This is FM #45, a recap of the summer months July/August. Give me about 10 minutes and I'll let you know what matters in Franklin MA.
Time: 11 minutes, 25 seconds
This is #45 in the series for Franklin Matters. Give me about 10 minutes and I'll let you what matters in Franklin, MA.
June came, school ended, you left Franklin for your summer respite. Hopefully you had a good time away.
It is the end of August and you're back in Franklin. School begins on Tuesday, September 1. Oh my, how time does fly! Perhaps you're wondering what happened while you were away.
If you were, I think the highlights would be covered by the following recap:
Jul 1 - The Town Council meeting was dominated by a presentation and discussion by the Charter Commission. The Council created a sub-committee to work on bringing the language of the report into something to put before the State Legislature who could approve it. With their approval, then the folks of Franklin would have a chance to vote on the changes proposed. One of the changes was to make the Treasurer's position an appointed one (instead of elected as it is today). The current Town Clerk position would remain an elected position (although the committee did make some valid arguments for making this an appointed position as well). What seemed to be the most controversial was the discussion on moving the Town Council to staggered terms. In the end because the Charter Commission could not come up with an agreement on how to implement it, they decided it wasn't necessary. Keep this on the radar. I believe the Town Council would still have to approve the final submission to the State Legislature when the sub-committee has done their work.
Jul 15 - The Town Council meeting was significant in that museum renovation funding was approved and the local meal and hotel tax options now offered by the State were approved. This is the first non-property tax revenue that has become available for the Town. It is estimated to raise about 1 million dollars for a full year. We won't be realize the full amount this first year but it will help going forward. Vallee was the only councilor voting against both measures. He had argued previously for enabling a revenue stream for the Town but in the end voted against as it was the wrong thing to do with the current economic conditions. The Dept of Planning and Community Development presentation is worth viewing. The presentation on the Water situation is also worth viewing. Approval of the funding for the museum was controversial, some arguing it was not a good time. In the end, because it was a good time to get the work done cheaply, the money was approved by a 7-1 vote (that Bartlett was the one voting against was a surprise).
Jul 16 - Shades N Place opened it's new showroom
Jul 16 - Third Thursday was held downtown
Jul 22 - The School Committee meeting left some questions unanswered. We left the Jun 23rd meeting with 60+ teachers notified and yet the final number ended up as 12 (all the librarians and a few others). How did we get there? I caught up with Jeff Roy to help figure out where I had missed the boat in following the numbers through the budget discussion.
The full School Committee meeting notes can be found here
Jul 27 - The Summer School art show was captured in a slide show
Jul 31 - Yes, it is an election year this time around for Franklin. We will elect a Town Council, School Committee and sundry other positions this November. The full listing and key dates can be found here. There are still open slots for Town Council as four have been confirmed in taking out papers to run (incumbents Vallee, Mason, Pfeffer and new comer Glenn Jones). Tom Doak has acknowledged that he will not seek re-election.
Aug 1 - The PanMass Challenge rode through Franklin with a water stop at the Remington-Jefferson complex. A slide show of some of the event featuring local riders can be found here
Aug 5 - The Town Council meeting was barely held as five councilors were present, just enough for a quorum. The only legislation passed was local ordinances that allowed the Board of Assessors to index the Senior exemptions officially. They had in fact been indexing but due to a change in legislation, the local authorization to do so had not officially been granted.
Aug 11 - The School Committee meeting approved the recommendations from the Strategic Planning Committee. The School Department is now operating under an updated mission statement, vision, and core values. School handbooks dominated much of the discussion as they reflect some changes to bring some more consistency to the operations of the individual schools.
Changes at the high school are covered in detail on Principal Peter Light's blog
Aug 19 - The Town Council was a shorter meeting than the one on the 5th with a skinny agenda. Only two councilors were missing.
Aug 19 - With a short Council meeting, I was able to attend and record notes for the Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee meeting. This committee is working to enhance the portion of the SNETT that starts in Franklin and runs through to the Douglas State forest.
The Citizens Rail Trail Committee brochure is available for viewing and download.
The Boston Globe covered the efforts of the committee in this article
Aug 20 - Third Thursday was celebrated again. The Brothers McCann drew a good crowd to the breezeway alongside of Cafe Dolce.
Aug 25 - The second School Committee meeting of the month had some interesting policy discussions. The School's Legal representation was present for the discussion on the electronic use policy revisions proposed. Bottom line, there is more work to be done to bring the wording into agreement with the intent of the group. The initial District Improvement Plan was presented for review and ultimately accepted. The District Improvement Plan document is available within the meeting notes. Renee Danho, from Dean College, introduced a new program to help foster the collaboration between the School District and Dean. The presentation copy is available within the meeting notes.
Around town you may have noticed that the Four Corners building is gone and work is well underway on the new Walgreens. The new turn lanes were added to the intersection of King/140 (or East Central)
The annual St Rocco's Festival enjoyed some good hot summer weather for a change.
Did I miss something?
If you have something to add, please let me know.
If you have a question, please feel free to ask. I'll do my best to answer it.
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An informed electorate will cast a good vote this November!
The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and East of Shirley.