On the same night that Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy was appointed to Plympton’s Local Emergency Team, the Plympton selectmen’s meeting’s major focus was on addressing emergency situations caused by the Jan. 4 “bombogenesis” winter storm.
Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy spoke of the recent cold temperatures that caused a water pipe to break at the Plympton Town House. Dennehy said. “There was a fairly extensive amount of damage.”
She said most of the damage was in the lobby, Town Clerk Tara Shaw’s office, lunch room, and small area by the the vault. Much of the tiling had to be scrapped completely.
Selectmen Clerk Mark Russo praised the town custodian for his response and how fast he was able to get the Town House in clean, workable conditions. The Fire Department was also involved in the stoppage of the leak and salvaging the town hall.
Dennehy said most of the town hall was open again by Wednesday, Jan. 3. Town Clerk Tara Shaw’s office took longer to be operational again.
Issues at the School
School Committee Representative Jon Wilhelmsen attended the selectmen’s meeting to discuss the broken backup generator at Dennett Elementary School.
The school held a test for the generator prior to the blizzard. Wilhelmsen said, “The test fired and blew a part…It’s a miracle we didn’t lose power.”
He added that on Friday evening, Fire Chief Borsari came to inspect the broken generator and noticed an electrical fire smell. The well pump failed and there ended up being a small electrical fire in the fuse panel.
According to Borsari, it took Eversource 4 hours to respond, so the fire department issued a fire watch during that time.
The school is currently being powered by a portable temporary back-up generator. However, its lease is costing the town $1,500 per week. Schools cannot have an occupancy permit without a backup power source, so a permanent solution needs to come in the immediate future.
Wilhelmsen and the Board of Selectmen explored options for a permanent solution for the school. One option explored was repairing the 15-year-old generator. Wilhelmsen estimated the cost will be in the $8,000 to $12,000 range.
Given the cost and age, the Board is seriously considering a new and larger generator.
Selectman John Traynor wants to explore if a larger generator would be more efficient from a cost and performance perspective. Wilhelmsen estimated the cost to set up a new generator to be in the $25,000 to $35,000 range.
Selectmen Chair Christine Joy said the Board of Selectmen will also explore grant options.
Old Town House Update
The Board of Selectmen discussed the renewal of the lease for the Old Town House. A large aspect of the renewal was centered around who will provide maintenance for the building.
Going forward, the town is setting up a plan to be responsible financially for the maintenance of the Old Town House. The Board of Selectmen wants the town custodian to maintain the building.
In order to accomplish this, the Board discussed increasing the town custodian’s hours from 15 per week to 20. Increasing his hours to 20 per week would make the town custodian eligible for benefits.
The Board of Selectmen fully intends to do this for the next fiscal year that starts in July. Traynor said the Finance Committee would also have to be involved because of the inclusion of benefits.
In the meantime, Dennehy suggested raising the town custodian’s hours to 19 per week for the rest of this fiscal year. All three members of the Board said they liked the idea.
The draft of Municipal Resources, Inc’s consulting report is still pending. Dennehy said the draft won’t be ready until the first week of February.
The next Plympton Board of Selectmen meeting is Monday, Jan. 22. Open session begins at 6 p.m.