Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sign spinners for Jenny Craig

Have you sign those crazy guys spinning signs at the 140/I495 exits or near the entrance to the Franklin Village Shopping Center?

I caught up with Justin Brown today to find out a little more about them and to record this brief video in case you missed their performance. Saturday is their last day advertising for the Jenny Craig opening at Franklin Village.

Justin was at the entrance and is pictured in the video here. He was joined by Charles "Chaz" Bryant, Ray Rivera, and Michael "Rex" Rexrode.

If you would like to enlist the sign spinners to help advertise your company, the contact information is available on the AArrow Advertising web site.


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Friends of Mel

Friends of Mel, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Eileen Mellor, Chris Sullivan and Sharon Whalen at Stop & Shop fund raising for Friends of Mel.

They will be at Stop & Shop this afternoon, if you have a chance, stop by and help them.

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Happy Birthday To Franklin Matters

Happy Birthday To Me, originally uploaded by .bullish.

A belated birthday wish to Franklin Matters!

How quickly a year passes! I created this site to separate the Franklin posts from the rest at Steve's 2 Cents. The first post on this site was November 9, 2007. Over 1200 posts later, it is still going.

That question you can help me answer.

What should there be more of?
What should there be less of?

Public hearing notice


The details on the tagged and green ribbon trees indicate that there is a public hearing scheduled for 11/24/08 to review the plans for removing these trees as part of the construction/upgrade of Pulaski Blvd in Bellingham.

"The Bellingham Tree Warden will conduct a public hearing on November 24, 2008 at 7:00 PM in the Cafeteria of the Paul J. Primavera Education Center, 80 Hairpin St, to review proposed tree removal and plantings along the Pulaski Blvd right of way related to the Pulaski Blvd Improvement Project, Chapter 87, section 3 for cutting of public shade trees."

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Tie a green ribbon?


I recall the lyrics being something like "tie a yellow ribbon".
What does it mean when all these trees get green ribbons?

If you have had the opportunity to drive down Washington St into Bellingham, where the road changes name to Pulaski Blvd, there are dozens of trees tagged with green ribbons and these plastic cards.

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"It's what the town needed"

Seniors party for center's one-year anniversary

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

Yesterday, seniors - and public officials - proved they know how to have some fun.

The laughs kept rolling among nearly 150 senior citizens celebrating the one-year anniversary of the new Senior Center at 10 Daniel McCahill St.

Impersonating Frank Sinatra, Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting wooed the ladies with "Fly Me to the Moon" as he cradled a glass of (allegedly fake) hard liquor on the rocks.

Between Nutting, the zany kitchen crew's act, a police show with officer Jamie Mucciarone as "the King" sliding across the stage doing "Jailhouse Rock" with four "inmates" that included Police Chief Stephen Williams, the crowd got a few chuckles.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Open for business:

As part of our continuing series on businesses located here in Franklin, I find out that is now open for business via this notice.

Founded by Paula And William Ross, has about 1,000 products to help pet owners enhance the health and relationship with their pets. offers a business opportunity in the $40 Billion Pet Industry and an on-line Pet Store for each affiliate. affiliates have a fully equipped customer service center at their disposal, ready to take customer orders.

For more info, you can buzz them at 888-303-7775, visit their website (, or stop in at their Franklin, MA headquarters.

For information on other businesses in Franklin check out the prior postings here

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Friday, November 21, 2008

In the news - Financial Planning, Downtown Partnership, chambers unite, schools reduce paper

Posted Nov 21, 2008 @ 12:09 AM


In its ongoing efforts to create a three-year financial forecast for the town, the Fiscal Planning Committee last night considered the School Department's future.

The committee kicked around the possibility of regionalizing services with nearby towns, and member Stephen Whalen asked whether anyone has thought of asking the teachers union to agree to a moratorium on step increases (but keeping cost-of-living increases) now that "times are really tough."

"If we're asking taxpayers to make sacrifices, maybe we could ask our employees to make sacrifices" to reduce the chances of their colleagues getting laid off, he said.

Committee member and Town Council Vice Chairwoman Deborah Bartlett argued that teachers would just leave Franklin for other districts.

Matt Kelly, another member from the School Committee, whose wife is a teacher, said the big question teachers always ask during budget season and when layoffs loom, is whether they have the seniority to keep their job.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

For my live reporting from this meeting check the notes here


Posted Nov 20, 2008 @ 10:35 PM


Now that the town-commissioned statue has been unveiled at Franklin's relocated historical museum, the Downtown Partnership is preparing to beautify downtown on Sunday and start a merchants subcommittee to help breathe life into the center of town.

The new merchants committee, spearheaded by three businesses, Jane's Frames on East Central Street, ArtBeat on Summer Street, and Fitness Together on Main Street, will have a special event every third Thursday of each month, likely starting in January, said Jane Curran, a partnership member and owner of Jane's Frames.

"We want to have the 'third Thursdays' to encourage the public to come and see what's going on in downtown," which may include discounts and special promotions, Curran said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Help decorate downtown Franklin Sunday, 11/23/08 from noon to 4:00 PM


Posted Nov 20, 2008 @ 10:33 PM

Franklin's United Chamber of Commerce is merging with the Attleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, which members of both organizations hope will expand their clout and marketing reach.

The two had been discussing a merger for the past few months, as the United Chamber found itself in a tight financial situation and searched for a partner.

Attleboro's president, Jack Lank, will become president of the newly formed and re-named United Regional Chamber of Commerce, which will span more than 800 businesses in 14 towns along Interstate 495.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here


The refrigerator doors at students’ homes may appear more barren these days as school administrators try to distribute fewer hand-outs and disseminate more information through the Web.

Several school officials who send newsletters via e-mail and post grades online said recently they are looking to be both environmentally friendly and cost conscious.

Margaret Cole, a mother of three students in Bellingham schools, says less paper has come home this school year so far, although she still sees her "fair share."

With two children attending South Elementary School last year, she said she received duplicates of every hand-out.

"I would love to see more notices and homework assignments put online," Cole said. "It helps me monitor (their work) and makes it so much easier."

Read the full article in the Gazette here

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Energy $ense: Sustainable Business Leader Program

The Friends of the Franklin Public Library sponsored the 2nd installment of The Franklin Area Climate Team’s “Energy $ense” Series on Thursday, November 13th. The seminar: “How Businesses Get Help Going Green” with Alex Chamberlain, Director of the Sustainable Business Leader Program.

The Sustainable Business Leader Program (SBLP) offers assistance to small to medium sized businesses in Boston and the surrounding areas to improve their current practices in energy and water conservation, pollution prevention, waste reduction, transportation efficiency and sustainability management. The program provides: guidance in assessing your company’s current sustainability condition, help in developing an Action Plan to improve it and on-going assistance and monitoring.

A diverse group of businesses is participating currently in Boston; Boston Duck Tours through to Mom/Pop type shops. A listing of the 27 businesses in the program can be found on the SBLP website here. (

What is the Sustainable Process? The process starts with the sustainability assessment form (PDF). It is rather extensive and detailed with 94 questions. Completion of the form is followed by a site evaluation. The evaluation confirms answers to the survey questions and results in research that produces an assessment. The assessment provides recommendations for an action plan. The business creates the plan. SBLP personnel are available to work with the business to help develop the plan. Ultimately the SBLP reviews plan and approves.

How else can SBLP help your business? The SBLP held a gathering for restaurants and cafes to review sustainable practices. Sustainable practices are hard to do effectively as the business are small operations and are heavily driven by the immediate needs of their customers. The roundtable conversation was successful. The ripple effect of the discussion around locally sourced food was impressive and unexpected. Not only were the restaurants and cafes interested, but other companies were looking for local food for their cafeterias and break rooms.

They are exploring similar events for other groupings of companies to better meet their needs. SBLP has scheduled a “greentech” event for Dec 10th

How much of an opportunity is there? In 2006, it was estimated that there were 650,000 small businesses in Massachusetts alone. It is likely there are more today than then, therefore the work opportunity is great.

What does the program cost? The SBLP program costs $500. The individual company would pay $250 and the local chamber or other sponsor group would contribute $250.

What is the key to success? Whether the program starts at the top leadership of the company, or starts at the bottom, or anywhere in between, having a champion to keep the initiative going usually ensures a successful program.

Somerville has a similar program for the Davis Square area. The local businesses got together and determined to create a sustainable environment as a way of differentiating themselves from Harvard Square. For more information on the green effort you can visit their web site here. (

For more information on a sustainable process for your Franklin area business, please email Ted McIntyre of the Franklin Area Climate Team at or call 508-528-7765

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A meeting of the Financial Planning Committee was held on October 16,2008 at the Franklin Municipal Building. Members present were James Roche, Deborah Bartlett, Roberta Trahan, Matt Kelly, Rebecca Cameron, Doug Hardesty and Gwynne Wilschek..
Absent were Steve Whelan and Shannon Zollo. Also present were Wayne Odgen, Jeffrey Nutting and Tina Powderly.

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m.

Discussion Items:

1. A general discussion was held on how to proceed.
2. The schools will present their model on November 20th.
3. Since the revenue picture will be unclear until February, it is the hope of the Committee to make a report by March, 2009.
4. Discussion on how to reach out to the citizens for input.

Doug Hardesty agreed to begin work on formatting the model; Jeff Nutting agreed to obtain comparison information about past versus current expenses; and Deb Bartlett agreed to work on a timeline. It is hoped that the report could have a range of financial options ranging from low to high.

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeffrey D. Nutting

Financial Planning Committee 11/20/08

The collection of posts from the Financial Planning Committee meeting on 11/20/08

Thursday, November 20, 2008

live reporting - school budget continued

Discussion on step/level changes versus the across the board rate increase.

The union both teachers and others in town would really fight hard on changing the step/level changes.

The Franklin teachers were cooperative in the most recent deal in accepting the 6.5% over three year increase.

Police, fire do this step/level thing too, the teachers are not alone. After 13 years, when you are theoretically at the top of your game, you only get an annual cost of living increase (i.e. the 2/2/2.5%). In other industries, you get opportunities for bonuses, etc.

What percent of the SPED budget is transportation?
At least 25-35%.

For the total SPED population we are about 70 students. That fluctuates from year to year depending upon the overall student population.

School employment equals 471 professional teaching staff, plus administrators, secretarial, to total approx 620.

Supplies were frozen overall. We equalized the amount at each level elementary, middle and high school levels to work out to be $210, $225, $355 respectively.

There are a 159 at the masters level, 75 will be at the top of the guide next year.
Typically English, Social Studies, Music we could get at an entry level. For Science, most likely would need to get at something higher than the entry level.

Class size charts reviewed to depict where the district is today.

Science class sizes were kept at around 24 due to the physical space, the labs were set for 2 students per station and 12 stations per room. To do more than that runs risk of additional dangers in handling the scientific materials.

Elementary sizes suffer from a distribution problem unless we re-district every year to make the adjustments.

Can we compare how successful we were at higher class sizes versus lower class sizes?
Yes, and no, not easily. There is a lot of national research on class size. New England Association of Schools and Colleges has asked the high school what impact the increase in class size will have. The comparative is a trailing indicator. You find out when it is too late.

We have a one shot deal here.
The past committees have really tried to preserve class size as the one major educational item of significance.

Could you experiment with different models of the mix of younger vs. older teachers?
Tenure vs. professional teaching status. The first three years the school district has a whole lot of flexibility. For the fourth year, there is now a right for that position.

With the three year starting process and then the flatness over 13 years, you really don't have any flexibility with teachers salary.

Not sure that you can track AP classes from year to year like we can with MCAS scores.

What else can we look at, turn over some rocks to find?
Probably don't have time tonight to look at that.

Next meeting: Dec 4th, Dec 18th, Jan 15th, Feb 5th

Discussion on "free cash", get started on the financial model

Think about all that we have heard and start to synthesize.

FY 10 salary numbers will be available in January, the out years should be discussed. Collective bargaining will be coming, Jan 2010 on the town side. Teachers will start negotiation in Sep 2009. We did secure some energy contracts so we can update those numbers in January. The pension numbers fluctuate and we need a better number. We'll still have a hugh budget gap.

live reporting - School Budget continued

The summer program where the students took classes on line away from the facilities. These things need to be listed out.

Has anyone dropped athletics? No, others have higher fees.
Has anyone dropped co-curricular? No, others have higher fees.

Theoretically, our teachers could teach course on line and students from around the nation could be paying us for that. During the summer, this was piloted. It would dramatically change the nature of what a teacher would do and what a student would experience. We're looking at what kinds of revenue could be generated. This would also have union contract ramifications. There is a thing called Virtual High School but that is a non-profit. We are probably the only public high school looking at this.

Would this be for home schoolers or for those looking for a specific course?
There already are home school packages out there, it would more likely be the specific courses. There could be advanced classes to accelerate graduation. So if a student goes through in three years instead of four, that in itself would be a cost savings.

There is a certain kind of kid that would thrive in that kind of environment.
Part of our drive is to get our kids exposed to this before they go to college.

French 5 as an example would be a way to provide courses that we couldn't provide but could still offer as part of the curriculum.
Virtual High School works in two ways. You could pay a per student charge and therefore offer a class for less than providing a part teacher to provide. You could also provide a teacher to support a course and as compensation for that the district would gain some number of seats so students would take whatever courses would be available.

Review of PowerPoint charts depicting the forecasted drivers for the 6.4% increase noted before.

Health percentage that they employee pays and co-pays are negotiated. They employees have been working with us on this. The change in these numbers usually affects the premium so there are savings available. We have an older population so that drives so of our flexibility.

to be continued...

live reporting - Financial Planning Committee 11/20/08

Attending: Jim Roche, Roberta Trahan, Doug Hardesty, Rebecca Cameron, Jeff Nutting, Wayne Ogden, Miriam Goodman, Matt Kelly, Steve Whalen, Deb Bartlett, Gwynne Wilschek, Joyce Kelly

Not Attending: Shannon Zollo

Minutes for meeting of 10/16/08 - approved

3.2 Million or 6.4% would be required to provide the "level service" equivalent to this years services (which is down from prior years).

154 8th graders more than graduating seniors. likely to keep some number of them. Some will be "lost" to Tri-County or to private high schools.

What we charge for pay to ride is not sufficient to fully fund the operation.

Governor looking to provide incentives to regionalize. Push is aimed at communities west of Worcester. Depending upon what kinds of carrots they dangle for regionalization, that may be something we would look at.

Q - If we found a community to join with, what timeframe would we look at?
A - If we found someone willing to dance, it could be done as early as 18 months, or it could go 3 years or longer (if politically a tough road).

Our size may be a consideration against doing it. Outside of New England, size is less an issue. Think of school districts in FL and CA.

You need to advance the discussion to provide an alternative to an override.

to be continued...

Hat's Off to Franklin

The complete video of the ceremony unveiling the "Hat's off to Franklin" sculpture is now available here.


"This was truly a community project,"

Posted Nov 19, 2008 @ 11:45 PM


With reddening ears and freezing fingers, more than 100 local dignitaries, volunteers and the entire fifth-grade class at Davis Thayer Elementary School gathered yesterday morning in the frigid cold to see the unveiling of a town-commissioned statue of a 19th century Franklin boy.

The life-sized bronze sculpture, titled "Hats Off to Franklin," depicts a young Franklin boy, whose waving arm welcomes people to the new Franklin Historical Museum, located at the old senior center at 80 West Central St. The museum is slated to open in the spring.

The Downtown Partnership found a talented sculptor, Washington, D.C.-based artist Marcia Billig, whose daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren live in Franklin, through a fox sculpture she made that she donated to Oak Street Elementary School for its grand opening.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Review video from the complete ceremony here

"they would favor a single tax rate"

Posted Nov 19, 2008 @ 11:59 PM


Town Council last night unanimously voted to put $600,000 of the town's $2.3 million recently certified free cash into reserves.

Before approving the appropriation, Councilor Tom Doak observed that the move seemed to be "rushing to take the money off the table."

"I'm just trying to be conservative given what I see coming down the road," said Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting, who proposed the move.

The council's policy is to keep at least $5 million in the town's stabilization account, which had $4.1 million in it prior to last night's appropriations, Nutting said.

The council also transferred $300,000 from hotel tax revenue into the stabilization, putting the total back at $5 million.

The $300,000 can be used in the case of a mid-year reduction in fiscal 2009 local aid, to pay for unemployment costs, or to pay off the library repairs, for instance, Nutting said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Town Council Mtg Summary 11/19/08

The collection of posts covering the Town Council meeting on 11/19/08

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

live reporting - Town Administrator

NationalGrid will be sending a notice to abutters of the power lines as an alternative route, not one they want. There will be a public hearing to review the details

Winter parking ban now in effect.

Museum, I could go on and on, good work by all involved.

Old business:

New business:

Doak: question on gas contract?
Nutting - was for one year

Councilor comments:
Bartlett - thanks for the help running a well organized election, unveiling of the statue was a wonderful event, FEF Casino night this Friday

Zollo - thanks for all those involved in the Museum effort, a key piece to the puzzle that we are putting together downtown. Thanks to the Downtown Partnership for their work.

McGann - thanks to the DPW workers and all the others who worked on it.

Pfeffer - wonderful veterans breakfast, 11 vets over the age of 90. Over 150 attended the breakfast, paid for by the Franklin elders.

Clara Lodi honored for long years of service to the library.

Historical museum did a great job.

live reporting - Action items

1. Resolution 08-72: Acceptance of Deed of Open Space in Old Grove Street Open Space
Residential Subdivision - approved, unanimous
2. Resolution 08-73: Authorizing Establishment of Pond Street Priority Development Site -
By doing this, the state will help us market the property. By picking Pond St, our property we can set the process into motion and then get to the owners of the industrial parks to get the owners permission to use their industrial parks for similar marketing efforts. It does streamline the process of the applications which doesn't mean that the individual boards and the approval processes change, it just means there is a single point of contact to verify that everything is in order once things get started. Franklin already generally approves permits within the 180 days unless the project is major. - approved, unanimous

3. Resolution 08-74: Amendments to FY 2009 Budget - approved, unanimous
The revenue to fund these are using new sources of revenue that were not in the budget that are confirmed as coming in

4. Resolution 08-75: Appropriation – School Department Budget (Information Technology)
actually a transfer from Town budget to School Dept budget, approved by Finance Committee 10-0 (with one abstain) - approved, unanimous

5. Resolution 08-76: Appropriation – Stabilization Fund (Hotel/Motel Tax Revenues)
Finance committee voted 11-0 for - approved, unanimous

6. Resolution 08-77: Appropriation - General Stabilization Fund (Free Cash) - approved, unanimous

Free cash totaled 2.3 Million from the FY 2008 year. This would put us up to $5 million in the Stabilization Fund which is the Councils goal.

Feeley - Why don't we use "free cash" for operating expenses?
Nutting - averaged over the last five years is just about 2 million, about 2.1% variation, so we are hitting the target at 98%. You don't want to hit the budget at 102%. Some of the turn backs are personnel related. New position is authorized but may not be filled for the full year due to the hiring process. Even though it is a regular revenue but because it a variable revenue it really doesn't make sense to depend on it for operating budget. If you were to do so, you would expand the budget beyond the ability to maintain that level.

Doak - "free cash" is really a function on how much we are conservative in forecasting revenues?
Nutting - When EdReform came in, they tightened up the ability to underestimate receipts. There is a municpal growth factor that you need to meet.

7. Resolution 08-78: Appropriation – FY 2009 School Supplemental Budget - approved, unanimous

Finance committee voted 11-0; there has been discussion at the Federal level to do away with this. It is currently dead until the new Congress comes in. At the state level, there is talk of having this go direct without appropriation to the schools.

8. Resolution 08-79: Appropriation – Water Capital Projects - approved, unanimous

This continues the program started 8 years ago. Some of these projects have already started, others would get started.

9. Resolution 08-80: Appropriation – Sewer Capital Projects - approved, unanimous

10. Bylaw Amendment 08-629: Amendment to Chapter 25: Personnel Regulations, Appendix A – Classification Plan- 1st Reading; moved to second reading, related to the re-organization of the DPW, this puts jobs into categories - approved, unanimous

live reporting - tax rate

Part one of the two part hearing process to set the rate

Franklin around an 80/20 split between residential/commercial

Need to get the valuation to combine with the rate to determine the tax bill

Likely that the assessed valuations will decline, so a rate increase may not equate to an increased tax bill.

Q - would like to highlight that with a rate increase the valuations may be going down so there really wouldn't be an increase in the actual bill.
A - over 10 years the average bill has increased $134/135 dollars and that includes the debt exclusions for the three schools that are rolled into that amount.

Q - how much we can spend is capped by the commonwealth
A - yes, that is correct

Board of Assessors: Kevin Doyle, Vincent Debaggis, Bob Avakian, Ken Norman

Decided to offer a workshop to the board to help provide information on the process as to how the numbers are calculated. Offer still out there.

Evaluation done in accordance with MA Dept of Revenue

Market data generally available for residential properties (single family and condominiums). Commercial and industrial properties are also based upon market value but with less volume other considerations come into the calculations.

Values as of January 2007.

Discussion over the next several weeks will be on a single versus split tax rate
50% of the commercial/industrial base is comprised of the mall and the two industrial parks.
Doesn't necessarily mean that mom/pop shops account for the other 50% as East Central, Grove St and other sections of town do contain other commercial/industrial properties.

Estimate on Commercial/Industrial assessed value change has already changed from the printed copy. Updated numbers will be available for the next meeting.

Doak - So the amount of new revenue which is the only way we can increase revenue without going over the 2 1/2 % is going down.
Nutting - yes, that is correct.

Bartlett - do you have a sense for the vacancies?
Doyle - The survey data is collected early in the year and available by the summer. We do receive foreclosure deeds when they are recorded.

Doyle - getting about 66% return on the survey, up over the last 5 years from about 50%. The owners have an incentive to provide the data otherwise they loose standing if they attempt a challenge. The form is easier to read.

Doyle - about 500 commercial/industrial entities, about 11,000 single family residences

Whalen - how strong is the correlation between delinquencies and vacancies?
Norman - that is really a tax collector question
Nutting - I think they are sending out less delinquency notices. We are making 12-14% interest and at the end of the day, we collect 100% of our taxes. Eventually we get it all as we are first in line.
Cerel - Even if you have vacancies, you need to be paid full and current in taxes to challenge, you also have to have provided the input required in order to have standing to challenge it.

Feeley - Why are you not providing a position as a board on the split vs. single tax rate?
Norman - we as a Board decided not to make a formal recommendation starting this year

McGann - why the change this year?
Avakian - A prior concilor challenged the board recommendation, since there no clear direction on whether the Tax Assessors should really make a recommendation. It is clear that the Town Council has the final decision. If you ask us, we will provide our personal recommendations but we will not make a recomendation as a Board.

McGann - what is your recommendation?
Avakian - I would go single
Debaggis - I would go single
Norman - If I were in your shoes, I would go single
Doyle - I would go single

Live reporting - Town Council Mtg 11/19/08

Attending - Whalen, Mason, Vallee, Bartlett, Feeley, Pfeffer, Doak, McGann, Zollo


G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS – Uptowne Pub – Change of Manager, Officers & Directors

approved, unanimous

Town Council Agenda 11/19/08







G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS – Uptowne Pub – Change of Manager, Officers & Directors

H. PRESENTATIONS/DISCUSSIONS - Board of Assessors – Tax Classification


1. Resolution 08-72: Acceptance of Deed of Open Space in Old Grove Street Open Space
Residential Subdivision
2. Resolution 08-73: Authorizing Establishment of Pond Street Priority Development Site
3. Resolution 08-74: Amendments to FY 2009 Budget
4. Resolution 08-75: Appropriation – School Department Budget (Information Technology)
5. Resolution 08-76: Appropriation – Stabilization Fund (Hotel/Motel Tax Revenues)
6. Resolution 08-77: Appropriation - General Stabilization Fund (Free Cash)
7. Resolution 08-78: Appropriation – FY 2009 School Supplemental Budget
8. Resolution 08-79: Appropriation – Water Capital Projects
9. Resolution 08-80: Appropriation – Sewer Capital Projects
10. Bylaw Amendment 08-629: Amendment to Chapter 25: Personnel Regulations, Appendix A – Classification Plan- 1st Reading





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


Hat's Off to Franklin - video

The unveiling ceremony was held Wednesday morning in front of the refurbished town hall building soon to be the new museum.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Hat's off to Franklin

The steps in the making of the scuplture - "Hat's off to Franklin" by Marcia Billig.

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"open the store in April 2010"

Posted Nov 17, 2008 @ 09:45 PM


The Planning Board will hold the first public hearing Dec. 1 for Arista Development's request for a permit to build a Walgreens pharmacy at the former Four Corners School.

At the same time, Arista will also apply for a special permit from the Conservation Commission for a drive-through window, said Town Planner Beth Dahlstrom.

In mid-May, Town Council voted to sell the former school to Arista Development LLC of Norwood for $2.5 million. Arista plans to build a Walgreens there, at the intersection of King Street and Rte. 140.

Through Town Administrator Jeffery D. Nutting and Town Attorney Mark G. Cerel, the town recently entered into a purchase-and-sales agreement with Arista, said Richard R. Cornetta Jr., the attorney representing Arista.

Nutting has said he expects the sale to be finalized in the spring.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

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"It'd be nice to get climate control"

Franklin: Public LibraryImage by shersteve via Flickr
Posted Nov 19, 2008 @ 12:29 AM


The public library's precious murals, once threatened by leaky ceilings, are now safe from rain and the elements, said Mike D'Angelo, director of facilities for the town and schools.

Water had seeped through crevices and created bubbles and peeling in the wall plaster just above the paintings, which includes a mural depicting parts of the day by Italian artist Tommaso Juglaris, D'Angelo said.

In September, contractors began making repairs to the library, built in 1903, and have completely repointed the main building, meaning they cut out all the mortar joints between stones and put in new mortar, D'Angelo explained.

"That's where it was leaking," he said. "Some joints were just totally gone."

Workers also replaced about 70 percent of the caulk in the library addition, built in 1987, where the children's room is located, he said.

Now they are restoring the windows in the original part of the library, D'Angelo said.

Finally, contractors will install snow rails on the roof to prevent snow from sliding off, he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

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"It is old, but it's not a horrible place to be"

Posted Nov 19, 2008 @ 12:36 AM


Assistant Superintendent of Schools Maureen Sabolinski told the School Committee last night she is a bit more optimistic this time around after resubmitting a statement of interest to the state to help fund the renovation or construction of a new high school.

The application included a new projection for school enrollment, building permits in town, an update on the district's priorities, and a systems overview detailing the age of Franklin High, its walls, furnace and boiler, for instance, as well as health and safety issues, she said.

"What was remarkable in looking at this, was how old (everything is) at Franklin High School - the wiring system, the breakers, the stairs, the floors, are all 37 years old," Sabolinski said.

"When you do the math, 37 years of students walking on the floors ... It's pretty astonishing the building is in such good shape," she said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

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School Committee Meeting 11/18/08

The collection of posts for the School Committee meeting of 11/18/08

went to meeting without laptop power cord and both batteries eventually ran dry leaving me to report the remainder of the meeting the old fashioned way (Note to self, if you are going to bring an extension cord, it would really be helpful to have the power cord itself!)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Information matters

Superintendents report

Information matters
Enrollment report, one item of significance, 154 more 8th graders than seniors, will increase HS population next year

Complexion of student body changing over time

Did fight in court to prevent student from coming to FHS instead of King Phillip
Will cost several thousands, final number not yet available
Residence of student changed from Franklin to Wrentham, decision was upheld

commenting on the student enrollment projections, we now have 3 differnt student enrollment projections, where we are is actually in the middle of those projections

Action items

Action Items
  1. I recommend acceptance of a check for $83.03 from Target’s Take Charge of Education Program for Remington Middle School for classroom supplies. unanimous
  2. I recommend acceptance of the gift of folding chairs and chair truck and 4 overhead projectors from Resh, Inc. valued at $3,276.00 for the Davis Thayer Elementary School. unanimous
  3. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip for the FHS Wrestling Team to Greenbush, NY for a meet from 12/26 to 12/27/08. unanimous
  4. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip for the FHS Wrestling Team to Salem, NH for a meet on 12/23/08. unanimous
  5. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip for the FHS Wrestling team to Warwick, RI for a meet on 1/17/09. unanimous

Re-org of school committee

Re-org of school committee

nomination of Roy for chair, seconded, vote was unanimous
nomination of Mullen for vice-chair, vote was unanimous

special municipal relief commission

Letter from Vallee
“special municipal relief commission”
Looking at other ways to generate revenue and cost cutting options

Added to agenda for next week

Financial Planning Committee 2010 model

This will be the input for the model Thursday at the Financial Planning Committee meeting

Financial model, initially based upon no increase in services, then if you have needs and would add, what would your priorities be? Roberta, Matt, Wayne and Miriam will be presenting on Thursday evening

Salaries and benefits account for 83% of the model

3.2M increase, salaries biggest driver

2008 was the peak for school choice students and associated revenue

Picked 2006 as the year to return to, most justifiable

Looking for apples to apples numbers, teachers based upon enrollment, less maintenance, SPED, since 2006 what have we learned we can live without, or that we really need?

We need to think strongly of where we should be going, this model does not reflect our feelings at this point.

“Went from planning on going from good to great to talking about pockets of greatness”

Capital needs - textbooks

Capital need for instructional services – Michelle Kingsland Smith

Tried to get a text book line item into the operating budget and have not been able to do so
Hence requesting from the capital funds, books at all grade levels
Either an increase in enrollment, more students than books, or outdated books, some 10 years old; for example, the US History II textbooks end with the Vietnam War

Heavily into professional development with new reading program
$150,000 covers various grade levels

Honor students got vocabulary books, College Placement students did not get one
Books were prioritized, it is a struggle

Do you need an endorsement vote from the School Committee?
I think that would be great

Electronic text books? CDs.

live reporting - Capital needs - facilities

Capital needs – facilities
Mike D’Angelo

Provided a document in June at the end of the school year was updated and re-estimated for this document

This will be refined again by the time it gets to the capital committee
Does not deal with the High School, only with the other buildings

Projects 1-9 all around Davis Thayer but will put the building into a good position
Elevator, toilets, doors/locks, power wiring
Only the schools built recently have the necessary capacity to support the requirements
Painting and re-carpeting the whole building

Parmenter – renovated in 1987, wearing out now
Kennedy – same issues with power wiring
When and if the projects are done it will provide 30-40 years of sustainability

Remington/Jefferson carpeting has almost doubled since last presented

Rebuilding field behind Horace Mann talked of for a few years

Phone PBX systems in the schools, aggregated lines, reduced number of lines
Upgraded security system at Kelleher/Sullivan, would be appropriate to bring to same level as other buildings in town

Item included for the modulars to remove and update the area after they come out
Cover sheet with details supporting behind it on separate pages

Armenio – like the format with all the back up data
D’Angelo – elevator with require new electrical, separate poles service the building and the modulars. Would need a new 800 AMP service in the building

Davis Thayer is one of the more heavily used fields in town, number is for natural grass, re-sod,

Installation of terminal units, the unit in the room would blow the heat and air out; those pieces in the buildings are what are actually failing right now

More cameras, digital recording, door controls remotely,
We know whoever enters our buildings, name, time stamped, picture taken
Could be considered a safety issue

Industry still a couple of years away from products that can reduce the cost of making the electricity

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live reporting - refreshed statement of interest

Asst Supt Sabolinski - submitted a refreshed statement of interest for the high school building application for state reimbursement assistance; enrollment projection required this time around (had previously been required within 2 years). DOE has a standard method of calculation to put all school districts on a level playing field.

What was remarkable looking at the accumulation of data is how old the systems really are? It is really astonishing how good shape the building really is.

science labs, cafeteria, guidance space, music rooms, theater arts all in insufficient and inadequate space

Cafasso - enrollment projections are really just educated guesses, it is good that there is a standard measurement, but there is analysis that would show more like 1700 students than the 1600 students projected.

Mullen - executive summary contains a repeated word, "limited" ultimately limits the education that can be provided to our students.

Ms MacLeod - honestly the bathrooms are gross, coming from a middle school with state of the art facility and supplies and get to the high school it is quite different

Mr Slight - it is not a horrible place to get a high school education, a lot of things need improvement

Rohrbach - I'd like to hear from the School Building Committee to see if there is a Plan B. I'd like to do something sooner rather than later but I am not sure what our options are.

Cafasso - trying to get a sense from the State as to where they are leaning, what does it seem like we can get, what are their thoughts on the submission. No estimate from state yet on when we would hear. Committee open to new or renovation or anything else along there, want to get a sense from the state before doing much else

Mullen - reminder that the committee is not just the High School. We are looking elsewhere and in particular at what we can do with the modulars. Will come back next time with info to make a formal request to the Building Committee

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Community health committee

The Community Health Council presentin at the School Committee meeting Tuesday evening.

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live reporting - Community Health Council report

Supt Ogden, Asst Supt Sabolinski, Student Rep Patrick Slight, Student Rep Courtney Donaho (sp?), Michelle Kingsland Smith,

A committee by committee, leadership shared
subcommittees operational, lots of folks are putting in good effort

first meeting in September, split into 3 subcommittees
  1. grant applications to help sustain the program overtime
  2. parent/community education
  3. safe activities for middle/high school students
Public health studies depend upon data collection
members attending conferences and workshops as they become available
more workshops being scheduled

Metrowest health center grant received several years ago, grant expired
submitted a proposal for a $10,000 grant to support the activities, in particular addressing alcohol abuse, cyber bullying and harassment.

increase community awareness, engage community
cross community partnership; Police, Dean, YMCA

Attempting to get events at the high school and YMCA for middle and high school student to attend and have some healthy activities.

Stoughton has a good model and good advice on grant writing and program sustainability.

Want to focus on alcohol to ensure some success. Will expand later as they can.

Q - is there a SADD group on campus?
A - yes, it is quite active

Q - are there curriculum changes to go along with this?
A - yes, in Health and other areas. Looking to get something into the Middle School as those students are getting involved early. The survey results lead to a dynamic where the result lead to changes/adjustments in the curriculum.

Q - with the MIddlebury College president leading an effort reduce the drinking age to 18, how does that affect your work?
A - We haven't addressed this topic yet but it will be a good one for the full committee meeting.

Q - With the drinking age as it is, how are kids getting access to alcohol?
A - one story of a parent who set up a keg in the driveway, it was okay to drink as long as you didn't go and drive.
A - older siblings also do provide access.

Live reporting - School Committee Mtg 11/18/08

Present: Armenio, Cafasso (late), Kelly, Mullen, Roy, Rohrbach, Trahan,

Call to order Mr. Roy
Pledge of Allegiance
Moment of Silence

1. Routine Business
  • Citizen’s Comments - none
  • Review of Agenda - add to decision items the letter from Rep Vallee; letter from Goodman removed, presentation on the 2010 budget forecast from Goodman instead
  • Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the DATE School Committee Meeting - approved with 1 abstention
  • Payment of Bills Mr. Kelly
  • Payroll Ms. Armenio
  • FHS Student Representatives

"address traffic concerns"

Posted Nov 17, 2008 @ 10:36 PM


Consultants hired by Dean College presented plans for a new dining hall-performance arts center to the Planning Board last night.

The school intends to add a one-story, 30,000-square-foot building with a basement to the western edge of its campus center near Emmons and Main streets, said Peter Ziegler, an architect with Bruner/Cott & Associates in Cambridge.

The performance center, geared toward learning rather than entertainment, will have 150 permanent seats, no more than the existing theater, said principal architect Lynne Brooks.

"It (will be) accessible, new, and easier to use. ... It's more to relieve overcrowding" than to build a bigger facility, she said.

read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

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"to turn a bright shade of blue-green"

Posted Nov 17, 2008 @ 09:10 PM
Last update Nov 17, 2008 @ 10:09 PM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has chosen three local towns to test a new regulatory program to reduce rainwater pollution into the Charles River.

Under a new Clean Water Act permit, the EPA is requiring large commercial businesses in Milford, Bellingham and Franklin to apply more stringent controls on stormwater pollution running off roofs and parking lots.

While town officials agreed the stormwater regulations are necessary, they worry the financial impact could compromise the livelihood of local property owners.

"I think it's the right thing to do," said Franklin DPW Director Brutus Cantoreggi. "On the other hand, I do understand the plight of businesses and the cost associated with it."

Bellingham Public Works Director Don DiMartino said property owners may need assistance in complying with the regulations.

"I believe it's a good idea, but if it's that important there should be a federal program to help and ensure the businesses don't go bankrupt," he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Related articles can be found here and the Town Council discussion on storm water from July can be found here.

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School Committee Agenda - 11/18/08

Call to order Mr. Roy
Pledge of Allegiance
Moment of Silence

1. Routine Business
  • Citizen’s Comments
  • Review of Agenda
  • Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the DATE School Committee Meeting.
  • Payment of Bills Mr. Kelly
  • Payroll Ms. Armenio
  • FHS Student Representatives
  1. Budget to Actual
  2. Memo from Miriam?

2. Guests/Presentations
  • Community Health Council Update

3. Discussion Only Items
  • Refreshed Statement of Interest
  • Capital Needs
  • Facilities
  • Instructional Services

4. Action Items
  1. I recommend acceptance of a check for $83.03 from Target’s Take Charge of Education Program for Remington Middle School for classroom supplies.
  2. I recommend acceptance of the gift of folding chairs and chair truck and 4 overhead projectors from Resh, Inc. valued at $3,276.00 for the Davis Thayer Elementary School.
  3. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip for the FHS Wrestling Team to Greenbush, NY for a meet from 12/26 to 12/27/08.
  4. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip for the FHS Wrestling Team to Salem, NH for a meet on 12/23/08.
  5. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip for the FHS Wrestling team to Warwick, RI for a meet on 1/17/09.

5. Information Matters
Superintendent’s Report
  • October 1 Report
  • Enrollment Comparison
School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
School Committee Liaison Reports

6. New Business
  • To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

7. Executive Session
  • Contractual Negotiations

8. Adjourn

Red Molly at Circle of Friends Coffeehouse - 11/22/08

The next show
November 22nd

with special guest
Anthony Da Costa, $15

For tickets and other information visit the Circle of Friends website here

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Monday, November 17, 2008

The state will give facilities and landowners 10 years to comply

Environmental Protection Agency logoImage via Wikipedia

The US Environmental Protection Agency is set to announce today that it will, for the first time, require some big-box stores, malls, and other businesses to reduce the amount of rainwater that runs off their roofs and parking lots. Federal officials will test the new policy in the Massachusetts towns of Milford, Bellingham, and Franklin.

The EPA, using its authority under the Clean Water Act, will require large commercial and industrial landowners in these towns to steeply reduce the storm-water runoff that picks up pollutants and pours them into the Charles River, officials said last week in interviews. Storm-water runoff is rain and snowmelt that mixes with leaf litter, toxic metals, oil, and exhaust fume deposits as it washes over parking lots, rooftops, and roadways.

"Cities and towns are already investing a lot in storm water," said Ken Moraff, deputy director for ecosystem protection of the EPA's New England region. "These commercial facilities are missing pieces of the puzzle." The new regulations, he said, will help complete the cleanup effort.

In a parallel development, the state Department of Environmental Protection plans to release its own draft rules today that will expand the effort to reduce storm-water runoff throughout the 35 communities that make up the Charles River Watershed area.

Read the full article in the Boston Globe here

This is not a surprise, you may recall the Storm Water presentation at the Town Council Meeting July 23, 2008

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"It's a community challenge"

Posted Nov 15, 2008 @ 11:42 PM


When Assistant Superintendent of Schools Maureen Sabolinski assumes her new post as superintendent next July, she'll inherit a high-performing school district that lost 44 teachers last year, faces more cuts due to the staggering economy, and still needs to rebuild its high school, which is facing accreditation issues.

There is no question what her top challenge will be, she said: the budget.

"The challenge of leadership is really making things work for the benefit of students with fewer resources. The community has to work together," said Sabolinski.

Despite the setbacks posed by the recession, Sabolinski, a self-described optimist, still sees opportunities for making improvements.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

Listen to her interview with the School Committee and the Q&A session that followed

"We have a unique social environment here"

Posted Nov 16, 2008 @ 08:30 PM


Raye Lynn Mercer is a pianist, director, producer and choreographer, but it is her vision that's taking the Franklin School for Performing Arts to new heights.

Mercer, who founded the regional school in 1985, is creating a "cultural destination" by combining the school with the Franklin Performing Arts Company to form the New England Center for the Performing Arts, a nonprofit organization.

The move should help the school, which is used by about 1,000 performing artists in 45 local communities, Mercer said.

Plans are in the works for a new building which will have three times the space as the existing building at 38 Main St., and which should triple the number of people involved, she said.

"It's ambitious, I know. My vision is to have the venues that we've always needed to showcase our talent," Mercer said.

Currently, the school holds all of its performances, except small recitals, at other locations, such as middle school auditoriums, said Mercer.

"The scheduling of the auditorium is extraordinarily difficult because of the demands for that space, and extremely difficult to put up professional productions. We look forward to having a state-of-the-art performance space," said Mercer.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

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