HANSON — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, Nov. 15 voted 3-1 to approve a request by the Watershed Action Alliance of Southeastern Mass., to use Camp Kiwanee for a one-day conference at a reduced rate. Selectmen Bill Scott voted against the discount based on his concern over the group’s intent of charging participants a registration fee.
“We had asked that any deviation from the rates of usage of Camp Kiwanee — any reduction in the rate — be brought forward to this committee,” said Selectmen Chairman James McGahan in the meeting broadcast on Whitman-Hanson Community Access TV. Selectman Kenny Mitchell was absent from the meeting due to illness.
The WAA submitted their request in a letter to selectmen, outlining their purpose and explaining that the alliance holds biennial conferences and workshops in intervening years. The coalition of 12 watershed groups’ regional conference was last held at Plimouth Plantation, which waived a fee in return for publicity as an event partner, in 2015.
They are seeking a similar sponsorship from the town to use Camp Kiwanee from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 16, 2017. The usual one-day conference rate for Camp Kiwanee is $1,000. The WAA requested a 50-percent discount.
Many conference attendees either work or volunteer for nonprofits with small budgets, the letter explained. It also offers reduced registration rates for students and low-income participants.
Two participating organizations, the Taunton Watershed and the Jones River groups, have connections to Hanson.
Town Administrator Michael McCue created a form for a discount request, which WAA representatives filled out, including backup information about the program and participating agencies.
“This would be a positive advertisement for Camp Kiwanee,” McGahan said.
“They charge a fee for people to attend, they’re not considered a nonprofit organization,” Scott said. “They generate funds from outside groups. I think it’s a good idea what they’re trying to do but I just wonder if we’re setting a precedent.”
McGahan and Selectmen Bruce Young suggested the registration costs might be a mechanism for covering the cost of the event and asked McCue to advise them if there is any reason to believe the fees are a profit-making device.
In other business, the board approved revisions to the complaint and service animal policies.
The only change to the complaint policy is that persons filing a complaint be the offended party or a parent or guardian. The service animals policy is a new one, allowing admission of service animals to town property for handicapped persons who need them. Under the guidelines, therapy animals are not considered service animals.
Selectmen also voted to place a Board of Water Commissioners vacancy, created by the Nov. 1 resignation of Mary Lou Sutter on the May 20, 2017 Town Election ballot, because the appointment made to fill the post was a short-term one.
Selectmen and Water Commissioners then voted 7-0 to appoint William Garvey of 66 Morton St., to fill the vacancy for now. If Garvey wishes to remain on the board he would have to run for election in May.
A South Shore Vo-Tech graduate, Garvey has an HVAC trade certificate, an applied science degree from Massasoit Community College in HVAC service and design and work experience in the field and has served on the Indian Head and Maquan Priority Repair Committee.