Scituate Council on Aging coordinator Lisa Thornton has been chosen from a pool of more than 40 candidates to fill the Hull director of elder services position vacated by Barbara Lawlor in August, after many years of service. Thornton’s first day on the job will be Dec. 21.
A Screening Committee unanimously chose Thornton, a resident of Scituate with extensive experience in the elder services field, to fill the vacancy. She is currently the activities/volunteer coordinator at the Scituate Council on Aging.
“Lisa seemed like the right personality to fit with the staff and the community at large,” Town Manager Philip Lemnios said at this week’s remote meeting of the Board of Selectmen. Lemnios served on the Screening Committee with Hull Council on Aging board member Brian McCarthy and Selectmen Greg Grey and John Reilly.
Grey said it was “a great process. I think [Thornton] will make a big impact on the town.”
Selectwoman Donna Pursel said she was pleased with the choice and applauded all the candidates who applied. “This shows that Hull is a desirable community,” she noted.
In her application letter, Thornton said she felt well prepared for the Hull position after having worked in collaboration with the Scituate Department of Elder Services director for more than five years on “providing innovative programs, expanding the senior center’s offerings, and growing volunteer and senior engagement.”
Thornton will be introduced to the selectmen and the community during an upcoming remote meeting.
In other board business, the selectmen heard a presentation from the Massachusetts Housing Economic Development Incentive Program, with a focus on the state’s Tax Increment Financing program.
TIF is an economic tool that promotes redevelopment through mutually beneficial public/private partnerships, offering tax breaks to developers, the opportunity to redevelop vacant parcels to increase a community’s tax base, and other benefits.
Town meeting and state support are required for such an agreement to be drafted for a specific parcel of land for a specific purpose.
A tax increment is the difference between the initial assessed value of a property in its undeveloped condition and the assessed value as planned improvements take shape. The increment, calculated by the local assessor, is the tax on the added value of new construction, rehabilitation, and other factors.
Members of the Planning Board, Economic Development Committee, and Hull Redevelopment Authority and Director of Community Development and Planning Chris DiIorio also attended.
Lemnios explained that “people can feel a little overwhelmed about what seems like a complicated process, but under TIF the town strikes a contract with a developer contingent on town meeting approval, and if the developer doesn’t perform, there are safeguards for the community.”
Such an agreement, according to Lemnios, “can be really beneficial for a community if structured well.” He suggested that town officials explore this option further “to see if we can use TIF to make a better Hull. It’s a commonly used tool.”
State assistance is available every step of the way, including educating the community about the program, according to Lemnios.
“We won’t be left holding the bag,” he said. “There are lots of off ramps if it doesn’t work out.”