The Plympton Board of Selectmen met Monday, April 10, 2017 and included Town moderator Brian Wick, Treasurer Colleen Morin, and the Finance Committee, to go over proposed articles for May’s annual town meeting.
Town Counsel for Plympton Ilana Quirk of Kopelman and Paige was also in attendance.
A recreational marijuana moratorium will be voted on at town meeting in order to give the town time to see how the legislature decides to regulate the new legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Town Moderator Brian Wick noted this article is closer to the end of Town Meeting. He questioned if this article should be moved up for its potential to be controversial.
Selectmen do not believe the bill will be controversial. Selectmen Chair Colleen Thompson said the town voted a moratorium for medical marijuana when that was legalized as well, and she said that didn’t create any controversy.
More than 30 proposed articles were reviewed at the meeting. Selectmen went down the list and voted on which articles their board would recommend. The Finance Committee did the same at their meeting prior to joining selectmen and shared their recommendations with the board.
Selectmen limited discussion to the general articles and away from budget line items such as individual position hour increases and changes to positions.
Not every article was discussed in great detail, but some of the more controversial ones were. Not all articles were recommended by the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee.
One article that Selectmen unanimously voted to not recommend was the article for a new vehicle for the Fire Department. The Board doesn’t believe there’s room in the budget for this right now.
Town Coordinator Dale Pleau mentioned the possibility of an extra vehicle from the Police Department being available and they may be able to just paint it red.
The Finance Committee also doesn’t think a new vehicle can be in the budget right now and does not recommend the passage of this article.
One article for the Fire Department that was recommended by both Selectmen and the Finance Committee is for new personal protective equipment for firefighters. The Fire Department requested $47,000 for this purchase, however both selectmen and FinCom members are recommending an appropriation of $30,000.
Selectmen Clerk John Traynor expressed some confusion over the figure the Fire Department was asking for, but the request for $47,000 was never rewritten in a new draft of the article proposal.
Susan Ossoff from the Finance Committee said the committee didn’t receive all of the information they requested from the Fire Department when it came to a break down of the protective equipment. She and the rest of the Finance Committee feel comfortable recommending an appropriation of $30,000 though.
The article for the proposed increases for the EMT and Paramedic staff will be discussed at a later date.
Another article discussed in detail was the Finance Committee’s recommendation to combine the Finance Committee with the Capital Improvement Planning Committee. Ossoff told the board, “We’re having difficulty finding one member, never mind five.”
In order for this board/ committee to exist, five members are required. The Finance Committee thinks it would make more sense to have them also serve as the Capital Improvement Planning Committee rather than trying to fill seats they know they will not be able to fill.
Selectmen agreed with Ossoff and the new board structure will be voted on at Town Meeting.
Other articles discussed included dental insurance coverage for town employees. According to reports from the Board of Selectmen, this is going to cost $3,000 at most to cover anyone who wants the new dental coverage. The Board of Selectmen voted to recommend this article.
In addition to deciding on what articles to recommend, The Board also took the time to consider procedural protocol, including who explains the articles at Town Meeting and who would motion them to vote.
Not everything was completed by this point and the articles presented were still in the draft form. According to Town Coordinator, Dale Pleau, there are still two more articles that could be added before town meeting.
Susan Ossoff needs the articles ready as a final draft by Monday, April 24, 2017. She needs to reformat the articles for its final copy.
The next meeting of the board of selectmen will take place on Monday April 24, 2017 and the Finance Committee will be present once again. Open session starts at 6 p.m.