What are the three most significant issues Plymouth will face in 2018, and why are they important?
Jam session is an opinion forum offering comments on issues from a group of Plymouth residents. It appears on the Forum pages in the Weekend edition of the OCM.
The newspaper poses a question to the group each week, and participants choose whether to comment. This column is designed to bring the voices of well-informed residents into the Forum page to address issues, one at a time.
Participants cross the local political spectrum and live throughout the town. Some are current or past Town Meeting representatives, and all are active in the community. We hope their diverse points of view will encourage discussion of the issues Plymouth faces.
This week’s question
What are the three most significant issues Plymouth will face in 2018, and why are they important?
The three most significant issues facing Plymouth in 2018 are:
1. The Plymouth Public Schools. Now that both high schools buildings are completed and opened the focus has to be on programming. The budget needs thorough examination to make sure that our schools are given the tools to make a competitive school district.
2. Attracting creative and sustainable economic development to mitigate the loss of revenue from Pilgrim and alleviate the tax burden on the homeowner.
3. Resolving the shortage of housing. There has to be a balance, so that people who work here should be able to afford to live here.
Pat Adelmann has been a Plymouth resident since 1977and is a mother of five Plymouth Public School graduates, a proud grandmother of 12, a former School Committee member and a former Town Meeting representative.
The most significant issues revolve around finances. Pick a project: paying for sewer, new schools, infrastructure, and not forcing people on fixed incomes to leave town. Another issue is restructuring government. It is time to follow Framingham and become a city. I know. It isn’t going to happen. Happy New Year.
Ed Angley is an attorney specializing in zoning and land use. He is a former Scout leader and coach.
The budget is and always will be number one. When I heard a retired town employee state that he can’t afford to live in Plymouth anymore you know there’s a problem. Just consider the rest of us who don’t have as generous retirement packages.
Spending. I agree that this comes under “the budget” but unfortunately there are truly people out there that don’t have a clue that all this spending has to be paid for and how.
The Community Preservation Act in regards to Plymouth; lose it!
It has turned into a slush fund for pet projects. And, when it actually buys “green space” as it was sold to the people, an unintended consequence of that is that it makes less property available to build homes on. That decreases supply thereby raising demand and thereby raising prices. Economics 101. One of the reasons why we don’t have affordable housing (not counting zoning and building caps).
Jay Beauregard, born and raised in Plymouth, served four years in the Marine Corps and has worked for 37 years at a local company. He is a Libertarian who served three terms as a Town Meeting rep from Precinct 6.
1. Getting our unsafe, poorly rated, rickety, and unsafe (repeated intentionally) Pilgrim nuclear plant shut down and decommissioned QUICKLY. Employees, managers, and those to whom Entergy has given money will disagree, but the safety of everyone within 100 miles is far more important than a company that has lost the ability to run this plant with the safety of its neighbors foremost in its corporate mind.
2. Preventing any possible sale of Pilgrim (see characterizations above) after which its buyer may attempt to delay adoption of current safety rules, saying doing them quickly is impractical. It *MUST* be shot down at least until it proves to the NRC (cough, sputter) that it has met or exceeded all current qualifications.
3. Require the relocation of all dry casks to areas immune to future sea level incursion due to inevitable sea level rises from climate change. The current location is unsafe, prone to major corrosion, yet approved by the NRC which is clearly in bed with the current management of the Pilgrim nuclear plant. Enough of this long-term insanity is enough. The town needs to get on its high horse and go after this mess with all the power it can muster.
Nothing is more important.
A Plymouth resident for more than 40 years, Jeff Berger is founder and owner of JMB Communications / websitesthatworkusa.com and everythingsxm.com as well as Northeast Ambassador for SkyMed International, www.getskymed.com. He is a former chairman of Plymouth’s Nuclear Matters Committee and its Cable Advisory Committee.
Determining the rates and deciding who will pay for the sewer pipeline failure and reconstruction. There are arguments by many that only rate payers should pay for it and by rate payers that everyone should bare a portion of the costs. I, personally am hoping that the town will find more creative ways to foot the costs. With 2020 just around the corner, it’s time for our State Reps to pass legislation, returning the South Park Area of Pilgrim Memorial Park to the town(the area South of Plymouth Rock). The costs associated with leasing it from the state will be crippling, moving forward. We gifted it to the state over 100 years ago. It’s time to return it. With fire stations, parking garages, road improvements, completion of the Water Street project and so much more, coming up, we need to find unique and creative ways to complete all of the projects. Grants, partnerships, usage fees, etc. are just a few of the possible ways to accomplish our goals, moving forward. Along with the above three, I’ll just add, JOBS!!!! Let’s put more of our citizens to work.
Mike Landers is a Town Meeting representative and is the founder and producer of Project Arts of Plymouth. He is also the owner of Nightlife Music Company and is a performing musician.
The top issue for me Plymouth is facing for 2018 is how to finish the infrastructure improvements sorely needed for 2020. Anyone familiar with the economic boon Virginia saw when they celebrated their 400th anniversary and what they did to prepare for it can see we are sorely missing out by our prior missteps, general resistance and malaise towards the town investing any money, and the NIMBY attitude that the residents and taxpayers simply shouldn’t do anything to invest in this milestone. It’s a sad time when this generation can’t envision the opportunity we have, and seem to lack the pride to put their town first while on the world’s grand stage. Previous generations’ sacrifice and hard work make us look shameful. I wish every resident’s New Year’s resolution was to get up, get involved, and show what we as a community are capable of, rather than sitting back and complaining about sewer pipes.
Doug O’Roak is creative director at C/F Data Systems, past master of Plymouth’s Masonic Lodge and a former member several boards and committees. He served three terms on Town Meeting and co-authored the Town Meeting Handbook. He has, at times, impressed small children by lifting heavy things.
Happy New Year, readers! There may be near unanimity on the answers looking ahead into 2018 and 2019. First, resolution of the sewer pipe replacement project: who pays (taxpayers and/or rate payers and how much each) and how much will it cost (will damages be paid to the Town by responsible parties.) Second issue will be preparing for the closing of Pilgrim and the implications to the tax rate for that long anticipated event, scheduled for 2019 but could happen in 2018. A third event which needs to happen in 2018 will be fleshing out the plans for the 2020 Celebration, how much it will cost and how to pay for it. The likelihood is that the success of fund raising will determine how much we can do. A fourth potential event will be the long-awaited start of construction of one or even two parking garages by Park Plymouth; they currently have two options either in bidding or design. Let us hope that a year from now some or all of these pending issues will be well en route to resolution.
David Peck is the retired director of Facility Planning at Boston Children’s Hospital. He serves as the chairman of the Plymouth Building Committee and vice-chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals. He is a Town Meeting representative from Precinct 4.
Item number one is how we handle the expense of the sewer line replacement. I don’t have the answer but I have confidence that Lynne Barrett and Melissa Arrighi, both creative and capable town officials, are working on the best financial solution. Dredging the harbor may not jump to mind as an important 2018 issue but the Mayflower can’t come back until the harbor is dredged (it had to be sent for repair because it was sitting in the harbor mud) and our downtown tax paying businesses are really hurting without the ship’s presence. Getting the funding and the dredging done is a long process that has to be locked up in 2018. Entergy will cease nuclear plant operations on May 31, 2019, detailed plans for its closure must be made clear in 2018 to enable the town to get answers to the lengthy list of questions that must be answered before 2019, e.g., what entity will step in to take Entergy’s place, will they have sufficient assets to see that the site is safely closed, etc.
Ed Russell is an attorney and a Precinct 12 Town Meeting representative, and he serves on a number of town committees.
2018 No. 1 Old town hall – sell it ASAP and put on tax roles, as well as, other unused or under utilized town properties.
No. 2 Find ways to cut spending – need some fiscal responsibility.
No.3 Stop wasting money on 10 year plans that seldom materialize. We have enough town hall talent to plan our future needs.
Roger Silva is a former five-term Plymouth selectman who began public service as an elected Town Meeting member. He has served on the Advisory and Finance Committee and two charter commissions.