Five Bourne Beaches Will Get Lifeguards This Summer

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By: Diana T. Barth
Published: 06/08/12

It looks as if five Bourne beaches will have lifeguard coverage this summer, provided the town can hire that many certified guards.

Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino told selectmen Tuesday that the town might not legally be mandated to provide that coverage, but that it would be prudent—and in concert with the May Town Meeting decision to increase the recreation department budget—to do so.

The town had originally only planned, and budgeted, to provide lifeguards and swimming lessons at three beaches: Monument Beach, the Electric Avenue beach in Buzzards Bay, and Sagamore Beach.

At May Town Meeting, Gray Gables resident Roberta A. Dwyer successfully amended the budget to add $25,000 in recreation department funding, hoping to cover two more beaches.

Town officials then told her that $25,000 would only provide adequate coverage for one beach, given that lifeguard coverage for each beach is expected to cost about $16,000. Ms. Dwyer then came before selectmen and asked that Gray Gables be covered at least part time.

This week, Mr. Guerino told selectmen that he and Recreation Department Director Krissanne Caron have worked out a way to cover the beaches at Hen Cove and Gray Gables, as well the original three.

He said that all five beaches could at least have lifeguard coverage if the town took two steps. First, swimming lessons would only be provided at each of the three originally selected beaches, and those lessons would be given in two sessions, not the three originally contemplated. Second, Mr. Guerino said money from those lessons would be placed in the recreation department’s revolving fund and then allocated to paying for lifeguards at Hen Cove and Gray Gables.

After Mr. Guerino made his proposal, Selectman John A. Ford Jr. asked what had changed to make this possible now, when it was not before.

Mr. Guerino explained that, because the town had not provided lessons last year, there was no specifically earmarked funding in the revolving account, and it was determined that the revolving account funds could now legally be used to pay for lifeguards.

The town administrator went on to say that he thought the town would be able to hire enough qualified lifeguards for all five beaches. He made the caveat, however, that after the three originally chosen beaches were staffed, Hen Cove would be given coverage first, followed by Gray Gables.

Mr. Guerino then asked whether the board concurred with his decisions.

Selectman Linda M. Zuern called it a “great idea.” Fellow board member Donald J. Pickard said what he has said all along, that the decision is the administrator’s to make. Selectman Earl V. Baldwin said the same, and told Mr. Guerino to go with it. Both Selectmen Peter J. Meier and John A. Ford Jr. said they would support the town administrator in this matter.

Ms. Dwyer stood up to tell the board and Mr. Guerino. “I really appreciate it,” thanking them for “paying attention, and doing the right thing.”

“You will not see me,” said Ms. Dwyer, who has been a constant visitor to the board for more than a year, albeit apologetically, as she has worked to increase the town’s lifeguard coverage.

The successful lifeguard campaign was Ms. Dwyer’s first foray into politics. Mr. Guerino smilingly expressed his skepticism that it would be her last.

 

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