On Wednesday evening, Plympton Selectmen met and finalized many recommendations for warrant articles in their marathon push to finalize the warrant by next Monday. They briefly touched on other business, including the spraying of herbicides in town that a citizen brought up last week and co-inspections by Town Assessors and Fire Department personnel, while skipping several agenda items.
After Town Adviser Dale Pleau suggested that the Board could vote on article recommendations that evening, rather than waiting until next week, the Board did just that. Approving many articles in groups, without fully reading them aloud, and only pausing for questions or to make modifications, the warrant is in nearly final shape.
All warrant articles for the Special Town Meeting were approved. A proposal that Selectmen John Henry had presented earlier in the meeting regarding retiring debt was sent to Town Counsel and will be voted on Monday.
An ongoing issue regarding an article to send a grant to the South Shore Community Action Council, which provides fuel assistance, housing grants, and other services to low-income residents on the South Shore was stricken from the warrant. Questions of whether the SSCAC is cost effective or beneficial to the town were previously raised, particularly by the Council on Aging Director Christine Maiorano, and the Board would like to study the issue for another year. Several remaining articles were not approved because the Board wants the advice of FinCom and/or Town Counsel before voting.
Selectmen Chair Mark Russo, “just to be done” with the issue, proposed separating Fire and Assessor inspections as the Board had voted to previously allow. According to Town Counsel, Fire Department inspectors must be given access to a dwelling, but Town Assessors do not have to be given access to a dwelling. Those who refuse access to Assessors, though, risk their property being assessed on attributes not related to a full inspection. Therefore they may be artificially high, or simply incorrect. The board unanimously voted to reverse their previous decision and the inspections will be separate moving forward.
Michael Antoine, of 17 Oak Street, appeared in the audience for the second meeting in a row with concerns over spraying herbicides. Due to some confusion during the previous week’s discussion, implications that this is an Eversource power-line issue were incorrectly reported. In fact, Keolis Commuter Services, the MBTA’s operator of Commuter Rail, will be spraying only “as-needed” and to “touch-up” along a small section of the railroad’s right-of-way in the northern part of town.
Although both Selectmen Chair Russo and Selectman Colleen Thompson were sympathetic to Mr. Antoine’s concerns of the herbicide, similar to the commercially available brand “Roundup”, seeping into the groundwater or harming bees (Mr. Antoine is a hobbyist beekeeper), they both emphasized that the spraying would be minimal. Thompson had looked into the issue and read several articles that Mr. Antoine forwarded to her, yet remained unconvinced than any action needed to be taken this year. The Tree Warden and Town Health Agent were consulted as well and do not have concerns, for bees or humans. “How would you know if your neighbor wasn’t using the same thing?” Selectmen Thompson rhetorically asked at the end of the discussion.
In Other News:
• Three use of town property permits have been approved: one each for the Plympton Youth Athletic Association to have a family night showing a movie, one for a group called “Moving with the Spirit” raising money to donate to Haiti to hold a bake sale, and one for the Girl Scouts to build a community garden as they did last year.
• There are still many vacancies in town government and there is plenty of time to run a write-in campaign. The Board emphasized that training was available even if one doesn’t have much knowledge of a particular board or committee. There are especially vacancies on the Planning Board and the Finance Committee.
• There are several opportunities for the public to learn about the Town Meeting warrant as well as several open Board meetings coming up:
• Monday April 27th, 6 p.m. Open Selectmen Meeting with FinCom
• Monday May 4th, 12 noon. Run-through of Town Meeting with Moderator, and all major participants.
• Saturday May 2nd, 10:30-noon. Public meeting hosted by Town Moderator and Finance Committee at the Plympton Public Library.
• Wednesday May 6th, 7 p.m. Opportunity for the public to hear about the warrant and ask questions.
• Monday May 11th, 6 p.m. Open Selectmen Meeting.