Saturday, May 24, 2008

Simple choice - maintain or cut

As demand for services rise our staff levels continue to fall. There are two unpleasant solutions to this problem. Continue to reduce services or increase taxes.

An override will be requested for the FY 06 Budget. I estimate it will require approximately $4 million to maintain the level of services that currently exist. A successful override will allow us to balance the budget in the short term but in the long run the fundamental gap between revenues and expenses will arise creating the same problem in the future. The only long-term solution will depend upon changing the the tax laws to curtail the over reliance on the property tax as the primary source of funding local government.

The override is intended to address the current financial problems. It does not address the need to upgrade the high school, reconstruct roads and sidewalks, or fund a hugh unfunded health insurance obligation. These issues will have to be addressed over the next three years.
From the FY 2005 Budget Statement (PDF) published by Jeff Nutting in April 2004. This quote can be found on the bottom of page 11. The override mentioned was held in November 2004 and it failed by a 1,148 votes.

The future fiscal years beyond FY 07 will be difficult to deal without additional revenues. Please carefully review pages 4-6 titled FY 08 Budget Projections. You will note that with a very modest 2.5% increase in general costs along with increases in energy, health insurance, etc. the town will face a multi-million dollar shortfall. The 2.5% increase is not adequate to provide the same level of services that are currently provided and will lead to reductions in school/municipal services. realistically, the increase would need to be closer to 5% to maintain services. There is no way to avoid the eventual reality that our reserves are dwindling while our costs continue to rise faster than our revenues. I believe that FY 08 will be the year that difficult choices will have to be made in order to balance the budget.
From the FISCAL 2007 Annual Report published April 20, 2006 (PDF) by Jeff Nutting. The quote can be found on the bottom of page 2. The difficult choices mentioned did occur in FY 08 and resulted in the first operational override to pass in Franklin by a margin of 1,306 votes.

Final Comment - What do you get for your property taxes?
Franklin's property taxes are very reasonable. Unlike other taxes we pay, all of your property tax dollars remain in Franklin. The average tax bill in Franklin is $3,872. That amount provides high quality education, saves property and lives, plows your streets, provides library and recreational opportunities, and assists our senior citizens and veterans. When you need a paramedic, police officer, or other public service, they are a phone call away. Your tax dollars are used to improve your quality of life, and in the case of property owners, maintain and increase the value of your investment. In good times or bad, we strive to be prudent with your tax dollars and be responsive to your needs.
This is from the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Statement (PDF) as published by Jeff Nutting in March 2008. This quote can be found on the top of the last page, page 11.

As these quotes from the budget information provided during the past several years indicate, an override this year is not a surprise. We have a systemic issue that is not being addressed. We have avoided the painful choices by drawing down the stabilization fund. It is no longer a smart fiscal choice to make. The choice remaining is to cut services (in this case educational services for our children) or raise taxes.

Put all the other arguments aside: Do you want to maintain our quality educational services or do we start cutting deeper than we have before?


Learn all you can by visiting here frequently.

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

You can find override related information here

Be informed to cast your vote on June 10th

"We are compelled to never forget"

Posted May 23, 2008 @ 11:19 PM


In a poignant "Missing Man" ceremony, Police Chief Stephen Williams urged a roomful of veterans, their loved ones and local dignitaries gathered at the Elks Lodge yesterday, not to forget missing and fallen soldiers.

Lined up in crisp uniforms and white gloves, the solemn-faced Franklin Police Honor Guard - Lt. Thomas J. Lynch, Sgt. Mark Manocchio, Officers Paul Fiorio, Paul Guarino, Jonathan Bussey and John Maloney - held symbolic items as Williams honored soldiers missing in action and prisoners of war.

Music played as the chief, who was a military police sergeant during the Vietnam War, spoke of the "sweetness" of honor and serving one's country that is tainted by the bitterness of loss.

"We are compelled to never forget," he said, explaining why he showed a documentary video about the painstaking work and precision involved in guarding Arlington National Cemetery where "unknown" fallen soldiers rest.

"We call them brothers ... they're unable to be with their families," but Arlington is a place of dignity and honor, he said, encouraging audience members to visit.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

Honoring 175 Years of Education at the Red Brick School

The Brick School is 175 Years Old!

Come One…Come All…Everyone is Invited!

Please join us for a Fun Family Picnic

Honoring 175 Years of Education at the Red Brick School

Sunday, June 1st
1:00pm – 5:00pm
Franklin Town Common

Bring your chairs, blankets and pack a picnic lunch -- relax and enjoy a fun day!

Musical Performances include:

Jamie Barrett and friends singing the “Franklin Song” and other hits! 1:30 - 1:50

Remington Middle School Jazz Band 2:00 – 2:30pm

Franklin Middle Combined String Orchestra 2:45 – 3:15pm

FHS – Sound in the Hall artist Adriana Driggs, Tom Lazinski, Bodacious Banana Extravaganza and more! 3:45 - 4:45

And more……

Okey Dokey DJ will be on hand the entire day providing music and fun Karaoke sessions between performances

Fun Free Activities for the Kids!

Gerwick Puppets performing at 2:00pm
Face Painting
Capron Park Zoo Mobile


To go with your picnic lunch, we will have water and soda available for $1.00

Save room for dessert!! There will be free cake for everyone!

This is event is sponsored by the Benjamin Franklin Bank Charitable Foundation

For more information email: Brick School Association

We hope you can make it!!

From the Town Crier posting here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

"the remainder can be directed toward any number of capital items"

Posted May 22, 2008 @ 09:26 PM


Town Council voted 8-1 Wednesday to sell the former Four Corners School to Walgreens for $2.5 million.

Councilor Robert Vallee abstained from the vote.

The vote authorizes Town Administrator Jeffery D. Nutting and Town Attorney Mark G. Cerel to enter into a purchase and sales agreement with Arista Development LLC of Norwood, which is proposing the Walgreens Pharmacy.

Arista, which has developed several Walgreens across the northeast, including one in Bellingham, was the only bidder for the town-owned property at the intersection of King Street and Rte. 140, Nutting has said.

Though the council has agreed to the sale, Arista must still obtain various permits from the Planning Board, Council Chairman Christopher Feeley said Wednesday.

"In the past, I have fought against selling" town-owned property, said Councilor Scott Mason, adding that he voted for it in this instance to help improve the town's finances.

"I don't think it's fair to keep asking people to dip into their pockets," he said, cautioning that people should be clear about how the $2.5 million can be used.

"(Some) residents have a misguided sense of what we can and cannot do with the money. It cannot go into the operating budget, it can't be used to hire teachers or new DPW workers," Mason said.

Read the full story in the Milford Daily News here

"this gift will have increased tenfold"

Posted May 22, 2008 @ 11:05 PM


By sacrificing a Gatorade here, a candy bar there, Franklin High students collected enough dollars to give impoverished families a heifer, llama, pig, goat, or swarm of bees to improve their lives.

For the third year, the students spent four weeks raising money for Heifer International, an organization devoted to ending hunger and poverty by giving families a way to produce food and goods for themselves, rather than short-term relief. The students raised a record-breaking $8,400 in donations, said foreign language teacher Jackie Eckhardt, chairwoman of a teachers committee on global awareness.

As part of the global awareness program, which staff initiated to expose students to cultures around the world, the school has held interactive assemblies for students, Eckhardt said.

Read the full story in the Milford Daily News here

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Budget Hearing Schedule - 2nd Hearing 5/27/08 at 6:00 PM

Town Council decided not to hold another hearing today and instead will hold a second public hearing and vote on the fiscal 2009 budget next Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building.

So the next budget hearing is Tuesday 5/27/08 at 6:00 PM.

Why 6:00 PM?
The School Committee already has a regular meeting scheduled for 7:00 PM in the same location.

So be prepared for Tuesday to start at 6:00 PM.

From the town's perspective, it's a matter of not filling positions

Posted May 22, 2008 @ 01:08 AM


During the first of two public hearings on Franklin's fiscal 2009 budget, Councilor Robert Vallee announced he will recommend adding two new police officers to the force.

Neither Police Chief Stephen T. Williams nor Fire Chief Gary McCarraher could answer affirmatively when Vallee asked whether they felt comfortable protecting citizens with their department's budget.

"I can't tell you I feel comfortable. ... Things begin to fall apart" when the Fire Department has to respond to multiple, simultaneous calls, McCarraher said.

In his initial budget request, Williams sought two additional officers as police work in Franklin continues to increase, including handling children, the elderly, traffic and safety, he said.

"In past years, those areas had significant increases in caseload," said Williams.

The Police Department employees 46 sworn officers, including the chief and deputy chief - well below the norm for towns like Franklin, Williams said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Cicada Tracking

An interesting site appeared on my reading radar thanks to the folks at UniversalHub; Massachusetts Cicadas.

Living in Massachusetts, unfortunately, there aren't many species of Cicadas to study so this site will be focused on studying the cicadas of New England along taking part in field trips to other states and studying the cicadas there.

So far, I have managed to document several different species of Cicadas in Massachusetts. Those being Tibicen auletes, Tibicen lyricen, Tibicen canicularis, Tibicen chloromera and Okanagana rimosa. Massachusetts even has Periodical Cicadas from Brood XIV which is a 17 year variety.

Since 2004, Okanagana rimosa has proved to be an elusive little insect. Fortunately, in the summer of 2007 shortly after my return trip from the mid west to study Brood XIII periodical cicadas, I did in fact find a sustainable population of Okanagana rimosa in a town in central Massachusetts known as Montague. More information on this interesting periodic-like little insect can be found here.

Also Brood XIV periodical Cicadas, a species of Cicadas that emerge once every 17 years also makes an appearance in Massachusetts along Cape Cod, Barnstable Plymouth counties. These are not scheduled to appear here until 2008.

So if you would like to know more about cicadas in MA and New England, visit this site.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Last day to register to vote

Every vote counts.

Make sure you are registered.

If you are not going to be in town for the vote on June 10th, obtain an absentee ballot from the Town Clerk.

Ashland voted on their override yesterday and the margin was 49 votes.

Every vote counts.

Make sure your cast your vote on June 10th!

Budget Hearing Postponed

Posted May 21, 2008 @ 12:37 AM


After meeting for 25 minutes last night, the Town Council unanimously voted to postpone the first of two public hearings on the fiscal 2009 budget because it could not be televised.

Council Chairman Christopher Feeley made the motion, saying, "I think it needs to be televised."

"We apologize to the public and are rectifying the situation by postponing the meeting," Feeley said.

The council continued the hearing to 7:05 tonight, and will likely continue the second hearing, originally planned for tonight, to Thursday.

So if you did try to find the meeting on cable last night and didn't, know you know why.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

Industry: Liko New Disposable Repositioning Sheet

New Disposable Repositioning Sheet for Hospitals and Nursing Homes

    FRANKLIN, Mass., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Liko, a leading supplier of
patient lifting equipment, has announced the launch of a new disposable
repositioning sheet. Repositioning patients in bed is often cited as one of
the most potentially dangerous care tasks for caregivers and may account
for between 45% to 60% of bedside patient handling injuries.

The new sheet, designated the Solo RepoSheet(TM), is designed for those
patients and residents with specific needs such as isolation patients,
where specific needs exist to control infection and cross-contamination, or
where a method is needed consistent with current laundry control practices.
Outbreaks of MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and C.diff
(Clostridium difficile) and new CMS regulations have greatly increased the
demand for products that can help control nosocomial or
institution-acquired infections.

The Solo RepoSheet is usually applied above the fitted sheet and below
the draw sheet, but can be used in place of the draw sheet. Because the
Solo RepoSheet rests under the patient ready to be used, the sheet is not
composed of ordinary disposable paper-like material, but a fabric made of
100% light weave breathable cotton. The soft fabric was especially selected
for the patient's comfort. The Solo RepoSheet is a single patient use sheet
which should be disposed of when it becomes soiled or when the patient no
longer needs it.

As part of a Safe Lifting Initiative in Healthcare, the Solo RepoSheet
is used in combination with a facility's existing overhead (ceiling) or
mobile floor lifts. In addition to eliminating rotational and compression
forces associated with moving patients up in bed, the Solo RepoSheet can
eliminate cumulative trauma associated with turning patients, holding them
in side-lying, and rotating a patient from supine to prone.

In order to facilitate these patient handling actions, each Solo
RepoSheet has five strap loops sewn securely to each side. One strap loop
is color coded to indicate the head end of the sheet. The strap joints are
sewn onto the sheet without pressure points for maximum comfort and skin
safety. While laundering does not impact the sheet's safety or physical
properties, the original label disintegrates upon washing and exposes a "DO
NOT USE" symbol to prohibit use with other patients.

For more information on the Solo RepoSheet(TM), write to Liko at 122
Grove Street, Franklin, MA 02038, e-mail at, call them at
1-888-545-6671, or visit them at

FRANKLIN TOWN COUNCIL - Agenda - 5/21/08


May 21, 2008

7:00 PM







q FY 2009 Budget2nd Public Hearing

q Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-616: Amendment to Chp. 185, Town Code: Adult Entertainment Establishments Districts- Public Hearing - CANCELLED

q Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-617: Amendment to Chp. 185, Town Code: Water Resource District – Public Hearing

q Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-618: Amendment to Chp. 185, Town Code: Biotechnology Uses – Public Hearing

q Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-619: Amendment to Chp. 185-5: Zoning Map - Biotechnology Use – Public Hearing

G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS - Piccadilly Pub – Transfer of License, Change of Manager, Pledge of Stock




q Resolution 08-35: Adoption of FY 2009 Annual Budget
q Resolution 08-36: Declaration of Town-Owned Land (Four Corners Property) As Surplus and Available for Disposition
q Resolution 08-37: Authorization for Disposition (Sale) of Town-Owned Land (Four Corners Property)
q Resolution 08-38: Appropriation: Forfeited Bond Funds – Wadsworth Farm
q Bylaw Amendment 08-621: Amendment of Service Fees – Curbside Trash – 2nd Reading
q Bylaw Amendment 08-624: Amendment to Sewer System Map – 1st Reading





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


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

register to vote by May 21st

If you are of age, please register to vote. Visit the Town Clerks office at the Municipal Building. You would need to register to vote by May 21st.

If you are going to be out of town on June 10th, you can pick up an absentee ballot at the Town Clerks office.

If you can't visit the Town Clerks office in person, you will need to write a letter explaining why you are out of town on the 10th (attending school, etc.). An email is not sufficient, they need your signature for the records so an "old fashioned" either hand written or typed note will do the trick.

Spread the word to register to vote. Franklin Schools need the money from this override.

If you need details on the Town Budget or School budget, visit the Town web site

The School Committee blog

Town Budget Hearings Tues/Weds 7:00 PM

According to the Franklin School Committee blog, there are two Town Budget Hearings scheduled for Tuesday, May 20 and Wednesday, May 21. Both scheduled for 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building.

Wednesday is also a scheduled Town Council meeting although there is no agenda posted and I have been able to find a confirmation of the Town Budget Hearings either.

Tune into the local cable or stop by the Municipal Building to attend this meetings in person.

I will be traveling on business and unable to report on them for you to read here.

Understanding the Special Education Budget

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 7:00pm

Linda Waters, Director of Pupil Personal Services and Jeffrey Roy, chairman of the School Committee will lead a panel discussion on how Special Eduction receives funds in the Town of Franklin. During these difficult fiscal times a clear understanding of how the system works will benefit all parties involved. Jeffrey Roy will also give us an update concerning the upcoming over-ride vote that will take place in June. Please join us for this open discussion.


From the Town Crier

Override Central adds Franklin

With a little reminder from someone you know, Override Central added Franklin to the listing for this year.

Operational Override History

This was originally published on the Franklin School Committee blog. I updated the table with last year's results and this year's opportunity.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sale proceeds cannot be used for operational purposes

Posted May 18, 2008 @ 09:50 PM


Town Council is slated to vote on the prospective $2.5 million sale of the former Four Corners School to Walgreens on Wednesday.

Arista Development, LLC, of Norwood, which is proposing the Walgreens Pharmacy, was the only bidder for the town-owned property at the intersection of King Street and Rte. 140, said Town Administrator Jeffery D. Nutting.

Arista has developed several Walgreens across the northeast, including Bellingham, said Arista Principal Scott A. Weymouth, noting he also helped develop the CVS on East Central Street.

The $2.5 million bid was a good offer, Nutting said.

The town paid $1.325 million for the Four Corners property about a decade ago, he said.

Read the full story in the Milford Daily News here.

Listen to the proposal made at the Town Council meeting here and read my notes from that meeting recorded during the meeting here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vote June 10th

Only one question on this ballot:

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 or No

Visit Franklin Matters for all the details to cast an informed vote

'Franklin received a ``huge amount'' of Chapter 70 aid compared to other towns"

Milford Daily News
Posted May 17, 2008 @ 10:25 PM


The House of Representatives has shot down a $25,000 earmark for the Red Brick School submitted by Rep. James Vallee, he said, but supporters of the school are still ``hoping and praying'' to find a way to keep it open, said Deborah Pellegri.
``We're just hoping and praying the school remains in existence, because it's going to be a shame (if it closes). This is history,'' said Pellegri, the town clerk and a member of the Brick School Task Force.
``The town of Franklin is known for the little Brick School and being home to the first public library, and (being the first town named after) Benjamin Franklin. It would be devastating for the Brick School to be closed - it would be an injustice to the town,'' said Pellegri, noting the Brick School was originally a wooden school building.
Vallee filed an amendment adding $25,000 to the House budget, he said, but members rejected it.
``I think it's a wonderful asset to our community, and I'd like to see it used as a school. I support it,'' Vallee said.
``I tried. I just think the Legislature was reticent to earmark a specific amount of money for a specific school,'' Vallee added.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.