The Plympton Finance Committee met virtually on Monday, March 7. Chair Nathaniel Sides said that the Fire Chief was unable to make the meeting so Chair of the Town Properties Committee Jon Wilhelmsen would be discussing proposals for both short- and long-term projects on the town campus.
Wilhelmsen said that the roof at the Dennett Elementary School should exceed the $1.1 million estimate that was received in 2018. He said they are waiting for an estimate for a refurbishment instead. “That’s not anything we are talking about this year,” he explained.
Wilhelmsen said that CARES Act funds were used to replace an HVAC unit at the Dennett. He said they are now looking at the replacement of the other units. They are hopeful that they will be replacing at least a few of the units in the next few years. “We have four classrooms where the floors are completely failing,” he said saying the cost would be around $10,000 for that work. He said the schools are also in need of a new intercom system. Wilhelmsen did note that the schools should not be putting any pressure on the town budget as there would be no net increase in the budget whereas usually there is a 2 or 3 percent increase.
Regarding the Fire Station, Wilhelmsen said they are looking at doing a feasibility study to get an actual estimate for building a new fire station. Additionally, he said the study would help define the size of a new building. Roof studies were also done at the Fire Station and the Library. The Highway Department building needs some new brackets for the building which will hopefully be funded at the Special Town Meeting. The Highway building also has damage to the siding. Wilhelmsen said they don’t yet have an estimate for that work.
The Library is in need of a new roof at a cost of approximately $324,000. Other costs for the library include $7,000 for new lighting, $2,000 for hot water issues, and $3,500 for a new children’s room carpet. The carpet is original to the building and according to Wilhelmsen “in dire need of replacement.” He said it was tested and it was verified that there was no asbestos.
Regarding the Old Townhouse, Wilhelmsen said they had a significant mold issue that had to be remediated. Wilhelmsen said they are approaching the affected room in two stages with the first addressing the exterior issues. “We did do the testing in the large reading room and there won’t be any abatement,” he said. They will need to do work on the flooring, but he said that they may be able to use town American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for that work.
Wilhelmsen said a warrant article for $41,000 was approved at Town Meeting last year for the Silver Lake tennis courts. The other towns did not approve the article. Wilhelmsen said an additional $5,000 would likely be needed this year.
Wilhelmsen said they are going out to bid to do a total replacement of sections 2 and 3 of the roof of the Townhouse. Bids will be done prior to Town Meeting so that they will have actual numbers to be able to complete the project. He did note that roof section 1 is also not in good shape. Wilhelmsen said in addition to the ramp project, they are interested in making some additional changes to the Townhouse entrance using ARPA funds. “Most of the tiles in the Townhouse are asbestos and some of them are starting to come up,” Wilhelmsen said.
“We have a number of roof projects out there and its one of those areas we really should be fixing sooner rather than later,” Wilhelmsen said. He pointed out that roof issues can cause further issues that then need to be paid for such as the mold issue at the Old Town House. “It may be advantageous to put it out as one big project, or maybe two,” he said. He explained that the bigger the project, the more competitive the bid process.
Town Administrator Liz Dennehy shared several proposed articles for Town Meeting including one for new alarm systems at several municipal buildings at a cost of roughly $9,500. She also shared an article for remaining lease payments and fiber optic for the Fire and Police Departments. A $200,000 article for road paving for the Highway Department was also included. The Highway Barn Roof project was listed for the Special Town Meeting.
The Committee and Dennehy also reviewed the overall fiscal year 2023 budget spreadsheet. One of the big increases from the previous fiscal year was animal inspection. She said, however, that when viewed alongside animal control and the joint services with Carver, it was an overall savings for the town over previous years. Regarding emergency dispatch services, Dennehy said they would be having representatives from the Regional Old Colony Communications Center (ROCC) attend a later Selectmen’s meeting. She said they may be attempting to level fund everyone which differs from what she was told previously which was that rates would be based on call volume.
Before adjourning Sides said that the Finance Committee’s next meeting would be “jam packed” noting that they would be discussing both the Fire Department and Schools’ budgets.