Discussions on Highway 39 and training for Plymouth Town Constable

Aug. 15, 2022 Plymouth Selectboard meeting. Photo provided

PLYMOUTH, Vt. – The Plymouth, Vt. Selectboard met on Aug. 15, 2022, and at the top of the agenda were two items which were quickly shelved. The first, pertaining to zoning in regard to Tiki Pauley, was decided to have surpassed a “statute of limitations,” after fifteen years. And, regarding an earlier question of payroll automation, it was stated that there was no update at this time, but the topic would warrant a later follow up.

A previous discussion on the Public Information Request form resolved when the revised form, now a one page, more concise document was unanimously adopted by the board. It was further stated that an estimate of cost will now be assessed for any request for public information that involves thirty or more minutes of research. When that change of policy was questioned in the meeting, the board unanimously reiterated that there had been a recent amount of “voluminous” requests for information, so the decision had been made to charge a fee for the additional time.

There was a lengthy discussion regarding the expected duties and training of the Town Constable, who at times is required to cover 911 emergency calls, at times coming to the office in the middle of the night. Concerns for the Constable’s safety were expressed, and questions with regards to his emergency response training and lack of backup in case of an especially unpredictable or volatile situation were also voiced.

Currently, Plymouth does not have a private police force, and a 911 call is typically diverted to the Sheriff’s Department in Rutland, which can result in a response time of 30–45 minutes.

A few options were brought up, including approving additional funds to further train the Constable in emergency response procedure, and possible firearms safety training. Another suggestion was to put in place a two-tier call-in system where someone in a non-life-threatening emergency would call the Constable first, before the police were contacted. There were concerns raised regarding liability and workers compensation insurance requirements, based on potential increased risk. Ultimately the board decided to couch the discussion for a later date, to give everyone more time to review.

The selectboard reviewed a request regarding the maintenance of the town cemetery, proposed to them by Cemetery Commissioner Andrew Crossman. The request included stone repair and replacement, and upon initial review of the lengthy document, Committee Chair Jay Kullman stated he needed to “take some time and go through it,” before reporting back.

The board announced that the Local Hazard Mitigation Program had been rejected by the commission, and the proposal would need to be reviewed, “corrected,” and reposted online for public review.

Selectman Rick Kaminski announced that Plymouth Highway 39 had been officially designated a “pent” road, meaning “a public road that may be barred or enclosed by gates or bars especially at its terminal points,” according to the definition as read by Kaminsky.

An information meeting was scheduled ahead of the November ballots, to start before the Oct. 17, 2022 regular selectboard meeting. Kaminsky suggested a start time of one hour prior to the normal time of 8 p.m., but Pullman responded, “Why don’t we start it at six?” Anticipating there would be “some discussion,” on the ballot points, Pullman added, “I don’t want to keep people here until midnight.”

Regarding delinquent tax payments and the 8% penalty fee charged to the individual when a payment is made past the due date, one of the townspeople in attendance, Bruce Pauley pointed out that the 8% fee was tough for citizens who were already behind on taxes, and the additional penalty could be a “game changer for some people.”

In response, Kaminsky mentioned, “Keep in mind that there is a method for coming to the town, for abatements… and getting a reduction in back taxes. That would be the way to do it.”

Further discussion on delinquent taxes revisited the subject of the sale of Hawk Resort International, LLC that was initially scheduled to close July 1, 2022. The closing deadline was then extended to July 29, 2022, and Kaminski announced a new date was now set for Sept. 15, 2022.

The town had signed a contract that included payment of all back taxes owed on those lots, an amount of $292,586. Boardmember Keith Cappellini stated, “The best possible thing to happen from a tax collection stand-point would be for them to close this deal and cut us a check.”

Kullman mentioned, “I know they don’t have to share the info, but it would be nice, if we’re going to invest, to know what’s up.”

After a short discussion, the board determined that its only concern should be with the tax revenue, since the deal to buy the lots is a private sale.

Minutes before the meeting adjourned, a final announcement was made that the board had gotten word that the Plymouth store had been purchased, with the closing date to be determined. But, Kaminsky mentioned, “After nine months to a year of planning, the town is looking forward to a new store.” The store will also have a gas station, and the board had a quick discussion about a new campground, about which there was little information known, currently.


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