HANSON — Selectmen welcomed new Recreation Director William Boyle, who started work June 3, and the new business plan for Camp Kiwanee on Tuesday, June 18.
“I know the topic of Camp Kiwanee to be an emotional one,” said Selectmen Chairman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett. “Before we get into this discussion, I want to let you know that we will not be discussing the enterprise account in any depth tonight.”
She said the Finance Committee has proposed eliminating the account and discussions between that board, Selectmen and the Recreation Commission to address the future of the fund will happen soon.
“It would be premature and unproductive to discuss them tonight,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said. “This board is supportive of the work the Recreation Commission is doing and we recognize that there have been some obstacles along the way that have hindered them from making the kind of progress they would have liked to have made.”
She said it is time to come together for the greater good and put past issues behind them, to that end she asked Boyle to meet with Selectmen to focus on the future of Camp Kiwanee.
A Pembroke native, Boyle said he has volunteered on Pembroke Recreation, Community Preservation, and was elected to the housing authority and has some background in the public sector, although this is his first time working in the public sector. His father has been a longtime selectmen in that community.
Boyle also ran his own financial services business for six years and has worked as branch manager for an Irish whiskey company.
“I’m looking forward to the future — to everything that the camp has to offer,” he said. “In order for everything to work successfully, you need to work together.”
He said he looks forward to be “just another team member.”
Boyle also spoke on behalf of the commission about Camp Kiwanee goals.
He said the five-year capital plan would be revamped and have discussed that goal with the Collins Center at UMass, Boston. That project, estimated to cost $10,000 would not be looked to for a start date until next spring.
Coupling capital priorities with grant opportunities is another goal, as is increasing recreational programming.
The Dept. of Housing and Development (HUD) is changing the way the Hanson Housing Authority is supported, from a public housing funding program to one using tenant-based vouchers.
Hanson Housing CEO Thomas G. Thibeault briefed the board of Selectmen on how the change would be made and what it means for residents.
Consultation with local government and community is part of the process, Thibeault said.
“The [former] LZ Thomas School, back in 1995 became a public housing complex consisting of six units — two two-bedrooms, two three bedrooms and two four-bedrooms — it’s federally funded through HUD,” he said. The federal housing program works on an income-based scale to determine the amount of subsidies offered.
“I believe you taught there at one time,” Thibeault teased. Selectman Wes Blauss, a retired middle school teacher, about the school-turned-apartments building.
Most federal HUD authorities over see 50 to 100 apartments, with more being better to be able to take care of the capital needs.
“So we’ve been struggling to take care of LZ Thomas and now, in recognition of that, they’ve given us the opportunity to change the funding stream,” Thibeault said. “What it would basically do is double the amount of income that the Hanson Housing Authority would get.”
The funding would increase funding by about $54,000 per year to support the complex, but nothing changes for the town’s operations. Hanson Housing authority would be the owner with a deed restriction on affordability and residents would remain.
“[HUD] asks that you authorize the town administrator to approve supporting the change,” he said. “It’s not guaranteed. It is a real estate transaction, so the transaction would take off the declaration of trust that HUD has on the property now and would give complete ownership to the Hanson Housing Authority.”
The board voted to support authorizing interim Town Administrator Meredith Marini to approve the change.
FitzGerald-Kemmett asked if Hanson residents do, and would they continue to receive housing preference for the Thomas facility.
“They are and they will be,” Thibeault said. “This was going to be part of the state public housing program back in 1995, and something went wrong.”
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s office stepped in and they made it a federal public housing property, he explained.
“I’m sure it solved a short-term problem, but it created a long-term problem because of the scale,” Thibeault said. “But I believe this would get us a long way to solving the problem.”
The board also voted to award bids for the Wednesday, June 12 tax possession auction. Nine parcels, most were abutting the property of residents who bought them for $500, but a parcel on Monponsett Street sold for $63,000; another on Rollercoaster Road went for $61,000; a Baker Street parcel was sold for $3,500; and another on Monponsett Street brought in $1,000.
Two parcels, on Monponsett Street and Whitman Street were not sold.
Marini said closings on sold properties are expected to be complete by the end of July.