Saturday, October 4, 2008

"We're all affected by the war"

Posted Oct 03, 2008 @ 10:54 PM


When Police Chief Stephen Williams returned home from the Vietnam War, the reception he got was "terrible," he said.

"I don't want that to happen to those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, I don't want that to happen to them," said Williams.

"There's all sorts of support now we never had when we came home - and it's only right," Williams said.

Placing a war memorial honoring those who fought in the current conflicts next to the existing World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War monuments on the common "is a fitting tribute to people in our military," said Williams, a member of the veteran's monument committee.

Franklin's Veterans Agent Bob Fahey put the committee together in November 2006, at the behest of Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting, with the intention of honoring fallen troops from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

How to Cut Home Energy Bills: a Home Energy Efficiency Workshop

When: Monday, October 6, 7 p.m.

Where: Franklin Public Library

What: Heating your home this winter is going to cost you far more than it did last year. This program will show you a variety of things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your house and lower your energy costs. Most of the things covered will cost little or nothing and you can go home with a helpful resource handout and how-to guidance.

This presentation is free and will take place in the community room, lower level of the Franklin Public Library located at 118 Main Street at 7 p.m.

in the news - Library book sale, exercise, folk music

The Friends of the Franklin Library Fall Book Sale will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Thousands of hard- and soft-cover books will be available in nearly every category.
Fiction and non-fiction books are $1, and $2 for trade publications. Most children’s and young adult hardcover books are $1 and paperbacks are 50 cents. Audio and videotapes, cassettes, CD’s and DVD’s are as low as $1 apiece.
A selection of books in excellent condition, recent releases or collector’s titles suitable for gift giving may be found in the special pricing section. The book sale takes place at the Franklin Department of Public Works Garage. Take Hayward Street to Public Service Way.
Free admission to the public.
Originally published in the Franklin Gazette here



It’s not too late to get in shape by signing up for the second fall session of Franklin Schools’ health and wellness classes.


Sign up online at the Franklin Public Schools Web site ( Click on Lifelong and follow the prompts to Adult Education listings. Or contact the Franklin Adult Education office at 508-541-2100, ext. 3178, or e-mail

Read the full article in the Franklin Gazette here


Peter Mulvey returns to the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse Saturday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m.

A live wire on any stage, Wisconsin native Mulvey is an acoustic singer/songwriter/guitarist whose guitar playing seemingly whisks him through more tunings than he has fingers in the course of an evening, as he winds his way from full-throated rockers to deceptively plain-spoken musings, said a Circle of Friends spokesman.

Read the full article in the Franklin Gazette here

Go the Circle of Friends website to view the schedule and order tickets here

Tracey Grammer performs at Circle of Friends on October 11th

Friday, October 3, 2008

Financial Planning Committee 10/2/08

The official minutes for this meeting can be found here

cat fight continues

Posted Oct 02, 2008 @ 10:16 PM


The Highwood Condominium Association's board of trustees has decided to trap and euthanize a colony of feral cats at the complex that has been the center of a neighborhood dispute, according to Animal Control Officer Cindy Souza.

The move may be illegal, however, depending on who actually owns the woods where the cats roam and eat, she said. Souza and fellow Animal Control Officer Tracey Holmes believe the state owns the property, and trapping is not allowed on state property, Souza said. If that is the case, the association may instead put traps on Highwood grounds, she said.

"It's sad," Souza said.

Souza first intervened in 1997, when more than 200 feral cats roamed the premises, at times jumping out of a trash bin at people, she said, adding, "it was a real health issue."

She solicited the help of Purr-fect Cat Shelter in Medway to catch the cats, spay and neuter them, provide shots, and release them back where they were found, she said. They set up a feeding station in the woods next to the property, and for 10 years, resident and self-proclaimed "Cat Lady" Dorothy "Dottie" Luff, 81, has been feeding and caring for the cats, which she has also named.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Live reporting - Facilities

Mike D'Angelo

Any structure that is owned by the town we cover. Electricians, plumbers, roofers, etc. We handle all major construction.

Everything I touch cost more today, plastic bags, etc. The labor market hasn't changed much but all the supplies have.

Signed a natural gas and propane contract, only going up 2.5% is great. It is a significant piece overall but controlled.

Electric put in at a 15% increase.
Water/sewer up due to the rate increase.

Telephone - bringing the police online so all the buildings will be connected and on the same network

How many FTEs?
35 full time, 10 part time and then 4 management staff

The things that are hurting me. The cost of the products that we are buying to replace are killing me. Not labor, just parts.

Will you exceed the $362,000 this year?
I can't. Stuff won't get done.

Remington-Jefferson is 14 years, no longer new; Keller-Sullivan is not new
The King St Fire Station is 10 years.

Can we look at a 5 year period?
But we have new buildings, new town hall, senior center, fire station...
Need to look at the increase in square foot increases year over year, at window sq footage, windows need to be washed

The telephone consulting is actually giving us money back. Reducing lines, keeping numbers. Eventually we want to go with fiber optics, that will help us save more.

5 leased, 4 at Parmenter, one at the High School. All the original ones were leased to own.

Bartlett - What is the life expectancy?
At 15 years, you might expect a total replacement. We did 8, 8, and 10. The first ones are 10 years old.

If you can help us with a narrative description?

You got to fix the things that you need to fix. As you go towards the end, you hope things don't break that cost a lot of money. You make it though the heating season, and then adjust.

Request is to add staff back at both the school and town. We lost 8 custodians. we clean bathrooms, we clean cafeterias, the rooms are lucky if they get cleaned once a week.

You can always make the schools look good on day one. Going through the year, it gets tougher.

We lost 8 out of forty, that was 20% of the staff. When a custodial system starts deteriorating, you go down a trouble road.

At an elementary level , the standard is a custodian can clean about 25,000 sq feet.

The high school is continuing to grow, maybe it will stop in a couple of years but it is a constant activity day and night.

We would add back four in the first year plus some part timers.
We don't pain enough, we could use the summer help to paint at least in year one. Then try to get the proper amount of folks in to maintain it on-going.

Using students as the part time help, gave them a job and ownership. They gained some respect for the work and effort to paint, clean the school. They would help police the other students to not write on the walls, etc.

Big difference in using students for help between what you can do with a public school versus a private school.

How much more do we spend at the high school due to its age versus the other schools?
I budget by school so I could look at the details. we actually have replaced a lot of systems there with 20/20, etc. If we had not done that, I'd be in trouble. A new high school will increase utility costs but reduce maintenance costs.

No more presentations for next time. Let's start to work on the model.

Look at minutes for the 4th and 18th to see. We should have them on the agenda to approve them next time.

Motion to adjourn.

Live reporting - DPW

Brutus Cantoreggi - presenting the insights on the DPW

We are already $100,000 down due to fuel costs. The salt bid came in at .71 vs .51 cents which is what we had been paying.

Budgeted for 550,000 for snow and ice this year; 500,000 last year just on salt. The past year was 1.1 million spent.

We have been trying to catch up by budgeting another 100K each year. We are short each time and can't catch up.

State reimbursed 3 years ago and 6 years ago.

Last year was an average year, this year will be more just with the salt increase. Over a million, probably 1.2 million.

We use 70 outside contractors, we only have 30 employees. We could not do it all ourselves. It is cheaper to do it ourselves, we pay overtime for our employees and we already own our trucks. Minimum we have to pay the contractors is four hours.

Initially we like to start bringing up the snow and ice budget by $250,000 per year. We need to get closer to the actual yearly cost.

All our road work is paid by Chapter 90, State funds, the Town has not budgeted for sidewalk or street repairs. Typically we are able to get 750,000 from the state. We can keep fixing stuff, it is going to deteriorate.

$28 per square foot for a concrete panel.

25 miles of unaccepted public way, sitting for 6 years in legislature in action

Water line replacement program, at the same time we rebuild the road. We use some water funds to rehab the road. 60% of the water funds, 40% of the Chap 90. Approx $800,000 to do Wachusetts St. They put down three inches.

The hot top is sometimes the cheapest thing to do. The money is in the drainage, storm water issue. Mandates coming down from Federal and State government, but there is no funding behind it.

Cantoreggi - They have targeted the Charles River basin (which we are part of) to reduce phosphorous by 60%. We are going to have 4-5 years but we will have to implement this. Without compliance, there will be a fine, possibly up to $25,000 a day.

Nutting - Police and Fire budgets comparison town to town is easy, they are generally apples to apples. DPW can be configured differently amongst the towns and therefore harder to get an apples to apples comparison.

Cantoreggi - It is a difficult thing to explain, we are out to respond all the time. water break, sewer back ups. Mowing fields can be fill in time. There is no way I can get rid of the guys doing the emergencies, that is what the people see. You need the bodies in house. I don't have the luxury of closing a park and keeping all the others up. What will happen will be a slow down in service, in stead of mowing every five days, it may be mowing every eight days, grass is longer, soccer may complain as the balls will slow down.

Cantoreggi - In DPW there is always more work than help.

The assessor needs help moving things, who are they going to call? DPW

Asphalt along the road is actually more expensive than the stuff on the road itself. We do all that hand stuff to save a ton of money.

Nutting - If we did outsource, we could use less mowers/equipment, still keep some but may not need all.

Cantoreggi - Outsource cutting the high school fields perhaps but use the DPW folks to do the Town Common.

D'Angelo - Pesticide handling is a problem. It actually costs more to print the paper to give the notice to the school students to take home than it does to actually cost to do the fertilizing. There are certain things that are cheaper to do in-house and others are cheaper to do via outsource.

Cantoreggi - The DPW guys are skilled and multi skilled. They paint but they are not painters.

Hardesty - How do you prioritize the work you do?
Brutus - A large chunk of what we do is water and sewer. Wells need to be tested daily. A lot of other stuff is seasonal.

Nutting - Public safety gets the big headlines, but DPW is far more complicated. 33 FTE's.

Whalen - We will need your help to craft the story. The public will see snow removal, fuel costs, salt costs, field conditions. We should target attempting to budget 85%, how do we get there?

Bartlett - Is there anything else we can do budget or legislative issues we can help with?
The street issue is the big one.

Whalen - What do people think about charging field use fees?

Trahan - If we outline how many fees people will pay, it can offset what the override would cost.

Bartlett - If we go with an override and a fee, the override won't pass.

Cantoreggi - a lot of the leagues are good and leading the way to take care of the field. I can't get them to pick up the trash though.

Ogden - we were losing 30-40,000 per year where the building use fees did not cover the expense of maintaining the space. Girl scouts, Cub scouts, and other groups are giving the School Committee a headache about the increase in fee. We charge Recreation for use. We charge Adult Ed.

Bartlett - if we decide to go down this road, we need to get all the leagues together and let them know.

Nutting - they all come together at the Rec Advisory Committee. It is a very difficult issue to address.

Whalen - I don't think we can take it off the table.

Cantoreggi - it is not much money to take care of the the parks and fields, but that is what the people see.

Roche - what about the recycling the older vehicles?

Whalen - this has been really educational. There are so many moving parts, it might be good to do a subcommittee to look at this more closely.

Nutting - Water/sewer is self supporting due to the fees but we get some of the roads covered.

Cantoreggi - They are self funded but not self managed

Live reporting - Financial Planning Committee 10/2/08

Attending: Jim Roche, Roberta Trahan, Steve Whalen, Doug Hardesty, Jeff Nutting, Wayne Ogden, Miriam Goodman, Mike D'Angelo, Brutus Cantoreggi, Gwynne Wilschek,

Not Attending: Shannon Zollo, Matt Kelly,

Roche - let's publish an agenda prior to meeting, Steve has been good getting the meeting reminders out. We need to figure out a timeline to determine our financial model, build some assumptions, we are not here to arrive at the right number, we need to determine and understand the cost drivers, set the assumptions for the model.

Whaelen - without assuming we will go for an override, if there is one needed, we are going to need to start earlier, the work product will need to be good, explanable, etc.

Roche - next three months, build the model, start telling our story, circulate it for feedback

Bartlett - the Council will need to prepare in February that if no money is coming across, we are going to need to make some hard decisions

Nutting - the Town budget will need to come together, it likely will come out in the same time frame, one driver will be the School budget

Let's start - DPW will go first

"From a fiscal standpoint, it's a small action"

Posted Oct 01, 2008 @ 10:45 PM


Town Council last night voted to fund the late bus service to the town's three middle schools at a reduced price of $10,000.

Only Councilor Judith Pond Pfeffer objected to the funding. Holmes Bus Service offered to provide the service, which normally costs about $40,000 annually, for $10,000 this year after school administrators announced the district could not afford it.

The town will pay for the service out of an old account, Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting said.

The money comes from funds "donated" to the town in 2001, he said. In 2000, he explained, the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected an affordable housing application for Franklin Commons at 575 East Central St. by The Gatehouse Cos. The town lost an appeal and negotiated a settlement that reduced the number of units and gave Franklin $40,000 to be used for extending the bus service to the development or for other public purposes, he said. Since the GATRA, or Greater Attleborough Transit Regional Authority, bus passes by the development, the town no longer needs to fund extending bus service there, Nutting said.

Chairman Christopher Feeley thanked the owner of Holmes Bus Co. for his generosity, noting that he is "not even a Franklin resident."

"For the amount of money it's going to cost us, for the service we're going to get - we'd be foolish not to do this," Feeley said.

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

Town Council Mtg Summary - 10/1/08

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Live reporting - Councilor Comments

Zollo - publicly acknowledge the efforts of the teachers stepping up and going beyond under tough times. Secondly to acknowledge the quality of the recreation programs in town. Acknowledge the DPW and grounds maintenance crew have been doing a good job.

Doak - question 1 on the ballot, don't like taxes, but the fact of the matter is Franklin would be hurt significantly, I will be voting against it and would like folks to consider this.

Whalen - if question 1 passes, the loss to Franklin would be $11 million and that is the probably close to the cost of the Fire, Police, and DPW.

Vallee - will bring something to new business about doing something for the Police Dept.

Feeley - thanks to Mr Holmes for reducing the Late bus cost.

Move to go to executive session and not return
approved 7-0

Live reporting - Administrator Report

School building committee met tonight, good meeting
  • Tom Mercer, chairman
  • Chris Feeley, vice-chair
  • Scott Mason, clerk

The Cable TV has a $500,000 gift account

Live reporting - Rescheduled items

  • Resolution 08-59: Dissolution of Fire Station Building Committee
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-625: Chapter 185-5, Town Code: Zoning Map – Business to Commercial II – 2nd Reading
both these items were moved to the October 15th meeting

Live reporting - Legislature for action

  • Resolution 08-53 – Order of Layout, Acceptance and Taking Newell Drive, Dover Circle, Cohasset Way, Sherborn Lane and Related Easements
These have been here before, and are coming back from the Planning Board as a recommendation

The street laws date from the 1800's. The subdivision control law in the mid-1900's. A different set of points, more access than travel. The legislature has not updated the process to deal with subdivision road acceptance.

Doak - why are these coming where others may have not and may have been waiting longer

Cerel - Toll Brothers have working this diligently and cooperatively with the Town to get this done.

Doak - if the developer doesn't plan this properly, then it puts the burden on the town?

Ceral - if the developers haven't planned properly, the home owners technically own to the middle of the road, contacting them these days is tedious is possible

Approved - 7-0

  • Resolution 08-54 – Order of Layout, Acceptance and Taking of Hancock Road, Winthrop Road, Corey Way and Lantern Road and Related Easements
Same thing as the previous one

Approved - 7-0

Live reporting - Zoning bylaw amendment

  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment to Chapter 185-18. Nonconforming Uses and Structures- Dept of Planning & Community Development
Presentation lead by:
David Roche - Building Commissioner
Nick Alfieri - Conservation Agent
Brian Taberner, Director, Downtown Planning and Community Development

Alfieri - As an example, 450 Maple St, built about 28 feet from the road, therefore it is pre-existing as non-confirming, to put a deck on that would be completely compliant still had to go through the Zoning Board of Approvals (ZBA) to get the approval. It will save time and money. This streamlines the ZBA process.

Vallee - this is an excellent amendment

Whalen - sounds good, what would be an example of something more controversial or how it could not be abused?

Alfieri - Speaks directly to single and two-family houses only. Others would still need to go through the ZBA. If the alteration itself is non-conforming, it would still go through the ZBA process.

Doak - how did this change from prior

Alfieri - They split non-conforming structures from non-conforming uses into two separate sections

Cerel - Nick and I worked closely on this, the section is obtuse, in the absence of a local bylaw you had to go through the rigmarole.

Doak - this seems to fall in the category of common sense

Feeley - what would you like us to do with this?

Nutting - put this on the next agenda to put through the process to get to the planning board

Live reporting - late bus approved

no citizens for comment

motion to add item for election day poll workers, passed 7-0
motion approved, passed 7-0



  • Funding School Late Bus
Nutting speaking for the Late Bus, the bus company has come back with a reduction to $10,000 for the one year. If the Council would like to pursue funding this, the town has a gift of $40,000 for transportation or other public purposes as a negotiated settlement from Gatehouse in lieu of further litigation after the town lost a court decision. Council could move to transfer the gift.

Feeley moves to fund the Late Bus, authorized expenditure of $10,000 from the comprehensive agreement

Pfeffer disagrees with use of this for 3 middle schools as not being in the "public interest". Three PCC's have volunteered to fund this, let them. Why is not the School Committee here to support this.

Feeley I'll take that one. They offered to be here, I did not think it would be necessary.

Vallee references a letter received this afternoon from Paula Sandham and speaks in favor of the late bus.

Whalen has heard lots of feedback for not funding the late bus, he disagrees with that and explains why. School Dept made their decision based upon a set of circumstances at that time. We are now under a different set of circumstances have changed. Does meet the definition of "public purpose" in his view. This is perfectly appropriate.

Doak was surprised to hear about this funding sitting there for awhile. It is not recurring revenue, it can legitimately be used for this. The PCC's fund a lot of extra things that the school department does not fund.

Mason, my concern is that a number of people will read the paper and say, the override failed, the late bus should not be here. The opportunity is here because of the generosity of the bus company. At the end of the day, you need to side on the needs of the children.

Zollo, if anyone were to think that they were misled, that is not true, the circumstances changed, this money is available, lets use it, it is both legal and appropriate.

Stacy Bower - we were told that the late bus was lost if the override lost. If the PCC wants to fund it, let them. The Fire Dept and Police Dept were also looking for funding. The late bus is not required by the State. Doesn't feel that the Town should use this generous gift. The late bus is a luxury in town. When is the town going to say "enough"?

Feeley regardless of what happened in the past, I am supporting this as a good thing to do.

Approved 6-1 (Pfeffer no).

Live reporting - town council meeting 10/1/08

Councilors present: Whalen, Mason, Vallee, Feeley, Pfeffer, Doak, Zollo

Councilors not present: Bartlett, McGann

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – September 3, 2008
moved to approve - approved 7-0


Resident for over 90 years, only remaining graduate of Dean Class of 1948

"I get more out of it now"

Posted Sep 30, 2008 @ 11:22 PM


For the first time since its Franklin inception 40 years ago, the Junior Miss program is bowing out.

Organizers canceled the show, which is part of the America's Junior Miss Scholarship Program, this year due to a lack of funds and sponsors, but hope to bring it back next year by appealing to former donors and attracting new ones, said Becky Lavergne, chairwoman of Franklin Junior Miss.

"We have no choice - we have no money to give away. Our committee's gone over this a lot. ... We knew it was probably coming since last November. No one wanted to do this, but it was either give it up completely, or raise as much money as possible and come back next year," Lavergne said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In the News - cats, alumni, walk/run, art, fair

Posted Sep 30, 2008 @ 01:20 AM


People at odds over a feral cat colony at Highwood Condominiums may get a resolution tonight.

The condominium complex's board of trustees will discuss the matter and possibly decide to take action at a meeting open only to condo owners, said property manager Roy Blanchard.

Blanchard declined to talk about the controversy.

"This doesn't need to be in the press anymore. We can take care of our own issues," he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

All the remaining items can be found in this article on Franklin Notes

Monday, September 29, 2008

Town Council Agenda - 10/1/08

October 1, 2008
7:00 PM

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – September 3, 2008
  • Funding School Late Bus
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment to Chapter 185-18. Nonconforming Uses and Structures- Dept of Planning & Community Development
  • Resolution 08-53 – Order of Layout, Acceptance and Taking Newell Drive, Dover Circle, Cohasset Way, Sherborn Lane and Related Easements
  • Resolution 08-54 – Order of Layout, Acceptance and Taking of Hancock Road, Winthrop Road, Corey Way and Lantern Road and Related Easements
  • Resolution 08-59: Dissolution of Fire Station Building Committee
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-625: Chapter 185-5, Town Code: Zoning Map – Business to Commercial II – 2nd Reading
O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required

Sunday, September 28, 2008

late bus on tap for Town Council

Milford Daily News
Posted Sep 27, 2008 @ 11:12 PM


Town Council on Wednesday will discuss whether to fund the school district's popular late bus at a steeply discounted rate.

Parent Communication Councils were willing to fund the bus at $10,000 after School Superintendent Wayne Ogden announced the district did not have funds for it this year, but the district is turning to the town instead, said Chairman Jeffrey Roy, after Council Chairman Christopher Feeley and Vice Chairwoman Deborah Bartlett offered their support.

The late bus has been a hot issue since administrators first warned the district it would have to eliminate it without additional money from the Proposition 2 1/2 tax override that was voted down in June. Concerned about the children of working parents, who would miss out on after-school activities and getting extra help with academics, School Committee member Ed Cafasso pushed the School Committee to find a way to keep the service.

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