Friday, April 30, 2010

Important Downtown Franklin Project in Need of Input

The Town of Franklin is holding a public meeting in order to obtain comments and suggestions on the Downtown Franklin Roadway and Streetscape Improvement Project. The meeting will be held on Wednesday May 12, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. in the Third Floor Training Room of Franklin’s Municipal Building at 355 East Central Street.  

The meeting will consist of two parts:
  • The first half of the meeting will consist mainly of a presentation by Weston & Sampson Engineers, Inc., the Town’s design and engineering consultant for the project.  The presentation will include a general update on the planning and engineering portion of the project, as well as a presentation of specific project details through utilization of maps, diagrams and schematics. 
  • The second half of the night will be a hands on workshop, where meeting attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions, exchange ideas, and provide suggestions on various general topics as well as the project’s specific design components.
The Downtown Roadway and Streetscape Improvement Project is a multi-year roadway and streetscape improvement project expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The project includes elimination of the one way traffic pattern of Route 140 in Downtown Franklin, installation of interconnected traffic signals with emergency preemption system, period streetlights, traffic calming devices, resetting curbs were needed, ADA compliant sidewalks, resurfacing of streets, and streetscape/landscape improvements and furniture.~

The goals of this important project are to improve vehicular circulation and safety, improve emergency response time, improve the deteriorated conditions of certain secondary roadways, create a safer pedestrian friendly environment, improve the overall appearance of Downtown Franklin, and stimulate private sector investment.

At this time input is being sought from the general public, government officials, Downtown business owners, property owners, and other individuals and organizations. To make it easy for individuals to submit comments and suggestions during the next few months, DPCD will hold at least two public meetings and workshops, including the May 12th meeting, and a required Public Hearing during the summer to review the 25 percent draft design.  

Franklin’s department of Planning and Community Development has created the Downtown Improvement Project webpage on the Town’s website:

Please utilize the web site to provide input and look for other ways to participate in this important project.  In addition, feel free to contact Franklin’s Director of Planning and Community Development, Bryan W. Taberner, at 508-520-4907 or if you have questions or require additional information.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Note: the funding for this project is covered by a couple of State and Federal grants.

 Franklin, MA

In the News - healthy eating, Parmenter 5K

St. Mary's Church Health Ministry hosts Healthy Eating Series

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Parmenter 5K Run for all ages slated for May 16 in Franklin

 Franklin, MA

Thursday, April 29, 2010

School Committee - Budget discussion - 4/27/10

If you missed the School Committee meeting on Tuesday evening, you can view the video archive on the Franklin website here.

The link should take you directly to the segment of the meeting covering the budget. You could also go to the Franklin website and click through to the archive and select individual meetings, within each meeting you can view the meeting entirety or move from section to section.

Franklin, MA

School Committee - delayed reporting - 4/27/10

Present: Douglas, Cafasso, Rohrbach, Mullen, Roy, Trahan, Glynn

The agenda was modified to move item 2 B to a future meeting.
b. ASMS Comuniteen Fundraiser – Pennies for Patients – Raised $5,020.22 for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:
1. Emily Bellavance, Cheyenne Esposito, Ashley Gatchell, Anya Sternadore and Celia Sternadore. 
Presentation of the Latin Awards

a. Latin Awards
1. HMMS – Outstanding Achievement

1. Patrick Milne
2. Mark Mooney
3. Adam Lynch
4. Haven Butler

2. HMMS - Achievement
1. Nithya Sridhar
2. Lipee Vora
3. Kristen Brandenburg
4. Liam Devine
5. Ben Mednack
6. Justin Collins
7. Julia Birely
8. Katherine Donahue
9. Niharkia Singh

3. RMS – Outstanding Achievement
1. Chris Cannon
2. Collin Chen
3. Nicholas Chieng
4. James Lavoie

4. RMS – Achievement
1. Troy Donahue
2. Bridget Gallo
3. Dylan Martin
4. Andrew Petit
5. Carolyn Hoye
6. Allison Klowan

5. ASMS – Outstanding Achievement
1. Lauren Irvine
2. Aaron Kaplan
3. Michael Labine
4. Joshua Hall
5. Margaret Streeter
6. Lauren Altobelli

6. ASMS – Achievement
1. Kaitlin Dinmore
2. Emily Hood
3. Edward Sullivan
4. Joseph Tobin
5. Alexandra Wolfe
6. Vincent Nazaretian
7. Kelly Morgan
8. Alexandra Quinn
9. Rebecca Vickery
10. Benjamin Zogby
11. Christopher Hu
12. Danielle Dupont
13. Carly Burgess

This reporting is being done via the archived video from Tuesday's meeting

Franklin, MA

Franklin override - June 8th

There will be a special Town Election scheduled for June 8th to vote on an override in the amount of 3 Million dollars to fund operational budget for the schools, library, fire, police and DPW to avoid further cuts in service.

The Financial Planning Committee updated their long range outlook, you can view that report here:

The Town budget can be viewed here:

The School budget can be viewed here:

The notes from the Town Council meeting on Apr 28th can be found here:

There will be additional meetings by the Finance Committee to review the Town and School budget in detail. These meetings will provide insight from the department heads into the details on each of their operations and the budget issues they face.

Franklin, MA

Town Council 04/28/10

The collected posts live reported from the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010:

 Franklin, MA

In the News - accreditation, override

Franklin High to keep accreditation

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin officials seek $3 million override

For additional information on the Town Council meeting Apr 28, 2010

 Franklin, MA

Cost to businesses = "an estimated $71 million in Franklin"

The mandate, which has pinpointed Milford, Franklin and Bellingham, aims to clean up the Charles River, specifically the phosphorous found in the river from stormwater runoff.
"It's not that we don't view the public policy goal as worthy," Fernandes said. "What we don't think has been thought through is whether this is being implemented fairly."
The cost that comes along with the new mandate, an estimated $35 million to $60 million in Milford and an estimated $71 million in Franklin, is something that Fernandes said will hurt the towns.
With an additional cost to regulate stormwater, many businesses may choose to stay out of Milford, Franklin and Bellingham, creating unfair competition not only with bordering towns, but also towns in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
In addition, Fernandes said the towns' added cost in regulating the stormwater has the potential to place a tax burden on residents, creating even more of a disadvantage.

Federal help sought on rainwater mandate

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

For more information on the proposed mandate: 

- EPA is issuing these draft rules for public review and comment. The proposed rules, and instruction how to comment, can be found on 
EPA's Charles River website. The official comment period will remain open until June 30, 2010, and EPA will accept written comments until that date. 

- EPA will hold two public informational meetings. The first will be on May 12, 2010 between 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Tri-Country Regional Vocational Technical School at 147 Pond Street in Franklin. On June 22, 2010, EPA will hold another informational session at the same location from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Immediately following the information session, EPA will hold a formal public hearing at which it will receive oral and written comments for the official record. 

EPA’s Clean Charles River Website, including proposed final rules regarding stormwater pollution (

Franklin, MA

Horace Mann Middle School Plans Yard Sale

The Horace Mann Middle School in Franklin will hold its second annual yard sale on Saturday, May 8, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the school on Oak Street. Proceeds from the sale will help fund school programs such as field trips and guest speakers.

Among the great finds awaiting bargain hunters are sporting goods, toys, bikes, antiques, furniture, lamps and books. Shoppers can browse booths by local vendors for Mother’s Day gifts including theme gift baskets, jewelry, crafts and potted plants.

The PCC will provide donuts and coffee for sale for early shoppers, and will grill up hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch. They invite residents to spend the day!

In case of rain, the sale will be moved inside the school. The sale starts promptly at 9:00; please no early birds. Anyone interested in donating an item or participating as a crafter can contact the school at (508)-541-6230.

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Live reporting - Closing

Nutting -
thanks to all the volunteers for Earth Day
looks like the museum will open May 15th
we went to the market to borrow the money for the totters, .07% so paying about 7,000 for interest, less than in the budget
we have an opportunity to take down the old building on Grove

Thanks to Bryan Taberner for acquiring some interns

Old business
Vallee - street opening bylaw copy requested to review for possible amendments

New business - none

Councilor Comments

Zollo - I welcome the debate, we can agree to disagree
Pfeffer - belated happy birthday to Mr Vallee, his 90th
Jones - May 11th special election to fill Scott Brown's seat
Whalen - if this override is to succeed, and I hope it does, it will take a massive effort. Apart from hand delivery I am not sure what else we can do. If you care about services, try to get the word out as broadly as you can.
Mason - May 24th, public forum to discuss the override
I want to thank my fellow councilors tonight, I know we have divergent opinions, thank you for putting the question to the voters.

Motion to adjourn, passed 9-0

 Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Legislation for Action

4. Bylaw Amendment 10-643:Chapter 105, Junk, Secondhand Goods and Antique Dealers – 1st Reading
re-wording, to clarify enforceability, most businesses operate fine, some don't, some stringent requirements on how these businesses operate.

I did survey other communities and then added some of my own.

motion to move to second reading, passed 9-0

Live reporting - Legislation for Action


1. Bylaw Amendment 10-644: Amendment to the Code, Sewer Map Extension- 2nd Reading
Mason, McGann - recuse themselves
amended motion to include the letter and terms as noted
motion to approve, roll call - 7-0

2. Resolution 10-18: Setting Date of Proposition 2 ½ Override Ballot
June 8th would be the soonest
motion to approve - 9-0

3. Resolution 10-19: Proposition 2 ½ Override Ballot Question
initial amount of 2.1 million

would provide 1.8 to the schools; 150,000 would keep the dispatchers, ambulance 70,000 library 50,000
A number that would be palatable to the voters, esp to the voters at this time in a bad economy

Pfeffer - unemployment is over 9%
my suggestion would be no raises for any employees, they better not come through the first year with an increase, we can't afford it.
I will vote against this

McGann - I am all for having the voters decide. It is the biggest thing to hit Franklin in quite awhile.
There is no middle class in Franklin, there are the haves and have-nots.

Zollo - If there are people who think we should do this in one fell swope, if 2.1 is a bandaid, I would favor a bigger number. The facts were presented by the schools, the police, the Fire, the DPW, it effects everybody.
The fact that folks are laid off and suffering doesn't sway me. People are paying more for busing fees than if the prior overrides were passed. It may seem counter-intuitive

Nutting - every million is 90 dollars with this years tax rate

Zollo - $190 to 270, and that is tax deductible, for those that use the long form.

Vallee - I am going to vote to put it on the ballot, it is not an endorsement, it is merely a vote to put it on the ballot.

Jones - I can completely understand adding a couple of dollars to taxes to my back yard, I can't afford to pay an extra 200, I am willing to understand that a little bit goes a long way. How much am I willing to invest? I am willing to pay 200 to maintain level services. It will hurt but I will find a way. It is in my best interest that this an investment into our community. It has the most direct effect on what we do and see everyday.

Powderly - I want to follow on Mr Jones point, the direct benefit that we would all see, is real, it is immediate, there is incredible transparency.  You can support an override and still believe in looking for cuts, efficiencies, regionalization. These things take time. As a community we need to think of a whole well rounded approach. You can not only cut, you need to look at increasing our revenue as a part of the solution.

Kelly - I have a very unique perspective in that I spent 2 years on the School Committee. I didn't get a chance to tell them when they were up here, they do a good job. As a realtor, they may not like the house price but they always like the tax price. I think it is unfair to not ask the voters to have a chance.

Mason - Steve Whalen did an analysis, we are #1 in Chap 70 money that we receive but we are 24th in tax burden. This is an opportunity to narrow the gap and put us in a better position.

Whalen - I wasn't going to cite too many statistics. I am going to be brief, simply because it involves degradation of town services. In regards to Judy's comments, we need to share burden, we need to provide every kid an equal opportunity to this great education. Most of our surrounding towns make a greater personal contribution to their town services than we do. The minimum level of state spending on Schools

Callahan - I think it is ironic that families with kids might need the services, the seniors might need the ambulance to reach them in time. Think about this folks, this is real. A couple of hundred will be providing the poor people to get something they really need.  This is not the town that I came to, I haven't seen pride go done, we are still proud. What kind of town do we live in?

Lisa-Maxwell Rounds - The teachers are working hard to provide more for the students with less funding, with continued cuts, this won't be possible.

Juan Rivera - FINCOM member, three kids in the school system, what we are facing as a country, a state and a community, it is an economic breakdown. I appreciate the views, I haven't seen this in my life time. In the next 3-5 years things are not going to get easier. The community impact, the things we must do, to keep this town going forward. We need to make a decision on our Town in the next 3-5 years. I do support the override.  What happens when a community breaks down, people leave, crime goes up. We need to look beyond.

Ray Veravante - I do want to suggest to you is the difference between cash managers and managing costs. What can contract labor come in to do in other than teachers, police and fire? We don't pay them a lot but their benefits are in addition. Maybe you do, but I don't hear about it.

You don't have a lot of respect for those who disagree with you.

Amy Sorrel - mom of three young kids, a longer 3-5 year approach. Where did that go?
Nutting - The Financial Planning Committee did look at that. It is hard enough to explain an annual override question. Only one town has ever done it. It is probably the right thing to do. It has not risen to a point of a serious debate.
Mason - I don't look at this as a band aid. I look at this as a series of baby steps. Rather than look for a large lump

Christine Kane(?)  - educating people on what it means, it was not easily thrown at me. Is there anything we can do to educate people on what they are voting for?

Mason - between now and June 8th, there will be many opportunities to explain the details.

Zollo - I would recommend looking at the report. Don't confuse me with the facts, I have my opinions and I am not going to change them.

Nutting - I take great pride in my department heads and how we manage, we are always doing it cheaper, better faster, we are 80% salary but we are 80% unionized in the State of MA. Unlike the private sector, we can't manage to wave the magic wand. We have done lots of things. Our employees have stepped to the plate to take higher co-pays 5 times in 8 years. That is what we are hired to do. Maybe we don't do a good job selling ourselves.

Whalen - Do you think we have a good school system? We are almost less than the state req'd amount.

Max Morrengello - It is due to the generosity of the people of Franklin, thankfully because of the public school system. I was able to get the help needed. I wouldn't be there except for the Franklin Public School System without or without special needs. Tax dollars make a difference! I urge you to continue your support.

Brendan Morrison - I would look at going for the whole 3 million

Whalen - I did not mention the amount in my remarks. I think we should go with 3. It is about the amount of state aid we lost

Motion to amend the amount to raise it to 3 million!
Passed 9-0

McGann - thank you for stepping up, I am overwhelmed by your comments.

Motion to pass; passed 8-1 (Pfeffer no)

 Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Jim Roche

Jim Roche
unanimously voted to have the citizens vote on an override, should get a voice in the process
the finance committee started the budget hearings last night
because we are still in the process, we don't have a number to recommend
from the School side, 1.9 from the Town side 1.1, so 3.0 M would be a good number to go with

It might not make sense to ask for everything we need, we should share
Could we do a conditional amount to see if the State give us more, we do less on the override amount

 Franklin, MA

Live reporting - 5 minute recess

 Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Budget FY 2011

Jeff Nutting provided updates on the school building process
anticipating 50% reimbursement
debt exclusion override possible in Fall of 2011
construction could begin in 2013

$200,000 increase a far cry from the 2-3 M normally seen year to year

House Ways & Means cut another 525,000 from Chap 70
to be replaced this year with a one-time grant
not likely to be seen in 2012, so that budget year could be worse than this year

The budget is balanced, eliminates 9 Town positions
Employees are so far are increasing health insurance co-pays which will be a savings of $500,000

Town budget includes no cost of living raises other than what was already deferred from last year.

Copies of the budget are available on the website

and at the library

questions should be sent to Jeff Nutting

Q - Mason what would the deficit be?
A - Nutting the gap is about 3.5 but 3 M in practical terms

Q - Mason I have some questions for Mr Roy
A - Roy, can I bring some assistance?

Jeff Roy - 7 elementary teachers, 8 middle school, increase athletic fees, doubling extra curricular activity fees
and an early release of elementary schools one day to reduce another 4 positions.

We have cut 110 positions since 2006, it is compelling. On top of these particular cuts, we are using some one time revenue so next year will be another problem

Musical programs have been reduced, physical education is reduced
We saved FHS teachers last year with a creative change in the schedule to go from 7 periods to 6 periods. Eliminated 80 elective courses and 4 physical ed teachers; phys ed requirements were met via athletic participation or other outside requirements.

We have been a high performing district due to the total program we offered which is now changed

Q - McGann - did you say you offer a program that is not mandated?
A - Roy - no, we offer programs that are required.
A - Sabolinski - I think that may have been in the discussion about full-day versus half-day, full day is not mandated. This has been discussed in regards to other communities where they have fee income but the program is different from what we do.

Note - the analysis of the full versus half-day was written up earlier

Q - Whalen - going with increases of fees reduces the participation, so only those with the wherewithal are getting the best of the education
Q - Roy - there is no question that on the School Committee we do not like imposing fees, but given the choice of cutting programs or imposing fees is tough. Last night, the option to eliminate the athletic program would save us $300,000. But if we do so, we would actually need to add back the 4 PE teachers at around $200,000 so our net savings would only be $100,000. Many students would say that is what keep them in school. There was no sentiment to eliminate athletics. In order to save positions, we need to increase fees. We try to accommodate where ever we can.

Q - Mason - What is the fee structure?
A - Roy - right now, the athletic fee is $125 per sport per student; the proposed tier fee structure would be $175 for track, $200 for all others, except for hockey which would be $400.

Q - Mason - what would the cuts due to class size?
A - Sabolinski - Class sizes would increase, (numbers to be added)

Q - Mason - what is the impact to the teachers and students
A - Sabolisnki - additional work, students at the edge will be the first to suffer as it gets increasingly hard to reach all of them with one-to-one attention in a larger class size.
A - Roy - We have students who are getting in to the top colleges because we prepare them well! Universally, we hear that they are well prepared for that experience. We would like to see this experience for every student from kindergarten on up!

Q - Zollo - how many teachers have decreased in the recent past?
A - Roy - over 8 years, 100 teachers cut, with 1000 more students in the same period

Q - how many town positions
Q - Nutting - from 303 to 253

Chart from School Budget presentation earlier this year provides some numbers
(link to be added)

Q - Mason - what percent of the total budget is salary?
A - Roy - 80%

Q - Mason - what is the percent on the Town side?
A - Nutting - not a fair comparison as we carry the debt, we have the DPW with salt and winter costs, we have positions that haven't been filled so 6 of the 9 are ones that we are not filling and cutting in this budget

3 dispatchers
1.5 clerical
.5 librarian
1 firefighter

Chief Williams
Police - My budget is 93% personnel costs
I have a double dispatch running, thousands of calls and radios transmissions are coming in
We are it for the town after 4:00, anything after hours we get. The dispatcher is able to do this.
Cut back to one dispatcher could in busy times have you talking to a machine

From 20,000 to 41,000 different incidents over the period

Q - Zollo - What is the state of Franklin?
A - Williams - We have a great town, I have seen an increase in violence, there are more people carrying weapons
I think we are playing with fire (and I don't want to steal his thunder)
there is a fear that something could happen and we are not prepared to handle it
Sending one man cars to a call doesn't cut it.
I am nervous where we are, we are down 5 officers from where we were in 2000
We have to work together as a town

Q - Zollo - is there an increase in juvenile activity?
A - In Norfolk county, we have the highest

Q - McGann - how many patrolman?
A - Williams - 28 officers, 24x7, at times there are 3 patrolmen on the 11-7 shift and that is what we had when I started

Q - Jones - last night there was discussion about cutting in the buses?
A - Roy - yes, that was one cut that I neglected to mention earlier. We have a pay to ride program, inevitably we have folks who have not signed up in the proper time frame, for those we would not be able to provide them a spot

A - we can't change a fee for anyone within a 2 mile radius for K-6

Q - Jones - none of these sound good, it affects all the parents, it affects the family life style; the bus reflects the only reasonable cut I have heard

Nutting - the Police budget was cut 250,000; Fire cut 250,000, DPW cut 300,000. These cuts occurred in my office as opposed to the public forum that the School Committee gets

Chief McCarragher - currently have open positions, no clerical support, last year funded 6.5% less than the previous year. We are looking to find people. 44% of our call volume happens back-to-back. If I have to tell you that we are in a queue, that is not good. we are trying to partner with our surrounding communities but they are having the same discussions with their selectmen etc. If we cut our second ambulance, we also cut revenue as we do get income from those service calls. Everyone says we don't have fires in Franklin but we get 20-40 of those every year.  The northern part of Franklin is growing, we are not serving them in a timely manner.

Vallee - calls are going down, I seen it on the net
McCarragher - not in Franklin, look at what they were, the inner cities. we are catching up with our growth spurt, fast forward 20 years, we didn't seen many years ago because we have new buildings, we are now seeing problems where the new equipment is going into the older houses.

We are in the opportunity business. We give every one the right opportunity

Zollo - We are talking about life and death
Roy - that's bone
Zollo - we are talking about our seniors, we are talking about our children, it can not be the same as it was 20-30 years ago. Our Town employees go above and beyond with less. I can't fathom how a reasonable person would disagree. You can get something from nothing.

Jones - I would hate to exclude Brutus, our roads are just as important

Cantoreggi - We are pretty good with dealing with the emergencies, the day to day issues are seriously short staffed, things are going to take longer and longer to get done.

five minute recess

 Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Financial Planning Committee Report

F. HEARINGS - none


1. Report of the Financial Planning Committee
Doug Hardesty, Chair presents the update
Report link provided earlier

Anticipated State Aid decrease of approx. $1.7 M

Page 4 - tells an accurate story of the forecast plus the adjustments

(Vallee arrives late)

fundamentally, about 1% off the original forecast but all adjustments are understood and explainable

Page 5 - The high school construction project, assuming it continues roughly on schedule would not significantly affect the forecast in the next five years. The bulk of that increase is assumed to hit just after.

An 8 M shortage is realistic, a range of 5 - 10 M is highly likely given the variability of the factors in the forecast.

Page 6 - of the neighboring communities, we are #1 in receipt of State Aid. 75% above the average for State Aid.

Property taxes lower than peers, school per pupil spending is less than peers, debt service is also below the peer average
There is not a category where are spending more than our peers, we are consistently spending less

Page 7 - Decline in services has been significant
Inflation 2-3 years down the road could change the forecast
Regionalization is an opportunity for cost containment, it takes time, cooperation, and negotiation

No questions from the Council...

 Franklin, MA

Live reporting - broadcast update

The cable broadcast is via Verizon and not Comcast due to technical difficulties.

You can also view via the internet

 Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Town Council

Present:  Kelly, Jones, Vallee, Whalen, Mason, McGann, Zollo, Powderly
Absent:  none

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Executive Session- April 7, 2010



Chief McCarragher - reminder on FEMA applications


Election Workers - motion to approve listing of names, passed 8-0
Historical Commission - motion to approve Eamon McCarthy Earls, passed 8-0

 Franklin, MA

Fiscal Year 2011 - Budget Information

The budget 'book' for the complete and school budget can be found on the Franklin website here

 Franklin, MA

Franklin has the most registed voters since 1982!

While the history shows that Franklin has passed only half of the debt exclusions offered to it and only one of the override questions, the numbers also show that Franklin today is different.

Franklin's population as of the end of 2009 had grown over 3,000 since the last debt exclusion in October 2000 and over 600 since the override in 2008.

It is note worthy that the percentage of population which is registered to vote stands at its highest percentage (60.5%).  The lowest percent of the population to register to vote occurred in both 1986 and 1987 at 48.1%. 

History has also shown us that a debt exclusion can pass with as little as 2.4% of the voters turning out to the polls and as many as 52.7%.

On the override side, the only one that passed succeeded with a 47.2% turnout. The override votes that failed did so with as little as 26.4% turning out and as much as 56.4% turning out.

Note: the data of population and registered voters come from the official Franklin records as provided by Town Clerk Debbie Pellegri and covers the years 1982 through 2009.

Note: the chart depicts the population with red/maroon columns, the voters with the light blue columns. Both population and voters columns should be read against the left scale. The right scale shows the percent of voters as of the total population and is depicted in the yellow line.

Franklin, MA: Mid-year Financial Update

The updated financial outlook prepared by the Financial Planning Committee for discussion at the Town Council, Wednesday, April 28, 2010.

"decisions will have to be made"

"We, as a community where education is funded on a local level, need to step up and fund this (budget)," Roy said.
Sue Rohrbach, chairwoman of the budget subcommittee, said her committee suggests cutting seven elementary teachers to save $350,000; eight middle school teachers to save $400,000; cut three school buses to save $120,000; and create a shortened elementary school day once a week to save $158,000 - amounting to about $1 million in savings.
Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski said teacher cuts would have a significant effect on classroom sizes, which would range from 24 to 28 students in the elementary schools, and 27 to 29 in the middle schools.
With the elimination of three buses, Sabolinski said there would be some crowding in the remaining 24 buses, but they would not reach capacity.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here


When running Tuesday morning, I noticed this truck in the parking lot with no plates on the front. That usually means, it is from out of state (where they allow only one rear plate). I jogged around the back to find no plate there either. Since it is a like new vehicle, parked in an empty business parking lot, something is us.

I sent the picture to Twitter via my phone as
"@Franklinpolice @Franklinmatters like new truck, no plates, mt business parking lot. Suspicious?"

Franklin, MA

DPW - Rain barrel and composter sale

The Franklin, MA - DPW has a sale on rain barrels and composters.

Get the details here

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Reminder - WASTED will be held this evening at Franklin High School.

The School Committee meeting will also be held at 7:00 PM at the Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of the Municipal Building.

Unfortunately, due to a prior commitment I will be unable to attend either event. Please send me your comments and reflections from whichever event you attend.

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Override - Debt Exclusion History

I have worked with the Franklin Town Clerk, Debbie Pellegri, to compile a comprehensive listing of all the debt exclusion and operational override votes that Franklin has had the opportunity to vote on over the years. 

The complete listing is available for your review here:

A summary of the override and debt exclusion votes looks like this


Count of Ballot Question(s)

Date Failed Passed Total
26-Jun-90 1

11-Jun-96 1
23-Apr-02 1
22-Oct-02 1
1 1
10-Jun-08 1
Total 5 1 6

Debt Exclusion

Count of Ballot Question(s)

Date Failed Passed Total
2-Apr-91 9
1 1
1 1
2 2
4-Apr-95 1
14-Mar-98 1
1 1
20-Jun-98 1
1 1
1 1
Total 12 7 19


Percent Reg Voters who voted

Date Failed Passed

26-Jun-90 45.1%

11-Jun-96 56.4%

23-Apr-02 32.9%

22-Oct-02 24.6%


10-Jun-08 40.3%

Debt Exclusion

Percent Reg Voters who voted

Date Failed Passed

2-Apr-91 34.3%




4-Apr-95 30.0%

14-Mar-98 35.1%


20-Jun-98 51.0%



Note: The second sheet with the added columns per the comment discussion below can be found here:

Note: the category for 5 the 1991 ballot questions was changed from "override" to 'debt exclusion' based upon discussion with Treasurer/Collector Jim Dacey.  5/12/10

Crossways Church coming to Summer St

The Crossway Church is seeking Planning Board approval next month to move into a church building that has sat unoccupied since it was built in the 1970s.
"Our hope is to close on the property at the end of May, or latest mid-June," Pastor Bauer Evans said yesterday.
Evans said members of the non-denominational Protestant church applied in March to renovate the church building at 282 Summer St. and a portion of land at 278 Summer St., create a parking lot and expand the site's septic system.
Church members have gone in front of the board twice already and will do so again on May 3 to "hopefully wrap things up," Evans said.

 Read the full article here:

Church eyes Franklin building

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Monday, April 26, 2010

Letter to the editor

The following was originally submitted as a Letter to the Editor for the Wicked Local/Franklin Gazette in March 2009. It never got published. I think it is still valid for discussion today, hence I am re-posting it here.


You look at yourself in the mirror and say “I need a haircut”. Or your wife/significant other drops a similar hint. So you make a mental note to stop by the barber shop or call for an appointment.

The designated day arrives, you get your hair cut and have a wide ranging conversation with the barber or stylist. While you are sitting there, he or she is clipping and or cutting away, you solve half the world's problems

Amongst the topics is usually sometime spent discussing the economy and how dismal prospects seem to be at the moment. So and so was let go from Fidelity. So and so was let go from another place. If you listen to the headlines, the economy is in the tank for sure. No one seems to be doing good. Even the banks and automotive companies getting bailouts are coming back for more.

So you change the topic to something brighter. You talk about your days in school, long ago now. How the teachers were good, or tough, or easy. How so and so messed with the chalkboard and got in trouble for it. What is he doing these days? Oh, he is teaching English the next town over. Wow, that is good.

Even if the conversation switched to whatever sport was in season and how the local team was doing, the fact of the matter is the conversation could not have happened without education.

Yes, let's list out how education touched each aspect of this simple event; getting your hair cut.

The barber or hair stylist received their training at an accredited institution.

The teachers at that institution were similarly trained at an accredited institution.

The licensing board personnel were hired because they had a minimum of a high school education, more likely the requirement was a college degree.

The salesperson who stops by the barbershop or beauty salon to sell the shampoo, gel, and other items necessary to operate likely required training from the company on their products.

The conversation itself could take place because both of you were able to speak. You listened, understood what the other was saying and continued that train of thought, or changed it along the way.

I think you get the point.

Everyone around the activity of getting your hair cut or styled was touched by education. The more successful their educational background, the more likely they would be successful in operating their business. Yes, reading, writing and arithmetic are required outside of school.

You can also consider what would happen if educational priorities were changed.

If students were not challenged by their teachers, would they be successful barbers and stylists?

Would they gain their certification or license to operate in the State?

Would the State have sufficient qualified personnel to manage the licensing and auditing process?

Would the hair product companies have new products being developed by researchers to meet the needs of the market place?

Would they have capable sales personnel?

Would you get a good hair cut or hair style?

Considering the impact of education on such a simple transaction, shouldn't it be a priority to provide the best education possible for our children?

"integral to the excellence of our libraries"

Library use has boomed as the recession pinched people's budgets for books, music and films. Patrons borrowed 57.7 million items from Massachusetts libraries last fiscal year, the 10th annual increase in a row and up from 45.7 million in 2001, says the Board of Library Commissioners.
Libraries have also seen a surge of people using their computers to search and apply for jobs.
"I know that the libraries in MetroWest are busier than ever," said Sunny Vandermark, administrator of the MetroWest Regional Library System.

Massachusetts library systems to be consolidated, staff cut

The consolidation of the various inter-library systems, if done properly, should still be able to provide the valuable inter-library loan services that are available today with less cost.

Franklin is already in a partnership with Medway by sharing our Library Director. This is a win-win situation. It reduces our expenses (Medway helps pay) and helps Medway maintain their library status.

Such regionalization efforts on animal control (with Bellingham) and recreation (also with Medway) need to continue to be explored to help Franklin and other neighboring communities cope with increasing costs.

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Agenda - 4/28/10

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Executive Session- April 7, 2010




Election Workers
Historical Commission




1. Report of the Financial Planning Committee

2. FY 2011 Budget Discussion


1. Bylaw Amendment 10-644: Amendment to the Code, Sewer Map Extension- 2nd Reading
2. Resolution 10-18: Setting Date of Proposition 2 ½ Override Ballot
3. Resolution 10-19: Proposition 2 ½ Override Ballot Question
4. Bylaw Amendment 10-643:Chapter 105, Junk, Secondhand Goods and Antique Dealers – 1st Reading





O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


Franklin, MA

W.A.S.T.E.D. returns - 4/27/10

W.A.S.T.E.D presents: The Prevention of Underage Drinking - Community & Parent Forum

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. 

Franklin High School Lecture Hall

This national  event is sponsored by the Federal Government’s Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking and statewide by the MA Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services. The forum will address local initiatives, offer practical strategies for communicating more effectively with teens, identify community resources and discuss prevention solutions for parents in the Franklin community. The panel will include Officer Dan MacLean, Mardi Donovan, Bill Phillips, New Beginnings Programs, and students and parents of students in recovery.

Coordinated as part of the Franklin Community Health Council

W.A.S.T.E.D had previously held an evening at FHS on December 2, 2008. Information (pictures, text and audio recordings) can be found here:

Franklin, MA