Friday, April 25, 2008

In the News - subcommittee passes the buck

Posted Apr 25, 2008 @ 12:50 AM


After debating several tax override scenarios, the Town Council Budget Subcommittee last night agreed to put the onus on the School Committee in choosing a figure to put before voters this summer.

"Ask the schools - they're the ones who asked (for an override). Ask them what they want," Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting told Town Council Chairman Christopher Feeley, Vice Chairwoman Deborah A. Bartlett and Councilor Robert R. Vallee.

Every $1 million of a Proposition 2 1/2 tax override means an $87 tax hike for the average homeowner, said Nutting.

Bartlett, the subcommittee chairman, pressed for a two-year plan, and said she expects the School Committee to submit a proposal that covers their needs for fiscal 2009 and 2010.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

This is a town problem, the town should decide to include all the departments in the override total. If it comes out solely as a school override, I don't believe there will be enough support for it to pass.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

In the News - late bus

Posted Apr 24, 2008 @ 10:00 AM


As a single mother and teacher, Joni Magee relied on the late bus to take her daughter home throughout her middle school years, she said.

Without it, her daughter, Angelica, would not have been able to hone her debating skills in student government, mock trials, Model United Nations, or develop her creativity in the Art Club, Magee said.

They live four miles from the school, which is about an hour walk, she explained.

"The late bus really did allow her to have these extracurricular activities. I really couldn't have picked her up and she wouldn't have been able to participate," said Magee, who teaches at Stacy Middle School in Milford and is the Franklin High School Parent Communication Council vice president.

School Committee members said earlier this month that a Proposition 2 1/2 tax override could prevent teacher layoffs, increased pay-to-ride fees next year, and save the late bus. Without it, students like Angelica, who depend on the late bus every week, would have to forgo clubs and activities, and many students who get detention would have to trek home, whether that means carrying 40-pound backpacks several miles or dodging traffic across Rte. 140.

Read the remainder of the article in the Milford Daily News here.

Globe misses with article

The Boston Globe has some sloppy second hand reporting on their recap of the current override situation. Nothing new in the article that you can read here.

Why sloppy?

Shannon Zollo is referred to as "she"... come on! You should know better than that!

In the News - Milford tax break for seniors expanding?

Posted Apr 24, 2008 @ 12:54 AM


Penny-pinching senior citizens may be able to breathe easier, if Town Meeting votes next month to offer elders a bigger tax break.

An "aye" for warrant Article 24 would increase the maximum amount the town can reduce a qualifying senior citizen's local property tax bills to $650 a year, up $150 from the current maximum abatement of $500.

It would also lower the age of eligibility for the special tax program from 70 to 68.

"We like to think it's an avenue to help some senior citizens and keep them in their homes," said Town Administrator Louis Celozzi. "Property taxes increase every year and these folks are on fixed income."

The town's senior citizens ad-hoc committee, led by selectmen Chairman Dino DeBartolomeis, sent the article to selectmen, who are sponsoring it.

Annual Town Meeting will take up the issue on May 19.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

How does this compare to what Franklin has?

How does this compare to what was just passed in the House?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where in Franklin? #46

Where in Franklin? #46, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Hmm... now where would you see this in Franklin?

The guidelines for playing "Where in Franklin?" can be found here.

Where in Franklin? Answer #45

Where in Franklin? Answer #45, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Yes ltsjs, the correct answer to picture #45 is the Verizon building on Main St.

Thanks for playing "Where in Franklin?"

Stay tuned for the next opportunity!

In the News - Franklin pays Medway,

Posted Apr 22, 2008 @ 11:27 PM


The town will receive more than $115,000 in sewer fees from Franklin for homes there that are tied into Medway's system.

In a 1995 agreement, homes on a handful of Franklin streets near the town line were allowed to connect to Medway's sewer system, but neither town followed through on collecting money for the service. There are now 213 homes connected on those streets.

Medway officials said yesterday they plan to use the money for their ongoing sewer upgrade at the town's main industrial park.

Top officials from both towns, who were not the ones who made the agreement, said they did not know it existed until Medway officials discovered it recently while researching the sewer upgrade for the industrial park.

"It was the responsibility of everybody and everybody failed to implement it," said Town Administrator Suzanne K. Kennedy.

Franklin will pay Medway about $99,000 from a rebate it was receiving from the Charles River Pollution Control District, the regional sewage treatment authority, on a design project. The pollution control district has reduced its annual assessment to Medway for fiscal 2008 by about $16,000 - and assigned it to Franklin - to cover the balance of the $115,000.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

Podcasts in plain English

In our continuing series exploring the technology of Web 2.0 and social media, the folks at Common Craft have a new presentation on podcasts.

What is a podcast?

Watch this and find out the basics. Enjoy!

By the way, I will be at PodCamp New York on Saturday. What I learn there, at SOBCon08 and PodCamp Boston 3, you will eventually see the results of.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Over 50? - Take this survey, please!

Ronni Bennett and others in the elder blog world
have put together a survey.
The goal is to find out what elderbloggers are like, how we may be similar and how we are different, how we relate to technology, how we came to be bloggers or blog readers, how we feel about it and what our demographics are.

There are 57 questions, many of which are required so that there is the largest possible population from which to draw conclusions. They are straightforward questions, mostly multiple-choice, and it shouldn’t take longer than about 15 minutes to complete.

If you are over 50, please consider taking the survey.

Franklin has an important elder community, we should be fully represented in this survey.

I just took the survey myself, it is quick and easy to do.

By the way, there is no registration, no identification to provide as part of the survey and it knows that once you complete it won't let you come back for a second round.

Updated 4/23/08 5:00 PM - If you tried the survey link and it failed, you can try again now. From this time forward it should be working properly.

Franklin (MA) School Department budget reductions through the years 2003 - 2009

School vacation week, subcommittees scheduled to meet in preparation for the Town Council meeting April 30th to determine what the amount of the override should be, time to bring back this post for new visitors in case you missed it earlier this month.

Note: there is a School Committee meeting scheduled for April 29th to determine their final budget plan and to discuss the proposed maintenance consolidation.


Times are tough. Budget reductions again for the school department. Level service is hard to maintain. The "good to great" budget as shocking as it was last year in light of this analysis should really be seen as a restoration of cuts that have occurred since 2003 and not a "wishful dream/pie in the sky" reach. Of course, the reality is such that it still may very well be wishful thinking.

Note: version 2 was replaced by this more updated version 3 (minor updates)

One other item of note caught my attention as this came together. The recent Forensic Audit Report highlighted problems with accounting transactions that "all of a sudden" appeared in 2006 with an employee who had been in good standing for several years. Did you know/recall that the Assistant Director of Finances was one of the positions cut from the FY 06 budget?

I have been very careful in this presentation, if there are inaccuracies, let me know what is incorrect and I'll make the update.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Where in Franklin? #45

Where in Franklin? #45, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Where in Franklin would you find this building?

The guidelines for playing "Where in Franklin?" can be found here.

Where in Franklin? Answer #44

Where in Franklin? Answer #44, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The well pictured in #44 can be found on Jordan Road.

One of my favorite running routes, Jordan Road rolls up and down a bit and appropriately placed about 200 yards from the top of the last roll (heading from Chestnut towards RT 140) is the well. A subtle reminder to dig deeper if you need to, there should always be something in the well.

Thanks for playing. Stay tuned for the next picture for "Where in Franklin?"

In the News - overide deju vu

Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 19, 2008 @ 10:07 PM


Echoing the sentiments of many older residents in town, Franklin High School sophomore Antonia Scannapieco wondered aloud why last year's override wasn't enough to cover the town's needs.
Eating ice cream with her sister, Catherine Scannapieco, and friend, Melissa Saunders, outside the Brigham's Ice Cream on Rte. 140, she said, ``I don't know where all the money went from the past override.
``They shouldn't need the money. They should have asked for more last time,'' Scannapieco said, referring to the $2.7 million tax increase voters overwhelmingly passed last year to prevent massive cuts in schools.
At the time, override advocates and leaders like Town Councilor Stephen Whalen, Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting, and the Finance Committee cautioned $2.7 was insufficient, and the schools still had to make reductions.
Last year, ``Nostradamus Nutting,'' as one town official referred to the administrator at a recent meeting, accurately forecast the town would have an approximate $3 million shortfall this year.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.