A reconstituted Board of Selectmen was the order of the day at the board’s June 25 meeting following the town election earlier that week, with an incumbent being named chairwoman and a new member taking her seat on the five-member board. Vice Chairwoman Jennifer Constable was appointed to lead the board for the coming year as chairwoman. Selectman Greg Grey and new member Donna Pursel were appointed as vice chairman and clerk, respectively.
Prior to the reorganization, outgoing chairman Domenico Sestito said it had been an honor to serve in the top spot for the past two years. The job of chairman had been demanding, Sestito acknowledged, but also an enjoyable experience. “It will be exciting to get back to being a regular board member,” he said. He then asked for a motion to reorganize the board. Grey made a motion to appoint Constable as chairwoman, and it was seconded by Pursel. The vote was unanimous, with Constable abstaining. “If this was an in-person meeting, I would pass you the gavel,” Sestito quipped. “So I will pass you the virtual gavel.”
Constable thanked her fellow selectmen for their support. “I look forward to chairing a really strong board in the coming year,” she said. Sestito also welcomed Pursel to the board. She in turn thanked the voters of Hull who, she said, “sent the clear message that they wanted a change in leadership. I’m happy to take on that task and know I will be a nice addition to the team in bringing [about] some change to the town.” Sestito also expressed appreciation to former Selectman Kevin Richardson, who lost his seat in the June 23 town election. “He spent 15 years in public office, including nine on the board of selectmen, coaching every youth sport during that time, and more,” Sestito said.
In other business at the meeting:
- The board authorized Town Manager Philip Lemnios to file for Plymouth County CARES Act reimbursement through the Plymouth County commissioners-controlled $90 million federal reimbursement program. The purpose is to help communities replace some of the lost revenues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, including much higher town meeting costs due to social distancing and
other requirements and the purchase of so-called Personal Protection Equipment. “We’ll be putting in for our first round of funding for $150,000 worth of reimbursements,” Lemnios said. The town’s proportional share of the total funds, based on population, is $450,000 if the town can submit proof of that much in COVID-19-related expenses and files for reimbursement. The deadline for filing for additional funds is early December. “We’re keeping very close track of our expenditures,” Lemnios said.
- In related business, the selectmen approved board members John Reilly and Pursel as Hull’s representative and alternate, respectively, to the Plymouth County Advisory Board. • The board also approved bids from the May 27 land auction for two properties that were acquired through a tax taking for nonpayment of real estate taxes: 0 F Street (vacant lot) for $165,200 and 105 Manomet Ave., $285,100. Both properties were sold s is, and the new owners are doing their own due diligence. The local family that purchased the F Street property plans to build a house on the site if the land is deemed buildable; the owner of the Manomet property, who lives in the neighborhood, wants to tear down the existing house, which Lemnios said is in very poor condition, and build a new one.
- The selectmen recently approved the reopening of the Hull Redevelopment Authority lot for the season, to be used for beach parking and to accommodate a maximum of 500 vehicles in compliance with social distancing requirements, The reopening is being permitted with the understanding that the hotel side of the lot is filled first and then the Phipps Street side, out of consideration for the neighborhood. The board recently amended that agreement to allow vehicles with handicapped parking placards and/or resident parking stickers to use the lot near Phipps Street first if they so choose and even if the other lot is not yet filled.
- The board is also trying to find ways to alleviate summertime traffic congestion beyond the current traffic plan put in place on some prime beach days when there is the potential for major traffic backups. The traffic plan is implemented at certain times, especially when there are tide changes or when a storm is approaching and beachgoers decide to make a run for it. Another area of concern on heavy beach days is the intersection of Nantasket Avenue and Phipps Street.
- Constable expressed concern that some customers are not wearing face coverings or social distancing when standing in line to order food or when they have reached a walk-up window at a local restaurant. “We all have to do our part,” she said. “Businesses are staying open with [COVID-19] guidelines they are expected to follow.” She suggested that businesses post signs reminding customers to wear face coverings and
to social distance. “We’re dealing with a public health issue, and we want to ensure that everyone is able to remain open,” Constable said.