Saturday, May 10, 2008

Franklin Center - opening September 2008

"Single level living"

Seems to me to mean that each condo will be located within one floor as the building will be three stories tall (at least that is what it appears to be now).

That is a good advantage for a condo compared to other layouts where you have your space spread amongst a smaller foot print and you use multiple floors for your living space.

Way to go!

Franklin Center grows

Franklin Center grows, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Almost missed this as it is tucked away behind the completed buildings along Main St. They have moved aggressively and have a second floor almost complete with a third floor coming.

Way to go!

Parmenter School: Car Wash/Bottle Drive 5/17/08

On our walk today, found this to spread the good news about!

Attention Franklin Train Riders

Franklin Line Necessary Track Work ~ Bussing Monday through Friday

Beginning Thursday May 8 and continuing until further notice Monday through Friday, passengers on trains operating between the hours of 9 AM and 4 PM will be bussed between Norwood Central and Walpole and vice-versa.

All passengers at the Windsor Gardens stop will be dropped off and picked up on Route 1A in front of the Windsor Gardens complex, not at the station.

Delays of up to 30 minutes may occur to the following trains as a result of the bussing: Outbound: 707, 709 and 711 Inbound: 714, 716 and 718

We apologize for any inconvenience that may result from this necessary track work. Thank you for riding Commuter Rail.

From the MBTA web site

After the work on this particular section, there will be bussing around the Norfolk and then Franklin/Dean and Franklin/Forge Park stations. This is due to the required track work and that there is only a single track between Franklin and Walpole.

This is part of the notice made back in April.

In the News - Water/Sewer rates

Posted May 09, 2008 @ 11:36 PM


Residents will start paying more for water, and less on sewer this July.

Thanks to conservation, the town is not selling as much water as it has in years past, and will bump up the rate 15 percent at the start of fiscal 2009, and another 15 percent in fiscal 2010, as voted 6-2 by Town Council on May 7.

The council also agreed to lower sewer charges by 10 percent, as recommended by Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting.

The dual changes will result an a net increase of about $23 for the average rate payer, Nutting estimated.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

Read my notes written during the during meeting here.

Listen to this segment of the meeting to hear what was said by whom.

DPW Open House 5/31/08 (audio)

From the Town Council meeting on 5/7/08, reminder that the water conservation restrictions will begin the Tuesday after Memorial day.

There is also an announcement of the Open House at the Dept of Public Works. Focused for the kids and families.

Time: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

MP3 File

My notes from the meeting can be found here.

Water/Sewer Rate Changes (audio)

From the Town Council meeting 5/7/08, the discussion and eventual vote approving the water rate increase of 15% and sewer rate decrease 10%. The water rate will also increase in FY 2010 another 15% to help provide the funding necessary to continue the water line repairs at about 1-2 miles per year.

Admendment moved to second reading on personnel classification adjustments.

Amendment moved to second reading on an adjustment to the water map.

Time: 10 minutes, 47 seconds

MP3 File

My notes from the meeting can be found here.

Town Common sign placement (audio)

From the Town Council meeting on 5/7/08, there was less discussion than the first time this came up (which caused it to go away for rework).

It is a sign touting the historical signifcance of the town to be positioned on the Town Common. It can be moved if necessary.

Time: 11 minutes, 34 seconds

MP3 File

Other action items (audio)

From the Town Council meeting 5/7/08, a series of resolutions were discussed briefly and voted on to approve funding for the following:
  • balance the snow/ice account now that winters passed
  • zoning board advertising budget
  • override election funding
  • veterans budget adjustment
  • comptroller budget adjustment

Time: 5 minutes, 37 seconds

MP3 File

My notes taken during the meeting can be found here.

Ladder Truck paydown plan (audio)

From the Town Council meeting 5/7/08, the discussion and vote on the paydown plan for the new ladder truck. The truck costs $869,000. This resolution approves the payment of $169,000 this year and $175,000 for each of the next 4 years.

Time: 3 minutes, 45 seconds

MP3 File

My notes taken during the meeting can be found here.

4th of July (audio)

The new 4th of July coalition gets the same town backing (capped at $15,000) as when the town ran the recent 4th celebrations (approx 2002-2007).

There is no parade this year. The group was cautioned that this should be considered seed money. They should expect to become self-sustaining in future years as the town funds are tight.

Time: 17 minutes, 48 seconds

MP3 File

The notes from the meeting can be found here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Franklin School Department positions lost 2003-2009

If the override does not get passed, the school department would lose 46.5 positions. The reduction this year (FY 2009) would come primarily from teachers in the classroom this year that would leave in June and not return to help Franklin's students continue their education in September.

A more complete picture of the reductions in the education budget can be found in the slide presentation found here.


Learn all you can by visiting here frequently.

Visit the School Committee override page for the schedule of information sessions

You can find all the override related information here

Be informed to cast your vote on June 10th

Election date - June 10th

Election Date

Date: Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Time: 6:00am - 8:00pm

Place: Franklin High School Fieldhouse

Question #1: Shall the Town of Franklin be allowed to assess an additional $2,800,000.00 in real estate and personal property taxes for the purpose of the operating budget for which monies from this assessment will be used for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2008? Yes No


Learn as much as you can by visiting here frequently.

Visit the School Committee override page for the schedule of information sessions

Be informed to cast your vote on June 10th

Four Corners Potential Sale to Walgreens (audio)

from the Town Council meeting 5/7/08, the presentation and discussion on the potential sale of the Four Corners building and land to Walgreens. This item will return to the agenda in two weeks for a formal vote.

Time: 24 minutes, 10 seconds

MP3 File

My notes taken during the meeting can be found here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Councilor McGann during Citizens Comment (audio)

From the Town Council meeting on 5/7/08, Councilor McGann uses the Citizens Comment portion of the meeting to complain about his not getting notified of the meeting at 6:00 PM the week before to vote on the override question. He arrived at 6:50 and was surprised to find the meeting over.

Time: 5 minutes, 4 seconds

MP3 File

My notes taken during the comments by Councilor McGann can be found here.

"Franklin voters will be able to start trusting again"

Yes, I did say that.

During the Town Council meeting 5/7/08 when Chairman Chris Feeley proposed a committee to prepare a long range projection for Town finances.

I'll have the complete audio file up some time this week. In the mean time, you can read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

My "live blogging" recap of the meeting can be found here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

5 Year Plan committee to be formed

During the New Business portion, Chairman Chris Feeley put forth a proposal to name a committee to develop a five year projection. The group would be comprised of
  • 2 School Committee representatives
  • 2 Finance committee representatives
  • 3 Town Councilors

I stepped forward to make the suggestion to add two citizens to the panel. In so doing, this would allow the community to take part in this critical activity. This would be a compelling step to helping restore trust in the administration and elected officials. There is some distrust in the community.

The motion was amended to include two citizens and approved unanimously.

Town Administrator Report

moved discussion on Peace & Good Order amendments to June 4th meeting


meeting in Boston, tip sheet the downtown funding should be okay


new business

proposal to put together a group to come up with a five year projection, comprised of
2 School
2 Finance
3 Councilors

suggestion by myself to add two citizens to the panel

motion approved


Zollo participated at Davis Thayer PCC today to answer questions on override

McGann condolences to Mrs Mullen on the loss of her husband

Feeley to address McGann on meeting moved to 6:00 PM
he will show the email with his name on it
he was not aware of the meeting at 6:00, he did show up early for the 7:00 PM meeting
Feeley will take the heat for it

Water conservation starting

Tuesday after Memorial Day

start lawns before then, after that Tuesday you'll need to abide by the restrictions


DPW Open House

10:00 to 1:00 PM on May 31st


Action items

Resolution passed to grant an easement 5 years after the fact


Franklin 4th of July

resolution to allow town resources to work on the events for the celebration

Mike Kelly, co-chair
Warren Revell, paperwork submitted for 501C
Frank Falvey

Feeley confirms that their attorney has been applied for the necessary paperwork for both

amendment to limit the Town expense at $15K - passed unanimously

net expense of 10K to be reimbursed

approx 2002 town took over the 4th of July
transitioned from no cost to town cost to capped cost

Fire overtime was cut from budget so this would need to be added back
All-night party is paid for by a grant and not town money

partly good will, partly good public safety to have someone at the event

Bartlett advises to start thinking for obtaining their own funding for next year

Revell - "precedent set, town should show some support"
Bartlett - "needs to be equitable"

Vallee will support it, McGann echoes Vallee
with fuel cost rising, the crowd this year will potentially be larger

Kelly wants to keep the tradition going
meeting weekly to lay out the ground work for this event

Falvey - citizens may not have been aware of the town support
please contact if you would lke to make a donation
PO Box 152, Franklin, MA

there is no parade this year
there will be fireworks

there are two open booths currently

resolution passed as amended


ladder truck pay down
Finance Committee approved 9-0

discussion on value of the equipment and how frequently it would be used
how to you value a life? the safety of the firefighters is significantly improved

unanimously approved


resolution on snow/ice

approved unanimously


resolution on zoning board advertising budget adjustment

question on where the money is coming from, insurance claims varies
budget for FY 09 is less in that account

approved unanimously


resolution on override election funding

approved unanimously


resolution on veterans expenses

approved unanimously


resolution on comptroller budget adjustment for advertising expense

approved unanimously


resolution on Town Common sign placement

signs for historic walking trail which starts at Brick School House

Zollo speaking for, thanks for work

a permanent sign with historic significance
funding for the sign is from the grant from the Downtown Development

discussion on placement, does it denigrate?

approved 7-2 vote


amendment on water rate/sewer rate

Vallee on the record opposing this by-law

McGann no, Vallee no, Whalen absent

passed 6-2


amendment personnel regulations

moving to second reading, adds positions to salary scale
raising scale by 3%, due to cost of living actually 4.3% which is raising it less than the cost of living

this doesn't cost the town anything by itself, it just provides the scale by which the positions are hired at

adding positions in anticipation of resolving the facilities issue

more discussion coming at second reading

approved unanimously


by-law amendment to adjust water map

Pfeffer expressed desire to vote against

developer looking for town water extension
wells did go dry in that area 3-4 years ago
subdivision is in vicinity of well 10

no cost to the town but does bring a benefit to the town


Four Corners Building

Four Corners School - Proposal for purchase from Walgreens

Richard Cornetta, attorney
Scott Weymouth, principle for Arista, LLC

Walgreen by this group is already in Bellingham at intersection of RT 126/140

provided a couple of plans to the council

site plan does include a couple of other private residences already under contract to Arista

envisions set back requirements due to proximity to residences, ready for planning board approval processes

14,500 sq
no more than 2 stories tall
60 parking spaces
single entrance, double exit from King St
single entrance, single exit on Cross St

does envision a drive-up for pharmacy, not like fast food drive-ups

extreme corner at King/140 would be green space
recognizes importance of location as approach to town

$2.5 million
approx 40K annual real-estate taxes, a number of jobs created
20 permanent positions once operational
construction positions created for the building

P/S by June 08, permits by Dec 08
projected closing date for Feb 09
shovels in the ground potential for Mar 09


Feeley answers a question about has this already been sold?
No, it has not. This is a proposal.
The economic development group has approved this unanimously


Pfeffer with proposal for moving one of the existing to another space within the town and have Habitant for Humanity work to bring in two units


discussion on the willingness to work with the town
could consider moving the house, could consider renovating
one was planned to remove


less than 25% mezzanine level on the second floor to move some of the operational space up there and leave the lower level for the retail space

would do a full traffic study, did a brief analysis to prepare the draft plans

their estimate of tax revenue is in the ball park per Jeff Nutting

construction if started in Mar could be done by October to be open in time for the holidays


McGann question on the restrictions with the 24 hour drive through and neighbors comments
was written into the RFP specifying the restriction

how does it effect the developer?
there is an impact, a competitive disadvantage


Vallee complaining again about restrictions


did design to meet the requirements
minimum should be 59 parking spots

will be on agenda two weeks from tonight for a vote

Election Info - McGann uses Citizens Comment

Live blogging from the Council Chambers at the Town Hall

Town Clerk - Debbie Pellegri with election information

absentee ballots are available in the Town Clerk office at Town Hall
can vote at the office up to 12:00 noon on the day of the election
absentee requests must be made in writing (no emails)

Register by Wednesday 5/21/08

phone for Town Clerk office - 508 520 4900

Voting from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM on June 10th
All precincts will vote at the high school field house


Councilor Joe McGann making a citizen comment regards to missing last week's 6:00 PM meeting

claims he was not notified of the meeting, was the only councilor not notified

should have been a different way of notifying the public of the change

would have voted for putting the override on the ballot

Chairman Feeley can not answer the question during the citizens comment portion of the meeting

is posted on the Clerk's office that the meeting was 7:00 PM, although below it was a smaller notice changing to 6:00 PM

no finger pointing intended, just wants to make the point clear

Town Council Meeting Summary 5/7/08

This is the summary of the live blogging posts and the audio recordings for the Town Council meeting held on May 7, 2008. The posts are listed in reverse chronological order.

"taxpayers expect and deserve a five-year plan"

"The most important thing we can do to help pass the ($2.8 million) override is to immediately begin an intensive planning process that will lead to the development of a five-year financial plan before the year is over," said School Committee member Ed Cafasso.

"It's badly needed. Not only do taxpayers expect and deserve a five-year plan, we as town officials need a blueprint to guide our decisions going forward - we can no longer afford to beg for a life preserver every year," said Cafasso.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.


Learn all you need to by visiting here frequently.

Visit the School Committee override page for the schedule of information sessions

Be informed to cast your vote on June 10th

"I had a lot of preconceived notions"

"Definitely, take the opportunity to go out there. Certainly, before I got involved in town government, I had a lot of preconceived notions about what was going on," Roche said.

"It's a big, important decision, and there are a lot of factors in there," he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

Listen to all that Jim Roche said as he said it at the Finance Committee meeting here


Learn all you need to by visiting here frequently.

Visit the School Committee override page for the schedule of information sessions

Be informed to cast your vote on June 10th

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Finance Committee Meeting Summary 5/6/08

The audio segments from the Finance Committee meeting of Tuesday 5/6/08 are as follows:

Nutting updates the Facilities Issue (audio)

Override Information (audio)

Possible 4 Corners Bldg/Land Sale (audio)

Budget adjustments for snow/ice (audio)

New Ladder Truck arrives next week (audio)

Override Election Budget Approved (audio)

4 Corners Bldg for $2.5M (text)

Nutting updates the Facilities Issue

From the Franklin Finance Committee meeting 5/6/08, Town Administrator Jeff Nutting provides an update on the facilities transfer issue. It may not be resolved before the end of this fiscal year, or before the override vote.

It is not an override vote issue, there will be no money saved this FY 09 budget. The only question is who controls the budget for this the Schools (as they have and done well with) or the Town?

Time: 2 minutes, 56 seconds

MP3 File

Override Information

From the Franklin Finance Committee meeting on 5/6/08, Chair Jim Roche reviews the information on the upcoming override vote scheduled for June 10th,

Time: 2 minutes, 57 seconds

MP3 File

Learn all you need to by visiting here frequently.

Visit the School Committee override page for the schedule of information sessions

Be informed to cast your vote on June 10th

Possible 4 Corners Bldg/Land Sale

From the Franklin Finance Committee meeting 5/6/08, Town Administrator Jeff Nutting provides an update of the upcoming discussion at the Town Council meeting 5/7/08. WalGreen is offering $2.5 million for the land which if approved would net the town approx. $1.1 million for use on another capital asset (i.e. another building or payoff of debt for another building, firestation or Senior Center come to mind).

Time: 4 minutes, 32 seconds

MP3 File

Note: Capital revenues of this sort can not be used for operational expenses.

Budget adjustments for snow/ice

From the Franklin Finance Committee of 5/6/08, budget transfers for the current fiscal year (FY 08) to cover the unbudgeted expense for the winter snow and ice removal.

This will also likely be an under-budgeted item for next year.

Time: 3 minutes, 14 seconds

MP3 File

New Ladder Truck arrives next week

From the Franklin Finance Committee meeting on 5/6/08, Jeff Nutting talks of the new ladder truck (or aerial platform) being delivered next week. The committee approved the transfer of money for the first payment of the $869,000 total cost. $169,000 this year; $175,000 for each of the next four years.

The purchase and delivery of this truck had been delayed until the new firestation was open and ready to fit it.

TIme: 6 minutes, 57 seconds

MP3 File

Override Election Budget Approved

From the Finance Committee meeting 5/6/08, they approved the transfer of $8,000 to fund the override election on June 10th.

Time: 40 seconds

MP3 File

Learn all you need to by visiting here frequently.
Visit the School Committee override page for the schedule of information sessions

Be informed to cast your vote on June 10th

4 Corners Bldg for $2.5M

Live - FINCOM meeting 5/6/08

Per Jeff Nutting at the FINCOM meeting Tuesday evening, the Town Council will be considering a proposal to sell the Four Corners Building to WalGreen for an estimated $2.5 million.

The agenda item is for discussion only. If it does gain interest, it would comeback for a formal vote at the Town Council.
  • The money after paying off the approx. $1.1M debt can only be used for a similar type capital asset.
  • It can not be used for operational expenses.
  • It could be used for paying down other building debt.

Town Council Agenda 5/7/08

The Town Council meeting 5/7/08 agenda has been posted to the town web site here.

There are several items of that should be interesting on the agenda:
  • Four Corner School purchase status
  • Multiple resolutions for capital expenses including a new ladder truck for the fire dept.
  • The sign on the Town Common returns as a resolution for vote (last time this was withdrawn before even getting close to a vote)
  • The second reading on the water/sewer rates
  • Two by-law amendments (one amending the salary structure in the Personnel Code, the other amending the Water map)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Franklin Contribution 1994-2009

Franklin Contribution 1994-2009, originally uploaded by shersteve.

I am troubled by the declining participation of the Franklin budget in the school area.

Yes, the school budget increases year to year. The school enrollment has increased, the costs have, and yet since 2003 as outlined earlier, there have also been 80 plus positions eliminated from the school department. The positions affected all areas of the operation; teachers, administrators, custodians.

Now would be a good time for Franklin to step up to the plate and help turn the tide on the declining participation in the future of our children.

Note: These numbers come from the table found in the Executive Summary on page 1 of the Town Administrator's budget page (PDF) here. I used the Fiscal Year, School Budget, and Percent Local Funding columns to create this chart. If there are any errors, please let me know.

Be informed to cast your vote on June 10th

Where in Franklin? #48

Where in Franklin? #48, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Hmm, barbed wire, big tank. Is this as large as the molasses tank that created the flood in Boston?

Where do you find this tank in Franklin?

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

Where in Franklin? Answer #47

Where in Franklin? Answer #47, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Yes, the answer to picture #47 is the Church of the Latter Day Saints on Jordan Road.

ltsjs, can you send me an email with your answer and let someone else try to guess in the comments? Assuming you are first and correct, you'll still get credit. You would help let others participate.

Stay tuned for the next opportunity.

Thanks to all for playing!

In the news - seniors tax break bill not likely this time around

Posted May 04, 2008 @ 12:13 AM


The situation is not unique to Franklin: the elderly are pitted against young people in a battle to pass a Proposition 2-1/2 tax override that keeps schools competitive during budget crises.

Seniors on fixed incomes speak out about their struggle to pay for basic needs and hang onto their homes, while those who are the voice of another vulnerable population - children - endure attacks for proposing a tax increase.

Now that Franklin is in the throes of an override battle, School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy is urging citizens to appeal to their senators (Sens. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham, and Karen Spilka, D-Ashland) to pass a bill permitting towns to exempt eligible seniors from tax overrides.

On Feb. 28, the House overwhelmingly (111-34) passed Bill No. 2840, which gives Franklin's Town Council the ability to give this tax break to seniors aged 65 or older with a family income of $60,000 or less (if their real estate tax payments exceed 10 percent of their total income). The bill was sent to the Senate and referred to the Senate Ethics and Rules Committee.

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


Franklin seniors seek override relief

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

Sun May 04, 2008, 12:08 AM EDT


A group of women playing Scrabble at the Franklin Senior Center recently said a bill protecting them from override taxes ``sounds good'' to them.
``Oh yes, definitely,'' said senior Clare Flynn.
The women ``don't make nearly $60,000,'' and their Social Security income is so low, they are considered to be living in ``poverty,'' they said, laughing and adding they would like to be given the same tax breaks as billionaires.
An exemption would not automatically compel them to vote in favor of a Proposition 2« tax override, however, they said.
``It would depend on what the override is for, if it seemed they (town officials) spent money foolishly, and why they reached the point where they'd have to call for an override,'' Flynn said.
``If the money really would go for what they're saying, then I'd consider it,'' she said.

Read the full article in the Franklin Gazette here