Thursday, May 27, 2010

Frequently asked questions: "What has the town done to try to eliminate waste and bring spending under control?"

What has the town done to try to eliminate waste and bring spending under control?

·   Streamlined operations

o Centralized administrative functions (e.g., facilities, HR, IT, accounting)

o Automated processes using information technology (e.g., payroll system)

·   Reduced employee benefits

o Increased employee medical co-pays, saving $200K per year

·   Increased volunteerism ( e.g., Senior Center reported 10,000 volunteer hours per year)

·   Enhanced revenue

o Residents passed a $2.7M override in 2007

o Leased space on water tanks for cell towers

o Increased fees for services (e.g., sports participation fees, bus service)

o Approved a 0.75% meals tax that will take effect in FY 2010

o Agreed to share recreation services and our library director with Medway

·   Spent cash reserves (e.g., used $7.5M 2005 to 2008)

·   Delayed repairs to the public way (e.g., roads and sidewalks)

·   Town and school employees agreed to defer pay increases in FY 2010

·   Reduced headcount

o Loss of more than 100 teaching positions

o Loss of 7 school administrative positions

o Loss of 32 municipal positions

·   Held the line on department recommendations to increase headcount. For example, the number of police officers remains the same today as in 1999, despite a 12% increase in town population and a two-fold increase in number of police calls.

The fundamental financial problems the town faces have not been caused by waste, but by Franklin’s rapid growth over the last two decades. That growth dramatically increased the need for services like professional, well-staffed police and fire departments, updated streets and sidewalks, sewers and water lines, additional recreational facilities, and better schools. But the town’s ability to raise revenue through property taxes is restricted by the state law, and fixed costs for things like contractual obligations, utilities and health insurance keep increasing.

One of a series to address frequently asked questions


The special election on June 8th gives Franklin voters the choice:

Increase taxes to continue to provide the services we have this year (and that does not restore any of the services already cut)


Continue to cut municipal services for all and cut educational opportunities for our children

I'll help to provide the information. You need to do two things:
  1. Make your choice
  2. Vote on June 8th

You get bonus points if you talk with your neighbors about this and get them to vote!

Additional information on the override can be found here:

Franklin, MA

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