Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Frequently asked questions: "Why should I give the town more of my hard-earned money?"

I have heard people criticize the way the town is run. If that’s true, why should I give the town more of my hard-earned money?

Not everyone agrees with every decision made by town and school officials. The facts show Franklin is relatively well run. Our students have excellent test scores and graduation rates, yet we spend below-average per pupil compared to similar-sized communities. Our crime rate and rate of fires are among the lowest in the state. Our recreation programs are hugely popular. Independent rating agencies give the town’s financial management high marks. Our tax rate is the lowest in the area. Our median home price is among the highest. Thanks to great representation on Beacon Hill, we receive well more than our share of state aid. Hundreds of volunteer citizens help keep Franklin a great place to live.

Since 1989, more than 3,500 Proposition 2 1/2 override votes have occurred in communities across Massachusetts. About 40 percent of the time citizens have agreed to raise their own property taxes for the good of their community.

No one likes to pay more taxes, especially in tough economic times, and people can debate any number of town and school decisions and policies. But the urgent issue Franklin faces is whether its voters want to pay about $1 more a day to retain our dispatchers and 2nd ambulance, keep staffing and book budget in place at the library, AND stabilize our educational programs and access to sports and extra curriculars.

Here is what is at stake:
Override Fails
Override Passes
Loss of:
7 elementary teachers
8 middle school teachers
Staffing remains at FY10 levels
Club and activity fees at middle and high school will double to $50.  Athletic fees will increase and move to a tiered system, resulting in fees ranging from $175 to $450 (up from current $125 fee)
No fee increases
Class sizes
Increases in class sizes in grades K-8, up to 30 students in a classroom,  and a shortened school day at elementary schools
No changes
Elimination of 3 buses
No change in service
Loss of three police dispatchers; potential implementation of recorded service for emergency call system; less coverage of parking meters and parking enforcement downtown.
No change in service
Loss of one firefighter; uncertainty on availability of 2nd ambulance; revenue loss from ambulance fees
No change in service
Needed roadway repairs delayed indefinitely; 3 less employees; slower response times
Road repairs begin
Loss of one employee; reduction in book budget of over $60,000.
No changes

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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