CHATHAM — Members of the Aunt Lydia's Cove Committee will likely have a say in how the town spends money from a proposed waterways user fee revolving fund, ending a dispute with waterways advisory committee that seemed destined for a fight on the floor of town meeting.
Meeting with selectmen Tuesday, waterways committee Chairman Peter Taylor said he intends to ask his committee members this week to add the Cove committee and the South Coastal Harbor Plan Committee to the groups that will weigh in on how the funds are spent each year. As written, the article going before town meeting calls for fund expenditures to be reviewed only by the waterways committee and the harbormaster.
In their meeting today (Thursday), the waterways committee will consider language from Selectman Dean Nicastro for an amendment to the article, to be offered from town meeting floor.
“I'm glad to see that the chairmen are working together,” said Selectman Cory Metters, the liaison to the waterways committee. He said he supports the additional step of including the South Coastal Harbor Planning Committee in the group.
“Our waterways are very vital for everyone,” he said.
Waterways Chairman Taylor said the agreement will defuse the argument.
“We're all on the same page,” he said. “We're all looking to better the infrastructure of the waterways.”
Cove Committee Chairman Doug Feeney concurred.
“Enough of this fighting,” he said.
Both chairman expressed regret that the dispute had progressed as far as it did.
Several weeks ago, selectmen voted 4-1, with Nicastro dissenting, to endorse the article in its current form, excluding the Cove committee. The finance committee voted unanimously to oppose the article citing that omission.
Tuesday's discussion rekindled suggestions that the town consider consolidating some of its four water-related advisory committees. Former selectman Sean Summers argued that the town has a large number of committees, and “very clearly these committees overlap all the time.” He urged selectmen to consider combining some of the groups.
Harbormaster Stuart Smith disagreed, saying the town needs the perspectives of all its water-related advisory committees.
“We're a community surrounded by water on three sides. We have a lot going on,” he said. With moorings, shellfishing, town landings, the fish pier and other issues currently being discussed, a consolidated water committee “would be a pretty active group,” he said.