The Plympton Board of Selectmen met Monday April 5, putting the final polish on the articles that will be voted on at the Annual Town Meeting May 17, including the financing of the proposed Plympton Police Station.
The Finance Committee met before joining selectmen, exploring new options for financing the new building which is being proposed next to the existing Town House.
Specifically, the FinCom looked at the term length for financing the police station using the capital stabilization fund. According to them, financing the project for a 20-year term could save $70,000 a year.
Another plan explored was a 25-year term that would have decreased the annual payment even more, however, the Finance Committee wasn’t sure if the term was too long for a building 25 years into its life cycle. Selectman John Traynor agreed, saying he liked the idea of the 20-year loan more, to the agreement of the rest of the board.
The FinCom said this may free up capital stabilization funds for needed items at the Dennett School, such as their water situation.
Talks about the paramedics shortage, and potentially increasing their salaries was also considered. Traynor said he has received reports from Fire Chief Warren Borsari that the number of ambulance calls has increased.
With lower wages compared to Halifax and the private sector, Traynor told the board the town has lost both full and part-time staff, particularly on night shifts. “Part time staff is still doing their required one shift per month,” Traynor said, but they are not signing up for other shifts because they are finding better wages at private businesses like Brewster and neighboring towns like Halifax and Carver.
There was disagreement from some members of the Finance Committee, wondering if the shortages were one hundred percent wage related or if there were other factors for some employees. FinCom member Eric Hart also cited that the greatest increase in volume of emergency calls was during the day rather than the night where the shortage has had the most effect.
Selectmen want to get the Finance Committee and Fire Chief Borsari at a board meeting to discuss this issue further and formulate plans on how the town should best move forward.
Discussions about an increase in hours for the Town Clerk position and staff were also considered with the Finance Committee. Both are working together to see how the hours will be distributed in the town budget.
The new Public Records Law has added more responsibility to the Town Clerk position. Finance Committee members want to see if the increased hours need to be permanent, so hiring temporary entry-level help was considered. Traynor said he still thinks the Town Clerk needs an increase to the hours per week.
More discussions on this and other budget items will continue to be considered at the next selectmen’s meeting Monday, April 10. In addition to the Finance Committee, Town Council, Town Meeting Moderator, Town Clerk, Accountant, and Treasurer will all be in attendance.
Outside of FinCom
Town Coordinator Dale Pleau announced the town has been awarded a grant for $5,500 towards the purchase or lease of an electric vehicle for the Police Department. The Board asked Pleau how much electric cars generally cost. Pleau says, “Some of the less expensive ones go for around $22,000.”
None of the Board of Selectmen members expressed a desire to put town funds into this project. They were under the impression the grant was an “all or nothing” deal.
The Board of Selectmen did tell Pleau to continue work on the grant and find out more information. Pleau also saidthere are additional state grant possibilities with the charging stations needed to run an electric car.
Selectwoman Christine Joy met with a representative from the Plympton Housing Production Plan Committee. The committee is working on a plan to meet affordable housing needs for the future.
Joy says the committee is looking for new members as well as non-committee members who want to attend a few meetings. The committee plans to put out a survey for ideas for more affordable housing.
Selectmen Clerk John Traynor is considering going to the transfer station on Saturdays to talk about town issues with citizens. He says that no one is booking appointments to meet with Selectmen and wants to consider giving people another option.
The next Board of Selectmen Meeting is Monday April 10, 2017. Open session starts at 6 p.m.