MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR CRAIG BURNETT
Selectmen started the meeting with a moment of silence for Craig Burnett, an employee with the Abington Sewer Department who died on Feb. 23 at the age of 49 after “a long battle with addiction.”
UPCOMING ABINGTON COPES EVENT & DRAMA CLUB PRODUCTION
Selectman Alex Hagerty announced that Abington COPES will be hosting a “No First Time” event for parents on March 8 at the Police Station. And the Abington High Drama Club is performing “Carrie: The Musical” on March 9, 10, and 11. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for senior and students.
PLANNING DEPARTMENT BUDGET REQUEST UPDATE
Assistant Town Planner Liz Shea gave a brief update on the Planning Department budget and other activities. The Planning Board is requesting a full-time Town Planner in the FY24 budget in order to start coordinating a number of economic development and zoning bylaw needs, including mixed-use zoning for Route 18, revitalization activities for the two town centers, and rezoning at Union Point. Town Manager Scott Lambiase said other communities have had trouble filling open Town Planner positions, and one possibility is to earmark the $85,000 in salary for consultants instead of a full-time position. The position was initially included in the FY21 town budget but pulled back when the COVID pandemic hit, and threw budgets into uncertainty.
SENIOR CENTER BUDGET REQUEST UPDATE
Council on Aging Director Amy Barrett said the Senior Center is looking to refill a currently vacant position, but otherwise is asking for a level budget.
DPW BUDGET & OPERATIONS UPDATE
Public Works Superintendent John Stone told selectmen he is asking for one new position, a laborer. His department currently counts 16 employees, making it one of the smallest public works units among similar-sized communities. East Bridgewater has 22 DPW employees, according to a survey Stone presented, and Hanover has 46.
He also announced that work on the Central Street Bridge will start in April. New England Building & Bridge submitted the lowest bid of $712,000. The bridge will be shut down to traffic – including to police and public works vehicles – in both directions for 18 weeks. “There’s no way to shut it down partially. It’s too narrow,” he said.
MassDOT decided it’s going to resurface Rt. 139 from Rt. 18 to the Weymouth line. That work will take place before July 1. Work on Thicket Street/Randolph Street intersection improvements could begin this summer also.
Stone said town-funded paving in FY24 could include Lower Washington Street, Chapel Street, Cliff Street, Lake Street, Wilson Place, Hersey Lane, Shaw Ave, Bicknell Hill, Myers Avenue, Springwood Drive, and Richard Road.
Stone presented a sewer rate survey from 2021 that found Abington ranked 44 out of 60 participating communities. Based on usage of 90,000 gallons per year, Abington rate payers pay $740 annually. Holbrook residents pay $943 for that same amount, Weymouth pays $1,157, and Randolph pays $1,068. Cambridge topped the list at $1,682.
BOARD APPOINTED TO CONSIDER OPIOID SETTLEMENT FUNDS
Selectmen appointed Veterans Services Agent Adam Gunn, Public Health Nurse Lindsay Wright, Senior Center Director Amy Barrett, Selectmen Chairman Alex Bezanson to the Opioid Settlement Fund Allocation Committee for one year. Town Manager Scott Lambiase said the committee will start meeting to create a mission statement, review spending guidelines, and develop an application process, possibly similar to the model used by the Community Preservation Committee. Multiple corporations – including CVS, Wal-Mart, and Purdue Pharma – have agreed to pay states billions of dollars combined for their role in exacerbating the opioid crisis that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Town Meeting will formally appropriate the first tranche of Abington money in April.
EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT TO REPLACE COLANTONI BENCH
Boy Scout Troop 41 Eagle Scout candidate Charlie Pozerski received permission to replace two benches outside Town Hall, including one dedicated to former Veterans Services Director Joseph Colantoni. Pozerski has scheduled a March 12 pasta dinner at the American Legion hall to help raise money for the project.