Plympton solar purchasing talks begin with BlueWave Capital:
Plympton Selectmen met Monday evening and tackled a wide-ranging agenda, including agreeing to sign a letter of intent to move forward with the latest BlueWave Solar power purchasing agreement, a proposal to name a street corner after four brothers who were veterans, fielding a request by the Board of Assessors to not have their meetings videotaped and a request from the Board of Health to meet with Town Counsel.
Solar agreement to be signed
The board agreed to move forward with a non-legally binding letter of intent to negotiate with BlueWave Capital, a solar development and investment company, to sell the town electricity credits from a facility being completed in Mattapoisett.
If the project and agreement do come to fruition, the town would expect to see significant savings on their electricity bills over the course of the twenty-year agreement.
Selectperson Christine Joy had some questions regarding an option that BlueWave has proposed for the town, called an escalator. If the town chose this option, the cost of energy purchased would be even lower than the 10.5 cents per KwH proposed, then would increase by a fixed percentage over the course of the agreement.
BlueWave Capital representatives did not discuss this option at their presentation to the board two weeks ago, leading to the questions. The board decided that they would have to do some math to figure out the best option for the town, but that they were ready to move forward with negotiations.
Tribute to Veterans?
Scott Baker came before the board to propose the idea of a tribute to four of the Benevides brothers, all veterans, who had grown up in the family home at 104 Main Street. The Benevides family is well established in Plympton and, according to Baker, would have passed the corner of Main Street and Palmer Road every day of their lives.
He enthusiastically provided with board with photographs and other documentation. His suggestion was to name the street corner after them.
While the board was excited about the idea, they agreed it needed some refinement, possibly to be more expansive and include all veterans, in a centralized location, perhaps near the gazebo. There was some concern of running out of street corners.
Veterans’ agent Roxanne Whitbeck agreed with the more expansive plan, so that no veteran is excluded from a memorial. She suggested something that could be expanded, with bricks or plaques, so that it could be added to in the future as necessary.
Joy suggested forming a committee to further look into the idea, suggesting that this could become a much larger project, possibly for the Boy Scouts and possibly could go along with rehabilitating the gazebo on the town green.
Board of Assessors doesn’t want cameras
The idea of filming the Board of Assessors meetings was floated, prompted by the e-mail of a concerned citizen who did not understand their tax bill and the abatement process.
According to the agreement with the tri-town studio, Area 58, Plympton receives 100 events and meetings filmed for free per year.
Ethan Stiles, a member of the Board of Assessors, objected to this proposition. According to Stiles, the board meets 15 times a year, often in executive session to protect privacy when making decisions about taxpayer abatements. As well as his expressed belief that filming the meetings would be un-substantive, he stated that the Board of Assessors office at Town House can supply guides and offer non-legal advice to taxpayers who have questions. “No one comes to the meetings to watch them for their own sake,” he said. “People are there to deal with their own specific problems.”
Selectperson Joy disagreed. She stated that as public boards, the public shouldn’t feel as if the town government has anything to hide. Her one concern was that filming meetings would have a “chilling-effect” on citizens who wish to address concerns to the board.
Selectman Colleen Thompson stated that she wished all meetings could be filmed, “but we’re not there, yet.”
The eventual consensus was that a public forum should be held by the Board of Assessors to address any questions from citizens, and that it be filmed. Possibly, a question and answer section could be added to the recording, or to the board’s website.
Questions for the town counsel
Ken Thompson, treasurer of the Board of Health, requested permission to consult town counsel to determine the proper course of action when the board is trying to enter a property and is being refused access.
“People are being denied access for trying to do their jobs,” he said.
Selectmen approved his request, but asked that the meeting be as general (and brief) as possible so that other boards and committees could use any useful information. Board Chairman Mark Russo asked that Thompson report back after meeting with town counsel.
Later in the evening, Selectperson Joy requested further clarification on how the town should move forward managing small parcels of town-owned land, such as those taken through tax-title.
Russo, an abutter to town-owned property, recused himself, but spoke as a private citizen, noting that he believes in being very cautious about selling off town property.
Joy countered that she intended to inquire about small, possibly useless properties to the public.
Selectman Colleen Thompson noted that the town treasurer had prepared a guide to managing such properties, but Joy received the permission of the two members voting to consult with town counsel.
Joy will also be inquiring with town counsel about personnel policies and CORI policies, at the same time as Town Coordinator Dale Pleau collects these from other towns for comparison.