Saturday, January 9, 2010

DPW Sidewalk Snow Removal Presentation - 01/06/10

The presentation text for the DPW discussion on sidewalk snow removal from Wednesday night's Town Council meeting.




The sidewalk map that shows the three routes can be viewed on the DPW website here.
PLEASE NOTE:
These maps are in provided in Adobe Portable Document Format and Architecture D Size (24" x 36"). Because of their size and level of detail they are large files and take additional time to download. Please be patient.

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to the Franklin Matters website to view the presentation.

"a teacher-driven initiative"

The Franklin Arts Academy is a "school within a school" designed to create smaller learning communities where students can engage in academics through music and video production, visual art, theater and architecture.

"Each of the arts classes is creating a lesson through academics," Waters said. "Everything is interrelated."
The Franklin Arts Academy program was proposed for Franklin High School. Hopefully it will be implemented for the next school year (Fall 2010) with no impact to the budget. Read more about the program in the Milford Daily News here.

The live reporting and presentation from the Dec 8th School Committee meeting can be found here. The video and Q&A discussion can be found here.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Food, Inc. Sunday Jan 10th - 7:00 PM

A series of films on sustainable living called "The Green Reel" will be held Sunday evenings in North Attleboro. The films are presented free of charge. Some refreshments are available. Discussion about the film is encouraged.

Food, Inc. will be shown Jan 10th at 7:00 PM

The flyer for the full series can be seen here:

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Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee Meeting

FRANKLIN CITIZENS RAIL TRAIL COMMITTEE MEETING

Agenda for January 14, 2010

       
I. Call to Order / Introductions of New Attendees
A. Introduction of new attendees
B. Volunteer to write minutes of the meeting
C. Motion to accept previous meeting minutes


II. Report from our representative from DCR
A. Gates at Spring St
B. Leveling of the Trail
C. Walking Trails


III. Membership Committee Report (Denison, McKeown, Sawyer)
A. Committee to report on membership activity


IV. Report from Finance Committee (Rossetti)
A. Report from Treasurer


VII. Report of Fund Raising Committee (Sawyer)
A. Report on fund raising activities
B. Bike Donation from Southbridge Bicycle. Need Volunteer to print raffle tickets & need sub committee
C. Spring fundraiser road race. Do we have a hosting facility? Can we pull a sub-committee together?  Can we set the date?


VII. Unfinished Business:
A. Questions from members / attendees

VIII. New Business:
A.

Set Date for Next Meeting and Adjourn



The next meeting of the FCRTC will be held at the Franklin YMCA, Forge Hill Rd. Franklin. The meeting on January 14th will commence at 7:30 PM and conclude NLT 9:30 PM


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Town Council Mtg Smry 01/06/10

The collection of live reported posts from the Town Council meeting of Jan 6, 2010 can be found here:






Franklin, MA: Public School Inclement Weather Notice

The standard policy for the Franklin Public Schools during inclement weather (i.e. snow storms at this time of year).

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Note: subscribers via email will need to click through to the Franklin Matters website to review the document.

Franklin Downtown Partnership looking for help

The text of an email from Lisa Piana is found here:

Happy New Year!

We are currently planning our events for 2010. In order to continue with our full schedule of festivals and special events this year we need to fill some key volunteer positions.

Please take a look at the following list and e-mail me by January 12th if you are interested in taking a more active roll in the Franklin Downtown Partnership.  Thank you to all of you who have volunteered in past years!

  • Harvest Festival Co-Chair -> Responsible for helping plan and run the event
  • Strawberry Festival-Co-Chair -> Responsible for planning event
  • Third Thursday-Co-Chair -> Responsible for planning events
  • Holiday Stroll-Co-Chairs -> Responsible for planning event
  • Website Coordinator -> Responsible for keeping website up to date

We really need some new members to step forward and take a more active role this year. Some of our current members have been running the events for over 5 years and need a break.

Please call or e-mail me with any questions you might have.
Lisa Piana
Franklin Downtown Partnership
(774)571-3109



MBTA going 'real-time"?

Yes, hard to believe but it just might work.

Apparently, the trains will be equipped with GPS devices and the status will be provided via a 'count-down' timer as the train approaches the station. Coming to the Franklin line sometime in February according to the write up here:

MBTA: Commuter Rail "Real-Time Arrival" Countdown


Will this replace the Clever Commute service that can be the T's own alerts?

Stay tuned!


Note: This was also posted to Steve's 2 Cents.


In the News - snow removal from sidewalks

The snow discussion from Wednesday's Town Council meeting as captured by the Milford Daily News


Franklin sidewalk plowing debated




MBCR: For the safety and convenience of our employees



Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:





via Universal Hub by roadman on 1/6/10

Got this e-mail from MBCR regarding a change in policy about exiting trains.
Customer Service Notice
Control Coach Changes
Monday, January 11, 2010!
Effective January 11, 2010, except in the case of emergency, customers will no longer be allowed to enter or exit from the "operating end" of the control coach. The engineer operates the train from this location on inbound trips. Upon arrival into Boston, there are mandatory safety duties for engineers to perform which do not allow for foot traffic through the operating end of these coaches.
Signs will be placed on the coach door on that end of all control cars to remind customers of this rule.
read more



Things you can do from here:



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Live reporting - Administrators report

I. SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS
none

J. LEGISLATION FOR ACTION
none

K. TOWN ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
As you know, I am working on a committee to look at regionalization, which is one thing we need to continue to explore. A great statistic from the meeting today was that all the growth in MA is projected to be amongst those over 60. Currently we have 4500 seniors in Franklin, we are projected to get to 7700 seniors. This has implications for the kinds of services we will offer as well as for how we will be able to pay for them.

L. OLD BUSINESS
Trash -single stream coming on the Jan 20th meeting

M. NEW BUSINESS
none

N. COUNCIL COMMENTS
Powderly - reminder to vote on 1/19 from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Flu clinic was packed today. Well run. Revisit the snow/ice - I am amazed by the job that the DPW does. Can we have DPW do more? Unfortunately, we have limited resources to work within that equation. It is valid to say we need to put more on the Schools and more on the parents.

Zollo - I agree with Tina.

Pfeffer - thanks to all the volunteers for packing the museum for the move.

Jones - Get out and vote Jan 19th. For the citizens that are capable, when they have the time, try an put a little back effort into trying to keep the sidewalks clear.

Whalen - I think this was a perfect example of balancing our resources and needs.

Mason - I had the opportunity to drive around several areas on Sunday and was very impressed that Franklin's roads were amongst the best of all that I saw.

motion to adjourn. motion passed 8-0




Live reporting - snow removal

H. PRESENTATIONS/DISCUSSIONS
– DPW Snowplowing/Sidewalks

1st priority for roads for public safety (fire, police, etc.)
2nd priority public buildings/school buildings
3rd priority sidewalks

School policy on snow days posted to School website and Town website

There are snow blower type units for heavy snow removal from the sidewalks
There are plow oriented units for lesser amounts of snow removal

over 35 miles of sidewalks to clear

if less than 6 inches, with the plows, the sidewalks can be cleared in about one day
if more than 6 inches, with the snow blowers, it would take 2-3 days to clear the sidewalks

About $158,000 to cover one storm

Each machine would cost about $120,000 to purchase (snow blower type unit)

Deployment of staff (collective bargaining issues) - all in-house staff should be working at the same time with the contractors

You (Town Council) could require the residents to clear the snow in-front of their property.

Continue to educate the public on the snow removal plan, each year we go through this with the first storm.

Picture of Brook St with sidewalk cleared and student still walking on the road (12/22/09).

Mason - this came about as a result of a call from a resident on Lincoln St. There are guidelines put out by the schools that cover wavers. Beyond that, it doesn't seem like we have the manpower even if we had the equipment.

Nutting - It is parent responsibility to make the decision for their students. I don't think we have the money to go and by another machine. We are not going to be filling jobs anytime soon so I would change it.

Vallee - I have no criticism, you're doing a good job. What is your crew doing today?

Brutus - We're clearing the equipment, making repairs. We did some set up for the H1N1 flu.

Whalen - great presentation, good information. What percent of the snow removal is done by DPW vs. the contractors?

Brutus - DPW does about 30% of the road plowing for a major storm. For the longer period with less snow, we mix the staff over the phases of the snow. The DPW is always on before we call in the contractors.

Whalen - Is there a way to re-allocate some of the resources to get the sidewalks cleared? It maybe that we are doing too good a job plowing the roads.
Brutus - I understand what you're saying, the problem is with the timing. I can't really start clearing the sidewalks with snow falling. If you did the sidewalks and then the plows can by again, it would undo what we already did on the sidewalks.

Whalen - Did I hear that there is an impediment with the labor agreement?
Nutting - Everybody gets a fair bite of the apple on the overtime.

Pfeffer - The priority order is good, we don't have the capability to do it all. The schools have an opportunity to delay or cancel school.

Zollo - What routes do get covered and in what order?
Brutus - three routes shown on map, agreement reached and modified as necessary with the School Dept.

Zollo - the dilemma is how to create a balance? I am not saying we can eliminate all risk.

Kelly - Is there any priority put on the Town Common with the Sunday services?
Brutus - no there isn't any priority there. We clean up the downtown after the storm, during daylight hours.

Nutting - we used to do downtown during the night but we don't have the budget to pay the time and half. It disturbs some during the day but that is the way t is.

Jones - You do a great job. Question I have is with the hot zones.
Brutus - it is an issue, drainage needs to be handled. We are in a freeze right now so it is okay but when the thaw comes, we'll need to deal with it.

Jones - It was icy for some time.
Brutus - We really don't have a practice for salting the sidewalks. Some of the schools have salt available as necessary to use.

Powderly - you guys do a phenomenal jobs with limited resources. I am very uncomfortable with students who are walkers who would be punished in a way by not getting sidewalks cleared. I think we should revisit it. Re-allocation of the plowing resources.
Nutting - They used to have an inclement weather bus but that was cut years ago. I don't think stopping a bus to pick up students on the roads wouldn't work. The parents primary responsibility is the students safety. It is not the Town's responsibility.

Powderly - can GATRA be used? There must be some way.
Whalen - I am not the only one observing plows plowing on hardtop and reallocating that money to switch to start doing the sidewalks.

Whalen - It would be good to know if we are putting an exceptional amount of salt, etc. comparable to other communities.
Brutus - We are pretty much in the same neighborhood for salt amount per mile of road used. I take offense to running on dry roads. The center of the roads will get cleared more of course, but pushing back from the edges to widen the road takes multiple passes. We wait to call in our contractors until later than others.

Vallee - Norfolk has more than we, we need more snow blower units for the sidewalks.
Brutus - it doesn't happen often that we get a storm like that.

Pfeffer - There is no easy answer to this. The first time we don't clear the roads, then the police, fire and others would be in hear screaming. I think the Schools can do more by cnaceling when the snow gets higher.

Zollo - This is an issue because of our revenue problem. We don't have the resources to provide what we used to. This is a real life example of whether it is an override or not. With the resources that we have, we are getting a high level of service. Just understand the effects of not increasing resources.








Live reporting - Biotech zoning changes proposed

H. PRESENTATIONS/DISCUSSIONS
– Bryan Taberner – Bio-Tech Zoning

Recognizing efforts to attract bio-tech business to the industrial areas of the town, there are two proposed changes (1) to remove the requirement for a permit by the Town Council (this is an extra level in comparison to other communities). (2) adjusting the parcels covered by the existing zoning, adding several parcels, removing one (actually recently added to the Town Forest).

What examples of bio-tech does this cover?
Very comprehensive way to handle and dispose of materials. Level 2 slightly infectious agents. Level 4 would cover anthrax (which would not be permitted in this zoning).

Level 2 and Level 3 are the busy areas with the majority of the research being done.
We would be catching up with other communities with these changes.

Worcester requires a Board of Health permit and nothing else. Cambridge has substantial amounts of special permitting required but has been home to several operations and is recognized. Multiple levels of safety plans are required before getting a permit there.

If we were to go that far, we would need an additional consultant to assist the Board of Health with the application and review process.

We have the overlay districts which other communities doesn't do.
We were given a bronze rating as a "bio-tech' ready community. This is the lowest of the four level of ratings. Eliminating the special permit will get us to the "silver" rating.

Zollo - What would enable us to go from silver to gold?
Brian - To get a higher rating is a marketing effort itself. Press releases will help. Changes to the website to help say we welcome bio-tech. Getting into a real-estate magazine would help. The State is assisting us in marketing.

Pfeffer - By removing the one parcel, this will alleviate some fears amongst the residents that had come up previously.

Nutting - this will be coming back for a formal vote. We would like this evening to solicit questions and can come back with detailed answers.

Jones - What kind of complaints are you getting?
Brian - I have been doing research and heard of one from several years ago. But it was before my time and I don't know the name of the company.






Live reporting - license transactions

E. APPOINTMENTS
none

F. HEARINGS
none

G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS
– 99 Restaurant – New Officer & Director
 
motion to approve, 
A formality, everything is order

Passed 8-0


Live reporting - Town Council - 1/6/09

Attending: Kelly, Jones, Vallee, Whalen, Mason, Pfeffer, Zollo, Powderly


Missing: McGann


A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – December 2, 2009 Regular & Executive Session
motion to approve,
amended to read "vaccination sessions" not "information sessions"
Passed 8-0

B. ANNOUNCEMENTS
Trivia Bee sponsored by FEF

C. PROCLAMATIONS/RECOGNITIONS
none

D. CITIZEN COMMENTS
none



Christmas trees will be picked up January 9th

Yes, remember to put your tree out to be picked up for Saturday the 9th.

Additional information from the Fall/Winter Curbside Chronicle can be found here:

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Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the Curbside Chronicle document


Franklin, MA: Planning Board

The Planning Board (Board), as established by MGL. Ch. 41 sec.70, is responsible for “…making plans for the development of the municipality, with special reference to proper housing of its inhabitants.” The Board is charged with administering the State’s Subdivision Control Law (MGL. 41 Ch.81K) and the local subdivision rules and regulations (Chapter 300). The Board makes recommendations to the Town Council on Zoning By-Law amendments and may at its own discretion adopt new subdivision regulations. The Board is also designated as the permitting authority for various site plan and special permit submittals under the local Zoning By-Laws (Ch. 185).

The Board works together with the Department of Planning and Community Development, the Department of Public Works, and Town Administration. In addition, the Board receives recommendations from the Design Review Committee on building design, elevation, and signage for commercial site plan permits and from the Conservation Commission on wetland related issues. Two notable projects permitted this year were for a Walgreens Pharmacy, currently under construction at the former location of the “Four Corners School” at the intersection of East Central, King and Cross Streets, and a new performance center/dining hall at the Dean College campus intended to improve and expand its dance and theatre curriculum. The Franklin Center Commons project continued to move forward this year. Construction was completed on the 15 Summer Street building in the fall of 2008. Plans for the demolition and new construction of the front building (12-36 East Central Street) are currently on hold. The town is working closely with the developer to help produce the best possible result for the final phase of this important project in the downtown.

The Board has, and will continue to focus on updating the existing zoning by-laws to more accurately define the needs and goals of the town. This year, the Board reviewed and made recommendations for amending the non-conforming buildings, structures, and uses by-law, which was subsequently approved by the Town Council in December 2008. The Board will also continue to help property owners make the desired changes and improvements to their properties while fostering responsible growth and development in the Town of Franklin.

The Planning Board typically meets twice a month on Mondays at 7:00PM in the Town Hall. All Board meetings are open to the public, and are televised via Community Cable Access.

This year, the Planning Board saw a significant decrease in the number of applications presented.

Planning Board Activity
(July 2008 through June 2009)
Definitive Subdivisions and
Modifications- 1
Preliminary Subdivisions 0
81P Plans 5
Site Plans 5
Limited Site Plan Modifications 14
Special Permits 6

Planning Board Membership
The Planning Board consists of five members and one associate member. The associate member participates in all hearings but only votes on Special Permits if one of the members is unable to act. The Board members are elected and serve 4-year terms. Two seats will be up for election in November 2009.

Current Planning Board members:


Tony Padula, Chairman
Board member since November, 1999

Ron Calabrese, Vice Chairman
Board member since November, 2005

Joseph Gill, Clerk
Board member since January, 2008

Mark Denommee
Board member since November, 2007

Gregory Ballarino
Board member since November, 2007

Joseph Halligan
Associate Member since January, 2008

Please visit our website for additional information including application forms, and regularly posted agendas and meeting minutes at:
http://franklinma.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/FranklinMA_Bcomm/planning

Respectfully submitted,
Anthony Padula, Chairman

In the November 2009 Town election, Padula and Halligan were elected to the full member spots. John Carroll was also elected as an associate member. Effectively, Halligan moved from associate to full member to replace Joe Gill and Carroll replaced Halligan as the associate member.

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.


Ben Franklin - Birthday Jan 17th

JAMES JOHNSTON: Happy Birthday Ben Franklin

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 




"We're feeling very positive"

The association, an accreditation service that sets standards for more than 2,000 schools, evaluates schools every 10 years. In its last full review, the association gave Franklin High School a warning in 2005 because of its limited handicapped access, which does not meet state and federal law.
"The warning status is really only about the facility," said Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski. "It has nothing to do with education." 
Read the full article about the FHS accreditation in the Milford Daily News here

The accreditation was disclosed at the Dec 8, 2009 School Committee meeting



"only one resident complained"


"How quickly the sidewalks can get cleared depends on a number of snowfall factors such as timing (and) amount, as well as personnel and equipment constraints," said Council Vice Chairman Stephen Whalen. "Since priority sidewalk clearing is a public safety issue, we asked (DPW Director Robert Cantoreggi) to give us a presentation in order to see if there is any way to enhance public safety at a manageable cost."
Cantoreggi said sidewalk snow removal began at 4 a.m. Monday, Dec. 21, and took until Wednesday, Dec. 23, to complete due to the amount of snow and the department's slow machinery. A snow blower is used on the sidewalk when there's over a foot of snow.


The Town Council meeting Wednesday night will feature an update on the DPW's snow storm efforts. Their staff is short six less people and likely understaffed to begin with even with the six. That is a budget consideration.

Read the remainder of the article in the Milford Daily News here


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Franklin, MA: Tax Work Off Program

Tax Work Off Program
Senior homeowners aged 60 and over can obtain property tax relief through the Senior Tax Work Off program. Seniors can take a credit of up to $750 off their real estate taxes by working in town departments where their skills and expertise serve the community. This program greatly benefits the town while providing much needed tax relief to senior citizens. Eighty positions were allotted to this program last year. Senior workers were placed in the Library, Treasurer/Collector’s office, the Recreation Department, the DPW, the Assessors’ office, the Town Clerk’s office, the Senior Center and several schools.
For more information on this program, please contact Bob Fahey at the Senior Center:
http://franklinma.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/FranklinMA_Senior/social%20service


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.



Franklin, MA: Kindergarten registration

Hold the dates to register for kindergarten:


February 1st, 3rd, and 7th
4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Horace Mann Middle School – Cafeteria
224 Oak Street, Franklin, MA


All the details on the forms required and how to obtain them to have them filled out before arriving at registration can be found in the flyer here:

Franklin, MA - Kindergarten Registration

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the document.


Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Council on Aging - Senior Center

The Franklin Senior Center offers a wide range of programs, services and activities that serve older adults and disabled individuals by addressing their unmet needs and seeking to improve quality of life. The Center is located at 10 Daniel McCahill Street and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Town-funded staff includes 2 full-time employees and 3 part-time employees. Other staff includes a part-time Health & Wellness Nurse (grant funded) and a full-time Supportive Day Program Coordinator which is supported through program fees. The Center’s CafĂ© and Gift Shop are staffed with volunteers.

The Senior Center offers opportunities for health screening and wellness, nutrition, social service coordination, socialization, recreation, transportation, educational programs, a supportive day program, and volunteer positions.

Highlights

The Senior Center was awarded Innovator of the Year by the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging and Senior Center Directors for our Safe & Secure at Home program. This program provides rigorous outreach to frail elders and offers adaptive assistance to homebound, isolated seniors who are at risk for life-threatening falls.

This year two new, evidence-based programs were offered at the Center - My Life, My Health and A Matter of Balance. These wellness programs were designed by Stanford and Boston University respectively, and are being utilized nationally and state-wide to improve health outcomes. Evidence-based programs are a result of planning, implementing and evaluating programs adapted from models that help individuals effectively manage chronic illnesses by gaining skills and adopting beneficial health behaviors. Research supports results of improved health status, decreased health care utilization, and improved health management behaviors for participants in this type of programming. These programs were extremely well received at the Senior Center.

At the request of the Town Council’s Subcommittee on Outreach to the Elderly, the Council on Aging collaborated with the Assessor’s Office in an effort to substantially increase the number of real estate abatement applications for elderly homeowners by assisting elders with their applications. This effort resulted in a 52% increase in abatements being granted to needy elderly residents. Given the grim economic climate, the COA also offered intensive outreach regarding several social benefit programs such as food stamps, fuel assistance, and circuit breaker property tax relief. Senior Center staff and volunteers attended a Diversity Workshop presented by The VNA Network which emphasized respect for diversity and helped develop cultural competency in serving culturally diverse clients.

Also this year, we expanded our intergenerational programming by partnering with the Oak Street School. Each month a class visits the Senior Center and participates in an activity with seniors. Also new this year, Franklin High School art students offered art classes to seniors at the Senior Center. This year, the Senior Center worked with the Police Department to create a Connect CTY database which enables us to inform elderly residents of vital information, or of Center closings due to inclement weather.
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.

For additional information on programs at the Senior Center visit the website:
http://franklinma.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/FranklinMA_Senior/index

The January "Franklin Connection" newsletter can be found here:
http://franklinma.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/FranklinMA_Senior/Jan10connection.pdf


Monday, January 4, 2010

Town Council - Agenda - 1/6/10

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – December 2, 2009 Regular & Executive Session

B. ANNOUNCEMENTS

C. PROCLAMATIONS/RECOGNITIONS

D. CITIZEN COMMENTS

E. APPOINTMENTS

F. HEARINGS

G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS
– 99 Restaurant – New Officer & Director

H. PRESENTATIONS/DISCUSSIONS
– Bryan Taberner – Bio-Tech Zoning
– DPW Snowplowing/Sidewalks

I. SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS

J. LEGISLATION FOR ACTION

K. TOWN ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT

L. OLD BUSINESS

M. NEW BUSINESS

N. COUNCIL COMMENTS

O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required

P. ADJOURN

Note: The Biotechnology bylaws and permitting process could be an interesting discussion. The set of documents outlining the proposed changes are included in the full agenda package on the Town website: (PDF Document)
http://franklinma.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/FranklinMA_CouncilAgendas/2010tc/01062010agenda.pdf


Senior Center Newsletter

The January 2010 Senior Center Newsletter, The Franklin Connection, is available. You can view it here or download directly from the Town website:
http://franklinma.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/FranklinMA_Senior/Jan10connection.pdf


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Note: email subscribers will need to click through to the Franklin Matters website to view this document.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

In the News - same day voter registration

Being able to walk in on election day and register to vote seems like it would help democracy. But what kind of vote would be cast from someone who with no preparation (i.e. prior registration) can walk in to vote? I am not sure I want that kind of vote.  I don't think it would be an informed vote.

What is the problem that same day registration is trying to address?
If it is increasing participation amongst the voters, then I think there should be other ways to ensure appropriate engagement.

Given the results of the current provisional ballot available to MA residents, I don't think there is enough justification.
Citizens who find their names absent from the registration list can fill out a provisional ballot to be counted later, once it is determined they are eligible to vote.
In the last presidential election, 11,712 provisional ballots were requested but only 3,278 ballots were actually counted, according to Brian McNiff, spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin's office.


Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

What would you suggest we (yes, the big collective "we") do to increase voter engagement?

In the News - casino plus/minus

Bringing casino gambling to MA is on the table and touted with big numbers for jobs and additional revenue. Both the jobs and revenue would be good in a struggling economy but what would the casino really cost the local community? This article in the Milford Daily News attempts to get at some of the other considerations.

Read the full article here



In the Globe: Medway Library

The Boston Globe features an article on the Medway Library regaining state certification. Oddly, it references little about the collaboration and regionalization effort with Franklin; i.e. sharing the Library Director, that was the linchpin in turning around their budget situation.
The ruling affected more than Medway residents. Library patrons in other towns could not order materials from Medway via interlibrary loans. The exception was Franklin, which signed an intermunicipal agreement with Medway in July that called for sharing library services.

 Read the full article in the Sunday Globe here



Absentee Ballots for Jan 19th Available

Absentee Ballot Information:  Absentee ballots are now available in the Town Clerk’s office.  A registered voter who will be unable to vote at the polls on election day due to the following reasons may vote absentee up to 5:00pm Friday, January 15th.  (Due to the holiday, dates have been adjusted by the State)

    * absence from your city or town during normal polling hours; or
    * physical disability preventing you from going to the polling place; or
    * religious belief.

All absentee requests must be made in writing with an original signature (no faxes or e-mails are accepted).  If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call Deborah L. Pellegri, Town Clerk, at 508-520-4900.              
Attest: Deborah L. Pellegri, CMC, Town Clerk/Election Administrator



Franklin, MA: Recreation Dept.

The Recreation Department is located at 150 Emmons Street. The Recreation Department offers Franklin and Medway residents a variety of programs and events for youths and adults as well as coordination of youth sports organizations and field maintenance. The department operates and schedules activities for Chilson Beach at Beaver Pond, Fletcher Field, Dennis Pisani Field (formally Theron Metcalf), Henry “Ski” Faenza Tot Lot (Nason Street Tot Lot), King Street Memorial Field, Dacey Community Field, and Meadowlark Lane Athletic Fields. The department is also responsible for scheduling the use of all school fields during the summer, when school is not in session.
Additional information about all the Recreation Dept. activities can be found on their website:
http://franklinma.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/FranklinMA_Recreation/index



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.
 


Franklin, MA: HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT

The business of the Human Resources Department is Customer Service. We provide a wide range of services to employees and citizens of the Town of Franklin.

Once a new employee is selected HR becomes “the benefit place.” The staff makes sure all the paperwork is complete so that individuals will be paid, benefit options are explained, and employees select those which best meet their individual needs. Questions about benefits continue throughout an employee’s time with the Town and continue into retirement. In addition to the mandatory participation in Norfolk Retirement System, or OBRA for part time employees benefits include:

  • Life Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Section 125 Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Short and Long Term Disability plans
  • Section 457 Savings Plans


All employees, other than Police and Fire, are covered by Worker’s Compensation, a federally mandated program. Our goal is to prevent accidents and lost time from work, but to protect individuals when there is an incident. This “no fault” insurance is designed to provide income security and medical coverage for individuals injured on the job. The program is insured through Massachusetts Educations and Government Association Workers Compensation Group (MEGA). Human Resources continues to ensure that incident reports are filed timely with MEGA reviewing claims and making payments directly to the employees. We also work with managers and employees across the Town to support safe work practices, so that the frequency and length of workers compensation absences are held to a minimum.

On an annual basis, all benefit programs are reviewed to be sure they comply with Federal and State laws. The current Federal legislative branch is very active, and we are watching developments in time off and insurance regulations. Federal changes may require plan changes at the municipal level.

Health Insurance continues to be a major cost issue for employees, applicants and the Town. The Insurance Advisory Committee actively explores options. Contracts with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Guardian, and Boston Mutual were looked at in terms of cost and coverage. The goal is to provide benefits that are competitive with the market to attract and keep the right workforce and to provide those quality benefits at the lowest cost possible.

One element of the Health Insurance renewal was a change in Medicare supplement plans. The new plan is integrated with Medicare and benefits from a federal subsidy. Enrollees pay a co-pay for each prescription they fill, but no longer have a quarterly deductible. The plan change reduced the Medex premium retirees pay by 25%.

The HR Department has continued a wellness program, offered by MIIA to the employees of the Town. These have included fitness walking, relaxation techniques, and healthy eating. This program, designed to improve health and fitness will continue next year at no cost to employees or to the Town. Employees were enthusiastic about participation in the zumba dance class and an extended walking program.

As we begin the next year new goals have been set. They include:

  • Partner with School HR activities to find service improvements and cost efficiencies.
  • Continue to deliver high quality customer service to employees, retirees, and citizens.
  • Constantly monitor full range of benefit options. The focus on the Health Insurance Program will continue.
  • Identify information which can be best communicated electronically and keep web site current.
  • Provide excellent service to and resolve administrative issues arising from municipal health insurance program.
  • Facilitate managers using job descriptions and performance evaluations to strengthen organizational and employee performance.
  • Review and edit the Personnel Bylaw and related policies and procedures to keep them current and appropriate for use by managers and employees.
  • Educate employees on the Sec. 125 Flexible Spending Accounts which are available to them for medical or dependent care costs.
  • Support managers and employees in employee relations activities.


We appreciate input from employees and citizens at any time.

Respectfully Submitted
Stephanie McNeil
Human Resources Director



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.