A Message from the Town Manager: November 2023
It has been a year since my first day as Town Manager in Plymouth. First, I want to acknowledge our Town Departments, Committees and Commissions for their hard work and dedication in assuring our goals are met. One of the first items I addressed with the Selectboard was creating a Mission, Vision and Value statement for the Town of Plymouth. Over this period, we have evaluated our Financial Management to assure that we are following the GASB-Government Accounting Standards. We have developed Policies on Delinquent Taxes, Fund Balance, Procurement and Purchasing. We have reviewed our Health Insurance Plans, and now offer two plans including a cost-effective Health plan which is a savings to the town and employees.
I have worked with the Selectboard on developing and implementing our Strategic Priorities to align with our Budgetary Vision. I have worked with the Fire Department on evaluating the Ambulance budget, and how we invoice the contracted towns for this service. We continue to review all parts of Town of Plymouth operations.
In Local Government, you have the ability to work with people on problems that don’t necessarily have a Republican or Democrat solutions, but we all know we need a solution to the problem.
We also have a greater ability to take a project from start to finish. There is a lot more opportunity to work directly with people and ideally accomplish goals that have a positive impact on people’s lives.
One issue that takes up a lot of time on the local level is the Budgetary process. Keeping in mind that this process starts in July, and is voted on at Town Meeting in March. I firmly believe that we need to have a balanced budget that the majority of people can support. This means meeting expectations and creating sustainability for the town.
As an update to the Budget Process, the Finance Director and I have met with all Department Heads, and presented our Budget to the Advisory Budget Committee on October 24th. At this time, we met with the Capital Improvement Program Committee to discuss the plan for 2024-2025. In December, we will meet with the Selectboard to review the Budgets, and the first Public Hearing on the Budget will take place on January 22, 2024 at 5:15pm at Town Hall.
Businesses and Government officials throughout the state have identified a lack of housing as a key challenge for New Hampshire. The shortage drives up rental cost and home prices, making it harder for companies to keep or expand their workforce and for people to find an affordable place to live.
The Housing Opportunity program that the Town of Plymouth has undertaken is taking a close look at potential changes in zoning, related to housing. If you are not familiar, I would suggest taking a look at the project at www.plymouth-nh.org and click on projects.
For the first time in 20 years, we have had our contracted Assessors complete a Review of Institutional Exemption properties (Tax Exempt-Non-Profit). This process began in January of 2023 in sending Institutional Exemption Forms to the identified properties.
Inspections of the properties started in mid-May and lasted for several months. In all, 26 properties were inspected with a representative from the charitable entity. Applicants were required to submit articles of organization, by-laws, the NH Secretary of State Annual filing NHCT-12, and leases for areas in which the property was rented. This process will continue in the following years with religious entities being inspected to ensure the properties are owned, used, and occupied in the same way the charitable entities were this year with a cycle of inspections done over several years to keep the process fair and to appropriately utilize resources.
Whether you are a resident or a visitor, I invite you to enjoy all that Plymouth has to offer. If you have feedback and/or a suggestion on how the Town can improve our delivery of services, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (603)-536-1731 X112.