Outgoing Selectman Michael Conklin (left) is presented a plaque by Selectman Bill Bolton (right) for his many years of work on the board at Plymouth's Town Meeting last week. (Photo by Leigh Sharps) (click for larger version)
March 22, 2017PLYMOUTH — Town Moderator Bob Clay declared Plymouth's annual Town Meeting, held last Wednesday night and finished in 55 minutes, a record.
About 100 voters turned out to act on a 26-article warrant. Articles one through six were voted on the previous day during the town election. Clay announced the two winning selectmen from that election, Michael Ahern and Brian Dutille, prior to the evening's voting.
First order of business was the presentation of a plaque by Selectman Bill Bolton to veteran Selectman Michael Conklin, who did not seek re-election. Conklin received a standing ovation for his work on behalf of the town since 2011.
Resident Dave Moorhead asked about the $5,000 appropriation for street lighting. He inquired about the status of the changing out of light bulbs to LEDs. Conklin replied the project has been suspended.
"We're looking at the difference between 65 and 45 watt bulbs. Mr. Johnstone at the [New Hampshire Electric] Co-op is looking into it now, but the bulb replacement will continue in the near future," said Conklin.
Under the same article, the highway department requested $891,253. Regarding the infrastructure schedule, Highway Dept. manager Joseph Fagnant said some streets needing work are Emerson Street, Highland Street, Main Street, Clay Brook, and a few other back roads. Ditching also needs to be done.
"Emerson is well-used on the way to Highland Street," said resident Paul SanSoucie. "It's time to bite the bullet and fix it."
Selectman Neil McIver said Highland would be done within the next 14 months, commenting that "There are substantial funds set aside for it; we're back in the queue with the state and we're applying back to the state now for more funds. We will try to save some of it (monies) for Emerson Street."
A question about the landfill monitoring and testing expense of $8,400 was answered with the fact it varies some each year even though it is always done twice as state mandated. $5,000 was set aside for a conservation commission project which has yet to be decided, according to Town Administrator Paul Freitas.
Voters agreed to fund a new garage fuel/storage building, a new dump truck purchase for $175,000,and entered into a long-term lease/purchase for a new Volvo excavator.
$164,289 was raised to put into several capital reserve funds including a fire engine 4 replacement, fire engine 3 replacement, fire tower truck and $50,000 was approved toward ambulance replacement. Voters appropriated $96, 979 to go to 16 non-profit agencies.
A total of $136,972 was voted to fund payment #7 of the library expansion project.
Two million dollars was approved by voters at their 2016 town meeting for infrastructure improvement. This year they voted to fund phase 2 of the bond. About $432,000 remains now. Spent this past year was $925,000 for the highway dept. (mainly sidewalk repairs and road repairs: Bell Road, Reservoir Road, Langdon Street and Ledgeside Road). An amount of $320,000 was spent for town hall (and other projects) including town hall repairs at $27,074.40. Another $51,645 was spent for a landfill closure loan pay-off, and $59,646.97 for camera equipment.
An amount of $300,000 was expended for the police dept mainly in building repairs. $30,000 was approved for parks and recreation for Fox Pork Riverside and the Common (tree removal, walkway lights, repairs to the water lines for the fountain and new riverfront handrails).
Another $300,000 was used for the fire department: deputy chief's vehicle, renovations to the day room and defibulators and $125,000 for recycling (building maintenance, conveyor repairs and a vehicle ($23,000).
Passed without comment was $1,144,768 for departmental operations and $1,600,505 for general governmental expenses.
Under the final article, other business to come before the meeting, resident Bill Houle presented a resolution to the Northern Pass Site Plan Evaluation Committee and Gov. Chris Sununu asking that the proposed transmission line not be buried under Plymouth's Main St. but to use the state existing right-of-way down the Interstate 93 corridor. Moderator Clay said the voters could only give him a 'sense of the meeting' as presented. They approved unanimously.
Also, a proposal for selectmen to study a public access point on Loon Lake and bring back information/options at next year's town meeting was approved, as 'sense of the meeting,' unanimously by voters.