The meeting started with a moment of silence for Brian Fay, a longtime Abington resident who died on October 30. Fay worked in environmental remediation, and it was his work at the World Trade Center site following Sept. 11 that led to him developing lung problems.
Selectman Alex Hagerty congradulated Conservation Commission members Lynne Mullen and Jean Matiyosus for completing conservation agent training.
Hagerty also encouraged residents to attend the Beaver Brook Playground fundraiser on Saturday. Tim Chapin encouraged residents to attend a comedy night fundraiser to benefit Abington Little League, which is also on Saturday.
CORMIER NAMED WATER COMMISSIONER
By a unanimous vote, William Cormier was named as one of the town’s representatives to the Abington/Rockland Joint Water Works. Cormier is finishing the term of Richard Muncey, who passed away in August. Cormier was previously a water commissioner when he lived in Rockland.
TAX RATE TO DROP, RESIDENTIAL TAX BILLS TO RISE
The Board of Selectmemn approved a new tax rate of $14.22, which is $1 less than the current tax rate. However, rising residential property values means most homeowners will see a property tax increase, albiet smaller than last year’s. The average home in Abington is now valued at $497,977 – an increase in $43,000, according to Deputy Assessor Jolanta Briffett. That means the average tax bill will increase from $6,924 to $7,081, or by $147. The average commercial property is now valued at $972,800 – a decrease of $21,954. That means the average commercial tax bill will drop $8, from $15,034 to $15,026. Selectmen rejected a tax rate split saying that it would negatively impact not just big box retailers, but mostly mom-and-pop shops. “We want to be business friendly and we don’t want to chase businesses away,” said Hagerty.
Nobody from the public spoke in favor or against the taxrate change.
PSA: 111th ABINGTON/WHITMAN-HANSON THANKSGIVING DAY GAME IN ABINGTON
Abington (4-6) and Whitman-Hanson (4-5) will face off for the 111th time this Thanksgiving Day. Kickoff is at 10 a.m. at Memorial Field in Abington.
WATER PLANT UPGRADES TO TAKE TWO YEARS
Plans are moving forward to overhaul the Hannigan and Great Sandy Bottom water treatment plants but the work will take more than two years to complete, according to Abington/Rockland Joint Water Works Superintendent Kristel Cameron. Selectmen invited Cameron to give an update on how the water department is handing the PFAS issue as well as supply and capacity issues. Abington and Rockland town meetings have approved the $26 million project which will install new filters, add clear wells, and more. Cameron said they are waiting for state review of their designs and will hopefully put the project out to bid this spring, with work starting in the fall. In 2020, the state lowered the threshold of PFAS allowed in water from 70 parts per trillion to 20. The system’s average has hovered about 20-23 over the past year, which triggers mandatory public reporting. Cameron pointed out that it’s only the Hannigan Street plant that’s currently out of compliance; the Great Sandy Bottom Pond plant does not have any measurable levels of PFAS and the Myers Avenue plant has been piloting a new filtration system that so far removes the “forever chemicals.” Cameron said she is also building a digital database of all previously approved permits to identify how many projects were never built and sitting on an allotment of water. She likened it to writing checks without keeping track of how many were written. A recent study found that, depending on some system projects underway as well as construction timelines, the system may not have enough water to supply every project that has applied for it.
DJUSBERG RESIGNS AS COA DIRECTOR
Town Manager Scott Lambiase announced at the end of the meeting that Council on Aging Director Suzanne Djusberg has resigned effective Nov. 18. Amy Barrett has been named acting director while the position is posted. Djusberg has served in the role since 2009, when she and David Klein took over for Mary Beth Lawton. No other information was immediately available.