Board of Assessors Clerk Ethan Stiles met with Plympton Selectmen on Monday, August 14, 2017 to discuss which Town Counsel will represent Plympton in Sysco’s tax abatement appeal.
Stiles explained the direness of the situation to the Board. He said that Sysco believes the town is greatly overvaluing their property and have filed for abatements in both 2015 and 2016. According to Stiles, Sysco wants the valuation brought down from $65 million to $45 million. The Town of Plympton denied both abetment requests and Sysco is appealing.
Discussion first started at last week’s Selectmen’s meeting on Monday, Aug. 7. Principal Assessor Deborah Stuart told Selectmen that the Board of Assessors strongly recommends Ellen M. Hutchinson, an attorney who operates a private practice out of Beverly.
At last week’s meeting, Selectmen admitted they were caught off guard by the Hutchinson selection because they said they were under the impression that the town’s current co-counsels, Richard Bowen and Kopelman and Paige Law were the only ones being considered. Stiles came in to further discuss the Assessors’ thought process.
Stiles said, “When we looked at Attorney Hutchinson’s resume, we felt that her practice was more strongly suited and focused to the appeals process of the Appelate Tax Board (ATB).” He added that Bowen’s resume was strong, but the Board of Assessors believed Hutchinson was the stronger candidate.
The Assessors were also impressed, said Stiles because Hutchinson attached and summarized 12 specific cases related to these types of tax abatement appeal cases.
Selectmen still had some concern because they were unaware of what was going on in the process. “We’re in this together,” said Selectman John Traynor, “If the town loses this, we’re going to lose $360,000 give or take every year, and that’s a big concern to me.
Traynor added that he did look at Hutchinson’s resume though. He said that she seems to be well qualified.
Selectmen said they will request Atty. Hutchinson come before the Board of Selectmen at a future meeting. Selectman Chair Christine Joy said, “We’ll try to get this set up as quickly as possible, hopefully next week.”
Hazardous Waste Day Update
Plympton’s Hazardous Waste Day took place on Saturday, August 12, at the Transfer Station. Board of Health Chairman Art Morin reported that the event was a huge success. He also complimented Highway Surveyor Jim Mulcahy for coming up with the idea.
Morin said, the event was run by Clear Harbor who wore hazmat suits and required residents to stay in their cars. This caused a line all the way down to Ring Road, but Morin said the line moved “incredibly efficiently.”
Morin said, “It never stopped from 9 a.m. all the way up until a few minutes before 12.”
Morin also reported with delight to the Board of Selectmen that the event ran under budget. There was a small surplus left over from the $5,000 approved for the event at Town Meeting.
Selectmen John Traynor said he heard back from the last of four consulting firms who applied to do the fire/emergency services study approved at Annual Town Meeting. The Board was waiting for a written study proposal from this last firm.
All four firms will be interviewed over the next two weeks. Two firms will be interviewed at the Selectmen’s meeting on Monday, August, 21. The final two firms’ interviews will take place Monday, August 28.
The interviews for the fire department’s clerical position are over and Traynor said he believes Chief Warren Borsari and the rest of the screening board have a candidate they’d like to select. Traynor wants to confirm this one more time though, so there was no name announced at this time.
The next Plympton Selectmen’s meeting is Monday, August 21. Open session begins at 6 p.m.