Reynolds

Ann Silvia                                  Gary Sherman

Dale Thomas                              James Walsh

Dennis Luttrell

 

TOWN BEACH LIFEGUARDS

Summer 1993

Gustin N. Cariglia                      Head Lifeguard

Timothy J. McDonough             Full-Time Lifeguard

Debbie Reis                                Full-Time Lifeguard

Paul Boudria                              Full-Time Lifeguard

Christopher Condon                  Part-Time Lifeguard

 

TOWN BUILDING COMMITTEE

Roger Olivier                             William J. Underwood, Jr.

Richard Vohnoutka, Chairman  William Gifford, Alternate

 

TOWN COUNSEL SEARCH COMMITTEE

Michael Alexander                     John Penney

Calvin Hopkinson                      Sandra Levesque

Erica Bronstein (Resigned)

 

WATER ADVISORY COMMITTEE

David P. Duval                          Normand Michaud

Robert R. Labonte                     William J. Underwood, Jr.

John F. MacDonald                   James Mazzarella

 

WESTPORT CITIZENS RETIREMENT COMMITTEE

Shirley Desrosiers  6/30/2000    Charlene R. Wood   6/30/94

Walter Craveiro        6/30/94      Cynthia Rodrigues   6/30/94

Hilda Martel (Resigned)                                         Lena Napert        6/30/94

 

BONDS

Town Treasurer                          $150,000.00

Tax Collector                             $120,000.00

Town Clerk                                $15,000.00

 

                                                  

TRAILER PERMITS

Issued 93 ($24.00)

 

SECTION NO. 5

 

ABBREVIATED CHRONOLOGICAL REVIEW OF EVENTS WHICH HAVE SHAPED THE TOWN’S EVOLUTION AND THE LIFE OF ITS CITIZENS DURING THE 1900’S.  (More Specific Information Is Included In The Reviews Of The Government Structure).

( Additional information is included in the SECTION No.5 P. 77 addendum to this section).

 

1900 – Fishing and lobstering was carried on by a fleet of catboats at the Point.  Steam was replacing water power in the mills.  Most Westporters were supported by agriculture.  Portuguese newcomers from the Azores were coming to Westport.  The automobile was starting to bring more visitors from outside.  The town had 4 cemeteries and 6 private burial plots.  Thirty-eight jurors were picked by the Selectmen.  All of Yankee descent.  The town report was referred to as “Report of the Board of Auditors and Overseers of the Poor”.  The town continued its long tradition of caring for the poor and incapacitated.  An almshouse was maintained at the poor farm for those in need of shelter.  The population of 2678 persons was housed in 795 dwellings, 700 people voted, 792 residents paid taxes and 402 non-resident were taxpayers.

 

1903 – Board of Selectmen approve a grant to allow a railroad to Horseneck.  The By-Laws committee spend $170.00 developing a by-laws booklet.  (Should be interesting reading.)

 

1904 – 1909, Westport Point, Central Village, Head of Westport were linked to Trolley Stop at Lincoln Park by the mail carrier car.

 

1907 – The Board of Selectmen set automobile speed limits of 8 MPH in the villages and 15 MPH in other places.  They also granted a franchise to the Dartmouth and Westport Street Railway to construct tracks from Dartmouth to Fall River which required widening of the Narrows.  They also issued permits to install telephone poles and lines.

1909 – The Board of Health published guidelines for treatment of tuberculosis.  The School Department highlighted the problem of lack of school transportation.  Alice A. Macomber is a starting teacher, 1 of 21.  The town has 13 separate schools.

 

1910 – The Board of Health’s goal is to eliminate pigs, manure and swill from Horseneck Beach.  New drinking fountains and separate cups now being used in the schools.  Sixteen years of age mandated for schooling except in proof of employment.  Seventy-three out of four hundred and forty-nine students were found to have eye and ear defects.

 

1911 – The School curriculum consists of reading, writing, history, spelling, geography, physiology, arithmetic, practical arts, agriculture, music and drawing  The School Committee meets in the afternoon of the last Saturday of the month.  The school year is 180 days.  The Board of Health is carrying out its goal of 1910.

 

1912 – Westport suffered a severe small pox epidemic and had to build an isolation hospital.  The Board of Health is continuing the Horseneck Beach clean-up.  One pair of horses, man and cart was paid $4.00 per day for labor.  $2500.00 was voted for repairs of the road leading to Gooseberry Bar.  Mildred Borden who celebrated her 100th birthday in 1994 is mentioned in the High School Honor Roll.  Factory School was a new building.  It was an unusually dry year.  The wells in one part of town were contaminated with sewage.

 

1914 – Overcrowding in the schools is a problem.  One class had 48 students.  School report is very interesting.  Elmer B. Manchester is mentioned as an Honor Roll Student of the High School.  Special part time police were reinforcing the Constables.  Christopher Borden (Mildred’s father), a long time town servant was one of the special officers.

 

1915 – Many problems with the school system, fantastic school report.  Westport now has 110 miles of road.

 

1916 – High School was a two year process, many did not return for the second year.  Anemia was prevalent in the system.  88 out of 542 students were anemic.  Eight students had heart murmurs.  Everyone had decayed teeth.  There were 243 tonsil infections.  Dr. Burt did not believe in vaccinations and this practice was discontinued.  A baseball program was started in the school system.  This later resulted in fine athletes from Westport such as William “Bill” Pierce who played professional ball as did his brother Jim.

 

1917 – 1918 – Eighty seven  Westporters served in World War I, 4 died.

 

1919 – There were one hundred ninety nine reported influenza cases.  Mrs. Thomas B. Tripp donated the town landing at the let now known as Emma Tripp landing.  One thousand dollars were appropriated for a soldiers welcome.  Three hundred were named to the roll of honor.  High school curriculum is now three years.  Many problems with school system.  State law now requires that transportation be provided for students living over 1½ miles from school.  There are 11 schoolhouses.  Average teacher salary is $981.00.  The James Morris Post 145 of the American Legion was chartered.

 

1922 – New state law requires licensing for garbage transport.  High school is now a four year course.  The years 1920 to 1933 were prohibition years and the harbor and rivers were used to smuggle liquor which was then transferred to barns and later transported out of town.  More tourism and summer residents came during the twenties and thirties.

 

1923 – Unusually cold year schools needed heat until the end of June.

 

1924 – Special school established for slow learners “Retarded in Mental Development”.  Team sports are organized at the High School.  School physician recommends vaccination. Thenew school nurse is taking charge of the many physical ailments of the children.  The tax records indicate a total of 2237 taxpayers, 145 of Portuguese descent (6% of the population), 137 French (6% of the population), 27 Polish descent (1% of the population), 11 Jewish, 3 Lebanese or Syrian.  There were 33 Gifford and 44 Tripp families.  Highest taxes paid by a resident was Edwin Borden, $1683.  The town’s tax bill was $2089.  Summer resident Earle P. Charlton  paid $6169.  While the Westport Manufacturing Co. paid $10,041.00 .  This year also saw the building of a causeway road access to Gooseberry Island.

 

1926 – Town police Chief and a sergeant were hired.  Five special police and four constables comprised the department.

 

1927 – The Call Fire Department was founded.  Town meeting authorized election of constables.

 

1928 – Town meeting procedures used are Cushing’s manual of parliamentary practice.  Position of moderator was instituted and authorized to appoint 5 voters to a Finance Committee, not town officers, the committee is empowered to appoint up to 4 additional members.  Finance committee was instructed to recommend on financial articles.  Treasurer Charles H. Gifford was removed from office due to irregularities with the town’s finances.  Over $43,000 were found to be missing some having been deposited in M. Gifford’s bank account.  The Fire Department organized March 14, 1928 and gave its first report.  Cistern construction is recommended for water supply.  The old Ledoux house on the corner of Gifford Road and Mouse Mill road still has the cistern built in that era and now long out of use.  Anti-littering and loitering By-Laws passed and a new requirement to license junk dealers instituted.  Five year residency required for welfare aid.  State auditors report cites many financial discrepancies.  A copy of the clothes order form from Mrs. Nelson I. Pettey is provided as an example of the mail order business of the day.  It was found during the review of the 1928 Town Report.  In 1928 the Overseers of the Poor became the Board of Welfare.

 

1930 – With the town’s population at 4408, the number of taxpayers was 2135.  There were 43 Tripp and 30 Gifford families.  231 were Portuguese, 391 French, 26 Jewish, 3 Italian, 1 Greek, 3 Lebanese, 1 Armenian, 32 Polish.  The last trolley from Fall River to New Bedford was replaced by buses and private automobiles.

1932 – Motor vehicle excise taxes mentioned for the first time.  The 1932 Annual Reports included many new departmental reports.

 

1933 – The Civil Works Administration was initiated in Westport.  Ten projects were started under a county supervisor, 171 men were employed.  Drainage road work and River Dredging was done at a cost of $20,000.00  Seventeen boys went to CC camps for which the families received $25.00 per month, while the boys received a $5.00 per month allowance.  Salary cuts were made for all school department personnel.

 

1935 – The town started paying its part time firemen.

 

1936 – 37  Building inspector position was created.

 

1938 – The September 21 hurricane devastated the ocean frontage of the town.  Twenty two lives were lost.  Hix bridge was wrecked.  Houses on Horseneck, East Beach and the Harbor were swept into the rivers and there was widespread town damage.

 

1939 – The new (present) town hall was built with Federal Emergency Administration funds and labor.  The “old” town hall is presently serving as St. John’s Catholic church hall.  Cost was approximately $50,000.

 

1940 – State audit finds some taxes due back to 1935.  Teacher Alice S. Macomber (Macomber School) retires after 30 years.  Teacher Audrey Tripp originates school “open house” sessions.

 

1941 – 45  World War II years.  524 Westporters served and 11 died.  Gooseberry observation structures built and in 1944 Board of Health nurse Sybil L. Mercer died ending a distinguished and productive career of 17 years.  The Federal Emergency Administration funding was terminated when the war started and jobs became plentiful.  The end of the war in 1945 found Westport with a population of approximately 4500, more prosperous than ever before and little changed from its pre-war character.

 

1948 – Plans are underway for construction of New High School at “Gifford’s Corner”.

 

1949 – School system started a course in driver Training.  The late forties saw a large influx of population.  Fifty four new homes per year (average) were built from 1946 through 1949.  One family which emigrated to the United States and settled in Westport was the Ledoux family, parents and eight children with Claude being the oldest at 14.  Seven of the eight children being of school age.  The Ledoux’s were promptly visited by the School Nurse, Mrs. Lydia Mason, a gentle, dedicated person who could speak French.  She checked everyone to insure they were not carrying contagious diseases and made arrangements with the parents to have the children board the different school buses which passed by and would take them to the appropriate school.  Since none of the kids could speak English, attended French Canadian schools, the first few days caused some apprehension, especially for the younger ones.  Fortunately many kids of French descent and some teachers spoke French and this helped greatly to sort things out.  The three older ones; Claude, Jean-Guy and Hughette ended up in the 7th grade at the Factory School, Miss Anna Paoli’s room.  Her patient manner, ability to speak French, enabled an assimilation into the class work within a couple of months.  Without today’s purported need for a bilingual education.  Providing further insight into the impressions of a newcomer to Westport during that era; Westport was a wonderful place where you could feel at home in a short time, it was full of small farms, where the pays were small, the work hard and the people considerate and helpful.  Our small farm on the corner of Mouse Mill and Gifford Road was soon visited by friends from the Greenwood Park and other areas within a radius of a few miles.  An old mill pond on the farm was witness to some savage hockey games in the winter, as the “Canucks” or “Frenchies” schooled the local boys in the fine and gentle art of Hockey.  After all what’s a little blood among friends.  We readily walked miles across the woodlands to go visit each other and when time permitted roamed the woods to hunt and make rough camps.  Trapping muskrats was a way to raise money.  Jobs could always be found in adjoining farms where you were well treated and expected to give fair measure.  Some of the old boys are still around.  The Hebert boys, Joe Simmons, the Dyson boys and Richard Vohnoutka are some who come to mind, there are many others.  The Ledoux’s had a family cow, made butter, raised crops, pigs, chickens, slaughtered their own animals and cured their own meats.  There was very little money but who knew the difference, life was ordered, peaceful, busy and enjoyable, with neighbors who kept their distance but could be relied on if help was needed.  Destruction of a neighbor was never considered, arguments occurred and differences of opinion were tolerated.

 

1950 – A new high school was approved at a construction cost of $800,000.00.  Harold Wood was appointed Principal, he had served as a teacher since 1935 and was principal until 1970.  Miss Audrey Tripp was praised by the State Supervisor of Elementary Education for the high standards of grades 1-8.  The graduating class included Lincoln Tripp, a prominent and hard working member of our historical commission.

 

1950 – 1953 –  The Korean war called 65 Westporters to the armed forces, including two Ledoux’s who enlisted as they turned 17, Claude in 1952 and Jean-Guy in 1953.  What an experience to ride the train from Fall River to Parris Island South Carolina in 1952.  For a French Canadian Westport farm worker the continuity of new experiences was awesome. Enlistments were for three years.

 

1951 – End of Poll tax.  Edward L. Macomber dies. Town clerk from 1888 to 1951. New town clerk Elmer B. Manchester Jr.  Milton Earle’s last report as School Superintendent.

 

1952 – The State Department of Public Health notified our Board of Health of 25 locations where raw sewage was running into the rivers.  The state warns that if the situation is not remedied they will order the river closed to the taking of shellfish.  The Board of Health adopted a by-law which requires a Board of Health permit before a building can be issued.  This to prevent pollution of other person’s wells.

 

1954 – Hurricane Carol strikes, every beach cottage destroyed.  Town meeting warrants and notes now published in Town Annual Reports.

 

1955 – Hurricane Diane caused alarm but little damage.

 

1956-1959. Construction of route 88. Beginning promotion of long lasting Building boom that would eventually change the Town’s cohesive Farming community to widespread housing developments. See Addendum on Route 88 for more complete description.

 

1956 – Witnessed the abandonment of the infirmary which was situated at the Town Farm (Poor Farm).  It had been operating since 1928.  This year also brought the establishment of the Planning Board.  Building on West Beach prohibited by the state.  State Beach established, deprivetizing  Horseneck and Gooseberry Island.

 

1957 – The Factory School was leased to St. George’s parish.  The Town meeting authorized a Recreation Committee.  Residential districts zones were accepted.  Intensity regulations were adopted requiring one dwelling per lot of 20,000 square feet and 100 foot frontage with a maximum of 40 feet height.

 

1957 – About at this time Frame State edicts ordered three Dams on the ponds in the Headwaters of the East River to be breached. Supposedly for restoring free flow for fish to swim up the Bread and Cheese stream. Conditions that had not existed for thousands of years (White man dams had been preceded by the Beaver dams). The three ponds were: Mouse Mill on the Ledoux lands, Trout on the Siemenski lands, and the Mill on the Fall-River lands at the Head of Westport. See Addendum on Ponds Destruction, BOH Section 13 E, for more complete description.

 

1958 – Milton E. Earle submitted his final report as School Superintendent.  His first report was in 1931.  This was his second term as Superintendent.  His first ended in 1951.  The Town Meeting accepted the Hixbridge dump site, which is the present landfill.  Previous location was on the north side of Briggs Road.  Route 88 was built along with the new Fontaine Bridge.  The old wooden bridge use was abandoned after being in operation since 1893.

 

1959 – Restoration of the Head dam was considered for a town water supply but the Lincoln Park sewage treatment outfall spoiled this plan.  A trailer by-law was adopted.  There were 41 candidates for Fish Commissioners.

 

1960 – The State continued to exercise more control over the Welfare Board.  The Planning Board received many planning research studies.  The meeting voted to prohibit trailer parks.  Three year tenure was voted for Fireman, Policemen, and Highway workers subject to future ballot note.

 

1961 – There were 14 fishing vessels over 40 feet in length.  2000 small lots were grandfathered as of the 1956 intensity regulation changes, some lots as small as 1200 square feet.

 

1962 – School report is worth reading.  Philosophy of education is outlined in great detail, a worthwhile comparison to the present theories and procedures.. Ledoux family bought the land that we would build on later.

 

1963 – Zoning revisions were adopted at the Town Meeting.  Many planning studies dealing with Town sewage and water.  Several contaminated wells point to the need for a water supply.  Trailer regulations were updated.  Funds were voted for Wattuppa Pond Algae Control.  Chapter 40 section 86 of Massachusetts General Laws was adopted creating a conservation commission, primarily to control tidal marshes.  A town representative to the Diman Regional School was approved.  Diman was recently instituted as a Regional School.  Audrey L. Tripp, Principal of the Earle School is quoted “Improvement in Education is concerted investment in the individual – not in proliferation of programs and projects”.

 

1964 – A full time Fire Chief was approved along with instituting a full time Fire Department.  The Chief position was that of a “Strong Chief”, which removes the department from the jurisdiction of the Selectmen.  Selectmen appoint the Fire Chief for three years (tenure), the Chief decides all of the workings of the Department.  1964 also brought Interstate 195 across the Town’s North end.

 

1961 – 1972 – Vietnam War Years – 391 Westporters served, 105 in combat and two were killed; one casualty was Andre Latessa for whom Latessa square was named.  It is located off Tickle Road.  The other casualty was Normand Fontaine for whom the Route 88 Fontaine Bridge was named.

1965 – Water Study committee report is submitted to the Selectmen.  Cemetery reports no longer list all the lots.  The school report mentions schools are veering to impersonal solutions, mass groupings, standard curriculums, text, etc. squeezing individuals into common molds. Ledoux family built our home at 660 Horseneck.

 

1966 – Go-Go girls establishments giving the Selectmen headaches, 61 candidates ran for Planning Board.  The Personnel Board was established.  Audrey Tripp refers to sporadic faddishness in education.  Milton E. Earle dies September 9.  Scallop crop was 38,500 bushels.

 

1967 – Finance committee is listed in the Town Report for the first time.  No scallops were harvested.  The State assumed responsibility for administering welfare, eliminating the need for the Welfare Board which was derived from the Overseers of the Poor in 1928.  A committee was authorized to study elderly housing needs.  The Head School was transferred to the Library Trustees.  Article 18 prohibits introduction, transplanting, or planting of shellfish without permission from the Selectmen.  The Board of Appeals was established.  New requirements of 100 feet frontage for a dwelling unit and no duplex on less than 20,00 square feet were enacted.  John Smith retired as moderator after 37 years.

 

1968 – Most town departments were now unionized.  The Police Department is still receiving and transferring all Town Hall calls.  New zoning requires 20,000 square feet and 50 feet of frontage as additional requirements for a duplex.  Audrey Tripp “Education, like the whole of modern society is on a downward spiral”.

 

1969 – Town meeting recognized Roger Acheson’s 25 years of dedicated town service to the School Committee, Regional School Committee and other volunteer efforts. Claude Ledoux elected to Planning Board.

 

1970 – The building lot size was increased from 20,000 to 40,000 square feet.  The River improvement commission was created, forerunner of the present Shellfish Advisory Committee.  Fire Department moved into the new Briggs road Station.  Westport population had increased 47% in 10 years to a level of 9791.  Antone Vieira’s 25 years as Slaughter Inspector were ended with the State takeover of that function.  River testing reports general pollution of moderate proportions with some heavy localized outflows.  The school system now has 2026 students.  Elizabeth Gifford, a teacher of 41 years referred to as “a gentle lady” passed away.

 

1971 – Retirement of Lynwood F. Potter a Fire Chief.  He joined the Department in 1928 at the age of 16.  Dump now being operated as landfill, no more odorous fires.  The Planning Board determines there are approximately 1750 lots grandfathered at 20,000 square feet.  The Conservation Commission is practicing Dune Conservation and promoting recycling.

1972 – Claude Ledoux elected Selectman

 

1973 – Municipal officers are indemnified.  The Point is accepted as a historical district.  A new police station was authorized.  Building lot sizes of 60,000 square feet were enacted along with many other zoning changes, the result of a Master Plan with a zoning sub-committee chaired the author.  Twenty-one out of twenty-nine zoning recommendations were accepted.  Major changes in educational techniques are being enacted.  Many were later reversed.  Elderly housing “Greenwood Terrace” on Route 6 was occupied.  This was a major benefit to the town’s elderly and largely the result of actions taken by Selectman Alford Dyson.

 

1975 -New Police Station approved.  Commissioners of Trust Funds were established as an elected office.  Funding of $3,816,000 was voted for new elementary school.  Flood Plain districts were accepted.  The

Conservation Commission received soil survey maps from the Soil Conservation Service.  A Septage lagoon was proposed by the Board of Health in proximity to the East Branch of the River north of Hixbridge.  This created a major controversy, the result of which was the formation of the River Defense Fund, later to become the Westport Rivers Watershed Alliance. Claude Ledoux looses selectman election.

 

1976 – One hundred percent market value taxation became a State mandate.  Extensive dog control by-law was enacted.  The Board of Selectmen appointed a full-time Administrative Assistant for the first time.

 

1977 – There are 29 CETA employees.  This was a Federal program to create jobs, quite unsuccessful, the program provided $343,000 funding.  Another banner scallop year, 34,000 bushels.  Town report contains beautiful map of Town Landings drawn by Herbert Hadfield a renowned Westport artist.  Herb is fondly remembered by many including this author.  Miss Ruth M. Collins retires as School Department clerk after 49 years of dedicated service.

 

1978 – Licensing requirements enacted for vehicle repairs facilities.  Recreation committee abolished, creation of Youth Activities Board.  Greenwood Park School sale was approved.

 

1979 – The 2½ tax cap was instituted.  Jessica A. Pierce was recognized for 41 years as Assistant Assessor starting in 1939.  Dr. Wilson E. Hughes for 31 years  as School Physician, Joseph Arruda Jr. for 25 years on the Police Force retiring as Chief.

 

1980 – State authorities find Town Accountant records a mess.  Many other accounting procedures need to be improved.  The Tree Warden position now will be filled by the Highway Department.  A Beach Committee is created.  Police and Fire Officers now required to be residents.  In 1980, the town had 4688 dwellings, 80% owner occupied.

 

1981 – Town Beach fees instituted.  Solid waste recycling center operating well.

 

1982 – Recognition of Martha Kirby for 24 years of service on the School Committee.

 

1984 – Memoriams for Christopher “Kit” Borden Jr. for his many years as Tree Warden and Math Superintendent, a man remembered by Claude Ledoux as a friend of patient and wise counsel.  Norman Forand for his services as Constable.  Reserve Police Officer and Welfare Board Member.  George Hart, Russell Hart’s father, the town’s first Shellfish Warden also Landing and Fish Commissioner.  William Holden, Marjorie Holden’s late husband, for his service on the Planning Board.  Norman Kirby who served as Selectman and Animal Inspector.  Opening of “The Let” was approved as was reconstruction of the Head Dam.

 

1984-1985 – Completion of the GHR Engineering report on Bacterial contamination of the Westport Rivers.

 

1985 – The 2½ levy limit was reached for the first time.  The costs of retirement pensions and liability insurance are spiraling.  Public water supply for Route 6 from White’s to Sanford Road was initiated.  This was made possible by White’s Family Restaurant who paid most of the cost of the installation across the Narrows to tap into the Fall River water supply.  The Pollution Advisory Committee was authorized.  Overwhelming scallop crop 59,000 bushels.

1986 – Memoriams:  Dorothy W. Smith a teacher of 35 years, library trustee 40 years and librarian for 8 years.  Joseph Almeida Machado a School Custodian of 30 years.  Arthur Denault who dedicated 34 years to the Landing Commission.  Article 51, mandated a 100 foot set back from wetlands for sewage disposal systems.  Many school improvement programs reported.  Margot Desjardins was named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. 607 boats are registered in Westport

 

1966 – Completion of the Boston University study on Causes, types and Locations of pollutant contaminants in the Westport Rivers

 

1986.- This year marked the beginning of PUBLIC access TV service in Westport. The public access is funded by fees added to subscribers. This service was operated from studio facilities, beginning at a private property and moved to a space in the Town’s former Earle School. Until 2016 when this service administration was taken over by the School Department, ending “PUBLIC” access

 

1987 – Automatic voting machines used for the first time.  Cable TV is serving 3100 customers.  $40,000 appropriated for a Land Use Study.  This was the Town’s Bicentennial year.  There were many celebrations and a superb ball extravaganza held at White’s of Westport.

 

1988 – Memoriam to Alford Dyson for 33 years of service as Selectman, School Committee and Housing Authority Member.  “Al” Dyson was the prime mover for the Route 6 Elderly Housing project “Greenwood Terrace”, a major and much needed asset.  The harbormaster reports 619 moorings.

 

1989 – Fair Housing Committee was originated.  The Selectmen make 378 appointments.  This equates to approximately 4.5% of the votes, add town employees to this and the conclusion is that the town’s government structure is extremely overloaded.  The Town Meeting voted to maintain two ambulances full time.  Norman Sasseville retired from the Conservation Commission after 25 years.

 

1990 -.  The Army Corps of Engineers completes a Harbor Dredging Study.  Budget problems.  Two debt exclusions are voted. Memorials for Manuel V. Amaral, Animal Inspector from 1951 – 1978.  Isabelle Sanberg, teacher from 1943 – 1971.  Russell Shaw Finance Committee 1965 – 1974 and Town Accountant 1974 – 1980

 

1991 – Westport is called the “Coastal Agricultural Resource Community of New England”.  Hurricane “Bob” visits Westport with devastating results but without major damage, injuries or lives lost.  $7500 was voted for Handicapped transportation.  A noise by-law was adopted and the dog by-law revised.  The first Harvest Festival and parade is a success.

 

1992 – The dismissal of Town Counsel, Carlton Lees, by Selectmen Thomas Perkins and David Dionne caused the greatest division of the century in town affairs.  This action had devastating effects on the conduct of town business, finances and civility of its citizens.  Old timers who remember back to the beginnings of the century and all available historical works confirm this to be the most grievous rift in the town’s population.  Since this is recent history and there is much information readily available we leave you to draw your own conclusions.  One caution, in the opinion of this writer, the Fall River Herald and New Bedford Standard exhibited much bias and one sided reporting in this case.  If all the facts are desired you must look beyond those publications.  The final outcome was the reinstatement of Mr. Lees with back pay.  Ordered by the Bristol County Retirement Board.  The decision was upheld by three separate judges after it was appealed.  This dismissal’s final cost to the town and the town’s insurer was approximately $110,000.  This includes the litigation, special town meetings which were prompted by the dismissal action and the final reimbursement of Mr. Lee’s back pay and pension reinstatement.  Fiscal problems continue to plague the town.  Quarterly tax billings was approved.  Revolving funds were initiated for the Nursing, Council on Aging, and Recreation Departments.  Mildred Borden was recognized as the town’s oldest citizen and was presented with the Gold Cane, a long tradition.  She was born November 14, 1894.  September saw the biggest town meeting in the town’s history to vote on instituting a Recall Procedure for town officials.  This was prompted by the action of Selectmen to fire Town Counsel Carlton Lees on July 27, 1992.  1562 voters attended and the recall petition was narrowly defeated in a secret ballot vote 757 no to 744 yes.

 

1993 – The state mandates changes in school funding operations.  The 1993 Education Reform Act takes all financial control of the School Budget our of town jurisdiction.  The School Budget is now determined by the use of a complicated formula and the final budget amount is dictated by the State Department of Education.  The School Committee’s powers are also greatly curtailed.  The committee appoints the Superintendent of Schools who decides hiring and firing of School principals.  The principals decide personnel matters for their separate schools.  The teaching directions are defined by the Superintendent.  Principals are held accountable for achieving the objectives of the Superintendent.  This is a complicated state mandate, still in process of being defined.  Anyone who desires to become intimately familiar with the ramifications of this subject should be prepared to spend countless hours researching a variety of documents.

The Selectmen made 357 appointments approximately 4% of the towns voters are involved in town government.  A far cry from 1900 government.  Five 2½ tax override ballot questions are rejected.  A town meeting article to have Selectmen Perkins and Dionne pay their legal fees personally was defeated.  Many articles dealing with changes in the Board of Selectmen were also defeated.  The position of full time recycling monitor was created.  A Room Tax was approved.  20% of the town population is over 60 years old.  The James Morris post, American Legion celebrated its 75th anniversary on July 31, 1994, along with its ladies auxiliary.

 

1994 – March 7, 1994 was the last turkey dinner held by the Watuppa Grange No. 365.  This dinner had been a tradition since 1941 and was used as an opportunity to meet candidates for town elections.  The town’s budgetary problems have reached critical proportions.

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 6

Building Inspector, growth of Dwelling Units and Population During the Century

 

There was no Building Inspector in 1900.  The position would come much later.  The accompanying table is useful for determining population growth.  A strong summer influx was evident in 1900, there were 222 non-resident dwellings and 573 resident dwellings; 28% of the homes were for summer residents.  This trend continues at present although in reduced percentage.  In 1936-37 the Building Inspector position was created.  Henry Hanson Jr. was appointed.  Henry was Jean Hart’s father, Russell Hart’s father in law.  The town’s population swelled appreciably during the 60’s.  Much of that growth was on 10,000 square foot lots.  The explosion of the 70’s was mostly working class families mostly on 20,000 square foot lots.  The adoption of large lot (60,000 square feet) sizes during the early 70’s increased the cost of home building.  The result was that only middle or higher income families were able to afford new homes in Westport during the 80’s and 90’s.  Another result of the higher cost of homes is a slow down in the yearly number of new housing units.  This trend would easily be reversed by changes in zoning which could lower housing costs, thereby increasing the number of housing starts.  Considering that a new home’s valuation has to be approximately $600,000.  To cover the cost of one school child, it is obvious that lower cost ($125,000) housing units would contribute greatly to the town’s present financial deficit.  The formula for determining the impact of costs versus evaluation is simple.  The approximate education cost per child of $5500 in 1995, a tax rate of $8.61 per thousand (FY94).

5500 ¸ 8.61 = 638 or valuation of $638,000.

Needless to mention that the costs of other services further complicate the economic deficit of each housing unit.

 

Since only 63% of the total town budget  is earmarked for the schools, the figure must be reduced accordingly to $402,000 valuation.  This will be covered in more depth in the Financial Section.

 

Year     Population   Total #.       New*       Building Inspector

Dwellings   homes &

apartments

1900         2678           795

1910         3288           879             84

1919         3150          1086           207

1926         4032          1440           354

1940         4134          1497            24          J. Henry Hanson, Jr.

1950         4989          2188            59          J. Henry Hanson, Jr.

1960         7185          2196            31          John Barboza

1966                                               10

1967                                               88

1968                                               68

1969                                               98

1970         9313          3350           194         Charles Fitton

1971                                              289

1972                                              253

1973                                              125

1974                                               84

1975                                               48

1976                                               67

1977                                               58

1980        13604         4543            54          Vernon Whitehead

1990        13241         4832            50          Vernon Whitehead

1991                                               55

1992                                               46

1993        13485         5119            44          Clarence Cole

1994                                                             Robert Maltais

* Does not include summer homes

 

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 7

Nationality Representations During the 1900’s

 

Tracking of the nationalities was done by comparing birth statistics.  The major national representations (beginning with an almost exclusive Yankee make-up) have been of Portuguese and French Canadian extractions.  Other nationalities of note have been Polish, Italian, Jewish but their numbers have not been significant.  Therefore the listings are for the three major groups; Yankee, Portuguese and French Canadian.  The ethnic groups assimilated readily within the Yankee culture, consideration for neighbors was an unspoken and assumed quality.  Ethnic groups readily mixed through marriage.  A trend which has continued steadily.  Presently, ethnic roots are evident by observation of family names but the languages and customs have largely been lost.  The result is a population which essentially speaks one language and has lost much of its ethnic customs.  Gone are the days when we were proud of the recognition of our individuality when friends referred to each other as Canuck, Polack, or Portagee.  All were considered terms of endearment.

Homogeneity

In 1900 almost all of Westport properties were owned by Yankees.  The French and Portuguese populations made up about 20% of the town’s population, roughly 10% each and they were likely to be factory or farm workers or fishermen.  In 1910 the proportions were approximately 15% for each faction.  In the year 1930 the French accounted for 18% of the births while the Portuguese produced 29%.  In 1950 each accounted for approximately 22% and mixed marriages between the three main groups were prevalent, a trend which continues to the present.  1980 witnessed a peaking for the French at 41% and the Portuguese at 61%.  1990 reflected a decrease in both, the French 17%, Portuguese 30%, the remainder shows an influx of many other national heritages and a paucity of mixed marriages which leads to the conclusion of an homogeneous population.  Noticeable exceptions to the make-up of Westports population are the very small percentages of Asians, Blacks and Hispanics. Westport population is primarily made up of white working class and middle class with an appreciable number of wealthy citizens.

 

Yr                  Births                 French                Portuguese

1903                 53                    6, 11%                    5, 9%

1904                 79                       13,                          5,

1908                 61                        6,                           6,

1910                 75                   13, 17%                 10, 13%

1915                 57                       14                           9

1919                 66                       16                          12

1921                 92                   23, 25%                 14, 15%

1924                106                      16                          27

1926                 78                       13                          25

1931                 84                   15, 18%                 24, 29%

1940                 52                   10, 19%                  7, 13%

1945                 57                   12, 21%                 12, 21%

1950                115                  29, 25%                 22, 19%

1960                120                  28, 23%                 36, 30%

1970                203                  40, 20%                 41, 20%

1980                108                  44, 41%                 66, 61%

1990                108                  18, 17%                 32, 30%

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 8

Farming Activities During the Century

 

See Addendum for more information on the demise of Farming in years following 1995.

A demise triggered by the late 1050’s Route 88 construction.

 

There were over 400 farms in Westport at the turn of the Century.  They were mostly family operations and were continuations of farming activities which had been evolving since the late 1600’s.  The Westport of 1900 contained much less woodland than the present Westport.  Farming activities had stripped most of the farmable land of trees.  Treed areas were primarily restricted to wetlands which could not be farmed successfully with the equipment available in that era.  A review of stone wall sitings substantiates that conclusion.  Line walls or boundary walls do not deviate from the straight lines.  Whereas internal walls skirt the edge of wetlands and meander accordingly.  When wetlands were encountered the walls followed their shape.  A rough estimate is that the present remainder of Westport’s open space is half wetlands.  This geologic make-up helped to insure extensive wooded areas which were used as woodlots.  Land clearing by settlers was a continuation of the yearly burnings performed by Native Americans who recognized the value of open lands for crops and game.  The burnings did not affect the wet wooded areas.  A review of the attached table highlights farming trends through the years.

 

The shift from horses to tractors is apparent.  Tractors permitted larger farms to be cultivated without the previously needed increase in manual labor.  The increase in horses during the 80’s and early 90’s was primarily for pleasure rather than working the land.

 

Chicken farming which reached a maximum in the 50’s was widely practiced in the whole of Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  During the late 50’s western corporations started to buy out the grain supply and squeezed out the local poultry farmers.  The raising of pigs was popular for extra income and food consumed on the farms.  The war years brought a demand for the quick growing animals and Westport had a few extensive pig farmers.  The Siemenski farm off Gifford Road comes to mind.  It has now been converted to housing developments.  Dairy farming has always been the mainstay of Westport farms.  Westport is still the leading dairy farm community in the state.

 

During the late 80’s and early 90’s renewed activity in vegetable farming, including a large greenhouse contribution provided new impetus to Westport agriculture.  Fruit, berries and vineyards are also major contributors to farming in the 90’s.  During the last few years a farmers co-op was formed to help farmers with the sale of their products.  The co-op named “Coastal Growers Association” has been  major contributor to the recent prosperity of Westport farms.

 

In 1995, 170 parcels are classified as Chapter 61A farmland.  This classification allows tax assessments to be lower than that of residential or other classes.  This bill was enacted by the legislature during the 70’s at the urging of agricultural interests and has proven invaluable to the preservation of farmlands.

 

In 1991 Westport held its first Harvest Festival, a festive occasion encompassing a parade, road race, giant pumpkin contest, agricultural events and exhibits, crafts, a wide variety of tempting foods and a great place to meet acquaintances and new people from surrounding communities.  This event has provided untold benefits to the town, its agriculture and businesses.  It was brain-child of Jerry Coutinho a UMD financial officer and Robert Russell a vineyard owner.  Many others were involved.  Hopefully none will feel slighted due to the lack of name recognition.  Another state enacted law which contributed greatly to the conservation of Westport farmland was the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) act.  This act passed in the 70’s, allows farmers to sell their rights to the development value of their farms.  This sale guaranties by deed, that the land can only be sold for open land usage.  Housing development is prohibited.  This has saved over one thousand acres of Westport farmland.  The farmer can use the APR proceeds to improve his farm and to insure financial security.

In conclusion, it can be stated that Westport began the century as a strong farming community and will end it as such.  Farming has certainly contributed to the well being of all Westport citizens.  The shift from use of horses to farm tractors can be tracked throughout the years and other variations in farming become apparent by a comparison of the available statistics.

# of            # of            # of

Yr         Cows        Horses         Fowl           Comments

1900      1209           763          16,381       over 400 farms

1902      1289           788          18,334             estimated

1904      1273           838          19500

1906      1285           837          21900

1907      1308           809          26220

1910      1302           821          29350       336 estimated

1912      1127           775          28000

1915      1275           667          26700

1919      1758           563          17500

1924      2200           482          33175       232 estimated

1926      226 2           431          26950

1931      1882           322          22535

1935      2959           280          23775

1940      2200           210          32000       94 estimated

1945      2447           160          44500       54 from town report

1950      2277            78           38000       49 from town report

1960      1966            40           25536

1970      2150          157*         12000       *(pleasure)

1980      2014     not provided in report    49 from town report

1990      1294     not provided in report    30 from town report

1995      3400           300

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 9

Growth Pattern During the 1900’s

 

Population growth is explained in the section which covers the Building Department.  Starting with a population of 2678 in 1900 the town has grown to 13485 in 1993.  The beginning population was scattered on numerous farms with small concentrations in 5 district villages; North Westport near the Narrows, Factory near Lincoln Park, Central Village, the Point and the Head, Factory Village containing the highest concentration of persons.

During the early part of the Century up to the 30’s, growth centered along the Trolley line, now Route 6.  The Greenwood Park area and other concentrations along Route 6 were largely developed on what was called coffee and tea lots.  These were awarded as premiums upon presentation of coupons from the purchase of certain brands of tea and coffee.

The period from the 30’s through the 50’s witnessed the developments along Sanford Road, South Watuppa Pond and Railroad Park areas.  The developments of the 60’s and 70’s were regulated by a planning Board established in 1958.  The development consisted of sub-divisions, mostly of 10,000 and 20,000 square feet lots, primarily constructed north of Route 177.

The 80’s and 90’s generally brought more expensive homes on 1½ acre lots.  The result of zoning requirements enacted the early 1970’s.

Future growth will largely be influenced by upcoming zoning and density regulations.  Economic conditions will also continue to affect the growth rates and patterns.

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 10

Lifestyle Changes During the 1900’s

 

In 1900 Westport society was primarily agrarian, with 5 small village centers of commerce and industry.  It has evolved into a bedroom community which derives most of its income from outside sources.  This evolution can be related to the growth of the automobile during the course of the Century.  From 1900 to the late 20’s motor vehicles were primarily used for utilitarian reasons, until they became affordable and accepted by the middle class.  The following table should be useful for this comparison.

 

The later figures indicate a prosperous, highly mobile, energy dependent society.  In sharp contrast from the agrarian and working class populations of the past.  The major shift having started during the 70’s.

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 11

Civic Organizations

 

Civic Organizations are the glue of a community.  They provide the opportunity for interactions among members who share common views and goals.  All contribute to the town in various ways; economically, by participation in government affairs, charitable donations, raising public awareness and providing behavioral continuity from older to younger citizens.  At the beginning of the century, the major civic organizations were few and primarily farm related such as the Granges.

 

As the Portuguese an French Canadians populations evolved, the towns civic organizations grew in number.  The advent of the World Wars spawned Veteran organizations.  Some flourished and died, such as the Westport Taxpayers Association and the present likely demise of the Local Knights of Columbus chapter.

 

All were governed and organized by dedicated and motivated townspeople.  Most are presently being kept alive by older members.  Young people have not joined in sufficient numbers to maintain the organizations viability.  For instance the Watuppa Grange held its last pre-election turkey dinner on March 7, 1994, ending a 53 year tradition.

 

At the close of the century those remaining are being kept alive by a few hard workers who stand out among the membership.  Some who come to mind are; Harold Wood, Leo St. Onge, Bill Costa, Kenneth and Claire Sullivan, John Marnik, Normand Michaud, Lionel Paquette, and Ron Costa.  The major organizations remaining at the end of the century are;

  • Veterans

American Legion (75 years old in 1994), Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Viet Nam Veterans.

 

  • Civic

Watuppa Grange, Noquochoke Grange, Masons, Lions Club, Westport Business to Business, Westport River Watershed Alliance, Westport Farmers Association, Westport Fishermen’s Association, Westport Women’s Club, Knights of Columbus, Volunteer Firemen’s Association

There will be much change in this area during the remainder of this and the next century.

 

  

SECTION NO. 12. Effect of Inflation on Town Budget

 

In order to equate budgets from one year to another it is important to consider the effects of inflation through the years.  A 1900 dollar’s value was 17.44 times higher that that of the 1995 dollar.  The following table will prove useful when doing budget comparisons.

 

Year                      $ Value                       Consumer Price

Ratio                           Index (CPI)*

1900                        17.44                                    25

1910                        15.57                                    28

1920                         7.27                                     60

1930                         8.72                                     50

1940                         7.41

1950                         6.10

1955                         5.45                                     80

1960                         4.90                                     89

1970                         3.76                                    116

1980                         1.77                                    247

1990                         1.12                                    391

1995                           1                                      436

* using 1967 as a reference 67 = 100

 

For example, if you want to equate a 1900 budget to one of 1995.  Multiply the 1900 budget by that years ratio and this yields the 1900 budget in 1995 dollars:

A $1000 1900 budget, multiplied by 17.44 = $17,444 1995 dollars.  Conversely, a $1000 1995 budget, divided by the 1900 ratio = $57.34 in 1900 dollars.  Another example:  a 1995 dollar was worth $3.76 in 1970.

 

 

SECTION NO. 13

Brief Description of the Duties of Town Offices and Evaluation During the 1900’s

 

Exhaustive descriptions of the duties of each office are beyond the scope of this booklet and therefore will be limited to understanding the purpose and workings of that office.  The evolution of most of the offices will be sufficient to give the reader a good understanding of the events associated with the office during the last century.

 

 

SECTION NO. 13A

Workings of the Board of Selectmen During the 1900’s

 

As the legally designated executive officers of the town’s affairs actions of this Board can have major effects on the operations and welfare of the community.  The Board’s power to delegate authority to individuals and committees permits the members to exercise their preferences in the towns governance.  The Boards powers have been somewhat curtailed during the last century by the passage of various state laws.  But, these restrictions have not changed the duties appreciably.  Many notable and long term servants have been Selectmen.  Refer to the listing of Town Servants for that information.

 

1900 – 1920.  In 1900 the three Selectmen were also serving as the Towns’ Board of Health.  They picked 38 jurors, all Yankees, all were employed in town.  They supervised a town with over 400 farms and five  village areas.  They published a record of their actions in “Report of the Board of Auditors and Overseers of the Poor” now called “Annual Reports”.  The Board appointed 10 men for various jobs.  The Board of Health was instituted in 1903 removing those duties from the Selectmen.  The Board appointed 11 men and licensed 4 slaughterhouses, later to become a Board of Health function, they also granted a railroad permit to Horseneck, which was never implemented.  In 1907 the Board appointed one Special Police Officer.  Christopher Borden later to serve in many other town functions.  They also set auto speed limits of 8 MPH in the villages and 15 MPH in other areas.  Franchises were given to allow a railroad to operate between Fall River and Dartmouth.  Permits to install telephone poles and lines were issued.  A law was passed in 1908 (Ch. 142) requiring town records to be kept in fireproof rooms.  The Board made 10 appointments in 1909; Registrar of Voters, Sealer of Weights and Measures, Inspector of Animals, Forest Warden,, Janitor of Town Hall, Burial Agent, Special Police,  They also granted 4 auctioneers licenses, one common victuallers license, 11 slaughter house licenses.  The Board bonded the Treasurer, Town Clerk and Collector of Taxes.  All of these duties relatively unchanged since the 1800’s.  During this period and until the later enactment of the moderators position the Selectmen acted as Finance Committee and gave recommendations on town budgets.  The 1914 report lists a Police Department budget of $1000.  24 appointments were made in 1920, 10 junk licenses were now issued, all to Jewish enterprises.  All town Officers and jurors continue to be Yankees.

 

1921 – 1931.  During 1921, auto repair licenses and Sunday licenses (for sale of ice cream and sundries) were issued.  Four women were Town Officials in 1925.  All involved library functions, three men were other than Yankee descent, they were all Special Police Officers.  The 1928 report was titled “Annual Reports” a designation which is still in effect.  By 1928 the Selectmen were appointing a Fire Chief, a position authorized by the Town Meeting.  The Chief continued to be appointed by the Board for many years, until a later town meeting authorized an independent “Strong Chief”.  The 1928 discrepancy in Treasurer and Tax Collector Charles H. Gifford’s books gave the Board of Selectmen problems.  The auditor’s report is very interesting.  The creation of a moderator and finance committee removed these duties from the Board of Selectmen.  Many by-laws were enacted, dictating; legal, conflict of interest, littering, loitering, licensing of junk dealers and dictating content of town reports.  In 1931 the Board made 17 appointments, granted licenses for; auto dealers (2), Hawkers, and one bowling license to Luther B. Bowman at the site of the now famous (or infamous) Westport Social Club which has been operated by Bill Pearson since the late 40’s.  Bill has long been active in philanthropic activities and is referred to as the Mayor of Westport.

 

1932 – 1949.  The arrival of the Civil Works Administration in 1933 undoubtedly brought much work to the Board.  1938 brought the new (present) town hall, a WPA project which afforded spacious surroundings for governmental offices.  The WPA still carried out a variety of town programs in 1940.  This Federal help terminated in 1942.  By 1945 the Board was appointing 4 permanent firemen as well as the Chief.  In 1949, the Board granted licenses for; Junk Dealers, slaughterhouses, Sunday sales and 20 liquor licenses “Bill Pearson” was on his way to his first million selling liquor to thirsty Westporters.  The Board also made 28 appointments.

 

1950 – 1969.  Mid-City Steel was well established by 1953 and Herman Gitlin was obtaining a junk license.  The Selectmen leased the Factory School to St. George’s parish in 1957.  Twenty-three motor vehicle licenses were granted in 1958.  This type of business continued to grow and prosper to the present time.  Trailer by-laws passed in 1959 added further duties to the office.  Meetings with Fall River officials, regarding usage of their incinerator by Westport, proved unsuccessful.  Selectmen were authorized by Town Meeting to delete the drawtender position.  A Town water study was presented to the Board in 1965.  Go-go girls establishments were giving Selectmen headaches in 1966, the Board made 58 appointments.  1967 brought unionization to town departments which required negotiations by the Board, a full time secretary became necessary.  There were meetings with State officials on problems of East Beach and Gooseberry.  An elderly Housing Authority was appointed in 1968.  Rapid town growth brought many problems to the office of Selectmen, they made 77 appointments and issued 36 motor vehicle licenses.

 

1970 – 1980.  Town meeting approved an increase in lot size from 20,000 to 40,000 square feet and 100 feet of frontage.  The Board created a River Improvement commission later to become the present Shellfish Advisory Committee.  The population had increased 47% in the sixties, which caused many changes in the Selectmen’s office operations.  The town voted to indemnify its officials in 1973, the Board authorized a street lighting committee to look into the high cost of electricity (due to the 1973 oil embargo), some street lights were found not to be required and were removed.  1973 was a momentous and busy year for the Board, the building lot sizes were increased to 60,000 square feet and the attendant enactment of many zoning changes caused operational growing pains in the Building department.  The operation of the Police and Fire Departments were altered to improve services.  Phyllis Bernier, the first woman Selectman was elected in 1975.  A full time administrative assistant was appointed by the Board in 1976.  Mr. Edward Shaffer was the first appointee to this position  The new (present) Police station was accepted by the Board.  Motor Vehicle repair licenses were mandated in 1978, the Board made 260 appointments, including; a Bike Way Committee, Committee for Commerce & Industry, a Water Quality Commission and a Master Plan Committee as well as a Multi-Service Senior Center Committee.  The Youth Activities Board was eliminated and a Recreation Commission instituted.  The year 1980 brought the 2½ tax cap limit.  The State Bureau of Accounts found the town accountant records a mess as well as the records of the Assessors, Tax Collector, Treasurer, and the Purchasing Systems in need of revision.  The Board’s appointing of the Tree Warden finished in 1980, the Highway department assumed that responsibility.  A Beach Committee was created.

 

1981 – present.  Two of the Boards long term appointees retired; Myron Feenan Town Hall Custodian of 23 years and Albert Palmer Shellfish Constable of 21 years.  The Selectmen licensed cable TV in 1984.  The 2½ tax levy limit was approached for the first time.  The 1985 Board, with the second woman Selectman in the town’s history, Ann E. Chandanais experienced many complications, a Town Hall addition was considered, a town by-laws book was started, there were two River Pollution studies under way, a public water supply was initiated for the Route 6 area up to Sanford Road.  This water supply was necessary to provide water to residents of Hebert Terrace whose wells had been contaminated by gasoline leaks.  Hurricane Gloria damaged the town and the spiraling costs of insurance and pensions were heavily felt.  During the 1987 bicentennial year the Board of Selectmen was: George T. Leach, Jr., William R. Plamondon and Ronald A. Desrosiers (later to die in office).  They instituted a full time Harbormaster position, experienced many labor problems, electronic voting started, solid waste and gasoline leaks brought many problems.  Alford Dyson passed away in 1988, a long time Selectman, School Committeeman, Housing authority member and participant in many volunteer and civic activities.  1989 brought the resignation of William R. Plamondon early in his second term as Selectman, necessitating a special election.  A Fair Housing Committee was started.  The 1990 Town Reports note the Army Corps of Engineers Harbor Dredging Study, two debt exclusions were approved as well as the approval of “Mother-in-law” apartments.  1991 was the year of recovery from Hurricane “Bob” and Westport designated itself the “Coastal Agricultural Community of New England”.  The water main installation on Route 6 was finally completed.  Fiscal problems continued to plague the Board and the town.  Quarterly tax billing was started.

 

The year 1993 brought a mandate from the State called the “Education Reform Act” which mandates School Financing without Town control.  The resultant apportionment of financial resources causes innumerable budgetary conflicts which of necessity involve the Board of Selectmen.  The Board made 357 appointments and issued 128 motor vehicle licenses in 1993.  Eight-hundred forty-two voters attended the town meeting and defeated articles which would have Selectman Perkins and Dionne personally pay their legal fees, in their defense against fired Town Counsel Carl lees.  The articles were sponsored by persons who felt they had illegally fired Mr. Lees and therefore the town should not pay the ensuing legal fees.  Other articles to increase the Board’s membership to five were also defeated.

 

The Board of Selectmen’s duties are many and have become more complicated and time consuming throughout the century.  Changes in state laws, town regulations and by-laws have caused many uncertainties in decision making which did not exist at the turn of the century.  Many are of the opinion that the Selectmen method of governing is outdated and needs major revision.  It is interesting to note the financial growth of the office as well as its record of appointments and that of two of its major duties, motor vehicle and liquor related licenses.

 

Year       Salaries        Total           # of           M.V.       Liquor

Office  Appointments Licenses   Licenses

Budget

1910      »233 ea.        811             11             N/A          N/A

1920  748total $5/day 1047            24             N/A          N/A

1929        500 ea         2158            17               3            N/A

1940       425 ea.        1715            19             N/A           18

1950        500 ea         2500            31             N/A           22

1960        800 ea         3867            44              30             21

1970       1433 ea       12300           88              46             32

1980       1595 ea       44000          285             87             33

1990     4154 chair    141282         374            121            32

1996.50 ea

1993     4423 chair    118496         357            128            32

2127 ea.

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 13B

Evolution of the Police Department

 

Keeping law and order has long been recognized as elemental to civilization.  During the early 1900’s order was the responsibility of Constables.  In 1900 they were Daniel M. Sanford, Lafayette L. Gifford, Charles H. Reynolds and Christopher Borden 2nd.  There were six constables in 1909.  It is hard to imagine the carrying out of the law for a town of 55 square miles at a time when transportation was mostly done with horses.  By the year 1909 the Selectmen were appointing Special Police Officers.  In 1910 $615 were appropriated for Police and Fire.  By 1915, 3 police officers worked on a budget of $1600.  1920 witnessed the appointments of six special officers including Everett Coggeshall who retained the badge as an honorary member of the Police Force until his death in 1982 at the age of 98.  Constables continued to assist in enforcing laws and serving warrants.  A Truant Officer continued to insure school attendance, continuing a duty which was in effect at the turn of the Century.  A Police Chief was appointed in 1926, Charles R. Livesey, he supervised 7 officers and the Police and Fire budget was $7000.00.  They answered 1261 phone calls, issued 36 revolver permits, took care of 32 auto accidents, arrested 85 persons, 7 for family neglect, took care of 8 liquor violations and gambling raids.  A table listing Police statistics accompanies this brief history.  In 1933 Joseph Willette was a reserve officer, he was a big and powerful man who loved to wrestle, certainly an effective lawkeeper.  He was to become a brother-in-law to William C. Pierce a future Deputy Chief of the department in the 70’s.  George F. dean was Police Chief in 1937, the department performed 16 ambulance runs and 59 hens were reported lost, the budget was $8200 and the Chief’s salary was $1200.00  The 1940 Town Report mentions use of a radio-cruiser which traveled over 40,000 miles.  By 1940 the Police Department resided in the new Town Hall on Main Road, answered and transferred all calls for other offices.  Roland Massey, Albert Blais, Norman B. Hopkinson and Joseph Cieto the only sergeant were already long term policemen and would continue to be for a long time.  In 1950 William C. Pierce was one of the many reserves who would stay with the Department and become full time Policeman.  Some would become Chief in the future.  Charles Dean resigned as Chief in 1959 ending a 30 year term as Chief.  Albert Blais was appointed.  By 1960 the cruisers were traveling 100,000 miles.  In 1963 tenure was granted to the men of the Department, this is continuing, tenure is achieved after three years.  Frederick W. Palmer Jr. was named Police Chief in 1972.  In 1973 a detective section was initiated, Patrolman Charles Pierce was appointed to organize and head up this three man section.  Single manning of the cruisers was also initiated.  Increasing coverage without additional personnel.  This and the ambulance transfer were ideas of Patrolman Charles Pierce, implemented by the Board of Selectmen.  1975 witnessed the transfer of ambulance duties to the Fire Department.  Fireman Norman Duquette was very instrumental in organizing this operation and greatly enhancing the quality of this service.  Fire Chief George Dean also deserves much credit for this highly successful transition.  Joseph Arruda Jr. became Police Chief in 1977 replacing Chief Palmer who finished a long tenure as policeman, sergeant and Chief.  During 1977 Alan Cieto replaced Deputy Chief William C. Pierce who also ended a long tenure on the Police Department.  The new (present) police station was accepted in 1977.  Rene D. Dupre took over as Chief in 1979.  Rene, another long term policeman replaced Joseph Arruda Jr.  Sgt. Charles A. Pierce, another long tenured policeman took over from Rene Dupre in 1984.  By 1990 the cruisers were traveling over 300,000 miles per year.

 

In conclusion, the statement can safely be made that many persons have faithfully served the town as Constables and Policemen.  Their contributions to law and order have certainly enhanced the peace of our town.  We cannot list them all here but their names are recorded in the annals of our town reports.  A review of those names enlightens forgotten memories and cultivates a sense of gratefulness.

 

 

SECTION NO 13C

Fire Department

 

The 1920 report shows expenses for forest fire control of $269.40 administered by Christopher Borden.  This expense was under the heading of forestry.  There is no evidence of other fire prevention expenses.  The 1922 report shows an appropriation of $3000 for Police and Fire.  Christopher Borden Jr. took over from his father as Forest Warden in 1924.  “Kit” was a powerful, easygoing man of wise and considered counsel, traits which would be discovered by Claude Ledoux in the early 70’s when their friendship developed.  “Kit” and his father were both long term town servants in various capacities.  The first Fire Department was organized in 1928.  It consisted of a Chief Irving C. hammond, a first and second assistant engineers, a Deputy Chief, a Captain, one Lieutenant and 18 men, all volunteers.  They answered 14 calls to Building fires and 23 other miscellaneous calls.  The Chief recommends households construct cisterns to store a reserve of water. and yearly chimney cleaning.  A Fire Truck was also  appropriated that year.  The first fire station was at Central Village.  A second vehicle was added in 1929 with a water carrying capacity of 285 gallons.  No number was necessary to call the department.  “Just say Westport Fire Department, Emergency” give road, place and name.  The town had not grown to have house numbers.  A new truck was obtained in 1931 built to Westport specifications.  By 1937 the department had a budget of $6000, responded to 24 building fires and answered 134 calls.  The department grew slowly throughout the 40’s.  Another station was occupied at the Head and a third at Greenwood Park.  In 1954, Chief Stanley Gifford supervised 6 permanent men who handled 8 building fires.  Lynwood F. Potter replaced Chief Stanley Gifford in 1961.  He was supervising 6 long term firemen.  Rene Routhier, Alfred Brown, Gilbert Santos, David C. Tripp (father of future Chief William Tripp), Milton B. Reed and Hillman Cunningham.  The fire department participated in musters since its beginning.  These contests between the departments  of nearby localities served to sharpen skills and disseminate knowledge.  They were well attended and the competition was good natured, the 1969 report identifies 6 musters.  Musters were no longer performed in 1969.  Fire Chief Harold Miller was appointed in 1970.  In 1970 $107,000 appropriated for construction of the Briggs Road Fire Station.  By 1974, the Department assumed responsibility for Ambulance service from the Police department.  Chief George Dean with invaluable assistance from Fireman Norman “Duke” Duquette transitioned this service with minimal problems.  The Department’s ambulance evolving response with EMT’s and now Paramedics, has been an invaluable asset for our emergency services.  The 1974 Fire Budget was $249,000.  The department responded to 48 building fires, 258 ambulance calls and was staffed by 14 men.  In 1981 Fire Chief George Dean supervised 2 Captains, 2 Lieutenants and 14 permanent men.  His salary was $27,000, and the fire budget was $395,000.  The Department answered 631 ambulance calls and took care of 26 building fires.  By this time the department was also performing many fire prevention duties such as: inspections of; homes, businesses, fuel storage, licensing and education.  The effectiveness of all the prevention is apparent in the relatively low number of fires and serious fire related and chemical accidents.  Chief William D. Tripp took over from Chief Dean in 1982.  In 1990 with a budget of $775,500, Chief Tripp supervised a Deputy Chief, a Captain, 4 Lieutenants, 15 permanent men.  20 call men volunteers were still active.  They fought 23 building fires and ran the ambulance 825 times.  The 1993 budget was $761,000.  16 permanent men were on duty and 13 call men still participated actively.  The Department is now housed in two stations, Briggs Road and Central Village.

 

 

SECTION NO. 13D

Brief Historical Review of Westport’s School System During the 1900’s

This subject is worthy of a  separate publication.  Its coverage here is greatly abbreviated.  The yearly school reports are interesting reading.

1900 – 1920.  In the year 1900 Mr. Winthrop N. Crocker was superintendent.  His salary was $750.00, the school budget was $7200.00.  He was in charge of 485 students, 20 teachers primarily housed in 15 small locally sited school houses.  The School Committee consisted of three persons, one a woman, Annie E. Sherman.  One of two in government, the other was Addie E. Sowle, a library trustee.  School enrollment and truant officers enforced the requirement for schooling for children of age 5 to 15.  One half of the Superintendents salary was paid by the state and one quarter by Dartmouth.  It is interesting to note in 1904, 11 children over the age of 14 were considered illiterate, about 3% of the school population.  Alice A. Macomber is listed in the 1908 report as receiving a salary of $357.00 the present Macomber School was named after her.  In 1909 a student from 14 to 16 years of age could leave school for work if the student could read and write at a third grade level.  In 1910 new drinking fountains and separate cups started to be used in the school, Latin and French were taught in the High School, eye and ear testing was a regular procedure.  The 1911 curriculum consisted of: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, History, Spelling, Geography, Physiology, Practical Arts, Agriculture, Music and Drawing.  14 schoolhouses were used in 1911.

 

In 1912 Mildred Borden is mentioned on the High School Honor Roll.  Factory School is a new building, the Horseneck School had 40 pupils in 1914.  The 1915 school report is worthwhile reading.  High School is a two year process.  In 1916 music and drawing programs were started and anemia was found to be prevalent in the system, decayed teeth, heart murmurs and tonsil infections were all problems.  Dr. Burt discontinued vaccinations, did not believe in them.

 

1920 – 1930.  In 1920, the School Committee was still three persons.  Town Budget $120,000, 12 schools, 23 teachers, one was Milton E. Earle teaching at the Acoaxet school, enrollment was 585, the school budget $43,000 and Superintendent Edward L. Hill reported teachers salaries of $981.00 were not enough to get good teachers.  The High School course was now three years and there was a two mile limit for students to walk to school.  1921 saw the end of the school Enrollment Officer position.  Truant Officer still existing.  In 1922 a Nurse was added to the staff and the High School was a four year school mandated by the state.  At the Health Clinic, the dental fees were 25¢  for extraction, 50¢ for fillings, no charge for the poor.  Milton Earle became High School principal in 1923, the cost per child was $58.74.  In 1924 new teachers were required to be college graduate and a special school was started for slow learners “Retarded in Mental Development”.  Overcrowding and transportation were major problems, team sports were organized and the new school physician recommended vaccination.  In 1924 the Truant Officer position was eliminated. He was replaced by a Supervisor of Attendance.  The School Nurse conducted over 1000 home visits in 1925 and 13 graduated from High School.  Milton E. Earle became Superintendent in 1928, there were nine transportation contractors,  The Point School was upgraded to inside toilets.  The School Committee was also increased to five members in 1928.  In 1929 only one single room schoolhouse remained and no more than two grades per room became the rule and University Extension courses were given.  In 1929 the Town Budget was $262,769 and the school budget $82,800, the Superintendent salary $2150, there were 922 students and 35 teachers, 11 graduated and 9 schools were operating.  School attendance requirements decreased from 40 weeks early in the Century to 180 days.

1930 – 1940.  In 1933 salary cuts were imposed on the school system due to depression years budgets.  Works Projects Administration funding was made available to the school system during the depression years of the thirties including 1940, after which it was discontinued.  The year 1940 graduated 33 students, one was William C., Pierce who distinguished himself in professional baseball and eventually became a Deputy Police Chief during the 1970’s.  A lifelong farmer Bill and his wife Edna operate Berry Hill Farm on Pine Hill Road.  Milton E. Earle was superintendent of nine schools in 1940, the Nurse position was fixed firmly in the system.  The School budget was $70,000, the town budget was $241,000, Alice Macomber retired after more than 32 years and Audrey Tripp originated the “School Open House” periods.

1940 – 1950.  In 1941, Harold Wood was in charge of the Vocational Agricultural program.  Children learned about the risks of air attacks and Clayton Emery graduated.  He went on to distinguish himself as a pilot during the war.  In 1942 Marjorie Brightman Holden, a future Selectman, Walter O. Wood, Jr. a future Board of Health Agent, Calvin Hopkinson and Edward Pettengill, later a future World War II pilot, graduated.  In 1948 planning for a new high school at “Gifford’s Corner” was authorized.  A course in driver training started in 1949, Jim Francis a future School Superintendent and Carlton Lees a future town Counsel graduated.  In 1950, the town budget was $661,000 taxation was $372,000, $117,805 was for eight schools, 36 teachers were employed, 907 students attended school (including 7 Ledoux’s),  30 graduated including Lincoln Tripp a future Town Historian.  Audrey Tripp was praised by the State Supervisor of Elementary Education for the high standards of grades 1 – 8.  The new High School was approved at a cost of $800,000.00 and Harold Wood was appointed High School principal.  The State mandated teacher salary levels.  The Superintendent salary was $5113.  The School Superintendent was Milton E. Earle.  The School Committee members included Alford Dyson and Phil Manchester.  Manchester was a long time Selectmen and Dyson was to become an able and long serving town Selectman and Housing Authority Member.

 

1951 – 1960.  1951 was the year of Milton Earle’s last Superintendent report ending a career which started as a teacher in 1920.  School Nurse Lydia Mason continued to serve a very important function in a patient and proficient manner.  Audrey Tripp was promoted to principal of the “Village School”, now the “Earle School”.  Many rooms had more than 20 students per room.  In 1953 a Guidance Department was started at the High School.  In 1954, 33% of the graduates went on to higher education.  In 1958, Milton Earle returned to the School Superintendency, taking over from Sydney Pierce, an excellent teacher of many years and Superintendent for three years.  Mr. Pierce accepted a better Superintendent position on Cape Cod.  The Alice Macomber School was completed in 1955.  The State mandated a teacher salary of $3000.  In 1957 the School report mentions, there is too much time spent on few students who have no desire to learn and cause disturbance, such students should be let out at the age of 16.  In 1958 Milton Earle ended his last tenure as School Superintendent.  In 1960 Laurence A. Fogg was Superintendent with a salary of $9800, the Town Budget was $600,000, there were 6 schools, 69 teachers, 1509 students and 55 graduates.  Teachers salaries were $5800 for Bachelor degrees and $6050 for Masters.

1960 – 1970. Audrey Tripp outlined “7 Goals of Learning” in 1961.  A comparison  to the present goals is interesting.  Charles Peirce a future Police Chief graduated in 1961.  The 1962 report provides great insight.  In 1963, Diman became a Regional Vocational/Technical school, the death of President Kennedy affected the school children.  Audrey Tripp “Improvement in Education is concerted investment in the individual – not in a proliferation of programs and projects”.  1965 saw the school veering to impersonal solutions; mass grouping, standard curriculums, squeezing individuals into common molds.  A Psychologist and a Phsycometrist were hired.  1966 was the last report of Laurence A Fogg as Superintendent.  Sporadic faddishness in education is mentioned.  Milton Earle died in September.  The 1968 report quotes Audrey Tripp “Education, like the whole of modern Society is on a downward spiral”.  In 1970 Nicholas F. Cariglia was superintendent, 2 nurses were on staff, there were 102 teachers, 2022 students, 81 graduates, the school budget was $1,331,500, town budget $2,905,000.  There were 4 schools, the Superintendent salary was $21,000.

 

1971 – 1980.  In 1970 the Middle School was constructed.  Superintendent Cariglia died in 1971. Lynwood E. Clarke was appointed.  In 1974, James F. Francis a native son was appointed Superintendent, a Business Manager was appointed and three nurses were now on staff.  The student population was 2557 with 177 teachers.  In 175, there were 7 schools, 181 teachers, 2625 students.  In 1977 the new Elementary School was occupied.  The Point and Greenwood Park Schools were closed.  186 teachers taught 2660 students in 5 schools.  Ruth M. Collins retired after 49 years as a School Department Clerk  The School budget was $3,746,000.  1978 was the peak year in student population at 2669. the School budget of $3,751,000 was offset by state refunds of $1,410,000 resulting in taxation of $2,314,000 for schools.  The Director of Student Personal Services position was created.  Superintendent James Francis was replaced by Patrick A. Saccoso in 1980 when the school budget was $5,880,900, there were 211 teachers, 5 schools, 2546 students, 128 graduates and the town budget was $9,308,000.

 

1981 – Present.  The Public School Improvement act of 1985 (Ch 188) dictated some changes in the school system.  Margo Desjardins was named Teacher of the Year in 1986 and many school improvements were reported, there were 260 special needs students in the schools from a total of 2016.  1987 management consisted of: Superintendent, a Business Manager, a Director of Curriculum, a Director of Pupil Personal Services, a Director of Special Needs, four Principals, 8 support personnel in the Superintendent’s office, 3 School Nurses, 20 Custodians, support staff at each school, cafeteria personnel.  170 teachers and 8 paraprofessionals taught 1908 students.  A fourth Nurse was added to the Staff in 1989, 318 or 17% of the students were special needs,.  Edmie Bibeau retired after 37 years, Richard Rego after 26 and Richard Condon after 22 years as teachers.

1990 brought a town budget of $15,040,700 with taxation of $8,407,050.  The Superintendent was Margot Desjardins.  The School budget $7,534,200, 1804 students attended 4 schools, 18% of them were special needs.  There were 157 teachers and the state reimbursed $2,900,000, 81 graduated.

1991 – 1993.  The system is now called “Westport Community Schools.  During 1992 the teacher complement of 130 included; 1 Health, 2 Psychologists, 2 Special Pathologists, 1 Speech Therapist, 1 Early Childhood Speech, 4 Special Government Projects, 6 Guidance, 17 Special Needs.  The teachers were assisted by 15 paraprofessionals and supported by 9 clerks, 15 janitors, 17 cafeteria personnel and 4 school nurses.  The Superintendent was supported by a Business Manager, one Director of Pupil Personal Services, 7 Administrative staff, four Principals and one school physician.  There were 1823 students of which 365 were special education.  Mr. Marcel Marchand retired after 36 years as a teacher. 30% of Children are educated outside of the system.

List of Superintendents during the Century

 

1900    Winthrop N. Crocker

1904    A. P. Carr

1906    Albert S. Cole

1915    William A. Millington

1919    Edward L. Hill

1931    Milton E. Earle

1951    Sydney Pierce

1954    Milton E. Earle

1958    Laurence A. Fogg

1970    Nicholas F. Cariglia

1974    James F. Francis

1980    Patrick Soccorso

1990    Margot desJardins

 

 

SECTION NO. 13E

THE WESTPORT BOARD OF HEALTH

The Westport Board of Health began reporting early in the Century (1903).  Its three members, Albert S. Sherman, George E. Handy and John D. Topper M.D. were and would continue to be active in town affairs.  They appointed Town Clerk Edward L. Macomber as their agent.  They reported 12 cases of measles and eight of typhoid, their report stated that the Factory Village water was found to be making people sick.

1904 – 1925.  Albert S. Sherman was recognized for having served 18 years on the Board.  In 1908 the Board made 6 appointments and reported an unusually high incidence of measles, 46 cases.  In 1909 Inspectors of meats were appointed and the Board licensed two undertakers.  Diphtheria, meningitis and tuberculosis were reported.  The Board published instructions for TB patients.  The year 1910 saw a second doctor join the Board, Dr. Edward W. Burt.  Dr. Burt and his wife, Roby, would continue to be long term servants of the town in various offices.  110 cases of measles were reported as well as 11 cases of polio.  The Board set a goal for 1911, to rid Horseneck Beach of pigs, manure and swill.  Contaminated wells were found in 1912, free vaccinations were offered, and the Board made  a policy not to respond to anonymous complaints.  Dr. Tupper left office in 1912.  That year also brought the necessity of a town isolation hospital.  In 1916, the Board started issuance of swill licenses, the fee was $1.00, the Board also offered a series of Health lectures at the Head church.  128 cases of flu were reported in 1918.  There were 199 influenza cases in 1919 and 63 cases of measles.  Dr. Charles A. Hicks joined the Board in 1920, a puzzling new rule was enacted, prohibiting the storage of sea weed within 1000 feet of a dwelling during the Summer.  The State mandated licensing of garbage transporters in 1922, 16 were issued in Westport attesting to the prevalent raising of pigs.  The County TB Hospital assessment was $2670 in 1923.  This hospital, in Lakeville, would later be used for the treatment and care of polio victims.  George A. Tripp, a three term member passed away.  In 1924, the Board began receiving the assistance of a District Nurse who made 1350 home visits and appealed for garments, towels and linen.  This Nurse was provided by the Red Cross.  This began a long tradition of effective and dedicated nursing service which has continuously expanded and contributed greatly to the health of Westporters.  The Nursing services increased to 4073 visits in 1925, including 849 for social services.

 

1926 – 1952. 240 Sanitary inspections were conducted, the Fall River Lions Club donated towards a summer camp and Union Hospital (now Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River) granted much help to the district nurse.  In 1928, insurance companies started to compensate for the costs of nursing services provided by the Town welfare system.  Sybil Mercer RN reported 2022 home visits in 1929, extensive coverage considering there were approximately 1450 dwellings in Westport.  A dental clinic was started in 1931 which would be long lived and very beneficial to the School children..  Social and economic problems are noted, a by-product of the depression.  21 TB cases and 154 communicable disease cases were reported.  Nurse Mercer reported 3568 visits.  Numerous clinics were held in 1933, such clinics continue to be held.  Mrs. Mercer received clothing for distribution. 7 Polio cases were reported in 1935.  The Dump at Horseneck was being used in 1937.  It is worthwhile to note, each farm had its own dumping site, many of which can be uncovered today.  As the Town grew and the number of farms decreased, these sites were gradually abandoned and the Town had to expand its public dump sites.  The Horseneck site was an early location.  The year 1941 was a busy one, the Board started to issue milk licenses.  Sybil Mercer RN needed the assistance of Grace DeAndrade RN and Elizabeth Davis RN, numerous clinics continued to be held and 12 cases of syphilis were reported.  Nurse consultations with Dr. Burt numbered 298.  Dr. Burt left the Board in 1946 after having served numerous terms at intermittent intervals.  Edward L. Macomber left the Board in 1948 after having served 24 consecutive years.  Grace DeAndrade, married to Frank DeAndrade, was put in charge of the Nursing department in 1945 following the death of Sybil Mercer.  A survey by the State Department of Public Health found 25 locations dumping raw sewage into the river in 1952.  They threatened shellfish closures if the violations were not remedied.  The Board adopted a by-law requiring a permit from the Board before a building permit could be issued. 1952 also was the last year of tenure of Charles R. Wood, a position he had held since 1924.

 

1953 – 1974.  100 sewage permits were issued, 25 remediation of discharges into water bodies were reported, numerous clinics were continuing, including the dental clinic.  The 8 children from the newly emigrated Ledoux family were greatly helped by the clinics.  Regular medical check-ups were not economically feasible for the family.  As an example, our mother, like many others, made shirts, dresses and undergarments from colorful grain bag cloth.  The Health system was good, considerate and worked well.  Nursing visits continued to number above 2500.  Salk vaccine clinics began in 1955. 1956 brought the closing of the infirmary at the Poor Farm, a function of the Public Welfare Department.  Harry Morrison a World War II veteran and town veterans agent finished his third term on the Board and was replaced by Willis L. Tripp.  Mary Hart, destined to serve on the nursing department for many years as a nurse and nurse supervisor joined Grace DeAndrade.  Frank White, from the Portuguese Blanco, was appointed dump caretaker in 1961.  A colorful and hardworking man he performed the job well and supplemented his income by collecting trash and picking the dump, a privilege reserved for him due to his low rate of pay.  Frank greeted everyone in a courteous manner in heavily accented English and with an ever present cheap cigar in his mouth.  He made crude shacks from dump construction refuse to use as shelters from the sun and weather.  Pranksters would burn them down, and he would remind everyone of his misfortune the next day.  Many of us remember Frank fondly and miss his cheerful greetings.  Having once been bit by a dog, Frank bit and severely lacerated the dog’s ear.  Grace DeAndrade retired after 15 years as Nursing Supervisor in 1961.  Mary Hart took over the reins.  The Board made 12 appointments in 1965.  3790 nursing visits were made in 1966, Mary Hart was assisted by 3 other nurses and the Nursing Department became state certified.  The position of Slaughter Inspector was terminated in 1970.  A function which would now be State supervised.  Antone Vieira had held this Board appointed position for 25 years.  Dr. Bernard Wieser, dentist, was formally recognized in 1973 for his 27 years of dedicated dental service clinics.  Walter R. “Bob” Wood, a Board member since 1962 started a long stint as Board of Health Agent, in 1974.  He would hold that position until 1993.  Charles Costa left the Board to become Selectman in 1971, he had been a Board member for 15 years.  The North Watuppa Pond had been plagued with algeal blooms for a few years, a problem for the Board.  The solution was Copper Sulplate treatments and efforts were started to remedy the nitrogen nourishment, from sewage, which was feeding the algae.

 

1975 – 1993.  In 1976, a lagoon site, proposed by the Board, to dispose of the town septage pump outs, created considerable controversy.  The site in close proximity to the River’s East Branch was opposed by many.  It prompted the formation of the River Defense Fund, later to become the Westport Rivers Watershed Alliance (WRWA).  This proposal was eventually defeated and town septic pump outs continued to go to the Fall River sewage treatment plant.  135 cases of chickenpox were reported in 1977.  Four full-time nurses were appointed in 1977.  Lois Montigny assumed leadership of the Nursing Department in 1981.  Mary Hart retired after 20 years as Supervisor.  The nurses performed 6300 visits.  There were 6 nurses appointed in 1987.  Kenneth Sullivan lost the election in 1989 after serving four terms.  Doris Mello resigned from the Nursing Department in 1989.  Ken Sullivan returned to serve another term in 1990.  In 1993, the Board made 30 appointments, the 6 nurses assisted by 2 clerks, 3 home aides.  Nurses conducted 3295 visits, the aides 3443 visits, many clinics were held and they collected $262,395 in fees.  Reported diseases were 113 chicken pox, 1 5th disease, 2 campylobacter.  Some measure of the health of Westporters can be gleaned from a tabulation of the average age of death.

 

Average age at death of Westport residents in the 1900’s

 

The average age computation does not include children under the age of 5 or stillborn babies.  These statistics are a good indication of the general health of the towns population throughout the years.

 

Year   Over      Over      Over    Average   Under    Still     Total

100         90          80          Age        Age     born

1912      0            1            6            49            8          1         44

1920      0            2                          48           10         2         47

1929      0            2            6            58            4          5         67

1940      0            2           13           72            4          0         51

1950      0            0            6            67            2          0         56

1961      0            4           17           73            3          0         81

1970      0            3           18           66            3          0         81

1980      1            4           13           66            0          0         93

1990      1           10          31           74            1          0        112

 

Average age throughout the century:  66 years

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 13F

ABBREVIATED HISTORY OF THE SHELLFISH DEPARTMENT

 

Shellfishing activities have always been important to area residents.  The Native Americans of our coastal regions never had to worry about starvation.  Bountiful, nourishing harvests of fish, crustaceans and shellfish could be obtained with  little effort.  They promoted growth of berries and game by yearly systematic burnings which restricted the forest areas to the wetter sections of the land.  The early colonists especially prized the oysters.  This is substantiated by the numerous regulations of that fishery which are written in the early records.  The people and methods of Westport fisheries are deserving of a separate book.  Many independent, hardy Westporters have gleaned a hard living from local and ocean waters.  Relatively few remain who are working the River on a full time basis.

 

A brief review of the Shellfish Department history gives some insight of the River harvests.

 

The department began in 1947.  Mr. George W. Hart was appointed Shellfish Constable.  George was Russell Hart’s father.  Russell has continued his family’s fishing tradition and has maintained a lobstering enterprise out of the Point docks.  George found 281 persons shellfishing who were nonresidents.  He planted 105 bushels of seed oysters, 61 bushels of clams and 25 bushels of quahogs.  700 bushels of scallops were caught in 1949.  In 1950 five persons were convicted of illegal shellfishing and the seed planting consisted of 250 bushels of quahogs as well as other seeds.  Shells were planted to promote catching of oyster spat.  Estimated catch in bushels was 3000 quahogs, 1800 oysters, 50 clams, 639 family permits were issued.  2000 bushels of scallops were harvested in 1951.  In 1952 the State Department of Public Health found 25 sources of sewage emptying into tidal waters and notified the Board of Health to remedy the situation or the result would be closing of the Rivers to the taking of the shellfish.  This problem was quickly remediated by swift Board of Health action.  Robert W. Jeffrey became Shellfish Constable in 1953.  George Hart returned to the position in 1955. Only 200 bushels of scallops were harvested in 1956 and the department started a starfish dredging program for predation control.  Shell bags were set in 1959 to catch oyster spat.  George Hart resigned in 1959 and Donald Sherman was appointed.  The shellfish budget was $3600.  Mention of silt and slime spoiling oyster beds .  Albert A. Palmer was appointed in 1960 beginning a long tenure as Shellfish Constable.  An experimental oyster raft was set out.  Another duty of the office was promotion of safe boat traffic.  Oyster seed was purchased in 1961 and liming of the River was done at the rate of 52 tons over 12 acres.  This procedure apparently to reduce acidity.  Starfish dredging continued as well as setting out of oyster bags.  By 1976 the Shellfish budget had increased to $26,000.  David Roach took over the reins from Albert Palmer in 1981, this ended a 21 year tenure for “Alb”.  1985 brought an overwhelming scallop crop of 59,500 bushels.  Gary Sherman assumed the position of Shellfish Constable in 1988.  His report of 1990 gives a good synopsis of the fishery status.  In 1993 extensive seeding programs were continuing.  Intermittent closures due to rainfall are the norm.  The closure procedure was painfully worked out with the State Department of Marine Fisheries as a result of many pollution studies which took place since the mid 1970’s.  The closures are triggered by a fecal coliform count of 14 which is the Department of Environmental Protection’s figure for closure of shellfish harvests.  An exhaustive explanation of these processes can be found in the reports of the Town’s Shellfish and Health Departments starting in the early 1950’s.  A review of the accompanying catch reports highlights the cyclical nature of the scallop fishery and the changes in the types of shellfish harvests during the last 45 years.  In 1993 the Shellfish budget had grown to $50,000.

 

 

SHELLFISH CATCH SINCE 1949

CATCH IN BUSHELS

 

YR SCALLOPS OYSTERS QUAHOGS CLAMS   FAMILY

PERMITS

49        700

50                         1800             3000            50             689

51       2000          2700             1500                             805

53       8000*        1500             1200                             900

54       2300

55       2250          1276

57       5500          1600             4500                             790

59      10000*

60      10000*       1600             4500                             848

65       4250

66      38500*

67          0             1640

70       2840            90               2900            24             444

71      7150*

74        314

75        620

78        688

79      10500*

80        373            400              2780                             559

81       4450

82      10843*

84       1400

85      59500*                                                                 500

86       1251

90          0              165             11057         3703

93         35             140              3570          1120           501

 

 

SHELLFISH DEPARTMENT SEED AND SHELL TRANSPLANTS

 

PLANTINGS IN BUSHELS

 

SEED                 SHELL PLANTING

YEAR QUAHOGS    QUAHOGS CLAMS    IN YARDS

1951          250                   12               3                 500

1953          300                                                         336

1958                                                                         275

1991          1,000,000 quahog seeds propagated

70,000 scallop seeds propagated

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 13G

HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT EVOLUTION DURING THE 1900’S

 

At the turn of the Century, Peleg S. Sanford Jr. was the Single Highway Surveyor, with a $10,000 budget.  The town roads were mostly narrow dirt wagon paths, except for some of the more heavily traveled North End roads such as Old Bedford Road.  The road network essentially consisted of 4 major North-South arteries and 4 major East West arteries.  The Single surveyor hired men to perform road work approved by the Town Meeting.  A major repair in 1900 was Hix Bridge to the tune of $6,286.  Modernizing of roads was already being done.  This process, macademizing, consisted of spreading crushed stone over the road bed and covering it with tar.  The surveyor elections were on a yearly basis.  The position see-sawed regularly.  The Surveyors had their supporters who would be hired if their man was elected, or replaced by new men if they lost the election.  This practice continued until the early 60’s when Selectman Frank DeAndrade spearheaded employment tenure for Highway employees.  A privilege later extended to other employees.  An important part of highway maintenance was the crushing of the stone.  Crushers were set up as near as possible to the work sites to minimize the cost of material transportation which was done by horse teams.

 

The 1912 report shows an expense of $58.00 for 29,000 pounds of coal.  An indication of steam power usage most likely for crusher power.  14 horse teams were hired that year and approximately 70 men were paid for labor.  One team of horses, man and cart earned $4.00 per day, roughly $60.00 in today’s dollars.  There were 110 miles of road in 1915, compared to today’s 140 miles (State Highways not included).  By 1920 the Highway Surveyor salary was $1825, there were nine roads being worked, the crusher plant was active, a tar account was maintained, snow bills were $3200 and the department purchased a Mack truck for $6500.  1933 saw the coming of the Public Works Administration which greatly accelerated road and drainage work, River dredging was also done, 171 men were employed that year.  This WPA help lasted until 1942 when the war effort provided many jobs and the program was discontinued.  By 1930 the department had permanent men and paid $5654 in wages.  By the year 1940 the state provided aid to modernize roads.  This aid is provided to the present and is known as Chapter 90.  There were no Highway Surveyor reports in the annual reports until Russell T. Hart became surveyor.  He served from 1971 to 1990 and experienced the first reduction in funding when the 2½ tax cap was felt by the Department in 1980.

 

At present, (1995) the Department is operating with a reduced force from its peak of 18 permanent men in 1980.  Its level funded budget has restricted its need for purchasing of capital items such as: trucks, backhoes, etc.  Surveyor Paul Pereira has applied for an override of the 2½ tax limit, in the form of Election Ballot Exclusions.  The 1995 election denied the exclusion requests.  It is a certainty that budget constraints will continue to plague this department as well as others.  The State mandated Education funding is restricting the budgets of all the other town services.

 

YEAR       HIGHWAY SURVEYOR              BUDGET     SURVEYOR

SALARY

1900             Peleg S. Sanford Jr.    10,000                  0

1910             Robert A. Gifford      20,600                  0

1920             Charles S. Haskell      71,000            1875

1930             Charles S. Haskell      58,000            2200

1940             Charles S. Haskell       44000            1500

1950             Elton C. Tripp              51000            2600

1961             Zulmino Rodrigues    164000            4600

1970             Frederick Cambra      171000            9000

1980             Russell T. Hart           444000          18741

1990             Russell T. Hart           622287          36626

1993             Paul T. Pereira           624000          39007

 

 

SECTION NO. 13H

REVIEW OF THE SMALLER OFFICES; DUTIES, CONTRIBUTIONS AND LIFESPANS

 

All of the lesser government functions contribute to the welfare of the town.  Town functioning would be adversely affected without the diligent discharge of their respective duties.

 

Auditors.  This board was in effect at the beginning of the Century.  Its charge was to oversee the financial record keeping of all town offices and provide a report to the town meeting.  There were many discrepancies uncovered, usually of a minor nature, mostly honest mistakes.  They were easily rectified.  One exception was that of Charles H. Gifford in 1928.  Mr. Gifford was treasurer and collector of taxes.  His personal use of town funds was discovered and an exhaustive auditing was required to establish the magnitude of this  illegal activity.  The Board of Auditors was succeeded by the Town Accountant during the late 1920’s.  Elmer B. Manchester was appointed in 1929 and held the position until 1966.  Katherine Benoit is the present accountant.  The town’s books are subject to periodic review from state inspectors.  The auditors and Accountant are appointed by the Board of Selectmen on a yearly basis.

 

Assessors.  This Board consists of three persons.  It was in effect at the turn of the Century and it still functions with three people.  Their duties are to assess taxes on Real and Personal property.  This office has grown in response to the increasing complexities of their duties.  The recent advent of 100% market valuations has defined the methods of performing this duty.  Their Annual Report provides insight into the town’s growth.  This is an elected Board for three year terms.

 

Town Clerk.  This three year term elected position was in existence in 1900.  Its most notable office holders were Edward L. Macomber who served from 1898 to 1951, and Elmer B. Manchester from 1951 to 1974.  Town Clerks are the keepers of Town records, issue permits and licenses and serve as a member of the Board of Registrars.  Marlene Sampson is the present clerk.  It is noteworthy that Elmer B. was also Accountant from 1929 to 1966.

 

Registrars of Voters.  This three member Board  is appointed by the Selectmen.  They assist the Town Clerk who is automatically a Registrar.  Their duties are to insure proper voter registration, direct the operation of the polls during elections and oversee town meeting attendance and balloting procedures.

 

Overseers of the Poor and Welfare Board.  Concern for the poor is evident in the earliest town reports.  In 1900 this concern had been translated into a well established structure.  Appropriations maintained an Almshouse at the present poor farm site which was then referred to as the town farm.  Aid was dispensed from this site.  The 1901 report gives 10 receiving aid in, and 22 others out of the Almshouse, appropriation was $3000.  The town farm was rented to David A. King.  Almshouse inmates who were able helped with the Farm chores.  A three person board of overseers decided who would get aid and the amount of that aid.  During 1928 the Board was renamed Board of Public Welfare.  More rules and state aid were enacted throughout the years.   Two of the most notable members of both Boards were Samuel A. Boan (Boan Farm) and Roby C. Burt, wife of Dr. Burt, both prominent members of the community.  Their reputation of thriftiness, and long tenure, is still remembered by many.  In 1954, the Board dispensed aid for General Welfare, Aid to Dependent Children, Disability Assistance, and Old Age Assistance.  The Board of Public Welfare was terminated in 1967 when the State took over their function.  The Poor Farm site was also used as an infirmary from the late 1920’s to 1956 which provided much aid to convalescents who could not afford hospital care.  There is an interesting story, told by Frank De Andrade, about an Almshouse resident one “Birdie” Peckham.  Being somewhat retarded Birdie was not able to provide for himself and therefore was a long term resident.  He was asked by the Town Farm Supervisor to clean the Barn, a task the superintendent felt did not require supervision.  When he returned he discovered that Birdie had taken all harnesses, tools and equipment and disposed of them through the manure disposal trap door.  An event which allowed Birdie many leisure hours in the following years.

 

Miscellaneous Boards and Officers.  Many administrative and regulatory functions are self explanatory.  Most are listed below along with their time of tenure.  They all contributed to the town’s welfare in various ways and were staffed by dedicated townspeople.  Focused and specialized committees were appointed beginning in the early 1970’s and increasing in number to a veritable crescendo during the 1990’s.  The listing does not enumerate such committees but does cover offices of administrative rather than advisory nature.

 

Some dates are approximate due to sketchiness of some records.

 

 

Office                                                          Start              End

Cemetery Superintendent                     Prior to 1900  Continuing

Treasurer                                                         “                   “

Collector of Taxes                                          “                   “

Fish Commissioners                                       “                   “

Library Trustees                                             “                   “

Librarian                                                         “                   “

Constables                                                      “                   “

Landing Commission                                     “                   “

Fence Viewers                                                “                   “

Drawtender Point Bridge                               “                1963

Tree Warden                                                   “                1980

Sealer of Weights and Measures                    “                   “

Surveyors of Lumber

and Measurers of Wood & Bark               “                1957

Field Drivers                                                  “                1923

Inspector of Animals                                      “           Continuing

Forest Firewarden                                          “                1911

Superintendent of Town Farm                       “                1935

Janitor of Town Hall                                      “           Continuing

Slaughter Inspector                                     1912             1970

Milk Inspector                                              916              1937

Conservation Commission                          1967        Continuing

Soil Board                                                   1967        Continuing

Planning Board                                           1956        Continuing

Public Weighers                                          1912        Continuing

Forest Warden                                            1912             1973

Moth Superintendent                                  1914             1973

Dog Pound Keeper                                     1920             1923

Town Counsel                                             1937        Continuing

Dog Officer                                                1937        Continuing

Veterans Agent                                           1937        Continuing

Gas Inspector                                              1965        Continuing

Wire Inspector                                            1957        Continuing

Wharfinger                                                  1955        Continuing

Council on Aging                                        1972        Continuing

Board of Appeals                                        1961        Continuing

Historical Commission                                1973        Continuing

Personnel Board                                          1968        Continuing

Rations Board                                             1973             1981

Regional School Committee                       1967        Continuing

Housing Authority                                      1969        Continuing

Board of Commissioners of Trust Funds    1976        Continuing

Selectmen Administrative Assistant           1976        Continuing

Civil Defense Director                                1971        Continuing

Harbormaster                                              1947        Continuing

Plumbing Inspector                                     1978        Continuing

Board of Survey                                         1960        Continuing

 

For reference the fiscal 1996 budget breakdown is listed below.  The figures are from early March 1995 preliminary submittals and may not be exactly as voted at subsequent town meetings.

 

Expenses

Salaries of Elected Officials                                      205,488

Salaries of 152 Town Employees                            3,913,042

Salaries of 241 School Employees                          8,046,398

 

Budget Articles                                                       1,241,500

Warrant Articles                                                      1,332,000

Insurance                                                                 1,145,000

 

Retirement                                                                 642,273

 

Expenses (assuming level funding)                         1,416,518

Reserve                                                                      249,354

2½ Limit Total                                                      16,047,985

 

Revenues

Taxation                                                                10,274,640

Receipts from fees and licenses                              1,812,300

State Aid                                                                 3,511,924

Free Cash                                                                   300,000

Available Funds                                                         149,121

16,047,985

 

An interesting deduction can be made from the statistics provided.

 

Fiscal Year 96 school budget when all relevant costs are included except for the school debt.

approximately                                                     $10,000,000

 

Divided by the number of students,

approximately 1800

 

Cost per student, including state aid;                           $5555

 

Valuation required to defray cost of 1 child in the system

$5555 ¸ 9.00/1000 (approximate tax rate) = $617,000

 

Since each dwelling is occupied by approximately 0.4 children attending Westport Schools

617,000 multiplied by 0.4 = 246,800

 

Therefore a household valuation of $247,000 will cover the cost of schooling for that household’s contribution of one child to the school system.  Since school costs are approximately 63% of the total budget, the valuation must be increased by 37% to cover the cost of other town services or $338,116.

 

The tax burden is shared among 8100 separate billings

 

16,047,000 ¸ 8100 = $1980 per tax bill

 

which equates to a valuation of 1980 ¸ 8.80 = $225,000.

 

This lower valuation from 338,000 to 220,000 is indicative of taxed entities which do not contribute children to the school system.  These are businesses, families without children, vacant lands or personal property taxations.  Good town planning should consider promoting these tax categories instead of high density residential development.

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 15

SUMMARY OF WESTPORT STATISTICS AT THE END OF THE CENTURY

 

Geographic

Land Area:                               53 square miles, 33,900 acres

Water Area:                                                            3325 acres

West River:                                 1238 acres, 228 acres marsh

283,750,000 cubic feet water volume

East River:                                                             1987 acres

775 acres marshland

357,568,000 cubic feet water volume

State Beach:                                                             321 acres

Pond Areas:                                        1800 acres (estimated)

Town Lands:                                                           670 Acres

Conservation Restricted Land:                                280 acres

Agricultural Preservation Restricted:                       938 acres

Developed Roads:                              140 miles, (665 acres)

Developed Land:                                              3696 acres *

Development Restricted Areas:                           200 acres Ø

Undevelopable Land:                                        2000 acres n

Wetland area (approx.):                                   10,000 acres x

Remaining for build out (approx.):                     10,000 acres

No. lots available for build out:

10000¸2= approximately 5000 build-able lots

(2 acres/lot including roads)

Farming

Dairy Farms:                                                                       15

Dairy Cows:                                                                    3000

Beef Cows:                                                                       400

Horses:                                                                              300

Farm Parcels:                             170 chapter 61A Farm Land

 

Government

Board of Selectmen, Town meeting

State Representative, Edward Lambert

State Senator, Thomas C. Norton

Federal Representative, Peter Blute

District Attorney, Paul Walsh

 

Primary In-Town Occupations

Farming, fishing, motor vehicle sales and repairs, variety of service related businesses, restaurants, tourism, manufacturing.

 

Civic Organizations

Veterans:  American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled America Veterans, Viet Nam Veterans.

 

Civic:

 

 

Watuppa Grange, Noquochoke Grange, Masons, Lions, Westport Business to Business, Westport River Watershed Alliance, Westport Farmers Association, Westport Fisherman’s Association, Westport Women’s Club

Zoning:  Residential, Commercial and Unrestricted

 

Health Care

Board of Health, Nursing Department, private practices of doctors and dentists, Westport Apothecary

 

Population

The 1993 population was 13,485, 261 persons per square mile

 

Schools

Westport Community Schools, K – 12

 

Valuation

The Fiscal Year 94 valuation was $1,107,918,323.

 

Budget Fiscal Year 96 (Preliminary)

$16,047,000   Total

10,000,000   Schools

642,000   Pensions

1,016,000   Insurance

Boats

In 1993, there were 980 boats berthed in Westport.

 

Cars

There were 15,600 cars in 1993.  Three per household.

 

Age of the Population

20% of the population is over 60.

 

Churches

Two Catholic

Three Protestants

 

Roads

Approximately 160 miles

 

Assessment Classification

Item                                                        No.               Value

1 Family dwellings                                4707        830,254,043

Condominiums                                        14              2,783,400

Miscellaneous Residential                      150           52,200,900

2 Family Dwellings                                246           38,553,100

3 Family Dwellings                                 14              2,386,000

4 or more family dwellings                     26              5,577,400

Vacant Land                                         1165          78,210,700

 

 

Open Space                                            218             4,676,200

Commercial                                            248           64,048,300

Industrial                                                 20              4,859,600

Forest Chapter 61                                   16                 189,660

Agricultural Chapter 61A                      227             7,315,845

Recreational Chapter 61B                       15              4,890,100

Mixed, commercial/residential                20              3,554,300

Personal property                                   990           22,161,383

Exempt                                                                   78,419,800

TOTAL VALUATION                                    1,121,600,931

 

*    Assumes ½ of road frontage to be developed in ½ acre plots of 100 feet frontage as an average.

 

140 miles = 739201 feet of frontage

½ developed, 70 miles = 369601 feet of frontage.

369,601 ÷ 100 = 7392  lots

at ½ acre per lot = 3696 acres.

 

s    Devol, Sawdy, S. Watuppa, Quicksand, miscellaneous small ponds scattered throughout town.

 

Ø   Land in vicinity of water bodies.  Estimated to be approximately ¼ area of water bodies, and non-taxable land.

 

n   Ledge or land locked parcels or economically impractical to develop.

 

X   Estimated to be ½ of area available for development.  ½ of 20,000 acres or 10,000 acres.

Note:  Exhaustive statistical information can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Westport information is contained in Tables 1 through 4 of number 1990 CPH_L_83

 

 

 

SECTION NO. 16

SYNOPSIS OF THE MAJOR ISSUES AND PROBLEMS FACING WESTPORT AT THE END OF THE CENTURY

 

  1. Budgetary and Funding.

 

Using budget figures the proposed budgets for Fiscal Year 96 (July 1, 1995 to July 1, 1996) is $16,047,985. This figure is the 2½ tax limit mandated by state law for Westport.  Additional budget requirements of approximately $780,000 were proposed and defeated.  A rough breakdown follows:

 

16,047,985   2½ limit

–    3,511,924   anticipated state funding

12,536,061

–    1,961,421   Receipts, free cash, available funds

10,574,640   raised by taxation.

This tax burden is shared by 7059 real estate entities and 995 personal property entities.  Personal property revenues are $198,000.  Tax burden is approximately 10,376,640 ¸ 7059 = $1470, average property tax burden for each parcel other than personal property.

The cost of schooling approximately 1800 children is about $10.0 million when all pertinent costs are added.  This is offset by about $2.0 million of state aid for schools which equates to a town cost of roughly $8,000,000.00, or $4444 per pupil.  Dividing $4444 by the tax rate, $8.80/1000, 4667 ¸ 8.88 = 525, this is the valuation required in thousands, for taxation to cover the costs of one child in the school system.  It is obvious that a large influx of relatively low valuation housing units could have a drastic effect on the town’s already strained economics.  The directions taken by the Planning Board will greatly affect this problem.

Considering that only $6,000,000 is left in the treasury after subtracting salaries from the total budget and insurance costs are $1,000,000 only $5,000,000 remain available to defray the expense costs of approximately 56 departments and line items.

The above indicate a permanent need from debt exclusions or overrides on a yearly basis.  This is causing and will continue to cause disagreements, divisions and much hardship on segments of the population whose income is not keeping up with inflation.  Town finances are certain to be one of the major issues and the solution will not be simple or quick.  It is obvious that the financial dilemma must be solved before the town’s infrastructure needs can be addressed.

 

The figures used are from the preliminary budget submittals for Fiscal Year 96.  The actual 96 budget figures may differ slightly but the magnitude of the problem is essentially unchanged.

 

  1. Infra-Structure

 

At the end of the century, Westport town buildings are generally adequate to house its various departments.  But many of them need extensive repairs.  The budget shortfalls have prevented effecting the repairs in a timely manner.  Exclusions have been used to pay for some emergency repairs and more exclusions are in the offing to continue this much needed task.

 

Restoration of the Earle school, directed by a volunteer committee began in earnest in 1993 and is continuing at present.  Most of this work was done at no expense to the town and is now performed and coordinated by the Community Center Committee.  These efforts have permitted the use of the school as a Town Hall Annex to provide much needed space for departments who had outgrown their quarters.

 

Repairs and updates to the Town Hall will be done with funding obtained from a federal grant.  The grant was obtained in early 1995, through the efforts of Congressman Peter Blute .  These updates will make the town hall handicapped accessible and will bring it in conformance with the law.

 

The Federal grant obtained through the efforts of Congressman Blute also provided funding for the conversion of the abandoned Head School to a Senior Center.

 

Continuing the needed repairs and updates will remain a major problem.  It is unlikely that federal funding will continue to be adequate to assume this burden.

 

 

 

Capital items such as equipment and vehicle replacements and upgrades to new technology will also be hampered by budget shortfalls.

 

Much needed pollution abatement measures will not be possible without Federal and State funding such as:

  1. Water along Route 6
  2. Water branching to areas adjacent to Route 6
  3. Localized water supply for isolated congested areas such as the Point
  4. Localized sewage treatment for isolated congested areas where high pollution exists
  5. Sewage along Route 6 with branching to adjacent areas
  6. Stormwater run-off filtration
  7. Clean-up of localized pollution sources

 

Items 1 and 2 are the most pressing due to the Davis Rd contaminated water problem.

 

  1. Town Economic Trends

 

In 1995, most of Westport’s citizens are economically capable of maintaining their homes.  Some are at the lower end of the economic scale bordering on the poverty level, an appreciable amount are at the upper end of the scale and the majority are working and middle class.  Obviously Westport’s economic well being is highly dependent on the financial health of the surrounding area as well as that of the Region and County.  World influences such as oil shortages and wars also have an effect.  There is no local control of these external events, neighborly cooperation is the best and only alternative to getting by in rough times.  This has been a great help in the past.  Hopefully it will continue.  At the local level changes in farming are unlikely to harm the overall economic contribution of that activity.  However, regulations related to farming will have to be worked out carefully to prevent a reversal of Westport’s farming prominence.

 

The decline of fishing stocks is bound to have an effect on our local fleet.  Promoting the fleets welfare will require maintenance of adequate dock space and periodic dredging to allow safe transit between the docks and the ocean.  Continuing the clean-up of pollution sources to reduce the coliform counts in the Rivers will promote more shellfishing time which is likely to deplete the shellfish resources.  A shellfish management plan is long overdue and should be given high priority.

 

Much of Westport’s revenue is derived from businesses and some industry.  Future regulations will need to be carefully crafted to preserve this tax base and promote its expansion.

 

Overtaxation of the residential tax base, the source of most of the towns revenues will be a continuing danger.  This is sure to cause much hardship on the segments of the population who are on fixed incomes or at the lower levels of the economic ladder.  This dilemma will continue to be a source of major problems in the future.

 

Promoting a bigger business tax base is highly desirable but will prove to be largely unsuccessful due to the competitive advantage of our neighbors.  Fall River, New Bedford and Dartmouth have all made extensive investments and are well established in this area.  Finding a suitable niche while not impossible will border on the unachievable.

 

The unpredictable events of the next century, driven by a mushrooming world overpopulation and dwindling resources will undoubtedly bring many changes and hardships to Westport.

 

  1. Protection of Waterways, Rivers and Ponds

 

The importance of the town’s waterbodies to our well-being cannot be overstated.  Past and present water pollution problems in the South Watuppa Pond and the Rivers will continue to require intelligent remediation measures.  Vigilance and enforcement of rules and regulations will continue to be necessary to prevent further deterioration.  Present measurements showing decreasing pollution levels indicate a possible reversal.  But the final solution is not likely to ever be attained due to the extent of the Watershed areas, the volumes of water involved and the development within the watershed.  Dredging of the Rivers and Ponds is necessary to their usage.  Vast areas of our water bodies, particularly our rivers are in the process of becoming swamps and bogs, primarily due to siltation.  Many argue that this is a natural process and it should not be prevented.  Bearing in mind that man’s excesses over the last few hundred years, have accelerated a natural process which might otherwise have taken thousands of years, dredging of selected areas to allow safe and pleasurable usage could be considered as a reversal of man folly.  Use of dredging spoils to enhance farmland has been widely used in Europe and the Netherlands with great success.  Due to its cost. controversial nature and necessity this issue will certainly generate much disagreement in the future.  A cooperative decision making process will be the only solution to accomplishment in this area.

 

Another major need of legislation for our Rivers is a plan to manage their use and resources.  The damage caused to the Rivers by the hundreds of boats demands regulation which is long overdue.  The sediment suspension caused by propeller wash, as well as high energy imparted to the water, has to be a major cause of destruction to shellfish, and other larvae suspended in the water column.  This could be a major cause for the failures of shellfish self-replenishment.  A coordinated management plan which considers the needs of shellfish, finfish, self replenishment, siltation and recreational needs is long overdue and needs to be developed in the near future.

 

  1. Management of the Town’s Growth

 

This subject necessitates enactment of various zoning by-laws.  In 1995, the town’s zoning economically limits new home construction to person in the middle or higher levels of the economic ladder.  Prior zoning or the lack of it, had permitted entry of working class citizens housed in homes of lower valuation.  The present result is a fairly good mix of all economic levels with the potential for future imbalance.  Enactment of future by-laws which do not consider future impacts on the poorer segments of our population could cause much conflict and hardships.  The directions taken by the Planning Board will become increasingly important to the town’s welfare.

 

  1. Governmental Structure Considerations

 

Our Town’s Government method has not changed for centuries, and until fairly recent times, citizen participation from a wide segment of voters promoted its effectiveness.  During the last two decades there has been increasing factorization of voter participation.  Some of this split is along economic lines, but mostly it is a reflection of differences of opinions between persons who have come to town during this period and those who were here previously.  The traditional view of neighbors, being citizens of a community where the philosophy is “we’re all in this together, let’s work out our differences”, has vanished.  It has been replaced with a tolerance and endorsement for persecution of neighbors by Town Officials.  The quick condemnation of people who have served the town for long period , as well as ridiculing of their decisions, is a new wave in Westport government.  Assimilation of new population has never brought such consternation.  Hopefully, these conflicts will be resolved in the near future so the town can move forward and tackle its real problems.  One of the main causes

 

 

of conflicts has been the large number of officials elected by plurality rather than majority.   The result is that some office holders have been elected by roughly one-third of those who voted and less than 20% of all voters.  Without the need to respond to majority consensus such office holders follow minority agendas, thereby generating conflict rather than cooperation.

 

Another result of factionalizing has been the stacking of Town meetings by various groups, depending on the issue at hand.  Apathy of the electorate is mostly to blame for this deleterious condition.  The results are disastrous, economically and in the conduct of the Town’s affairs.  The outcome is a decision making process which favors factions and does not consider the common needs.

 

There is no easy remedy for these problems.  But, for the common good, the town should consider some of the means available to minimize these problems.  For example:

  1. A representative Charter Commission
  2. A representative Town Meeting
  3. More representative government, such as one selectmen from each precinct
  4. A Run-off election process to insure majority representation.

 

 

SECTION NO. 17

CONCLUSION

 

Scheduled to meet a fall 1995 publishing date dictated the necessity to bring this project to closure during mid-March 1995.  The interim months being required for typing, proofreading, editing, rearranging and final printing.

 

The idea for this book started over two years ago.  Most of my available spare time during the interim months has been spent in the review of over one hundred town reports, culling and organizing information, compiling and extrapolating data.  All of this work was done with the objective of providing the reader with a detailed historical perspective of our Town’s evolution during the Century.  The main purpose of providing this perspective is the hope that future discussions concerning our Town’s directions will be tempered with the knowledge and values of its past.

 

The closure deadline brought apprehension that this work might not be complete.  A great amount of information was not judged to be crucial to achieving the purpose of this book.  Other writers may have had different opinions or chosen to highlight history in a different manner.  The reader’s indulgence in allowing differing views, is respectfully requested.

 

 

My part of this book was the easier one since it dealt mostly with factual information.  My co-author, Carmen Maiocco, had the most arduous task of dealing with the nuances of history.  Having realized after starting this project that this task required talents for which I was not particularly well suited, I was very grateful that Carmen agreed to contribute his artistic abilities to this composite work.

 

Claude A. Ledoux                                                                              March 1995.

 

The submittal is with fond hope that present and future readers will find valuable historical value from these hours of toil and that some readers may choose to investigate specific subjects in more detail.

 

Sincerely,

Claude Ledoux

 

 

ADDENDUMS TO THE 1995 PUBLICATION

  

SECTION NO. 5

ABBREVIATED CHRONOLOGICAL REVIEW OF EVENTS WHICH HAVE SHAPED THE TOWN’S EVOLUTION AND THE LIFE OF ITS CITIZENS DURING THE 1900’S. (Additional information to original SECTION No.5)

 

                                                                         EFFECTS of   ROUTE 88

 

1956 to 1958. Construction of Route 88, its major geographical impacts and long lasting effects that changed Westport’s character. Triggered many major administrative responses that determined the 2018 Westport make up. The most significant event of the last century for Westport.

 

From Claude Ledoux MEMO, 7-26, 27-2015. About Rt 88 Changes to Westport discussion of 9-16-2015

 

Since our immigration to a small Mouse Mill farm in 1949 I have been intimately involved with the farms and affairs of our Town. Rt.88 grabbed a small portion of our land. During my life I have watched, documented and continue to experience the lasting effects of changes caused by 88 related effects and events.

Here’s a condensed short list:

*Approval of Rt 88 was influenced by W. Point, Main and Sanford Rd. residents who were overwhelmed with the heavy seasonal traffic disruptions.

Land speculators and developers organized local and State powers to gain financial approvals.

Outside approval was spurred by politicians who rallied people with “public, cheap, easy Beach access”.

*88 Knifed through Westport open lands and Farms. Eight Farms from Rt. 6 to 177 ( slides A and B , slide A has a short list of Gifford Road developers) on only ONE side of Gifford Rd. Main, Sanford, Drift and other Rds. had about 40 more open lands and farms that suffered breakups (accompanying maps 1 thru 6). This 12 miles split destroyed Westport’s Pastoral continuity. Interactions dealing with cows, animals, milk, machinery, employment, Milk transportation, farm businesses, fraternal organizations and land use were terminated or drastically affected. School Agricultural programs suffered.

About Slide A: 1- Gifford Rd. drain on 88 side all drifts to 88, thence to Mouse Mill Drainage.

2- Sanford rd. side of 88 ultimately developed into numerous small vineyards accessed via

Sullivan Lane, fought for by Goldstein Farms. Also drains to Mouse Mill Pond.

3- The Costas moved their operations to Horseneck Rd, where the Brewery now stands.

They were later rejected when they applied for Conservation Restrictions funds to help                                                     keep the Farm above water. They sold the lands cheap and subsequent Brewery owners obtained                     the financial help denied to the Costas.

 

* Uncontrolled development spurred by cheap land availability from now unused farms started a major development spurt from about 1965 to the mid-1980’s. This surge promoted constant myriad new Laws and regulations to deal with was essentially uncontrolled growth in 1969, many just ineffective kneejerk reactions.

*In addition to pastoral and demographic changes 88 affected the Town’s environment. Town drainage patterns were affected over the whole length (12 Miles) of 88. Accelerating Stormwater volumes and velocities, contributing to the very noticeable changes in the health of the Rivers and streams since the Marine Fisheries 1968 scientific Rivers study, done at a time when the full effects of 88 were just beginning to be noticeable. Stormwaters meandering thru woods, wetlands and ponds were now channeled for quick run-off to Streams and Rivers. (Slides 1 thru 6 track land and drainage disruptions over the length of 88).

Blow-ups of 88 drainage clearly show thousands of acres of meandering waters now blocked or channeled for fast flows. Drainage effects of 88 and Dams destruction continue to be cause of most Rivers Stormwater issues.

*NOTE; It would be important to insure the present Master Plan Buildout consider most of the interrupted lands are not developable including those that have been cut off by wetlands that cannot be breached.

 

Highly noticeable immediate effects of 88. We watched as the new accelerated floods destroyed muskrat houses, continuously overtopped our Mouse Mill Dam spillway and flooded downstream lands. Simultaneously related to 88 a State decision forced us to destroy our treasured Mouse mill Pond and we watched sadly as the same edict caused the destruction of the Trout and Mill Ponds, dooming the East River to speedy filling with rampant pollution and sediment. Evidence confirmed by old time upper River fishermen and visible by present conditions up to and beyond Hixbridge. The WFA has advanced initiatives to destroy the Forge dam, this without attendant safeguards to deal with untold tons of sediment trapped by that dam up to Lake Noquochoke.

 

The vast watershed areas occupied by rights of way (ROW) of all major roads; 177, 6, 88 (ROW=350 feet, about 660 acres.) and 195 drastically affect all of Westport’s pollution and sediment issues. None were as destructive to the Rivers as 88.

The expensive (shelved) 1980’s BU and GHR studies confirmed Stormwater to be the major source of Rivers sediment and pollution of all types. 400 or so Stormwater outfalls continue to be largely ignored by environmental groups in favor of windmill chases that prioritize their funding over attacking the real issues.

Most problems associated with watersheds other than the Rivers have been ignored in Town problem solving priorities set by environmental groups instead of Town consensus. Thousands of Westport citizens have not been represented in the decision making process. The Committees and Boards cognizant over these remedies and problems are controlled by a cabal of Water and Sewer promoters (See article 28 of 2004 Town Meeting). This coalition of  ”environmental” organizations, developers and local promoters stands ready to spring this proposal on the Town, likely as a mandate from DEP. Adding an untold financial burden on top of the recent 2018 New school $60 Millions.

 

*Another mostly forgotten effect of 88 and Horseneck beach takeover was the eviction of all residents of Gooseberry Island along with all Horseneck residents. 88 and eviction of thousands of people were tied at the hip events and should be evaluated as related entities. A large volume of evicted families relocated themselves along the Rivers, especially East River. Absent of controls high density developments with cesspool disposal, on 2000 S.F. or less lots spread like wildfire (ex. Petty heights) and are now spot contributors to River pollution with no easy solutions. This condition was/ and had been widely replicated thousands of times along the Watuppa, Sawdy, Devol Ponds and other Town areas, including Westport Point.

 

 

 

 

*Intensive enactment of New Rules, regulations and laws during the early 1970’s was motivated by uncontrolled development spurred by Rt. 88 farms destruction. Major changes in Town demographics occurred during this development period (late 1950’s to 1980’s). Small lot working class family homes eventually evolved to more upscale populations, a result of early 1970’s enactment of numerous rules, regulations and laws, actions that determined Town growth conditions in which I was heavily involved as a Planning Board Member. In 1970 the Town was at a pivotal point, changes in direction are documented in the 1972 Master Plan and in Records of the years, 1970-1975. Momentous times of fully loaded TM’s and votes on multitude controversial issues. The Town’s directions were reset and dictated future laws and regulations that set the Town’s present status. The progression is noticeable on the accompanying blowups by observing lot size changes vs time.

 

*Wood removal to clear the 88 construction way provided income for many in the form of Pulpwood removal. The trees had to be cut in four foot lengths that were loaded on trucks and driven to the Anawan Pulpmill in East Providence. Here “Mr Brightman” (founder of Brightman Sawmills operation) assigned where to stack the wood, sometimes in piles up to 12 feet high.  Pay was by the ton weight, each ton six dollars cash after stacking. Weight in weight out. This involved cutting with 35 pound chainsaws, when combined with the handling of some pieces that weighted a couple of hundred pounds this caused “knuckles to drag the ground”, mine still are. No job was ever too hard after this.

 

Now for two interesting but relatively unimportant effects of the old bridge to Horseneck removal. Each stares us in the face daily but the subtle reality escapes us.

1 Old bridge steel pilings next to Lees Market, near the end of the short “town Landing”. Reference Slide

  1. The pilings had always supported the bridge which was intimately adjacent to the Market and

together with the topping provided desirable shelter for a select number of boats.

When the State contracted to remove all of the old unused Bridge remnants Mrs. Lees

recognized this could have drastic effects on the Warf building and successfully sued to preserve

pilings adjacent to her building where they are still used successfully.

One for the Gipper????

2 Now go to Slide 8. This a bit more of a puzzle and involves the Old Bridge exit onto Bridge Street

having always been intimately adjacent to the long series of buildings now occupied by the Back

Eddy. Now nearly 200 feet of Bridge street is home to storage containers and private parking.

So far I have not had the inclination or desire to determine if Bridge Street is considered a Town

Landing, public or private Road.

 

There is more exhaustive documentation pertaining to all of the above subjects.

Claude A. Ledoux

References:

1972 Master Plan.

1969 Study “opening the let”

1968 “ W. Rivers scientific study”

  1. 2015 Talk on MEP 3
  2. 2015 Farms talk
  3. 2014 Farms memo
  4. 2014 Bus. To Bus. Talk.

 

ADDENDUM TO SECTION NO. 8

Farming Activities changes 1960’s to 2018

A demise triggered by the late 1050’s Route 88 construction.

( Includes remaining Buildout estimate)

 

NOTE: The statistics listed are a few years old but the intervening changes are negligible in terms of their effects on the conclusions estimates.

 

MEMO                                                                        September 13, 2013

To:        Planning Board

From:    Claude Ledoux

Subject: Some considerations for Master Plan Committee

CC:        BOS, Westport Water Resources Committee

 

I noted in The Chronicle that the Planning Board will conduct a hearing on September 25, 2013 to consider directions for the presently seated Master Plan Committee. I regret that I will not be able to attend the meeting due to an out of Town commitment on that day. I thank the committee for the opportunity to comment and submit the following for your considerations:

 

  • Here is an excerpt from an email by Selectman Vieira.

Please note the magnitude of Tax Exempt properties. 6.5% of Westport’s roughly 31,000 Acres equates to nearly 2000 acres. This number is part of Westport permanently protected, non-developable lands.

According to the Mass Dept of Revenue in their FY2011 Municipal Data Book, Westport now has $210,383,870 in tax exempt property. The Westport Land Trust has the names of people from Westport that turned over land under conservation restrictions to the Land Trust outright and thereby taking the land off the tax rolls. They are listed in their publications.

Westport and Dartmouth were seen by some to be doing a lot of CR. transfers in the last 10 years. There is a breakdown of church owned property vs. land trust properties and I recall the land trust amount and numbers to be impressive in comparison. If I can find that I will pass it on. It was probably on the Dept. of Revenue website.

Westport though has 6.5% of its land tax exempted and Dartmouth has 9.6%. By comparison Rehoboth is at 3.7% and Middleboro 9.3% Westport average tax bill is $2,610 with the state average at $4,538 for the average tax bill. There are 5,656 parcels being taxed in Westport. Most recently parcels owned by Eleanor Tripp, the Russell, and Rev Lawrence under Conservations Restrictions were deeded to the Westport Land Trust and came off the tax rolls.

CR’s  (Conservation Restrictions) benefit the folks interested in tax exemptions and the land trust in long term planning at the expense of the remaining taxpayers.

Tony V.

 

  • Comments related to Westport’s projected Buildout and its effects on MEP Report extrapolated future Nitrogen impact predictions especially those related to Agriculture. Claude Ledoux

Faulty derivation of Westport Agricultural Acreage Nitrogen contribution MEP (estuaries) future impact planning.

 

As part of Westport’s buildout estimate, Page 38 of the MEP report states that a review of Westport’s active agricultural sites was derived from Estuaries Committee members. Review of Crops usage and Animal Counts was included and estimated to be “not exhaustive”. MEP Staff then supplemented the data with Assessor’s codes and a review of “Arial Photographs”.  A 65% crop area was assigned to all parcels with Agricultural use. Crop loading rates were based on 1995 values, numbers long outdated and not realistic.

It is absolutely necessary that ALL future buildout values be accurate in order to optimize accuracy of future planning

 

Land use categories outlined in the graph of MEP Page 33 were based on Assessors’ classifications. My past attempts to use this data showed that use of this system does not permit accurate extent of Agricultural and/or other categories usage. Here are some conclusions that lead to that determination:

A-Extensive acreage of the Town’s roads network, 1537 Acres, are not included. See attached Buildout.

B-Listed Forest acreage is about 4% of our land area, 1200 Acres, this is not in agreement with Chapter 61 classification amount.

C- Agricultural acreage is estimated at 5100 acres, this number approximates APR and 61A classification amounts but does not include all agricultural lands.

 

The major errors in estimating the real Acreage values for C is the lack of subtracting the Wetlands areas in agricultural category. Wetlands are not farmed and actually perform N filtering functions. Accurate Wetland values are not available because each parcel’s Wetland delineation has never been done, its not a requirement for Chapter 61, 61A or 61B classifications and has not been done by the Conservation Commission for chapter qualifications.

 

Also, a review of the demise of Westport Farming does not justify that agricultural N impact occurs over an area of 5100 Acres. See my memo of November 5, 2012 to the Water Resources Committee (WRC), attached.

 

I unsuccessfully questioned MEP buildout estimates published in 2-10-12 after doing a back of the napkin summary of the Town’s permanently protected lands and found the estimates to be unrealistic. I include my updated estimate below.

 

BUILDOUT ATTACHMENT

Westport protected (non developable) land area.                                Refined and updated 9-14-13

1-From Assessors records:                                

Code   Acres

6000      6690  Ch.61     Forestry        Town has first buy out priority

8000      277    Ch. 61B   Recreational            Town has first buy out priority

7000    3703    ch.61A     Agriculture,           Town has first buy out priority

 

Total chapter lands = 10,680 Acres

 

 2-Summary of  lands:

Town lands     1563  acres    Tax Exempt

US land                       1.3 Acres        Tax Exempt

WLCT lands   827.5  Acres. Tax Exempt. by donations

9250 (CR’s)    1065 acres     Conservation  Restrictions. Private ownership (taxed as chapter Lands?)

APR lands       1900 acres

State lands      618.5 acres.

Fall-River lands           287.4 Acres.

Non Developable        1362 acres     Assessors records, code 1320

Wetlands         1934 acres     Note: State wetlands value is 6684 acres, this equates to 0.2111 acres of wetlands per

Town land acres. So, for this non-developable acreages of 9162, wetlands = 1934 acres.

That leaves 4750 acres of wetlands to be subtracted from all other lands. ***

Roads network            1537 acres

Total 2012 acres not developable:  11,266 acres

NOT INCLUDED: FEMA flood storage areas, Historic areas, 200 feet buffers around Vernal Pools, wellhead protection areas.

Determination of the actual Buildout value.

Starting from 2004 Master Plan statistics:

(Total Town 31,658 acres) (-) (MP Buildable acres 17,739 acres) = (13,919 acres already developed in ‘04)

(13,919 acres already developed in ’04) (/) (Tax entities in 2004, 8091) = (1.7 Acres per entity)

 

Extrapolating to 2012

Using the ’04 1.7 acres per tax entity.

(Tax entities in 2012, 8751) @ (1.7 Acres per) = (15,054 acres developed in 2012)

(31,658 total acres) (-) (15,054 already developed) = (16,604 remaining buildable acres)

(Buildable acres 16,604) (-) (3505 acres attributable to wetlands) = (13,099 developable acres.

(13,099 Developable acres.) (-) (11,266 non-developable acres (above)) = (1833 developable acres available for development)

 

So, Buildout equals 1833 Acres

Claude A. Ledoux                  10-2-2011

 

*** In conclusion, buildout cannot be exactly determined due to the missing lot by lot official designation of wetlands vs uplands ratios. We need an exact determination of the upland/wetlands ratio in the undeveloped areas.. Absent of this refinement my numbers can be reasonably used to assume future growth based on our present Laws and Regulations. MEP future growth predictions of Town population doubling during the next 20 years is not possible based on our present status, laws and regulations.

 

Its also safe to assume that buildout lands would mostly came from chapter lands 10,680 acres- minus the approximate 1900 APR acres equating to 8780 acres.

The area difference between 8780 acres of chapter lands and 1833 acres buildout amounts to 6947 acres. This indicates that about 7000 acres of chapter lands are also classified as protected land such as; WLCT, CR’s or not developable categories.

 

Of course installation of development promoting extensive Water and Sewage systems, as proposed in 2004 would increase development astronomically.

 

Presently, new subdivision homes average about 3 persons and 2 Acres per unit.

 

Claude A. Ledoux                                                                  9-14-13

 

 

ATTACHMENT

 

DEMISE OF WESTPORT FARMING

To: Water Resources Committee (WRC)                                                       November 5, 2012      .

From: Claude Ledoux

Subject: Westport Farming and its contributions to water bodies pollution.

Addendum to my memo to WRC, 9-24-2012

 

INTRODUCTION;

Perspective Review of section 8 1995 data; Population changes ;1960, 7185, 2196 dwellings ; 1970, 9313, 3350 dwellings; 1980, 13604, dwellings 4543 ; 1990, 13485, dwellings 5119.

(From 2010, 15500, 6400, and about 7000 family units.)

 

The major population influx of the 1970’s correlates with the decline of Westport farming Triggered by Route 88, and conversion of farmlands to developments, 1975 saw the highest population influx of the century: 300 new homes with 2600 children in the school system.

 

  1. 2012. Blaming farming for present major pollution contribution does not hold water. The extensive farming of pre 1960’s would have caused highly visible problems. The fishing productivity of the upper East River was extensive at that time as recalled by old time upper River commercial fishermen.

The slow, progressive decline of upper River productivity was accompanied by noticeable sediment buildup. The most likely cause being the destruction of the upstream dams by State edict during the late 1950’s allowing unrestricted sediment with attendant pollution components to fill the upper reaches of the East River.

The number of W. farms has been in a steady decline since the 1950’s, resulting in only about six remaining dairy cattle operations, with only one in proximity to the River.

By 1980 all dairy farm operations north of 177 had vanished. One farm, the Pedro farm, near the Briggs Rd, fire station started operation during the 1990’s. But its location is unlikely to contribute to River pollution due to its many miles distance and the way that farm is operated.

Other than the Pedro farm only one long existing dairy farm is now operational No. of Old County road. That’s the Ferry Farm on Gifford road.

Most active farm operations So. of Old county Rd. also became extinct well before or since the mid 1990’s. Notable exceptions are the Santos Farms on Main and Adamsville roads. And the Manny Ferry Farm on Narrow Avenue, part of the Devol/ Sawdy watersheds.

The last notable dairy farm on the shores of the east River, the Drift rd. Pimentel Farm met its demise in the early part of this century. This farm probably needed 500 acres or more of other fields to produce the forage (corn) needed for its needs.

Most remaining open lands are forested with productive fields used for beef cattle operations or growing forage crops. This includes 10,670 Acres of chapter lands.

 

Detailed review of Westport Farming during the last 65 or so years.

Many farms destroyed by the route 88 construction of the late 1950’s which knifed through the farms are not included. Slaughterhouses are listed as testament to a previously very active animal agriculture.

This list is largely from memory and does not include many of the smaller vegetable Farms or family food supply operations (*):

 

Location                                 Name                          Type               status              Remarks

                                                                                                20 years is used

                                                                                                as a minimum No.

Adamsville rd.            D. Souza                     Dairy               inactive 20years          forage crops for others

Santos (C. Costa)        “  “                   Active                         active site for generations

  1. Perry “ “                  inactive 20years          forage crops for others

Carreiro                       Vegetables      inactive 20years          lying fallow

Sharples                       Dairy               inactive 20years          lying fallow

Wood                            “    “                     “    “

Wood                          Slaughterhouse        “            “                        Now Ice cream sales

 

Blossom rd.                 Pontes                         exotic animals active

??                                 petting zoo      active

 

Cornell rd.                   Santos                         Dairy               Active

 

So. Ea. Corner Beeden

Reed                            Jarabek                                    Pig                   inactive 20years          Growing trees

 

Corner 88 and Briggs  Pedro                           Dairy               Active             New farm about 20 years

 

Corner Davis + old

Bedford                      Tripp                            Slaughterhouse            inactive 20years

 

Davis Road                 Dionne                        “    “                inactive 20years          ?????????

 

Division rd                  Waite                           Pig                   Active             Last old yankee Farmer

Souza                          Dairy                           inactive 30years          Lying fallow

 

Drift rd.                       Arruda                         Dairy                 “             forage crops for others

Kirby                             “   “                  “               “           Small free range beef

Major development

Noquochoke ( Smith)              Orchards                     Active             Dairy was abandoned

At least 20 years ago

 

Fisherville lane                        Schmid                                    free range beef              “   “                Organic

 

Forge rd.                     Tripp                            Chicken                                   inactive 20yearsDevelopment

 

N0. Gifford rd                        Francis                            “   “               “           “                     “           “

Sylvia                          Dairy                 “          “         Rosalyn acres

Development 1950’s

 

Costa                             “  “                     “          “       Rt. 88 destruction. moved

To Horseneck, now B Bay

Brewery.

Medeiros                     Pigs                 inactive 20years Now under major devel.

Goldstein                    Dairy                  “            “      Now Farm equipt. Dealer

Also destroyed by 88

Allard                            “   “                   “           “       Another Rt 88 destruction

Ledoux                                    Subsistance farm            “           “       New ownership. Devel.

Siemenski                    Pigs and Dairy    “           “       Developed by Ferreira Dias

and Carrigg (separately)

1970 to now

So. Gifford rd             Ferry                            Dairy               Active

 

Harbor rd.                   Meader                                    “     ‘               inactive 20years          Being developed

Tripp                            “      “                “              “            ?????????

 

Highland Av.              Rail siding                   Farm supplies inactive 60 years         Testament to supply line

For farms and—. Now on Way to Mid- City recycling center

Hixbridge road                        Smith                           Dairy               Now W. Rivers

Potatoes          vineyards

Horseneck rd               triple X                        Beef                active

Sequeira                      dairy                inactive 30 years         Development

 

Main rd                       Tripp                            Dairy               inactive 30 years         Another rt 88 victim. Now

Bittersweet restaurant

Santos                         Dairy               Active                         Developed by present                                                                                                             generation’s                                                                                                                         grandfather

John who stoned more land

than anyone else.

Mc Donald                  Slaugherthouse            inactive 40 years         Serviced the large animal

Industry of prior years.

 

Costa                           Vegetables      Inactive (recent)          ???

 

Mouse Mill rd             Ferry                            Forage crops    active                           Formerly(1955) Pearce

Farm

Bourque                      Dairy               inactive 50 years         A true self sustaining  Farm

Of its day. Exemplary. I worked here as a 13 Year old Immigrant in 1949. 10-12 Hours

$1;00 per day.                                                                            Some development

Jarosh                            “   “                  “           30 years        Some development

 

Old Bedford rd.          Sampson                      Potatoes                      Active

 

Old County rd            Azevedo                      Dairy               inactive 20 years          forage crops

Vieira                          “  “                  inactive 40 years          development

 

Narrow Av.                 Ferry                            Dairy               Active                         Biggest in Town.

 

 

Osborne St                  Antunes                       Dairy, chickens           inactive 50 years         Some development

Lafleur                        Chickens                        “             “     In already heavy Devl. Area

 

New Pine Hill rd                     ???                   Beef                Active             Free Range super operation

Best in Town.Recent start

 

Pine Hill                                  ???                   Beef                Active             Free Range super operation

Best in Town.Recent start

Ferry                            Dairy               “  “                              New start. Heifers and Drys

Tripp                            Dairy               inactive 15 years         Heifers and drys

Smith                           Vegetables      inactive 50 years         Small development

Moniz                          Dairy               inactive 20years          Laying fallow

Tripp (and Hixbridge) Dairy               inactive recent             Mulch devel.

 

Rt. 6 (#)                                   Mid-City                                 Former                         Inactive since  testament to the large

Slaughterhouse            late 1940’s                   animal count of the past

Rail siding was vital

Rt 177                         Lekom                         Dairy               inactive 50 years         Development in- process

Carvalho                      “  “                  inactive 20 years         Development in- process

 

Sanford Rd                 Davis                           vegetables       inactive 10 years         development

Carvalho                      Dairy               inactive 20 years

 

Sodom Rd.                  Vincent (Silvia)           Dairy   inactive 20years                      Forage crops

Potatoes

Medeiros                     Dairy               inactive 30years            “          “

First APR in Westport

Petty                            Dairy               inactive 10years          Forage crops

Vegetables

Martin                         Dairy               active                           Goats

Cheese                                                 Commercial cheese

Ferreira?                      Vegetables?     Active

????                             dairy                inactive 40years          development

Farias                           Xmas trees      active

 

Holy ghost club                       Farmer’s asso. Active             testament to the number

of former Portuguese

farmers

 

(*) During the last century hundreds of families lived on and maintained subsistence farmsteads; large garden areas and small animal husbandry, dairy cow, chickens, a couple of pigs, sometimes sheep or goats. All dedicated to provide most of the family yearly food supply. Surpluses were sold or traded. This practice started declining around 1960 and is almost extinct at this time. Such operations used up all manure on the property, there was never enough.

 

(#) Heavy Rt. 6 (Ref. P5) development on filled wetlands and adjacent heavily concentrated housing developments, nearly all draining into Bread and Cheese stream via the road Stormwater System is the most concentrated pollution source to the Ea. River. It easily dwarfs the flow volumes of the nearly extinct agricultural contributions. And the destruction of the Trout and Mill Ponds in 1958 accelerated this problem tremendously.

 

Considerations related to the above farming review:

The number of W. farms has been in a steady decline since the 1950’s, resulting in only about six remaining dairy cattle operations, with only one in proximity to the River.

 

Out of the 68 total farms listed 49 are no longer active. Most have been inactive for over 20 years.

 

The last notable dairy farm on the shores of the east River, the Drift rd. Pimentel Farm met its demise in the early part of this century. This farm probably needed 500 acres or more of other fields to produce the forage (corn) needed for its needs.

 

Farms and other open lands include 10,670 Acres of chapter lands. Years ago crop fields were in big demand for growing forage for the bigger dairy operations that could not grow adequate supply for their needs (ex. Pimentel farm). The large decline of the farm community has reduced this demand, forcing many owners of chapter lands who need to continue farm usage to qualify for reduced taxation, to scramble for agricultural uses. Higher taxes could force some owners into land sales to developers especially since Westport available developable land is in short supply.

Route 88 farms destruction prevented many farmers from tending the lands, accelerating land sales and promoting development.

 

Reasons for this historical re-cap of Westport farming.

  • If I had said that 48 of 66 farms I knew about were not being farmed anymore, many would have relegated this to usual rantings of an old man.
  • This data is crucial when decisions are made to prioritize scarce resources for tackling our water related problems.In fact, as you will see, it will be indispensible in defining the most important solution/study directions.
  • Remember when I pointed out the 1968 “A Study of the Marine Resources of the Westport River” as a homework item for the Water Resources Committee on 9-24-12? I’ll bet no one looked it over. You should have, because it essentially exonerates Agriculture as the main culprit for eelgrass loss an indicator of nitrogen pollution. Look up P.43 for Eelgrass status. During the 50’s, 60’s and later eelgrass had to be raked off the beaches of summer cottages up and down the River. All this at the time of farming’s heyday when many of our numerous farms were situated on the shores of the Rivers. Now that there is only one shoreline farm this surely cannot be the major contributor to pollution.
  • By 1968, about 10 years after the dams destruction, eelgrass was still prevalent but Sediment and other pollutants were busy filling the Ea. River. The finger point to stormwater gets longer.

 

Evolution of manure and fertilizer practices.

Changes in farming numbers and practices were paralleled by change in manure and fertilizer use

 

  • Farms that generate little or no rivers pollution.

Free range Beef, dry Cows and Heifers don’t generate manure in a fashion that causes external pollution. The number of animals is dictated by how many acres each animal needs. Their excrement is small, not stockpiled and is quickly assimilated into the ground and plants.

The same can be said for pigs. We only have one pig Farm left and its miles from the River.

Chicken manure is confined in small covered coops and does not affect the land until it is spread. There is no chicken industry left that could provide this nutrient, see (^) below.

  • Sustainable farms.

Nutrients are absolutely necessary to agriculture. Sustainable farm practices of the past generated and used their own supply. Farm use and needs were set by the land type, size, wetland to dry land ratio, energy needed, water availability, drainage, labor availability. Reconciliation of those factors fixed the generation and distribution of nutrients. A farm of about 60 acres with one quarter woodlands and another quarter unimproved  pasture could maintain a herd of about 25-28 cows and a couple of work horses, the farm’s mainstay around which all activities revolved. Chickens, pigs, veal rounded off the remaining animal needs. Such a farm needed roughly 10 acres of corn (cow) fields, 17 acres of hay fields, with the remainder for barn, buildings and large garden. This could provide a frugal, satisfying livelihood for two families with continuous chores and work shared by all on a daily basis varying with seasonal needs, a good life.

This was a carbon neutral operation. All manure generated was used on the farm. There was no excess.

Nitrogen in plants is self limiting. Low nitrogen low growth, lots of nitrogen large growth, resulting in good or bad crop years.

 

(^) Prior to the 1980’s chicken manure was available from the very large local chicken industry. Some chicken farms contained up to 20,000 laying hens, generating voluminous amounts of sought after nutrients rich in humus due to the vegetative additions. Lime was also added to control insect parasites and prevent too much acidic content. All dairy farms vied for this super crop nutrient. Its nitrogen and other products were the absolute best for growing above ground crops, especially corn which requires intensive nitrification. I remember some corn fields of unbelievable yields in the 1950’s when we suffered sore backs from cutting giants stalks with hand scythes for endless hours, a common harvest form of the day. This was at the time of local farming’s heyday. The chicken industry is now almost completely defunct locally and gone as a  potential pollution source.

 

Handling of that time’s manure was from storage in a Barn Cellar, to loading into a horse or tractor drawn manure spreader using large manure forks of the time over hours of backbreaking repetitive lifting and dumping until the spreader was full and ready for field distribution. Smelly, splashy work usually standing in knee deep manure in hip boots. The methane smell sometimes drove one outside for some fresh air. Emptying the Barn Cellar sometimes stretched into days. This was fill in work between daily chores. Ahh,  the fond memories.

Because the cows consumed mostly hay they generated less manure of thicker consistency than corn fed cows of today.

 

  • Balance, acres/cow on many small farms progressed to today’s unbalance on few farms. A necessity of the times.

Manure handling changed accordingly. Large herds generating large amounts of manure on small spaces caused problems. Storage problems with erosion into adjacent lands, water drainage ditches, spreading in winters on frozen ground with attendant runoff all combined to give Farmers a black eye. Continuous decline in farming and measures taken by the remaining farmers have almost totally brought these problems under control.

Many control techniques were tried such as installation of liquid manure management system. This very expensive installation was done on the Pine Hill/ Hixbridge Tripp farm. Another has been the use of bone by-products from the film industry, another Tripp farm incentive.

But the reality is that manure generation is not always enough to satisfy the needs of silage corn volume for some remaining large dairy herds. Since corn is the primary feed and requires high fertilization scarcity of manure dictates use of fertilizers. Fertilizer needs are almost exclusively for corn fields because grass fed beef organic operations do not use fertilizer.

So, now we are getting to the meat of the matter. The few possible priorities for agricultural pollution are the forage producing corn fields. The most critical being the ones in vicinity to the Rivers. Further refining search priorities dictate location and layout of the fields. Are the fields surrounded by nitrogen absorbing vegetation, if so, is the vegetation thriving, an indication that it is being nourished. Is the field topography sloping towards or away from the shore?

At a price of $600. Per ton its very unlikely that any struggling farmer would use any excess nitrogen. Today’s farms are all on NRCS nutrient management systems, this is another factor that would prevent overuse. Also remember the balance between nutrient availability and plant growth.

 

Prioritizing solutions and resources.

Considering that Agriculture is not the major Nitrogen culprit and acknowledging stormwater run-off to be of much higher priority the more immediate efforts should be focused in that direction.

Other measures like localized area treatment systems and Septic nitrogen treatment systems need parallel solutions but, of lower priority.

The BOH could enforce Nitrogen treatment when they deem necessary when the present systems are upgraded during property ownerships change.

 

Wasted efforts and resources.

Duplicity, regional unbalance, excessive long term appointments, multiple appointments to committee memberships, dealing with water Resource problems will continue to hamper progress. Its of utmost importance to relegate responsibility and authority to one committee that truly represents Town wide consensus. That is the Water Resources Committee (WRC). This committee needs to be the one source of interactions with SMAST and be the agency responsible for overseeing necessary funding from Grants and CPC.

Two or more queens in the kitchen has been and continues to be the one direct impediment to solving our water problems.

Claude A. Ledoux                              November 5, 2012

 

                        Catching up on present farming and open land Statistics from 2016 Town Report:

1338 parcels taxed as Vacant Land.

28 parcels Ch 61 Forestry land

257 parcels Ch 61 Agricultural land

 

 

1 major Orchard operation.

2 Major Dairy Farm

2 Cheese producers, 1 from goat cheese.

3 Vegetable farm operations

3 Beef farms

2 Chicken, egg Farms

1 major Nursery and many smaller operations

1 Alpaca Farm

Many small Apiaries honey producers.

Many smaller mixed agricultural operations catering to neighborhood and small market clients. Some include Chickens and Turkeys.

2 Major Vineyards

 

More information available at www.agrilicious/org/local/farms/massachusetts/Westport

 

                                               

                                                Addendum to Section 13E Board of Health.

 

                                                            Ponds Destruction

                                                     East River Sedimentation and Pollution.

       Spurred by the 1957 State Edict (During Rt 88 Construction) to destroy three Ponds in the upstream watershed of the East River.

 

PONDS DESTRUCTION; “RESTORING STREAMS” OR CHASING WINDMILLS?                

By Claude Ledoux                 January 2010

(Misuse of public funds. Influence of Town expenditures and direction by advocate groups)

 

What’s behind the productivity decline of the Westport River’s East Branch?

 

The main reason for the decline in the Westport Rivers (East and West) productivity is due to heavy deposits of sediments. A conclusion reached by old time commercial River fishermen and myself for quite some time. This memo will focus on the East Branch because its demise is largely traceable to a singular event, the mid 1950’s destruction of upstream Ponds.

 

Prior to 1950 upstream watersheds of the River’s East Branch contained many damned Pond areas. I am familiar with many due to their north end locations. It is where we settled coming from Canada in 1949.

One such Pond was on our small farm. It was an ancient Pond called the Mouse Mill Pond. A couple of acres very active biologically; muskrats that we kids trapped for pelts, fish, snakes, turtles (including a now rare species, Painted turtles), etc.

 

In the mid 1950’s the State ordered all such Ponds drained by measures that destroyed the Dam structures. The main reason for this action was to effect “Stream Restoration” sometimes decoyed as flood control.

What had been stable, Centuries old, ecological environments was eliminated without regard to preventing sediments trapped by the numerous Ponds from flowing unhampered to the East River. The flow of pollution, Storm water and sediments from about 6,100 Acres of Bread and Cheese stream watershed has been directly pipelined to the River for 60 years, using it for pollution treatment and as a sediment repository. This area contains three major Highways State and Federal, about 100 miles of town roads and thousands of point and non point pollution sources.

 

Three dams that escaped destruction.

 

Fortunately two ancient major damned water bodies remain and are still protecting the East River from about 26,000 acres of watershed flow, mostly from Dartmouth. These are Forge Pond and the approximate 1200 Acres lake Noquochoke. Both heavily silted to the point of needing clean out by dredging.

 

Another Pond, Adamsville, was considerably dredged and restored a few years ago and protects the West River from influx of 9000 Acres of Tiverton watershed. This privately funded restoration was endorsed by Westport Rivers Watershed Alliance (WRWA), contrary to the condemnation by WRWA and others of the more recent Ponds Committee proposal to restore the Mill Pond.

 

How the Ponds were created and how they protected the River.

 

We cannot forget that Beavers had colonized all possible Pond sites in North America for thousands of years before the coming of white settlers. Natural Pond traps created by Beavers performed storm water control, created fish and wildlife habitats and sediment control for Thousands of years. Beaver dams created wetlands by virtue of trapping sediments creating large wetland edges on Pond peripheries, fostering wetlands wildlife habitat.

 

Sedimentation necessitated increasing dam levels to maintain water depth needed for Beaver’s aquatic forage. This successive build up continued to increase wetlands areas increasing the Ponds containment efficiencies.

 

Shortly after decimation of the Beavers settlers constructed Dams for water power. Most were located where topography was suitable, natural locations previously colonized by Beavers. Settler’s dams continued to retain sediments, filter pollution, provide fish and wildlife habitats and control of storm water. The result was preservation of the health of estuarine River systems that had existed for thousands of years.

 

Myriad other Pond pollution and sediment traps were prevalent throughout Westport. Farm Ponds, hollowed out of the ground to provide water for livestock and irrigation. All trapped sediment and pollution that required periodic removal and was used to regenerate topsoil. A good example of such Ponds can be viewed in a video that can be seen on Westportmatters.org. Click on watch now and select the Farm clean up episode.

 

What started the major decline in River productivity?

 

The correlation of decline in River productivity matches the time frame related by remaining lifelong River commercial fishermen; Jim Pierce and Chapin White as well as other old timers who worked the River commercially during the last 70 or so years. Since the dams destruction they observed changes in sediment and water depths, reduced eelgrass, changes in bottom soils, increased mud depths. All causes that affect the biology and productivity of the Rivers.

 

Our Rivers have been sacrificed to “Restore Streams” to conditions that never existed, or at best existed only for a short time between the Beavers era and the colonial dam constructions when little sediment was generated by small scale farming. Destruction of centuries and in many instances thousands of years old Ponds ecologies caused the parallel transformation of River ecology by mud sedimentation. It is worth noting that timing of the environmental impact on the East River caused by dam destructions coincided with the advent of route 88 a singular event that started the biggest demographic and economic changes in Westport during the last century.

 

 

 

 

 

An in depth review of the decline in Rivers productivity shows the major cause is sedimentation. A conclusion heavily supported by numerous scientific studies including those done by Boston University and GHR Company during the 1980’s. Sediments are always accompanied by all types of pollution, including Nitrogen. Increased mud deposits over the last fifty years, continually accumulating at high rates are the major cause of changes in biological habitat. A River that historically could float whaleboat hulls at the Head of Westport is now reduced to canoe traffic. Stirring of deposited sediments by thousands of boat cruises, most over powered, is undoubtedly causing much of the Rivers ills. The stirred sediments remain suspended in the water column for long periods of time depending on location. The unclassified and ignored stirring effects are ignored in pursuit of popular causes many analogous to windmill chasing. “Stream Restoration” is viewed as a curative measure when in fact the sediment pipeline is the major cause of the River’s productivity decline.

 

Another ignored cause of River productivity decline is Boat traffic pressure waves caused by propellers, this hydrodynamic effect undoubtedly slaughters billions of seed shellfish and fish larvae suspended in the water column. But, that is a separate subject and beyond the scope of this memo.

 

Actions initiated to increase sediment and pollution flow to the East River.

 

It is incredulous that recent actions have been started to destroy one of the last remaining major sediment and pollution trap sites in Westport. The Westport Fishermen’s Association (WFA) has advanced a proposal to destroy Forge Pond dam. This proposal, endorsed by (WRWA), Westport Land Conservation Trust (WLCT) and a majority of Westport’s Board of Selectmen (BOS) will accelerate the flow of storm water, pollution and sediment to the East branch of the River from additional thousands of Acres of watershed land now retained by Forge Dam. Further deteriorating the East River, already designated as category 5 Dirty Waters.

The WFA/WRWA/WLCT/BOS proposal also includes final destruction of the remaining Mill Pond dam segments. Increasing sediment and pollution flow to the East River from about 6,100 acres of Bread and Cheese Stream watershed.

 

The WFA/WRWA/WLCT/BOS proposal has been submitted to government agencies that are specifically funded to search out and destroy Pond environments in the interest of “Stream Restoration”. Other agencies charged with promoting anadromous fish stocks actually seek out Pond environments for spawning and nursery habitat.

 

Are we missing something? Are we chasing windmills???????????????

 

Can you imagine continuing this mindset to the final demise of the River when the “Restoration” of Noquochoke stream is done by future dam destruction of the 1200 Acre Lake Noquochoke. Releasing its approximate 19,000 acres of watershed sediment and pollution flow? That would certainly be the culminating blow to the River.

 

Is this the ultimate windmill?

 

Are solutions possible? Are they doable?

 

Although it is too late for the River, isn’t it time to bring the Beavers back? This worthwhile consideration would be a slow natural cure for restoring natural former sediment and pollution traps. However final restoration would likely not be achieved for many Beaver generations, perhaps a hundred years. In the meantime the River would become choked to the point of becoming totally unproductive.

Obviously, lasting River restoration will have to involve restoration of some major Pond sites. The immediate most effective would be the Mill Pond restoration proposed by the Ponds Committee. A proposal rendered ineffective by the contemplated WFA/WRWA/WLCT/BOS destruction of the remaining Mill pond Dam remnants

Also, the prevalent thinking that taking care of hundreds of upstream roads storm water outfalls will cure the problem is a misconception. It will minimally reduce sedimentation. But, it neglects the five mile long Bread and Cheese 6,100 Acres watershed and the now proposed WFA/WRWA/WLCT/BOS untreated additional thousands of Acres of Westport watershed and Noquochoke Rivers flow increase caused by destroying Forge Dam. Plus the final destruction of the Mill Pond dam remnants.

Since 2003 there have been numerous instances of WRWA/WFA officials and members endorsing and promoting sewer systems as a cure for the River’s ills, oblivious of continuous storm water sediment and pollution flow from roughly 26,000 acres of upstream watershed.

Costly sewer systems will deal with the thousands of point and non point pollution sources from Septic wastes but will have little effect on storm water problems.

 

Also, sewers will do nothing to restore River productivity. Neglecting the major causes of the River’s ills has directly contributed to the “Dirty Waters” status of the Rivers.

The “Dirty Waters” classification is used by WRWA, WFA, Estuary Committee (EC) (mostly made up of WRWA officers, members and chaired by former WRWA president Cole) and the Water and sewer committee (WSC) (Also, heavily made up of officers and members of WRWA) as justification for sewer installations.

Seemingly dirtier Rivers increase justification for sewers.

 

Another suggested panacea is removal of the old Hixbridge remnants to improve the River’s flushing action.       This blockage of a couple of hundred years acted as an impediment to sediment flow further down River. This construction impeded the increased flow of the last 50 years. Removal of the bridge remnants will speed sediment flow further downstream destroying more of the River’s productive bottom. Are we missing something? Are we chasing windmills?

Regardless of future decisions the only hope of restoring and maintaining River short term River productivity is sediment removal by dredging. Given the present economic conditions and existing shortsightedness of environmental groups and regulatory agencies this is most likely an impossible vision.

 

Needless to state, continuous decline of the River is assured by the now accepted religious, elitist environmentalist dogma that “Stream Restoration” justifies the accelerated demise of our Rivers.

 

Record of past and ongoing actions.

 

Over the course of many years Actions and statements of Westport’s environmental groups, WRWA and WFA, have directly contributed to the River’s demise. Beginning with their vehement condemnation of a 1991 volunteer manure Farm clean up, a successful one month project valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars, see westportmatters.org for a video of the project. This opposition discouraged other farmers from attempting similar actions.

It was an added impediment to Farmers already at economic wit’s end, encouraging sale of their farms for development.

Since their inception WRWA/WFA advanced many worthwhile initiatives that benefitted the Rivers in various ways. But, they have seldom directly addressed the long time, well known biggest problem; storm water sediment and pollution flow from the large and multi municipality watersheds.

There were two exceptions; one was WRWA’s endorsement of the Adamsville Pond restoration with a fish ladder addition to the Dam structure.

 

Another was endorsing the construction of a retention Pond at the Head of Westport to treat storm water, a worthwhile project that treats a minimal area of watershed drainage, a band aid approach that fails to recognize the real disease.

 

Conclusion.

 

Defining and prioritizing actions to deal with River problems is not complete without documenting the major cause and effects of this 50 year decline by those who observed its gradual insidious growth. Details that were missed and undocumented except in the memories of persons intimately involved in the constant toils of harvest.

 

Let’s acknowledge the REAL disease. Fifty years of sedimentation mud buildup that decreased and continues the decline in productivity of our Rivers and most others.

 

Claude Ledoux           January 15, 2010

 

 

 

                              REVIEW OF SECTION 5 EVENTS LISTING UP TO 1995.

Categorized to agencies responsible for the changes. (Reference information to SECTION No.5)

Shaping of Westport’s evolution triggered by: Rt 88 development surge and destruction of upstream  dams speeding pollution and sediment to the East River.

 

1958 – Planning Board. Building lot size increase to 29,000 S. F.

1960 – Trailer Park regulations and prohibition. Selectmen.

1961 – about 2000 lots as small as 1200 S.F. were grandfathered at the 1956 intensity regulations changes.

1961 – There were 14 Fishing vessels over 40 feet in length.

1963 – Planning Board. First Zoning districts.

1963 – Westport becomes part of the DIMAN vocational school district.

1964 – Westport institutes full time Fire Chief as “Strong Chief” removing him from Selectmen control.

1967 – Welfare management shifted from local to State Control

1968 – First and last Rivers scientific study by Dept. of Marine Fisheries.

1968 – Most Town Departments had become unionized

1970 – Planning Board Major revisions of Sub-Division regulations (Cl initiated)

1970 – Planning Board. Lot size increase to 40’000 S. F.                   ( “   “          )

1971 – Board of Health. Dump conversion to Landfill

1973 – Opening of New Police Station

1973 – Westport Point is established as Historic District. Largely due to the work of Local ATTY. Richard Paull.

1975 – Board of Health. Proposal for Lagoon Septic Waste disposal on White woodlands Lands next to the River. Organize successful opposition, River Defense Fund (RDF).

 

1975 – One of rare events. A banner Scallop harvest

1976 – RDF  renamed WRWA.

1979 – State institutes the 2 ½ Tax Cap limit.

1984/ 85  Rivers testing and study by GHR Engineering completed categorizing pollution amounts and locations, related to rain events Instituting shellfish harvest restrictions.

1986 – Boston University completed an exhaustive Rivers pollution study documenting more scientific information.

1993 – School System comes under State “education Reform act”, explained in C Ledoux’s Westport Matters public access TV show

(1992- 2010)

1994 – Last of long time event, the spring Westport Grange no. 365 Turkey Dinners. Opportunity for candidates to be introduced to the voters.

1995 –  Town Meeting acceptance of establishing a Soil Board/ Conservation Commission.

 

 

                                  Post 1995 addendums that contributed to Westport’s 2017 conditions.

                                                                 Listed in five year increments

 

NOTE: Westport’s pre 1950’s conditions were of long standing. A Farming, Fishing community of Villages that exhibited differences in population make up, life style and character, with dense population concentrations mostly confined to North End areas. Outside influences such as employment and trade used Route 6 for needed interactions. The effects of two World Wars did not change life’s progression appreciably. Except that the food needs of the Second World War turned Westport Farms of all types into full production. Wall To Wall fence to fence was the national edict.

 

The advent of Route 88’s trigger of a development spurt nearly completely changed this stable environment and caused a second trigger of early 1970’s administrative Rules, By-Laws and Regulations that set the Town into directions leading to the present conditions. As a member of the Planning Board I was heavily involved in Updates to Sub-Division regulations and large lot zoning that set the direction of following evolutionary measures, continuing predictable refinements until present conditions were reached.

 

2000 – Population 14,206,  Voters 9798, Selectmen appointments  365.

–  Phased Development By-Law, By Planning Board. To limit numbers of Building Permits, TM Article 49

–  Lot uplands requirements, will require a Minimum of 30,000 S. F. contiguous uplands. Planning Board.

Article 50

– Petition Article 57 to increase the Board of Selectmen from 3 to five members passed, but the

requirement for each selectman to represent their individual precints was lost. Thereby continuing

lopsided Voter representation as existed with a three person Board.

– Total Tax levy:  $22,459,931., 13 separate tax classes, Total real Estate value: 1,241,043,260.

–  95 new  single Family units were permitted.

– Total school student enrollment 1245. A major decline from that of 1975 number of 2600

– Town Debt:$ 831,502.

– Total School budget: $12,413,294.

– A three Million Bond Issue was approved for School Buildings repairs

 

2005 – Population 14,905

–  TM , Article 4 (Town Meeting) passes Assisted Living Facility, defined in 651 CMR 12.02

– TM, Article 22, by Conservation Commission, “ Wetlands Protection By-Law”, 5 Pages of fine print, is

rejected

– After numerous and long discussion. This would have put enforcement of locally derived Special

Interest regulations

By appointed rather than elected officials. Additionally, aggrieved applicants would be denied appeal to

experts at Dept. of Environmental Protection and Appeals would have to resort to arbitrary Court

processes and expenses.

– Article 24 of TM. By the Planning Board, about Inclusionary Housing passed. This would mandate tha

a minimum number of Affordable Housing Units be provided as a condition for obtaining development

approval.

– Community Preservation Committee (CPC) Proposed Article 36 was approved. 8 projects for the sum

of $663,756.

– TM gave Approval for Selectmen to accept custody of 74.8 acres of land from Leonard Santos. After

purchase by the Town.

– Article 55, longevity bonuses were Passed by the Town under a Union agreement.

– The Agricultural/Open Space preservation Trust Council helped to secure the Preservation of 8 Farms

for the sum of  $1,397,500.

-Taxation total $27,824,708. Spread over 14 revenue categories.

– Fire Dept. permanent personnel 30 with additional call firemen 20

– Police Dept. continues the very popular firearms safety course. A pre-requisite  to Carry.

– Westport continues its long term  ( back to the 1960’s) Planning with the guidance of Southeastern

Regional Planning    & Economic Development District (SRPEDD)

– Long term debt and interest is; $186,708.

–  Westport schools students 1884, with 600 others attending other schools. Total school expenses

are $15,545,136.

 

 

2010 – Population 15,516

–  Recreation: Horseneck State Reservation. Thirty five miles of Shorelines and Ponds for swimming and

outdoor activities.

–  Selectmen appoint 428 persons to 49 separate Boards, Committees, Commissions and special transitory

or temporary groups. Many serve on as many as 3 or more entities. Rendering governance in shadows,

arbitrary decisions and Town directions set by Special Interests. Yielding government to unaccountable

unelected officials.

–  There are 61 licenses Granted by Selectmen for sales of Motor Vehicles. And 48 licenses for garage and

service Stations.

–  26 establishments are licensed to sell Liquor.

–  Town Government costs are: $18,036,506 for Salaries, $11,671,150 for Expenses, $29,707,656 Total.

–  Article 33 was approved to lease area,  “ Main Road, Pedestrian Safety, Project, Lees Supermarket

parking Spaces”. An initiative that would not be carried out.

–  Article 15 approved the sum of $2,500,000. For Improvements and repairs of School Buildings.

–  CPC request for $415,000 was approved for the purchase of the Handy House and 25.2 acres as a

Grant for the Wesport Historical Society.

–  There are 20,450 Motor Vehicles to serve the Needs of 15, 516 Westporters. Sign of an

upscale population.

–  Board of Health landfill collected 619 tons of recyclables. And 1,093 Tons of solid waste transfers.

The net balance was a  surplus of $144,050. Thanks to fees collections and the careful management

of landfill personnel. The conditions reflect the

care, courteous treatment and hard work of this Team. This is a good deal and serves a great purpose.

The Town Nurse provides a wide variety of services at little or no cost. Her service to seniors and

others are a re-assuring convenient service, as well as, a first line of defense for contagious unpredicted

events.

 

–  Town Report of Citizens for Citizens. $1,545,608 was spent to assist members of Westport’s low-income

community. On 12 Aids categories.

–  The Fire Department moved into the newly completed South end Fire Station on its 82nd. Anniversary.

The Dept had: 25 Permanent personnel, 21 Call Firefighters, 21 member ladies auxiliary and 13 separate

functions devoted to prevention, Training and public safety. 570 Fire code compliance inspections were

conducted of: new and resale homes, propane storage, oil burner Installations.

–  The Town Farm report mentions many valuable activities. Its use to provide welfare living amenities

has long been discontinued. I’m reminded that a Special Town Meeting in October 2009 granted

the Trustees Of Reservations (TTOR) a 99 year lease for maintaining and restoring the Town Farm.

They have been good Stewards and provide peaceful access to the premises.

–  The Town Debt account is $6,890,000. School remodeling dues are $900,000. Agricultural Open

Space dues $190,000. This Above the 2 % CPC surtax. And the usual yearly 2 ½ % tax cap increase.

–  1879 Students attended Westport Schools. 116 attended Vocational schools. 2 were Home schooled, 352 attended Private and Vocational Schools. 22 were out of District and out of State schools.. For a total of 2,371. 11 School related expenses paid by “Town Hall” totaled $4,155,641, and Total

School expenses were $18,883,645.

 

2015 – 17 older Westporters who had served the Town  passed away his year. Many very long term servants.

–  Population 14,623. 2015 tax rate $7,93. 2003 $8.25

–   Voters 11,049

–   Middle School was closed due to PCB pollution. Continued use of the Gym is permitted for

Youth sports.

–   Plans are begun to construct a new Police Station

–   Fiscal 2016 Town Budget proposal is $34,354,819.. An increase of 4.8% over FY 15

–   Major additional requirements were accepted at TM for Sewage Disposal Systems.

–   Board of Assessors levy tax on 14 property classes numbering 8574 parcels, 1067 personal property class

293 Parcels are tax exempt with a value of $216, 855,500. Total real estate valuation is $3,022,948,860.

–   Council on Aging reports 22 Employees; working on management, supportive day care, transportation

and outreach. Operating at the Reed Road Senior Center. With help from over 100 volunteers serving

6609 hours.

–   The 10 Highway Department personnel continued maintenance of 160 miles of roads and other public

Infrastructure in 16 regular duty actions. Reconstructed two roads, improved four, reclaimed and paved

23 others, installed new drainage in seven areas.

–   Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District report of their extensive activities

related to the Region. SERPEDD has been helping local municipalities since the 1960’s. I became

familiar with the fledgling organization when I was elected to the Planning Board in 1969. One of

its prime movers, proposed and was successful in convincing the Federal Government to construct

the Fall-River City Hall over Highway 195.

–  Accountant Reports. Fire Station debt            2010 to 2019  Interest  $1,104,325 Principal $4,500,000

Land preservation          2015 & 2016                $2,450                       $100,000

School GREEN Project 2015 to 2024                $127,000                   $900,000*

School PCB remediation 2013 to 2032                $722,667                   $2,925,000#

Septic Betterment          2016 t0 2035                $0                              $250,000

* Middle School roof gardens, special interest waste. Millions will now be spent on tearing down the school

# Millions spent on PCB remediation, now Millions more will be spent on tearing down the school

–   Students in Westport Schools 1500, 171 in vocational schools, 265 in private and parochial schools

Charter schools, out of district public schools and home schooled have 75 students. Total 2011

 

NOTE: The drop in Westport Schools students from 2625 in 1975 to 1500 in 2015 is startling proof of the major demographics changes in Town evolution during that period. ’75 Peak was result of the development  Surge trig by Rt 88.  Working class families were able to purchase homes made possible by resultant cheap land values.

 

2017 – Town Meeting approved $1,849,000 for new Police Station construction. To be completed in summer of

2018.

–  Appointment of the Highway surveyor to elected position was approved. Selectmen continue to appoint

in 2018.

–  22,953 vehicles are registered to Westport, amounting to 1.5 vehicles per resident.

–  Town Total Budget is $37,116,819. $2500 per resident

–  1021 Boats are registered in Westport.

–  Funding for a new Middle & High School was approved for $96,885,000

–  Another Scallop banner year, 5726 Bushels harvested.

–  The Fire Dept.’s 25 Full time and 16 Part time personnel responded to 2,707 responses and generated

$766,606 of revenues from ambulance runs.

–   Only 32 new lots were approved by the Planning Board.

–  Police Dept. issued 398 new Firearms Identification Cards

           – Town long term debt is $7,425,500 for 4 commitments; Fire Sta. $3,850,00, Middle School (MS) Green

Project, MS School PCB remediation (Total Waste, school to be torn down), Clean Water Trust

$225,000. Not including the new School Debt.

–   Students in Westport Schools 1425, Vocational schools 163, Charter 12, Other Public 43, Home 27,

Parochial 293, Total 1963. Town living units are 7266, with 1963students students per household

are 0.27

–  Total School expenses are $23,488,058. Cost per student $14,680. (1600 students are in the School

Budget, 363 are paid private schooling). Regional School assessment $1,845,950.

–  Agricultural Tourism, Entertainment, Commercial was passed at Town Meeting.

–  Departments of Public Works was accepted at Town Meeting

–  Town Insurance costs are $3,951,000 and retirement costs are $2,315,199

 

 

Demographic differences from 1995 to 2017

 

Subject                             1995                                     2017

Population                                12,978                                  14,845                         11,890 voters

Building Dept.                         87 New Dwellings               75

Inflation                                   tax levy $16,864,132.          $26,239,537                $37,116,819 total

/person tax $130.                  $1768.                         $2500

Police                                       46 Officers                           40

1459 MV offenses               1,796

1472 criminal Off.               583

Schools                                     Cost $8,575,977                   $23,488,058

1841 Students                      1600

146 Teachers                        235                              61 Support staff

Cost/S, $4658.                     $14,680

Fire                                           23 Permanent Offs.              25

21 Volunteers                       16

Fire calls 489                        2707                            total calls

Ambulance Calls 1,198       $766,606 income from Ambulance calls

Governmental Structure           No significant changes. Appointed Committees are still skewed to

Special interests Town Governance

Nationalities                             Homogenous continuity, still minimal Blacks and Hispanics

Farming                                    There have been drastic Changes in Westport farming: only about 6 dairy farms                                                    have survived. Pig Farms are essentially extinct, there is no commercially viable

Chicken or Turkey meat Farm, Noquochoke Orchards is hanging on, Egg

production exists on a small scale. There are a few Encouraging developments:

in Beef production, a couple of large Vineyards are Thriving, continuing

seasonnal vegetable production is succeeding on a few larger operations. The

lone, long existing, large Sampson Potato Farm is thriving under strong family

dedication. Much of previous Farm lands are now used for feed production of

other farms. Some recreational agri. Farming is starting up (Weatherlow)

on Sodom Road.

 

 

Town Growth.  As suspected in 1995, Town growth would be limited by continuing restrictive  zoning and density regulations, many of the actions promoted by local and regional environmental groups,  Following the directions set by the early 1970’s Zoning and development  changes to address the development bubble caused by the 1958 route 88’s changes making development lands

affordable. The bubble heyday lasted from 1960 to 1980.

 

 

Lifestyle . In 1995 a population of 12,798 lived in 5,470 living units or 2.3 persons per unit with

16,100 motor vehicles. In 2016 a population of 14,905 lived in 7101 housing units or 2.2 persons per unit with 22,755 vehicles, Indications of a prosperous, mobile energy dependent society.

                                    

                         Statistical Summary in 2018, Including Buildout Potential

 

Geographic

Land Area:                               53 square miles, 33,900 acres

Water Area:                                                            3325 acres

West River:                                 1238 acres, 228 acres marsh

283,750,000 cubic feet water volume

East River:                                                             1987 acres

775 acres marshland

357,568,000 cubic feet water volume

State Beach:                                                             321 acres

Pond Areas:                                      1800 acres (estimated) .

Conservation Restricted Land                       12,   103 Acres:

Agricultural Preservation Restricted:           45,  1,993 Acres

Developed Roads:                              140 miles, (665 acres), 160 Miles with State Roads.  :

Undevelopable Land:                                       2000 acres *)

Farming

Dairy Farms:                                                                         6

Beef Cows:                                                                           4

Horses:                                                                                  5

Farm Parcels:                                                                      16

NOTE: There are 28 Parcels (Wood Farms), Chapter 61, registered and managed for Forestry cropping and improvement.

 

Government

Board of Selectmen, Town meeting

State Representative, Paul A. Schmid III

State Senator, Michael J. Roderiques

 

Primary In-Town Occupations

Farming, fishing, motor vehicle sales and repairs, variety of service related businesses, restaurants, tourism, manufacturing, construction, Landscaping.

 

Civic Organizations

Veterans:  American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled America Veterans, Viet Nam Veterans.

 

Civic:

Council on Aging, Town Nurse

 

Watuppa Grange, Noquochoke Grange, Masons, Lions, Westport Business to Business, Westport River Watershed Alliance, Westport Fisherman’s Association, Westport Women’s Club

 

Zoning:  Residential, Commercial and Unrestricted

 

Health Care

Board of Health, Nursing Department, private practices of doctors and dentists, Westport Apothecary

 

Schools

Westport Community Schools, K – 12

 

Churches

Two Catholic

Three Protestants

 

Assessment Classification

Item                                                        No.

1 Family dwellings                                5901

Condominiums                                       171

Miscellaneous Residential                      148

2 Family Dwellings                                415

3 Family Dwellings                                 14

4 or more family dwellings                     29                                        7266 total living units.

Vacant Land                                       1322 *

Total tax entities                                   8643

Commercial                                            268

Industrial                                                20

Forest Chapter 61                                   28

Agricultural Chapter 61A                      247

Recreational Chapter 61B                       36

Mixed, commercial/residential                44

Personal property                                   1072

Exempt                                                   311

 

s    Devol, Sawdy, S. Watuppa, Quicksand, miscellaneous small ponds scattered throughout town.

 

*    Ledge or land locked parcels or economically impractical to develop.

 

                                   

                                                              Present Town Conditions

 

Present Town conditions are the result of the 1950’s conditions redirected when Route 88’s unpredicted development surge triggered a long chain of responsive actions. The early 1970’s changes in Sub-Division regulations and large lot zoning set the directions for most regulatory changes that would follow to this day. Leading to present Town conditions; Large lot zoning, low buildout possibilities, low student population, available development lands limited by; wetlands, lands permanently preserved by local, State and Federal agencies, An upscale population with no or a single child per household, massive uncommitted and committed debt (see below), limited water infrastructure, no Sewer infrastructure, limited animal agriculture, horticultural and vegetable agriculture limited to seasonal cropping on mostly small land plots. All this rendering Town conditions that are presently minimally problematic.

Historical information OFFICIAL information is in Town Meeting Records,.available from the Town Clerk’s office. Annual Town Reports provide yearly information by Town agencies. A wide variety of contemporary and historical information, much in video form is in the Westport Historical Society Web Site:  WPTHISTORY.org. search for VIDEO under EXPLORE. One particularly good example of its usefulness is a documentary of the Tripp Farm pollution clean-up of the 1990’s and the howling of local environmental groups protesting the clean up. ?? Analogous to 2018 Democrats protesting the President Trump prosperity.

Town GIS System. I am thankful to have been a promoter of this important tool. Its use is of immeasurable help in Property searches and planning for many needs.

The yearly popular Westport Farm Fair is a valuable asset under the management of the Potter excavating company.

Public access TV is a useful medium for keeping up with public and private events.

Car lot Dealerships are the leading Westport business. Mostly along Route 6.

Thriving construction Businesses serve the community and provide much needed good employment.

The Town has New Fire and Police Stations with a new Middle& High School in the works.

All Official Town Records are available in computer files. Available as a result of years of translation from handwritten and typed records. An effort I originated, was helped along by a few volunteers with a final major dedication by Town Clerk Sampson and her assistant Beverly Kut.

Community preservation Act. This was adopted in 2001. Many millions were used on projects determined by the CPC (Committee). One of the major original selling points was that new playgrounds and ballfields would be constructed on a former farm bought for that purpose. To date there is no youth recreational facilities on the site. But the site has finally been cleared and construction started as of 2018.

Disproportionate amounts of Properties acreage was purchased, mostly from wealthy landowners, to be put into conservation and other measures in order to prevent development. In many cases the private ownerships were maintained. This has increased land values beyond the reach of working class families and has reserved developments of the last 25 or so years to  upper middle class incomes.

Master Plans were/and are formulated on a regular basis. One of the most useful was that of 1972. This was a time of momentous actions to update Regulations and Laws to deal with the Development bubble that had been triggered by low cost land created by the 1958 Route 88 destruction of about 40 Farms and Open lands. See above memo on this. Three official action of that time; Revision of planning Board Regulations, increase lot sizes to One Acre, followed by increase to 60,000 square feet set progression of laws and regulations in directions that rendered Westport to its present conditions.

 

                                                   Farming

 

Buildout Potential

Westport Classified lands: protected (non developable) and restricted use.

1-From Assessors records:

Code                       Acres

6000                         6690          Ch.61       Forestry (2013)   Town has first buy out priority

8000                          277           Ch. 61B   Recreational (2013) Town has first buy out priority

7000                        1,993           ch.61A     Agriculture,  (2018)  Town has first buy out priority

Not developable  (ND) 45 Parcels

Total chapter lands = 8,960 Acres

 

Town lands 1,563 acres    Tax Exempt (2013)          ND

US land   1.3 Acres             Tax Exempt (2018)          ND

WLCT lands                                                      1,325 acres,     108 Parcels             . (2018) Tax Exempt. By donations. ND

Conservation  Restrictions. (Cr’s).  319 acres,          15 parcels   (2018) Private ownership.  ND

State lands                                             703  acres.   12 Parcels   (2018)   ND

Fall-River lands                                   287.4 Acres.   (2013)  ND

Non Developable                                 1362 acres     Assessors records, code 1320 (2013) ND

Wetlands                                                2149 acres  (2013)   Note: State wetlands value is 6684 acres, this equates to 0.2111 acres of                                                                           wetlands per Town ND acres. So, for this non-developable acreages of 10180, wetlands =

1934 acres. ND

That leaves 4750 acres of wetlands to be subtracted from all other lands. ***

Roads network                                     1537 acres (2013)    ND

Conservation Restrictions                    103 acres,      12 Parcels  (2018)   ND

Fall-River Water Dept.                         487 acres      17 Parcels    (2018)  ND

Tax Exempt                                                                      311 Parcels  (2013) ND

 

Total 2018 Open Land Acres not developable (ND)  acres = 12,329 acres

 

NOT INCLUDED: FEMA flood storage areas, Historic areas, 200 feet buffers around Vernal Pools, wellhead protection areas.

State wetlands values are understated, surveyed values are usually of much greater acreage. Also Vacant and Exempt lands are not included in ND. So the 12,329 ND is overstated on the high side.

 

Determination of the actual Buildout value.

 

Starting from 2004 Master Plan statistics:

(Total Town 31,658 acres) (-) (MP Buildable acres 17,739 acres) = (13,919 acres already developed in ‘04)

(13,919 acres already developed in ’04) (/) (Tax entities in 2004, 8091) = (1.7 Acres per entity)

 

Extrapolating to 2018

Using the ’04 1.7 acres per tax entity.

(Tax entities in 2018, 8643) @ (1.7 Acres per) = (14,693 acres developed in 2018)

(31,658 total acres) (-) (14,693 already developed) = (16,965 remaining buildable acres)

(Buildable acres 16,965) (-) (3581 acres attributable to wetlands) = (13,884 developable acres.

(13,884 Developable acres.) (-) (12,329 non-developable acres (above)) = (1055 developable acres available for development)

 

So, Buildout equals 1055 Acres

Present laws Sub divisions = 2 acres per unit. So we are looking at 528 new dwelling units max.

Claude A. Ledoux                      10-2-2018

 

*** In conclusion, buildout cannot be exactly determined due to the missing lot by lot official designation of wetlands vs uplands ratios. We need an exact determination of the upland/wetlands ratio in the undeveloped areas.. Absent of this refinement my numbers can be reasonably used to assume future growth based on our present Laws and Regulations. MEP future growth predictions of Town population doubling during the next 20 years is not possible based on our present status, laws and regulations.

 

Its also safe to assume that buildout lands would mostly came from chapter lands 8,960 acres- minus the1999 APR acres equating to 6961 acres.

The area difference between 8960 acres of chapter lands and 1055 acres buildout amounts to 7905 acres. This indicates that about 7905 acres of chapter lands are also classified as protected land such as; WLCT, CR’s or not developable categories.

 

Of course installation of development promoting extensive Water and Sewage systems, as proposed in 2004 would increase development astronomically. Reducing Lot sizes to 5,000 Square Feet due to Snob Zoning Act Mandates.

 

Presently, new subdivision homes average about 3 persons and 2 Acres per unit.

 

Claude A. Ledoux                                                                                           5-23-2018

                                                  

                                                  

Potential Major upcoming Issues and Problems.

 

Major disruption by installation of Water and Sewer infrastructure.

Barring a change in Laws and infrastructure the present status will remain stable. What would completely change this picture is the looming veiled Water and Sewer (W&S) promotion. Since 2004, when such a proposal (article 28) failed at Town Meeting, a coordinated plan by: Special Interests, Development Interests, Environmental organizations, working with SMAST and DEP, could cause mandated W&S installation. At a cost that would eclipse that of the new 2018 School (below). The 2004 plan had received unanimous approval from the Board of Selectmen at a late night closed door meeting. This would completely change the Town’s status due to the late 1960’s “Snob Zoning Act”, which limits regulations to Health and Safety needs. Our Lot sizes would be reduced from 60,000 S.F. to 5000 S. F. and housing projects would be a permitted use. By the way, that also allows reduction of present large lots to be further sub divided into small lots. Presently some Selectmen and Town Committees that have jurisdiction over this matter are already populated with members that have shown support for W&S.

Another solution for existing problems would be directed Spot solutions for High Density areas.Pollution problems. That would not trigger the Snob Zoning mandates.

 

The Debt Bomb

Exerpts from Westport citizen Bill Reed ‘s Letter to Editors

On the occasion of Westport’s 2018 New school decision making (and later voter acceptance), and Dick Phillips article in 2015 on Westport’s unfunded debt.

 

I find myself amazed that we as citizens are considering incurring at least another $60 million in indebtedness to construct a new school when there is absolutely no conversation about the existing, financial condition of our Town.

However, here are the unvarnished facts, taken from existing public Town records and other published reports. They reveal that our total Town indebtedness, for which obligations we as taxpayers are on the hook:

  • In a Massachusetts Department of Public Revenue report for Fiscal Year 2017 ended June 30th, Westport’s total long and short term indebtedness (issued, or authorized and unissued, and including the police station for $8,000,000 of new borrowing) totaled $20,299,000.
  • The Prospectus for the Town of Westport General Obligation Police Station Bonds, dated November 8, 2017, is for a total of $9,349,000, an increase of $1,349,000 since 2017 Fiscal Year end.
  • From the Town of Westport Post-Retirement Benefits Report, dated June 30, 2016, prepared by Sherman Associates, the unfunded actuarial liability for Other Post-Retirement Employee Benefits (OPEB)—medical and healthcare retirement benefits promised by the Town to its school, police, fire, and other town employees—is stated as between $29,721,203, assuming Full Pre-Funding and an annual 7.5% return, and $50,391,402, assuming Pay-As-You-Go and a 4.0% return.
  • From the Town Auditor Report dated June 30, 2016, the Town’s portion of its unfunded pension liability was listed as $20,687, 771, using an assumed investment return of 7.75%
  • From this same report, a 1% decline in the estimated return shows an increase in this liability to $27,050,278. Therefore, at a more realistic 4% estimated annual return this unfunded pension liability would exceed $50,000,000.
  • In a report prepared and published by an independent ad hoc citizens group, dated January 13, 2015, entitled “Westport Financial Future,” and shortly thereafter presented to the Town Selectmen, they concluded that:—“Expenses are growing faster than revenues, this results in pressure on maintaining current service levels.”—“Funds are not available for a number of critical needs.”

—“Each year the Town will be less likely to meet its financial obligations.”

—“Over a longer period, unfunded liabilities (i.e. all medical and healthcare, and pension retirement benefits) will represent an overwhelming challenge to the Town finances.”

 

An article also written in 2015 by Richard Phillips, a member of this ad hoc committee, and entitled “Westport’s Ticking Time Bomb,” stated that “The Town has promised employees retirement benefits that far exceed the monies available to pay them.”

  • By his estimate at that time he concluded that these unfunded taxpayer retirement obligations amounted to a total of $6,500 per person, or $26,500 for a family of four. These numbers have only grown since then.

No significant response of our Finance Committee and our Selectmen to all of the above facts. However, apparently there is a thought that has been expressed among some Finance Committee members that these unfunded healthcare and pension liabilities are not a problem, since if they do become overwhelming for the Town the State of Massachusetts will step in to take care of them. If that is the case, I certainly would like to have that understanding confirmed and out in the sunlight. And I am sure that State officials and other Massachusetts taxpayers will want to know this Town position as well.

 

My conclusions:

  • Even before considering the possibility of borrowing an additional $60 million to fund a new school, our Town is already actually indebted—taxpayers are on the hook for promises to pay—-NOT $20,000,000, but rather approximately $120,000,000, when considering our unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities, and using more realistic annual investment rate of return assumptions.
  • This indebtedness is growing rapidly each year due to the large annual increase in these unfunded obligations.
  • We as a Town are indeed already on a trajectory of serious long-term financial trouble in which our expenses are outstripping our revenues, and in which the unfunded retirement liability portion represents an overwhelming challenge to the Town finances.
  • Adding an additional proposed $60 million of borrowing will have the Town indebted in the amount of $180 million, and rapidly heading towards $200 million and beyond, on a Town budget of $38 million.
  • I cannot imagine this outcome, other than as a financial “train-wreck” which is already unfolding, and whose end result can only be a sharp reduction in Town services and expenses—including in the school system—-a huge tax increase, or some combination of both.

 

When considering these facts, I ask you: what are your conclusions?

 

Bill Reed

Westport Citizen

 

Imagine the looming economic and demographic disaster of Water and Sewage Heaped on top of the Debt Bomb.

 

 

 

 

                                                                Conclusion

 

Updating part 2 of the 1995 book to Westport’s 2018 Status and tracing its interim evolution was a work of many months, catch as catch can, in between other life activities. Organizing, culling research records, recollections, up to date reviews of latest town reports, compiling and extrapolating data.  All done with the objective of providing the reader with a detailed historical perspective of our Town’s evolution during the interim period.  The main purpose of providing this perspective is the hope that future discussions concerning our Town’s directions will be tempered with the knowledge and values of its past.

 

A great amount of information was not judged to be crucial to achieving the purpose of this book.  Other writers may have had different opinions or chosen to highlight history in a different manner.  The reader’s indulgence in allowing differing views, is respectfully requested.

 

The submittal is with fond hope that present and future readers will find valuable historical value from these hours of toil and that some readers may choose to investigate specific subjects in more detail.

 

Sincerely,

Claude Ledoux  June 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT the AUTHOR: CLAUDE A. LEDOUX Immigrant to Westport MA, from French Canada in 1949 at age 13. Full time Work career of 55 years starting at age 13 ($1;00/12Hr. day) ; Farmer, USMC Korean War veteran (1952-55), Mechanic, Woodcutter, Textile Machinery repairs, Electronics, Instrumentation, Calibration of test and measurement instruments, Underwater Acoustics Testing. Lifelong Education.

Volunteer Town Affairs on numerous Boards and Committees from 1965 to 2012.
Fluent in French Language. Avid Historian.

Co-author of “A brief History of Westport in the twentieth Century” Edition 1, 1995.

Author of Westport Matters. Weekly videos on local cable 1992-2010. Documentation of Westport life at the turn of the millennium. This self-funded project yielded a total of about 280 episodes, 113 of which can be seen at the Westport Historical Society web site: Westporthistory.org. Full Disc complements are archived at the Westport Public Library and Westport Historical Society (WHS). Society (WHS).

2017/18