Town Hall Live: Notes from 7/26 selectmen’s meeting

We’re at the Abington Board of Selectmen’s meeting tonight and will post updates as we can

Anti-police graffiti found on Memorial Bridge

Alex Hagerty started the meeting by condemning anti-police graffiti found this morning on the Memorial Arch Bridge. He said the graffiti was “explicit, vulgar, and unacceptable” and that “Abington officers deserve more respect than vulgarities.” Abington Public Works Department was able to remove the markings. It is not clear whether the newly installed security cameras at Island Grove could spot whoever did it. Town Manager Scott Lambiase said Deputy Police Chief Chris Cutter pledged to get additional patrols over to the bridge and Island Grove as schedules allow.

DiMarzio wants better communication for road projects

It’s peak road construction season and Abington is spending extra money this year to fix up the town’s roads and infrastructure. However, some feel the town could do better giving residents a heads up when construction crews are going to appear and start tearing up roads. Orange Street and Belmont Street residents woke up last week to find that routes 18 and 123 were being diverted through their neighborhood while Washington Street in Abington Center was worked on. Hancock Street residents also said they weren’t given prior notice before work started on their road. Selectmen Chairman Kevin DiMarzio asked Lambiase to ensure that someone in town, whether it was the Town Manager’s Office or the Department of Public Works, give residents advance notice when their neighborhood is going to be impacted by road work. 

No discussion allowed on upcoming town auction

Because the upcoming auction of town-owned properties wasn’t officially on Monday night’s agenda, the handful of residents in attendance at the meeting interested in the topic weren’t allowed to speak about it. Some have had questions about the properties listed on next month’s auctions, and whether they have more value to the town as conservation land. Dan Brielman, who co-founded Abington Friends of Conservation, asked to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. DiMarzio said he could not speak about the auction as it wasn’t on the meeting agenda. DiMarzio earlier in the meeting said that the town has more than 100 properties under its control and asked that the Board, at its next meeting, place on its agenda a discussion about creating a new Open Space Committee to review the properties. The Board of Selectmen will next meet on August 9, the day before the scheduled auction

Other notes:

~ Town Moderator Shawn Reilly is asking anyone interested in serving on the Finance Committee or Charter Review Committee to send him a letter of interest by Aug. 25. Those interested can also send their letter to Town Manager Scott Lambiase. Two members of the Finance Committee – Justin Van Ness and Patrick Sean Tyler – are stepping down and need to be replaced. The town charter requires that a review be conducted at least every 10 years. The last review was completed in 2014, and Reilly said he wanted to get a jump on that process.  

~ Boston 25 News will be ZipTrip-ing to Abington on Friday, August 6. It’s their first visit since broadcasting from the town in 2012. Unlike that visit, which set up at the Millenium Memorial Complex and included a crowd of hundreds, people are asked NOT to gather at the broadcast site – which hasn’t been revealed yet. Shawn Reilly said news crews have already been in town preparing a feature package on Abington. We encourage you to watch this clip from the last visit, one to see the Memorial Arch glow-up, and also for the interview with that year’s “Mayor”.

~ Selectmen voted unanimously to reappoint Susan Weaver to the Community Preservation Committee; Joanne Demark-Harding to the Conservation Commission; Jack Brown, Janet MacDonald, and Elizabeth Slinger to the Council on Aging, and Dennis Bergin to the Historical Commission. The board also voted unanimously to apppoint Lynne Mullen as a voting member of the Conservation Commission, and Jim Dombrowski as an associate member. The board voted 4-1 to re-appoint Richard Nigrelli to the Zoning Board of Appeals as an alternate member; Alex Bezanson cast the lone no vote. 

~ The Jeff Coombs Final Memorial 5K was granted a one-day malt and beer license by the board for the non-profit’s annual event scheduled for Sept. 19. This is the final year the road race will be held.  

~ During his Town Manager’s Report, Lambiase told the board he believes Town Meeting this fall will be asked to use the town’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to purchase new police cruisers, a street sweeper, and a bucket truck. Abington is scheduled to receive a little more than $800,000 this year from the federal aid package. Under federal rules, it can’t be used to pay down debt or provide tax breaks – it needs to be spent on providing services or making capital investments. Abington will receive another $800,000 next year. Lambiase said he’s looking into whether that money — or possibly funds from a separate pool of money received by Plymouth County – could be used to help offset the cost of upgrading Abington/Rockland Joint Water Works treatment plants to meet new state PFAS standards.

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