Monday’s Plympton Selectmen’s meeting saw several residents concerned as Highway Surveyor Jim Mulcahy presented a preliminary plan for addressing safety issues at Main Street and Ring Road.
The proposed plan, which Mulcahy said is still in early stages and not set in stone, involves widening the intersection at Main Street and Ring Road. A design enegineer consultant was hired by Mulcahy and the Highway Department to explore ways to make the intersection safer.
Mulcahy presented before and after illustrations of the intersection that showed exactly what is being done. According to Mulcahy, widening the intersection will not remove the curve. He said, “We’re not getting rid of the curve; we’re softening the curve.”
Even though Mulcahy acknowledged that this plan doesn’t address all the issues on Ring Road, he thinks this is a good plan that can make a difference.
Mulcahy said, “This is a pretty good scheme. I’m not saying the best, I’m not saying the worst, but I think it’s going to be the most practical.”
According to Mulcahy, a stone wall at the curve of the intersection has also been a problem. He said it may be possible to remove it for this project, but said this is all still preliminary.
Several Ring Road residents remained skeptical about widening the intersection as the solution. Many cited lack of speed limit enforcement as the real issue at hand. A few residents said they’d rather see if more speed enforcement works first before spending town money on a project.
One resident questioned if the project was needed at all. She asked how many accidents have occurred at this specific intersection. She was not satisfied that Mulcahy did not have this data and declared his evidence was anecdotal.
School Board member Jon Wilhelmsen responded by saying that studies do not pick up near misses. He said there’s been at least half a dozen near misses in the last 10 years.
“I’d be concerned with that just because we haven’t had a major incident we don’t take action,” said Wilhelmsen.
One resident, Gavin Murphy, who moved to Plympton with his family a few years ago, was concerned that widening the road will negatively impact the picturesque aesthetic of the town. Murphy said he’s worried that this is “hacking away at the rural fabric of this community.”
Other options were explored briefly with some residents suggesting a three-way stop sign to force people to slow down at the intersection. Selectmen’s Assistant Briggette Martins said she was skeptical this would work because of the way people drive getting their kids at Dennett Elementary. She said something similar was tried in Duxbury and it did not work.
Electrical Aggregation with Colonial Power coming to Plympton
Colonial Power Group President Mark Cappadona discussed with the Plympton Board of Selectmen the upcoming electrical aggregation service coming to the town.
The aggregation agreement doesn’t change the source of electricity for the town. Eversource is still the provider for Plympton. Cappadona said, “Aggregation only addresses the electron running through the wire.”
Cappadona said that aggregation is flexible and allows for both standard and green energy. “You have the ability to have two products if you so desire,” said Cappadona. He also emphasized that aggregation also allows classifying residential, commercial, and industrial services.
Prices for electricity are expected to be higher over the next 24 months than the current 10.75 cent Nstar Rate according to Colonial Power Group. Cappadona said National Grid’s rate is expected to hit 12.6 cents per kilowatt hour.
Both Abington and West Bridgewater are on 12-month contracts with Colonial Power. Cappadona said both towns have a certified green National Wind product and both have fixed rates of 11 cents per kilowatt hour.
The aggregation is a service every resident is opted into unless they choose to opt out. Information and instructions to opt out are going to be mailed out by Colonial Power.
The Board of Selectmen said it’s important people are aware of the electrical aggregation. Selectmen Chair Christine Joy said, “It might be a good idea to get this on the website so people know this is coming.”
Potential Green Community Grant Opportunities
Plympton is certified as a green community under the specifications of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). This certification opens up grant opportunities for the town to use on different types of projects.
Mass DOER Green Communities Regional Coordinator Seth Pickering, along with Thomas Lesure and Chris Collins came before Selectmen to discuss grant opportunities for Plympton that could reach up to $250,000 annually.
For the town to be eligible for the grant, the Board of Selectmen need to submit an annual report. Pickering said the town has not done this the last two years.
Mass DOER can help the Board with the report, but only to a certain extent because they also audit and review the annual reports.
Only one grant can be issued at a time. Collins said, “It’s about doing a project you can get done and reapplying for grants next year.”
Pickering also said the town is in a unique situation where every town that’s a part of the Silver Lake Regional School District is a certified green community. This means if the town wanted to combine on a project for the school district, there’s a potential $750,000 in grant money that could be used.
• The Board of Selectmen set up a screening committee for interviewing and narrowing down the town administrator applicant pool to three candidates. The following people were selected to be members: former selectman Colleen Thompson, Town Accountant Barbara Gomez, Police Chief Patrick Dillon, former finance committee member Marilyn Browne, assistant assessor Deb Stuart, among others.
• Selectmen approved the new incident report form for the Animal Control Officer with the exception of one part which has some language on the form involving the animal inspector that the Board will review with Town Counsel before approving.