Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Live reporting - Public Hearing - underground utilities

F. HEARINGS - Public Hearing to Consider Removal of Utility Poles, Overhead Wires & Associated Overhead Wires and Associated Overhead Structures in Downtown Area – 7:10 PM

Due to the clerical error, this is part of the hearing. No council vote tonight. The council has another public hearing on Oct 20th and after that, then they will be in a position to vote.

They walked the property doing a sidewalk survey to estimate the potential electrical cost to re-do the feed from the street to the house. Most were in the range of 0-$4,000. 

Those numbers sound rather conservative, once you get inside, the electrical code and updates.
The Town Council has an option to pay none, some or all of it.
The Town should not absorb a penny of this . Why should the tax payers pay for an improvement to their building.

G Smith - 
Nutting - Verizon charge is only on the land line, Comcast is only on the cable bill not on the phone, so it is confusing but the statute was done many years ago. The amounts are projected for the customer base.
G Smith - If the customer has both Verizon and Comcast would pay about $112. If you only have electric, you only would pay $12. There is inequity in this fee schedule. Considering the results of the last override election, it would be a charge against the will of the people

McCarraher - consider that the overhead wires are a hazard to the firefighters. It is a small part, but please look at it from the firefighters safety perspective.

Piana - Downtown Partnership sent letter encouraging this being done now as it is the only opportunity to do so. It is important to the esthetics's of the downtown appearance.

Piana - the majority of the membership do agree, of course, not all do. 

Mason - we are trying to get a consensus. Is there anyone who would like to speak. Any thoughts from the Councilors?

Kelly - The voters did vote down the override, I don't think I would support it at this time.

Jones - the major issue I have with this is the unknown costs for the property owners for what I have counted as a dozen telephone poles.

Vallee - I have mixed feelings about this, I am concerned about the looks, I am concerned about passing the costs to the citizens

Powderly - I am usually for investing in the town but I have a number of concerns about the unknown costs. We have to look at this project in with the other capital needs, we have the high school coming down the road, a large operating deficit, so at this time I don't think I can support putting this on the citizens.

Pfeffer - It was many years ago the Boston Magazine said we were 'seedy'. Since then we have been voted top town to live and top to retire. I don't think we can do it for only a part of the downtown.

Mason - We are always seeking the help of the voters, since there was the vote expressed three months ago with the failed override, I can see how we can do so at this time.

Whalen - the likelihood of needing an overrider for operations next year is good. 

Motion to close the hearing - passed 8-0

Franklin, MA

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