The Plympton Board of Selectmen met on Monday, Nov. 18 minus Vice Chair Mark Russo. The Selectmen and Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy discussed the upcoming special town meeting to be held on December 16 at 7 p.m.
Per Dennehy’s request the selectmen passed a motion to close the warrant for special town meeting with the acknowledgement that while nothing will be added, there may be some articles removed.
Article One will call for an extensive revision to the solar by-laws. The Board agreed that it was not appropriate for them to either recommend or not recommend this particular article as it is already being handled by the Planning Board. The Planning Board previously held a public hearing on this topic.
The Selectmen did vote to recommend Article Two which pertains to the police chief.
Article 3 seeks approval to authorize the Board of Selectmen to create safety zones with reduced speed limits. Unsurprisingly, the Board voted to recommend this article.
The selectmen also recommended Article 4 to request the transfer of funds to pay for a van for the Council on Aging.
Article 5 that is being sponsored by the by-law review committee was first brought to their attention by animal control officer Brian Kling. Kling said that the state had changed a lot of their baseline regulations regarding animal control and that all of the communities were being strongly urged to adopt the same language. The requested changes increase fines for various related offenses and adds a provision for a third offense and for a fourth or subsequent offense. The Board voted to recommend this article as well.
Article 6 pertains to a vote that was being had by the Board of Assessors to release $290,000 from the overlay fund. Dennehy explained that if applied to the interim tax rate it would mean a reduction of fifty cents per thousand. Dennehy said that it would likely have to be made up next year in addition to other expenses including increased costs for regional dispatch and an update to the entire capital plan by the finance committee. Dennehy said that because valuations are likely to go up, it could be upsetting for people when they experience a large increase. “I think in light of some expenses that we may have on the horizon I’m not sure that being so quick to take that money and earmark it for something at a special town meeting that’s not occurring at a normal time of the year, I don’t really think that that’s the best course of action,” Dennehy said. Town Accountant Barbara Gomez was in agreement. The Selectmen voted not to recommend the article should it not be withdrawn before then.
Article 7 was similar to Article 6 in that the Selectmen and Dennehy were unsure if it would be withdrawn before special town meeting. Selectman John Traynor said, “I’m not opposed to what they want to do… I just don’t want to do it today.” Chair Christine Joy agreed saying, “Financial matters are always better saved for the annual.” Again, the Selectmen voted not to recommend the article for the same reasons as stated for Article 6.
Dennehy asked Joy and Traynor their opinions on whether or not a hard copy of the special town meeting warrant should be mailed to households. Dennehy said that they had not budgeted for printing and shipping costs but that the finance committee had said that they would help find a way to fund it. While town counsel said that there was no obligation to do so, the Selectmen and Dennehy were in agreement that it was best not to deviate from what was done in the past and agreed to the mailings.
Dennehy also updated the Board about regional transportation options, saying she has been working with Halifax Town Administrator Charlie Seelig. They are currently awaiting further instruction as to whether they should reach out to Brockton area transit to pursue some form of relationship.
Dennehy also provided an update on the potential regionalization of the Council on Aging with Halifax and Carver. Dennehy said that since Halifax has had to extend their search for a Council on Aging director, the regionalization has been placed on the back burner temporarily. Once that position is filled, the three towns plan to move forward with their plans for a joint calendar, etc.
Dennehy once again emphasized to the Board that Plympton’s dispatch costs are set to increase significantly next fiscal year. Dennehy said that the finance committee is on board with the idea to attend a Selectmen’s meeting in late January where the Regional Old Colony Communications Center (R.O.C.C.C.) in Duxbury could also attend and give a presentation.
The Board voted to appoint Benjamin Sarro as motor equipment repairman from November 5, 2019 until June 30, 2020.
The Board also passed a motion to set the right of first refusal for two Harju properties for Monday, January 27 at 6 p.m.
The next Board of Selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 2.