Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Newcomer's Club - Override Information Forum

Live reporting from the Knight's of Columbus Hall

Jeff Nutting, Wayne Ogden, Jeff Roy, Steve Whalen, Jim Roche

Jeff Nutting opens with a general overview of Franklin

New Senior Center, Fire station (ladder truck arrives next week)
New building downtown, continuing to build the condominiums in back
Family Circle one of top 10 to raise a family
Fortune Small Business of of 10 best to start a business
Fourth of July being supported by Town to the extent that they can
Looking to improve te quality of life
Bids out to repair the outside of the library
Schools need repairs, the high school is also a challenge
Sewer rate going down, water rate going up
Continue to re-invest in the town and its facilities
Done a lot of catch up in last 6-7 years
Now try to just maintain the capital investments
and to take care of the roads, the State paid for Union St (over $1M)
redesign downtown being planned
will look at underground utilities, they are expensive
Four Corners Building sale up for Council vote next week
$2.5 Million vs. the $1 M we paid for it
Pond St land still up for consideration
Banners are not actually legal in town
trying to contain the use, Town has been guilty of violating this


Q - What about the signs over the train tracks?
A - use the sign in downtown to advertise, approval for sign comes from the Building Dept.

Q - How is revenue generated for the town?
A - business pay about 20% of our income, previously paid about 24%, the burden shifts amongst the payers but the town still collects the same amount of tax income (by law). It would be nice to collect more from businesses, but given the amount of land left, not going to change the percentage very much. There will be more re-development than new development. Local receipts fluctuate with the economy, i.e. excise taxes from auto sales. MA very reliant on property taxes. Where did last year's override money go? It is in the revenue stream, in the budget and being used. State will have a real issue in 2010 with limited options to provide local funding. The good news about Prop 2 1/2 is that the citizens decide the quality of life for the community. Most important it to get the facts and make a decision. Show up and vote.

Q - What would it take to get sidewalks on Chestnut?
A - Jokingly, slim or none. Realistically, there are other roads ahead of Chestnut on the list. Re-doing Pleasant street is estimated at costing $9.2 million. Storm water regulations are coming. Unfunded Health Insurance liability, $50 Million exposure with no plan yet.

Q - Is there a way to find out when sidewalks get fixed.
A - There is a listing at the DPW of priorities.

Q - Any thoughts of re-designing Lincoln St near the school?
A - Did put some adjustments there when it opened. There is a design on file to replace the walkway with another lane. It is designed in case it really becomes an issue. If more folks do drive their kids (i.e. with the bus fee rising).

Q - On the re-design of downtown is there a parking garage?
A - Not really foreseeable. Parking is an issue. Park at Wrentham Mall and walk a mile to the car, but downtown you want to park next to the store.

Q - What about the water ban?
A - Part of our state permit is the water ban. They determine the amount of water we can pump. We are selling less water which is why the water rates are going up?

Q - Everybody is going green, what about solar?
A - From a commercial perspective, only one location in the state forest and one up by Tri-County that would have enough wind to drive the turbine and sell electricity back to the grid.

Q - What is happening on Daniels St?
A - A new water main is going in this year, paving would be next year.

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