Thursday, December 31, 2009

Franklin, MA: Finance Committee

Year in Review

Change is inevitable. In a progressive country change is constant. Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister spoke those words in 1867. They ring true in Franklin today. On behalf of the Franklin Finance Committee, it is my pleasure to submit our annual report.

Our fiscal year, which started July 1, 2008, saw much in the way of change. We started the year with three openings on the committee. We were, once again, fortunate to have more volunteers than openings available. We added three very sharp members, Tina Powderly, Juan Rivera & Robert Teixeria. I count myself fortunate to have worked along side all those who served on the committee.

During the year the committee met eleven times. Five of those meetings were focused on the fiscal 2010 budget. We continue to encourage folks to be involved in the budgeting process. And while the council chambers are not overflowing we are encouraged by the questions and emails from interested parties.

Budget Process Changes

There were many unanticipated changes in the budget process this year. Franklin is fortunate to receive nearly forty percent of our funding from state sources, however, delays at the state level can complicate planning at the local level. Changes at the state level can dictate changes at the local level.

The Governor proposed changes in lottery distributions that were additionally changed by the legislators. Legislators proposed and passed several new taxes, all the while delaying any firm estimate of revenue to the town until well into June.

The economy also continues to change. Many residents as well as businesses and municipalities are directly impacted in an economic downturn. So we all continue to squeeze expenses and be creative with ways to maintain services or raise revenues.

Some things that remain constant are limited resources available to provide desired services, committed employees and volunteers willing to serve and Franklin continuing to be a desirable community in which to live.

Financial Planning

Members of the Finance Committee, along with members of Town Council, School Committee and citizens, continue to project and forecast future needs. This process continues to be a moving target, largely due to changes at the State level, however we will continue to reach out, inform residents and receive input from all as the process evolves.

Expect Change

In closing I implore you not only to expect change, but embrace change. I am confident there will be new & different residents who get involved. I am certain there will be budget challenges next fiscal year. I am also convinced that through dialog and debate between elected officials, employees, volunteers and residents changes will be made that continue to serve the best interests of our town.

Respectfully Submitted,
Jim Roche
Chairman, Franklin Finance Committee
Brett Feldman, Vice Chairman
Phyllis Messere, Clerk
Rebecca Cameron
Mark Cataldo
Jack Caulfield
Pat Goldsmith
Craig Maire
Tina Powderly (elected to Town Council on Nov 3, 2009)
Juan Rivera
Robert Teixeira
From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.

Note: I would quibble with the statement above that there were "many unanticipated changes in the budget process this year". In the process itself, no. In the dollars that flowed through the process, yes. The amount of money from State and Federal funding was quite fluid this year. The process itself did not change. The Town Administrator and the department heads prepared their budgets, presented them to the Finance Committee for review and approval before the Town Council reviewed and approved the budget for 2010.

For the notes of the Finance Committee meetings reported upon by me, check here:

For the notes of the Financial Planning Committee reported upon by me, check here:

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