The June 22 Plympton Board of Selectmen meeting began as a joint meeting with the Plympton School Committee. Daniel Cadogan was elected to the school committee during Saturday’s town election but was yet to be sworn in as of Monday’s meeting so was not part of the voting. Jon Wilhelmsen, who received several write-in votes during the election, had already been sworn in and accepted another term on the committee. The Board of Selectmen and School Committee took a vote to appoint Jason Fraser to replace resigning member Jill Palenstijn for the year-long remainder of her term. The school committee then adjourned.
The Board of Selectmen began their business with a reorganization. Current Chair Christine Joy made a motion to make Mark Russo the new Chair and John Traynor seconded. John Traynor was named the clerk and Christine Joy the new Vice Chair. Russo jokingly said that his ground rules as Chair included no spitting and no swearing.
Following the reorganization there was a very brief hearing to consider the application of Eversource located out of 273 Summer Street in Plymouth. There is a petition for the installation of one pole on Spring St. to raise the cable due to low hanging wires. No one attending the remote meeting wished to speak either in favor or against considering the application. Traynor made a motion to accept the application which was unanimously agreed upon and the hearing was closed.
Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy requested that the town sign a three-year continuation of their auditing contract with Lynch Marini & Associates. “They have been doing an excellent job for us for quite some time,” Dennehy explained. The Board voted in favor of the continuation.
The Board then moved toward making the necessary fy21 appointments. Russo read through the lengthy list of people whose appointments were expiring at the end of the month asking that a hold be requested for any appointments needing further discussion.
The only appointment in question was that of Animal Control Officer and Animal Inspector. Joy said that she had believed Brian Kling would be resigning but was relieved to hear that he no longer intended to resign. Russo made a motion to appoint all those on the list to another term in their present position. It was unanimously approved.
Dennehy provided the Board with updates regarding COVID-19 saying, “Town meeting was a success. I think we can all be very pleased with the way that things went…I do believe people felt at least somewhat secure with being there.”
Dennehy said that as of the Monday meeting there were two active cases in the town and all earlier cases were considered clear.
Dennehy also said that the town is working on a plan for the fall and winter and have been taking the necessary steps to ensure that the Fire and Police Departments are adequately supplied with all necessary equipment.
Dennehy told the Board that Fire Chief Stephen Silva has taken the lead with getting reimbursement through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. She also said that they have been coordinating with Wilhelmsen and Dennett Elementary School Principal Peter Veneto to make sure that they are reimbursed for any unforeseen COVID-related expenses.
Regarding future expenses, Wilhelmsen said that they are looking at both necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as additional chromebooks as the expectation is that next year will also involve some level of remote learning. The town is also looking to be reimbursed for residual town meeting expenses that were COVID-related such as the hiring of an AV company to help facilitate a socially distant meeting.
The Board of Health also received a secondary grant. Chair of the Board of Health Art Morin has already received reimbursement for the costs to spray the town buildings the first time. Dennehy said that when dealing with separate grants, etc., careful attention must be paid to not duplicate entries for reimbursement.
Dennehy said, “Otherwise, its been pretty much business as usual at the townhouse.” She said that a memo was sent out to town employees to remind them to keep their guards up as the threat posed from COVID-19 is still present.
Traynor brought up that a number of town issues have been placed on the back burner due to the pandemic and said that he would like to see those things receive attention once again. Russo and Joy concurred. It was agreed that the Board would focus much of their July 6 meeting on discussing and prioritizing these projects.
Dennehy gave an administrative update saying that she was pulling together an RFP to get a consultant on board for the hazard mitigation plan grant.
She also said that the purchase and sales agreement for one of the three lots auctioned off on Prospect Rd had already been signed and mailed to town counsel. She said she expected the closing to take place soon. The purchase and sales for the other two lots are in the final stages.
As is customary at their meetings, the selectmen ended their night with their rants or raves for the past few weeks. Joy said her rave was for all the residents that attended town meeting. “I know it was kind of a scary experience … but they came out and they took care of business,” Joy said.
Russo had two raves, the first of which was for Joy having finished her term as chair of the Board.
“I’m very appreciative of having the opportunity to sit next to Christine and learn from her,” Russo said. Traynor agreed. Russo’s second rave was for the town employees in agreeing to forgo a merit increase this year in order to guarantee that no jobs were lost and to keep the tax rate as modest as possible.
Traynor qualified his rave by saying that it was really more of a story. He said that about fifty years ago a binder was removed from the town records by someone that wanted it for their own library. That person recently passed, and their children shared it with someone else from Plympton. “I’m happy to report that the 1899 book of Plympton town boundaries is now back in the town vault,” Traynor concluded.