Plymouth sets tax rate, provides update on Hawk sale and building renovations

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At the Plymouth Selectboard meeting on July 18, 2022, the board discussed the budget available for renovations across the city.

PLYMOUTH, Vermont – At the Selection Committee meeting on July 18, the City of Plymouth approved its municipal tax rate at 0.5075%. They also informed the city of the renovation project and the closure of the Hawk.

Rick Kaminski explained that the city’s approved budget of $843,000 will now cover only about half of the original design of the city’s building renovation project. The estimate is now $1.5 million because “materials and labor have exploded.” Kaminski reiterated from previous meetings that the city can either go ahead with the previous budget and do whatever it can with the money or get bail and complete the entire project as planned.

Kaminski provided new information about the city’s renovation project: there is a code requirement. If you are renovating some unknown percentage of a building, the rest of the building must be brought up to code. This would include insulation, ventilation and accessibility.

The city can go ahead with half of the original budget, but the costs would be higher in the long run. The original design of the heating system was based on new doors, windows and wall panels also being made, so it may need to be redesigned to accommodate the additional heat load if all of these things cannot be done within the budget initial.

To complete the full project, the city would need an $800,000 bond, which was initially quoted at an interest rate of 3.9%, and would cost the city $60,000 in the first year, and decrease a little each year. However, the city would save $15,000 in energy efficiency costs, bringing that overall bond payment to $45,000 in the first year. Both options will be on the ballot in November for city residents to decide.

Speaker Jay Kullman gave an example, saying that if you owned a $250,000 home, your taxes would drop from $1,268 to $1,329 if bail was approved by voters. He added that the Woodstock school is looking to raise tax rates to raise funds for the renovation of its building, which will also impact taxpayers in Plymouth as part of their school district and their supervisory union.

The current sale with Hawk Resort International, LLC which was scheduled to close on July 1, 2022 has been confirmed for a new closing date of July 29, 2022. The town has signed a contract with the buyers to be paid in full for all arrears taxes owed on these properties, known as Valley Four, in the amount of $292,586.

The council acknowledged a recent speeding problem on Kingdom Road, which is posted at 35 miles per hour. With recent crashes, they suggest lowering the speed limit to 25 miles per hour in these problem areas. It was also suggested that yellow warning signs be erected with a suggested speed limit of 20 mph. Kaminski plans to meet with road foreman Larry Lynds to map the location and develop a plan to submit to council for approval.

Kullman has opened two sealed bids for the Stickney Bridge project, which includes concrete and electrical works, and the restructuring of pilasters and pylons. Cold River Bridges offered $349,600 and Daniels Construction offered $370,000.

A letter has been submitted to the community center daycare board regarding an indecent with a child climbing the six-foot berm, which is blocking dump trucks, loader and other roadside equipment on the other side . Kaminski said the area is currently a green landscape, and the city is looking for suggestions for fencing or planting to better block off the berm and protect children, while still being aesthetically acceptable. He plans to do a site visit and come up with a plan.

Council continues to seek a Selection Committee Clerk to take minutes and maintain the Town’s website. Kullman reported that Elaine Pauley had offered to help, and he respectfully declined her offer, explaining that she already does so much for the city. Pauley “stepped in when needed when our city clerk resigned”, she took on the role of delinquent tax collector, and “she turned the office around” with great professionalism and integrity. Kullman said the city couldn’t ask her to take any more, adding, “I would like to take a moment and appreciate Elaine for all the work she does for the city with a smile on her face.”

The next meeting of the Plymouth Selectboard will be Monday, August 1 at 6 p.m. at City Hall and via Zoom, which will include the official vote and decision on Macawee Pond Road.

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