Saturday, January 23, 2010

Express Line

The new Express Line was just sent out via email.

If you are not receiving you own copy, you can sign up on the Franklin website here:

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

Friday, January 22, 2010

More from Gov Patrick of interest to Franklin Matters

Friday, Governor Patrick attended the Massachusetts Municipal Association Annual Meeting and outlined proposals including municipal pension relief, a limited early retirement incentive program and a new Green Communities grant program to encourage development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to relieve local budgets “The Lieutenant Governor and I value the partnership we have built with local officials across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “This relationship has allowed us to work collaboratively to bring real change to the way local government provides for the residents of the Commonwealth. The tools we introduce today, coupled with the changes we have already made, will allow us to provide key services in communities today, while reducing local pressure on the property tax.” Learn more here.
 The full recap of the Governor's activities on Friday, Jan 22 can be found here

What matters for Franklin

Having listened to the Governor's State of the Commonwealth, these sections I think are what matters most for Franklin.

In a time of dwindling state revenue, we funded public schools at the highest level in history.  In the budget I file next week, I will propose to do it again by fully funding the education budget through Chapter 70 next year, so that no school will see a cut in state support.  But because schools need innovation as well as money in order to be great, we made law and history this week by signing an education reform bill that will put a great school within reach of every child in every corner of this Commonwealth.  We made it personal.  Thank you.

We, all of us, have worked together to give local communities new tools to cut costs and raise revenues, to regionalize more municipal services.  But I will not be satisfied until we find a way to bring property taxes down.

... these young people did not sit around wondering and worrying what to do and who was going to do it.  They didn’t accept that they were powerless.  They saw a need and met it, and found power in service itself.  And through that not only have they inspired me and many others, but they have built a better, stronger Commonwealth.

Brick by brick. Block by block. Neighborhood by neighborhood. Town by town.  That is what each of us must do.  That is who each of us must be.  That is the opportunity this crisis presents.  If we seize it, I am certain our best days lie ahead.

The full text of the speech is available here and here

Downtown Improvement Project

This is the Downtown Improvement Project presentation that was made to the Town Council on Wednesday, Jan 20th and Thursday, Jan 21st to the Downtown Partnership.

There will be other times scheduled for review and discussion of the plan details. As soon as I am aware of them, they will be posted here.

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

Dean College: Business Series

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Staff reports on 1/21/10

Dean College will host professionals from ESPN this Monday to kick of its annual business lecture series, "Speaking of Business."

ESPN cameraman Joshua Walsh and producer Jennifer Hayes, both Dean alumni, will speak at the Campus Center Atrium Jan. 25 from 4-5 p.m., followed by a reception.

The lecture is the first of five, and will run every Monday except  President's Day on Feb. 15.

Future speakers include Patriot Place manager Brian Farley, National Grid director of U.S. climate change policy Alexander G. Taft, CEO of Hockomock Area YMCA Edwin Hurley and  Dan Foley, CEO of Campus Care and D. Foley Landscaping.

Programs are free and open to the public. Lectures will be held on 135 Emmons St. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 888-711-3326 or emailing

Things you can do from here:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The text of Gov Deval Patrick's State of the Commonwealth

Address as delivered
Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

Madame President – there we go – Mr. Speaker, and all of the Members of the House and Senate, Lieutenant Governor, Fellow Constitutional Officers, and Members of the Cabinet, to the Members of the Honorable Judiciary, Congressman and Mrs. Capuano, Mayor Menino and other municipal leaders, Reverend Clergy, Distinguished Guests, and above all, to the People of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I want to first acknowledge and thank my First Lady and yours, Diane Patrick. You should all know that Diane has done marvelous work around the Commonwealth on domestic violence issues. And Diane, I think people have come to be almost as grateful to have you in their lives as I am to have you in mine.

I want you all to please join Diane and me in thanking the men and women of Massachusetts who serve in the United States military – and their families. We are every one of us in their debt.

Special thanks to Pastor Laguerre, who joins us tonight for the invocation. We pray with you for the rescue of the Haitian people, for comfort for their families and friends here in the Commonwealth, for strength for the relief workers from Massachusetts who are on the ground now in Haiti, and for blessings for all of the good people of this Commonwealth who have offered support to the victims.

I want to commend all three candidates in the special election for a spirited campaign – Attorney General, thank you for being here tonight.  And I want to congratulate United States Senator-elect Scott Brown. I spoke to Scott on election night and again this afternoon, and we pledged to work together, as I do with the whole delegation, on behalf of the best interests of the people of the Commonwealth. The best news is that – even on a cold, snowy day in January, for an out-of-cycle election – the voters came out in force and engaged in their democracy. At a time when many feel powerless, people reminded themselves and us that they have all the power they need to make all the change they want.  That’s good news.

Three years ago when I took the oath of office on the steps just outside this building, I described a vision for a better, stronger Commonwealth.  I talked about good jobs at good wages all across the state, a great school in every neighborhood, and citizens with a renewed sense of community, where each of us sees the stake we have in each other's dreams and struggles.

I knew the challenges before us, and acknowledged them. Young people were leaving our state.  There was no real plan for job growth.  Our public schools were too often failing poor children.  Our roads and bridges were broken.  Health care reform had passed, but had not been implemented.  And the culture of Beacon Hill, with due respect, was famously resistant to outsiders and to change.

We chose to confront these challenges, not because it was politically expedient or popular, and certainly not because it was easy.  But because we understood the stake we each have in each other; because people need not big or small government, for its own sake, but good government; and because confronting these challenges was the only way to build a better, stronger Commonwealth.

Our task was made harder by bumps along the road - some of my own making I acknowledge, others left behind by predecessors, but most the result of a global economic collapse that no one foresaw and few living have ever experienced.  The economic meltdown produced $9 billion in budget gaps, cuts to worthy programs, and elimination of thousands of state jobs.  Just like in household after household, and business after business, we in state government have had to make do with less, to improvise and innovate, to work harder.  But because we made it personal, because we understood that a better, stronger Commonwealth would lift us all up, we kept going.

The toll this global economic crisis has taken on people here at home has only served to make me even more determined.  I meet people every day, and I see the anxiety in their faces.  I hear their stories of lost jobs or lost homes, of lost retirement accounts or lost hope.  I know they are stressed not just for themselves, but because there are still kids to be educated and parents to be cared for.  I met a grandmother at the Career Center in Lynn this month who told me about moving her son and daughter and their kids, 9 of them strong, into her home because they're out of work and strapped for cash.  Now she has lost her job.  She's not asking for much, just a chance to work to provide for her family, and a little help holding on until she can make her own way.  Meanwhile, like so many other citizens, she is feeling powerless against forces beyond her control.  This is not the American Dream she counted on.  And it is not the American Dream we will accept.

So for her, for every other striver who aches for a better, stronger Commonwealth, we kept faith with our vision and kept going.  Too fast for some, not fast enough for others, learning from our mistakes as well as from our triumphs, but always forward.  Without ever losing sight of who we are working for.

And so, working together, we closed that $9 billion budget gap and delivered a third consecutive budget that was responsible, balanced and on time – which is not something that many other states can say.  But we also worked to understand and address the impact that each cut would have on the people who depended on the program, and to deliver the service in better and more efficient ways.  We made it personal.

To create jobs, we leveraged our world-class universities and health care institutions, making investments in biotech, life sciences and green technology so that the people of Massachusetts would have opportunities in the innovation economy of tomorrow.  But we also went to work every day calling individual business leaders about locating or expanding here, working out ways to help them prosper and create jobs - 10, 50, 200 at a time, making sure the workforce was trained, and extending unemployment and health care benefits to help families hold it together in the short run.  We made it personal.

We did the hard work – the hard work – of implementing health care reform so that now nearly every man, woman and child in the Commonwealth has reliable health insurance, and we are a model for the Nation.  But because we know many families and small businesses are struggling to afford the premiums they pay, we went to work to drive down costs, hauling insurance companies into public hearings to explain why premiums keep going up when everything else is coming down.  We made it personal.

In a time of dwindling state revenue, we funded public schools at the highest level in history.  In the budget I file next week, I will propose to do it again by fully funding the education budget through Chapter 70 next year, so that no school will see a cut in state support.  But because schools need innovation as well as money in order to be great, we made law and history this week by signing an education reform bill that will put a great school within reach of every child in every corner of this Commonwealth.  We made it personal.  Thank you.

We did all of that and more this past year. And I want to thank you.  I want to thank President Murray, Speaker DeLeo and each member of this Senate and House, for their willingness to work with us, frequently across Party lines, and take the tough votes that will make a better, stronger Commonwealth.

I also want to thank the members of the Cabinet and their teams for your creativity and tenacity, and the state workers who – despite furloughs and contract concessions, pay freezes and increased health care contributions – go to work every day trying to do right by the people we serve.

Change is never easy and rarely quick.  Woodrow Wilson once said, "If you want to make enemies, try to change something."  And Lord knows he was right!  But it is worthy.  It’s worthy.  Because we are together building the foundation for a better, stronger Commonwealth.

And I ask you, don't just take my word for it. Here are some facts:

For the first time in twenty years, more people are moving into our state than are moving out.

Business confidence has improved 9 of the last 10 months, which means more investment and more jobs ahead.

Home sales are up for the fifth consecutive month - 59% in the month of November alone.

All three national rating agencies have affirmed the state's AA credit rating and stable outlook for the future, expressly citing our successful management of this fiscal crisis.

Massachusetts is one of the few states in the country able to access the bond markets to fund our student loan program.

We are first in the Nation in student achievement for the third straight year and first in the Nation in health care coverage for our residents, with over 97 percent insured.

Our clean and alternative energy initiatives set national standards.  We will increase wind power 10-fold and solar power 15-fold by next year, and in the solar industry we have already more than doubled the number of jobs and quadrupled the number of companies.

But still, still, people sometimes ask: What does all this mean for them?

Well, a good credit rating means that we can do construction projects like Assembly Square in Somerville, or the Appleton Mills redevelopment in Lowell, or the Route 7 improvements in Pittsfield, or the Route 24 ramp in Fall River, and on and on and on.  Projects that put people to work now, create other jobs shortly, and improve the quality of life for years.  It means people like R. Evans Stewart can get a state-subsidized student loan to help his grandson pursue his dreams at Western New England College.  That’s what it means.
Implementing health reform well means peace of mind for people like Jaclyn Michalos from Norwell, who would not have had her breast cancer diagnosed and successfully treated without access to affordable care.  It means finding a cost effective way to cover over 26,000 immigrants who live and work here legally and pay taxes into the system.

Simplifying the transportation network and abolishing the Turnpike Authority means we saved taxpayers a quarter billion dollars and can put toll and T fare hikes off a little while, while we focus on better service for commuters.

Holding the line on funding for schools or passing the ed reform bill means the kids I meet in Arlington or East Boston High Schools, or the South Middle School in Brockton, or the University Park Campus School in Worcester, or the Walsh School in Framingham, or the poor and special needs kids I carry around in my heart, will get the chance I got to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Let me tell you what it means.

Investing in clean and alternative energy, or the life sciences and biotech, means Dan Leary, an Iraq War vet, can hire more people at his solar installation company in North Andover (I think he's up to 45 so far); and Randy Moquin can get trained, get off unemployment and go to work as an energy auditor out in Springfield; and Josh Hamilton can build a Center for Regenerative Medicine in Woods Hole and start to transform the future of human health.

Investing in infrastructure means that, now and even moreso in the coming spring construction season, new bridges will be built; exit ramps and roads are being restored; broadband cable is being laid under 1-91; stations, office parks, medical research buildings, parking garages are all going up – investments that put people to work today and become the economic enabler of tomorrow.

And ending the abuse in the state pension system and tightening the ethics and lobbying rules means that people can trust that state government is focused again on their business and not personal gain.

Governing for people, the ways your government can help you help yourselves, is why we come to work every day. By investing in people, by making it personal, we are building a better, stronger Commonwealth for all of us.

I know there's much more work to do. And I will not be satisfied until it's done.

Unemployment, even with the disappointing numbers released today, is not as high here as the national average, but I will not be satisfied until we have put all our people back to work.

More people than ever are insured, but I will not be satisfied until the cost of health insurance is lower, especially for small businesses and working families.

I will not be satisfied until CORl and sentencing reform are enacted into law and we start getting as smart on crime as we are tough.

We, all of us, have worked together to give local communities new tools to cut costs and raise revenues, to regionalize more municipal services.  But I will not be satisfied until we find a way to bring property taxes down.

I will not be satisfied until we have reshaped and reinvented state government itself, consolidated more agencies and wrung out of them every inefficiency.

That must be our agenda and I will not be satisfied until it's finished. And neither should you.

These are each of them tough issues, I know that.  But you ought to know by now – friends one and all – you should know, my friends, not to doubt my resolve or my determination.  I hear the detractors who fiercely or passively defend the status quo. I hear the challengers pressing to return to old, familiar ways, even policies that failed us in the past.  But I also hear a public deeply frustrated with the pace of change, who need a little help from us right now so they can help themselves.  Our job is to be leaders for them.  To stand up and make the hard decisions that are necessary to build a better, stronger Commonwealth. We must make it personal.

To the people of the Commonwealth, above all, especially those whose lives have been turned upside down by this economy, you are not powerless. And you are not alone.

If we here work together and creatively, we can make a difference where it matters, not on our resumes but in your lives.  We have shown we can do this with historic reforms already, and we must redouble our efforts.

We will do our part.  Now you must also do yours.

Be angry - but channel it in a positive direction. It's easy to be against things. It takes tough-mindedness and courage to be for something.

In Massachusetts, at our best, we are for each other, we are about seeing our stake in our neighbors' dreams and struggles as well as our own.

And I know some kids who understand this especially well.

The high school in Brockton, Massachusetts is the largest in our Commonwealth.  4,100 young people go to that school.  Sixty-four percent are on the free lunch program.  For nearly half of them, English is a second language.  I visited the school last spring to announce some of the federal stimulus funding for education and arranged to meet beforehand with parents of special needs students.
I sat with about a dozen of these parents in the school library, surrounded by members of the student council who had come to observe.  And at first we talked about programs and policies and information, but the conversation got personal, when one mother asked me, she said: “Governor, imagine what it is like to have a child in school who has no friends.”

And as a parent, the comment was searing. Her child's learning issues were so profound that other kids just shunned him.

And at that point, one of the student council members raised her hand and said, "I want to be your child's buddy, right here in the high school." It was a beautiful and spontaneous thing.

Another parent then said her child had similar issues but wasn’t in that school.  Which prompted another student to raise her hand and say, "Why don't we have a program where high school students can be buddies for special needs kids in whatever Brockton school they attend?"

The superintendent was there and had a natural reaction in these times: he began to worry aloud about how, in these times of scarce resources, he could possibly pay for such a program.  To which another student replied, "We don't have to be paid. This is our community." His message was plain and powerful: "If there is a need, send me."

That program now has a name, the Boxer Buddies, it’s going strong, and I want to acknowledge the Buddies who are here tonight.  I am so proud of you.

The point is this. In a city as hard hit as any by the economic crisis, these young people did not sit around wondering and worrying what to do and who was going to do it.  They didn’t accept that they were powerless.  They saw a need and met it, and found power in service itself.  And through that not only have they inspired me and many others, but they have built a better, stronger Commonwealth.
Brick by brick. Block by block. Neighborhood by neighborhood. Town by town.  That is what each of us must do.  That is who each of us must be.  That is the opportunity this crisis presents.  If we seize it, I am certain our best days lie ahead.

Thank you everybody.  God bless you all and God bless the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

You can also view this on the Gov's website here

Governor promises no cuts to local aid or school funding

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by GateHouse Media, Inc. on 1/21/10

Gov. Deval Patrick tonight will promise to maintain current levels of local aid and Chapter 70 pubic school funding in his State of the Commonwealth address, to air at 7:30 p.m. on Boston TV stations.
A summary of Patrick's planned speech, released by the governor's office just after 5 today, said Patrick will:
- highlight job creation, economic development, education and health care "as the key drivers to building a better future" for the state;
- will announce that "despite the tough budget situation, there will be no cuts to local aid and Chapter 70 public school funding";
- will address the impact of the global economic crisis is having on people in the state and "let them know in very direct ways that we are here to help";
and  will touch on what state government and the citizens of Massachusetts have accomplished.
In addition, the governor "will admit that there have been bumps in the road, some of our own making and that he is learning from our mistakes as well as our triumphs," the statement from Patrick's office said.
The speech airs at 7:30 Thursday night on WCVB, WHDH, and NECN.

Things you can do from here:

New trash recycle containers

These are representative of the new containers that the town would provide for each household. The containers would be green, one with a green cover for trash and one with a yellow cover for recycled items.

More on the discussion on the new trash collection system on the Town Council meeting can be found here:
 This was the first reading of the proposed rate change. The second reading will likely be on the next Town Council meeting (Feb 3, 2010).

The rate change is a decrease from $244 per year to $220.

Town Council Mtg Smry 01/20/2010

The collection of posts live reported from the Town Council meeting Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 can be found here:

The Downtown Project presentation document can be found here

In the News - trash collection

Cantoreggi said the current annual collection fee is $244, and it would go down to $220 with the automated system.

He said the town saves money by reducing collection costs and increasing recycling rates so there's less trash to burn - which costs $70 per ton.

Read more in the article here

Revamped trash collection proposed for Franklin

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Live reporting - closing items

Administrator report

Met with GATRA to see if there are ways to improve service
Need to look at ways to increase ridership
Still at about half the ridership that they had forecasted and were expecting

Snow report (will post later)
Will come forward to overspend the snow account

Cost per road mile compared to 10 or so other communities, we are at the bottom in comparison

Old Business
Fiscal policies, are they posted?
Globe had article on biotechnology, thanks to Bryan for his work

New business
none around

Councilor Comments
Powderly - be aware of scams regarding Haiti fundraising
Kindergarten registration coning up in Feb
Thanks to D Pellgri for running with her staff the special election in a great manner

Zollo - commend the citizens for getting out to vote
commend Downtown Partnership for collaboration on the downtown project
the project will be instrumental to the success of downtown

McGann - Congratulations to our new Senator, Scott Brown

Pfeffer - thanks to the Council on Aging for providing dinner for the Council
Type II Diabetes veterans of WWII may qualify for a disability pension

Kelly - thanks to the voters for doing their civic duty

Jones - thanks to 68% for coming out to vote, compared to the 16% that came out for our election

Mason - they always make us feel so welcome when we go to the Senior Center

Budget workshop with Finance, School Committee, discussion on common knowledge base, not budget itself  Monday in the 3rd Floor training room at 6:30 PM

motion to adjourn, passed

Live reporting - Solid Waste Q&A

Separate carts for waste and recylcing

no longer need to purchase the other barrels households use
RFID reader embedded in the handle to track, to improve tracking on pickups and customer service

estimate savings at 11-20% in recycling
municipal buildings est savings at 42%
school buildings est savings at 55%

reduces water weight of trash

curbside collection fee currently $244 being reduced to $220 with this process

Q - Can seniors bring the barrels to the front in a snow storm
A - These should be easier to move around than their regular barrells

Once you get through the initial hump and get going, it is a great system. I believe we'll be here next year to reduce the rates again.

Barrells should last ten-fifteen years with normal use

Q - If an owner takes them away, what would happen with the new owner
A - With the tracking system, we'll know where they are. We will replace the units and go after the prior owner.

Q - How quickly can we implement this?
A - We have a tentative agreement to begin July 1. We will need to come back with an 800,000 bond request to fund the initial carts to be financed over five years.

Q - Will the colors be like this?
A - They'll be green. If you pay your fee, we'll pick up. They read the chip each pickup, so even if yours ends up at a neighbors we'll know.

In Mansfield, for 6400 customers, 100 take a larger size.
We also have the Beaver St recycling facility to handle excess.

Monitoring things from a computer will be easier, in the long run should get less calls and complaints and more efficiencies. Once we get past the initial rollout this summer, we should be fine.

Motion to move to second reading - passed 8-0

Live reporting - Solid Waste

Note - Kelly arrives

   3.  Bylaw Amendment 10-641: Chapter 82; Appendix A:  List of Service Fee Rates, Solid Waste and Recycling Fees - 1st Reading

Chris White, Cathy Merza

Picture of what the new trash/recycle containers would look like can be found here
These were the units brought to the Town Council meeting as as example.

Live reporting - Legislation for action

   1.  Zoning Bylaw Amendment 10-639: Amendment to Chapter 185-5 Zoning Map: Biotechnology Uses- Referral to Planning Board  motion to refer, passed 7-0

   2.  Zoning Bylaw Amendment 10-640: Amendment to Chapter 185-42: Biotechnology Uses- Referral to Planning Board   motion to refer, passed 7-0

3 minute recess

Live reporting - Downtown Project update

Eugene Bolinger, vice president, Weston & Sampson

The presentation document can be found here

Update on Downtown Project - Weston and Sampson

Conversations began in 2002 (or perhaps earlier)
public workshops involved during 2002-2007
grant applications prepared during 2004, 2005

High Priority Project - $5 million
PWED grant - $1 million

public participation process, workshops, presentation, Q&A, input
to work with all entities within the community
Downtown Partnership meeting Thursday morning

The PWED project will be more under the Town control, they will be issuing the contracts vs. the fuller project will have more MA government agency involvement and a longer review period
Applied for the 10 million grant, received 5 million, actually getting one million per year and it is all in our account now.
The PWED grant was applied for multiple times and ultimately awarded recently.

All the work, except for the water main is covered by Federal and State grants. The water main was part of our cycle and timed to occur now.

If the utilities were to move underground, that would be funded separately.

Live reporting - Charter Revision Updates

Steve Whalen, Shannon Zollo

categorize at a high level some substantive changes
redline copy of charter provided to Council for review

Charter is the Town's governing document
4-5 major recommendations
Citizens committee had made recommendations, those were considered in this review

1 - appointed Treasurer (elected today)
allow the Administrator to appoint, for efficiency and skills

2 - appoint Constable, Board of Health, Board of Assessor positions (elected today)
there are likely highly qualified individuals who could serve but do not want to run an election campaign in order to serve in these roles.

Q - Mason - Would you include the Town Clerk in the appointed slots or maintain it as an elected position?
A - Zollo - We will make no recommendation on this position, there was discussion but no consensus so with no recommendation for change, it would remain an elected position.
A - Whalen - I approached this by not considering the current people in any position, I would make this an appointed position

3 - We chose not to recommend staggered terms, if the Town is willing to go through the hassle of setting it up, there are benefits to go forward that way. Both Zollo and Whalen feel the same on this item. There is no compelling reason for recommending this.

Clarification - Mason - purpose of this evening is to hear the report recommendation. There will be a public workshop and public hearing on these so all will have a chance to get their say on these matters.

4 - Administrative changes - clean up for more efficiency
allow new Council to have a week between the election and their first meeting
Council should have an ability to re-organize with a term if it had the 2/3 votes to do so
Administrator is currently not allowed to chair subcommittees, should be allowed to do so if appropriate
add recommendation of a temporary Town Administrator to cover for an unexpected absence or to find an appropriate replacement

5 - language to be removed from Charter covering the removal of employees. these items are already superseded by existing bargaining agreements or employee policies

Q - Pfeffer - Were any considerations from the prior report not addressed in this set of recommendations?

Q - Pfeffer - What of the recommendation to change the number of meetings per month?
A - This is a recommendation to meet a minimum of once vs. the requirement today of being required to meet twice.

Nutting - If you'd like to get this on the November ballot, we'd need to move this along.
Mason - let's set the workshop for February, the public hearing in March

Nutting - the home rule charter changes would be submitted to the legislature, they would act upon it and either send it back for revision or approval. The piece that is not included in this document yet is a transition plan, for example, moving to an appointed Treasurer when would the appointment take effect and the election process stop. Hoe rule petitions are pretty routine.

Live reporting - Town Council - Jan 20, 2010

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

motion to aprove, passed 7-0


Citizenship Awards for Boy Scouts
(List to be added later)



  • Public Land Use Committee  (Jeff Livingstone)  motion to approve appointment, passed 7-0
  • Finance Committee  (Christopher Quinn)  motion to approve appointment, passed 7-0
F. HEARINGS - none


Election Notes

in Franklin, 13,418 of 19,700 registered voters voted, or 68 percent

"It has not stopped all day,” said Franklin Town Clerk Deborah Pellegri, who is overseeing all precincts voting at the high school’s gym. Totals so far are “more than our town election and the primary.”

The town reached 5,696 votes as of 1 p.m.  Franklin totaled 3,950 votes in the December Primary Election.

Scott Brown (R) - 8,828
Martha Coakley (D) - 4,470
Joseph Kennedy (I) - 110

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Remember to Vote!

Today is the special election to fill the US Senate seat formerly held by Sen Ted Kennedy.

If your household is anything like mine, you have been inundated with mailings and phone calls from both parties. You'll probably be glad the election is over.

So do us all a favor and get out and vote!

Don't pay attention to the polls, the only poll that counts is the one at Franklin High School when you mark your ballot and turn it it to be counted. Your vote does count.

Franklin Town Clerk Deborah Pellegri said throughout the day Friday, people stood in line at her office for absentee ballots.

"We are very very busy," said Pellegri. "I think turnout will be very good, it's an important position. There's been a lot of publicity and that will draw people in. There's an interest."
 Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call the Town Clerk's office 508-520-4900

SlideShare presentations

Many of the presentations from either the Town Council or School Committee meetings, I post to in order to help share them with you here on Franklin Matters. I received an email from SlideShare looking back on the account activity I had during 2009.

It is always exciting to bring in a new year. Taking a look back, here's a quick summary of your year on SlideShare, in 2009.

In 2009, you uploaded 29 presentations and got:
  • 317.14 average views per presentation
  • 1 favorite
  • 1 follower 
    Your most popular presentation was:
Life Long Learning - made by Pandora Carlucci at the School Committee meeting on January 27, 2009. You can view that presentation on SlideShare here:

Other presentations on SlideShare in the order of popularity can be found here

Thanks to all the presenter for creating and sharing these presentations. I can only take a little bit of credit for posting them here to increase the sharing.

Photos Added

Three photos were added to the 'live reported' posts for the School Committee meeting Tuesday Jan 12th. The photos are also collected here to save you having to go back to see each one separately.

1 - A view of some of the crowd that filled the Council Chambers Tuesday evening:

Live reporting - School Committee Mtg

Those recognized for participating in the war memorial find raising effort:

3 - Sue Streeter and Mark Berthiume presented the grants to the Franklin High School and Annie Sullivan Middle School Best Buddy chapters:

Monday, January 18, 2010

FM #54 - Week ending 1/17/10

This is session #54 in the series for Franklin Matters. Let's take about 10 minutes to keep current with what happened during the week ending Jan 17th 2010.

Time: 14 minutes, 0 seconds

MP3 File

Session notes:

Take about ten minutes to keep current with what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends January 17, 2010

In this session I’ll cover the School Committee meeting of Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Several items come from this meeting. It attracted the largest attendance to a school committee meeting in a long time. The Council Chambers were standing room only. Better yet, this attendance was not due to some protest or uproar. It was due to the recognition being provided to a number of school groups. The major theme covering these activities I think can be summarized in how pervasive the schools are within the overall Franklin community.

First was recognition of the various student and school personnel who participated in the fund raising for the war memorial dedicated on the Town Common on Memorial Day, 2009.

I won't repeat the names of the individuals here. It is quite a list covering all the schools in town. You can see the school committee meeting notes on Franklin Matters for the details.

Second the presentation of grants to the Best Buddy chapters at Franklin High and Annie Sullivan Middle School. More than $6,000 in grants were awarded to enable these student operated chapters to continue their efforts in the Best Buddies program. If you are not familiar with Best Buddies you can find out more information at the link provided

From the School Committee meeting notes:
Third was a presentation by the local chapter of teen angels.

Lead by Linda Keohane, the local chapter is currently made up of 17 students in 7th and 8th grade. They are going through some training and working on projects under the auspices of the national wired safety .org

They presented a pledge to raise awareness of cyberbullying. They have also developed a survey to capture data on cyberbullying. The survey will be released to the Franklin middle schools, then to the high school and ultimately made available to other school districts across MA.

Technology advances have been occurring so rapidly, that the proper behavior and etiquette has generally been developed after the fact, that the device or service has become heavily used. This student lead initiative will help to address the cyberbullying practices from a student perspective.

Frm the School Committee meeting notes:

Fourth was a presentation on the World Challenge. This would be a trip for about 15-20 FHS students to Peru. The students would start planning and fund raising now. Preparing for about 17 months for the trip to last a month. It would bring them to Peru for service, educational and recreational opportunities that should last a life time. A video overview of the organization and the trips they conduct from both the teacher and student points of view are available on Franklin Matters. The School Committee did approve that the planning for this trip can continue.

World Challenge:

On the regular school committee meeting topic list, a couple of items rose.

The MA assoc of school committees sent some information on developing regulations about vehicles idling on school property. After some discussion, the SC recommended reaching out to the Police Dept for advice on how enforceable this would be before proceeding.

The State and Federal Race to the Top program was discussed. There is potential for a small gain for large pain is the short way to say this. The program would provide some stimulus funds for education but is targeted to poorly performing districts and we are a high performing district. Even if we did spend the time and effort to try and implement, the return would not cover the effort involved. I like the fact that the return on investment (ROI) was considered in this case.

The School Committee provided some guidance to Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski, Asst. Superintendent Sally Winslow and Director of Finance, Miriam Goodman on what the SC would like to see in the 2011 school budget package. The first presentation on the budget is scheduled to occur at the next meeting, Jan 26th.

The School Dept received a visit from the DESE in December. The visit included a fiscal review (not an audit) that was praising the operations of the Business Office.

It was not too long ago, it seemed like every time you turned around, something or someone was chipping away at the block of trust that citizens had in Franklin's government. The low point probably occurred just before Thanksgiving 2007. The School Committee released information that irregularities in the School budget had been discovered by the Town Comptroller. This appeared to be a "classic release bad news before the holiday move". However, this was not a story to be buried. This was the most serious of several incidents that had residents of Franklin questioning who they could trust. The January 9 2008 Town Council meeting was actually a joint one as the Town Council sat along with the School Committee to hear the auditors present the details of their findings.

Sorry to have brought the bad news back up but I want to put this real good news in the proper perspective. The Town (including the Schools) budget has been audited since then by the Town's regular auditors and the results have come up clean. Policy and procedures have been revised and implemented to improve the financial operations with appropriate checks and balances. The "trust" issue from a budget perspective should have been put to rest.

If someone was still looking for another source to confirm the Town auditor's findings, I think we have one. The School Department was recently the subject of a "fiscal review" by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and received praise for their operations.
The Franklin Public School has done well in maintaining a comprehensive system of written internal policies and procedures relative to its operations of the School Business office. Implementation of a comprehensive system of internal controls ensures that funds are expended in compliance with state and federal regulations and are used for the intended purposes of the grant.

Franklin Public Schools has a number of best practices being performed. Management and other department personnel should be commended for not holding credit cards in the name of Franklin Public Schools.

Additionally, the school district does not have an administrative petty cash fund, while most districts find this a necessity; Franklin Public Schools has done well in eliminating this potentially risky practice.

The credit for this commendation goes to the work of Miriam Goodman who came into this role specifically to address the problems and create good practices. Kudos to the School Committee for the hiring process that resulted in approval of Miriam for Business Administrator.

Miriam has done great work, she shows integrity in her work and the Town is better off for it.

The full text of the DESE letter can be found on Franklin Matters. Along with the long term financial planning committees' work, this goes a long way to helping to restore trust in our local government.

DESE Letter:

Looking ahead this week, the Town Council meets on Wednesday, Jan 20th.

The agenda includes a presentation from the architects of the plan to re-do downtown and a report from the subcommittee on the Charter revision.

Both of these topics are critical to Franklin's future. The Charter determines how we govern ourselves to conduct our town business. The Downtown presentation will determine what the downtown will look like.

As a frequent commuter train rider, I am interested in finding out how they will handle traffic coming out of the downtown parking lot when a train arrives especially if there is two way traffic on Main St. It already takes several minutes to get out with one way traffic. Allow a left turn between Dean Bank and Acapulco's Restaurant and I wonder what the effect will be?

There will also be a presentation and vote on a change to the solid waste and recycling rates. You should pay attention to this for a number of reasons;
  1. it affects what you put on the curb
  2. it will potentially effect your pocketbook or wallet
  3. it can position the town better off for being green and environmentally conscious

To recap, the School Committee had some good recognitions, and good educational opportunities to highlight.

The Town Council meeting Weds can help determine our future in real ways.

I strongly suggest that you take an active role and come down to the Council Chamber to observe and take the opportunity to speak up if necessary.

As I close this session this week, let me remind you that
  • If you like what I am doing, please tell your neighbors
  • If you don’t like something, please tell me
Thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission
I hope you enjoy!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to the website to listen to the audio version.

"I have a dream..."

Martin Luther King's birthday and a national holiday. Time to watch once again "I have a dream".

Vote January 19th!

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

Town Council - Agenda - 1/20/10





  • Public Land Use Committee  (Jeff Livingstone)
  • Finance Committee  (Christopher Quinn)


  • Report on Charter Revisions
  • Update on Downtown Project - Weston and Sampson


   1.  Zoning Bylaw Amendment 10-639: Amendment to Chapter 185-5 Zoning Map: Biotechnology Uses- Referral to Planning Board
   2.  Zoning Bylaw Amendment 10-640: Amendment to Chapter 185-42: Biotechnology Uses- Referral to Planning Board
   3.  Bylaw Amendment 10-621: Chapter 82; Appendix A:  List of Service Fee Rates, Solid Waste and Recycling Fees - 1st Reading





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


Note: the quick look agenda does not include the two presentations (Charter revisions and Downtown Project) that are included in the full agenda and accompanying documents (PDF) on the Town Council. I am assuming that the full package is correct and that the quick look agenda will get updated before the meeting.

Franklin, MA: Municipal Housing Trust Announcement

The Franklin Municipal Housing Trust Announces



The Franklin Municipal Affordable Housing Trust is making available $480,000 to be paid in grants to income and asset qualified 1st time home buyers. 

Click on the link below for information on this new affordable housing program.
Sponsored by the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust

MaryAnn Bertone
Robert Gagnon
Maxine Kinhart
Jeff Nutting
Judith Pond Pfeffer
Susan Speers
Christopher Vericker

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Town Common Memorial - night view

The memorial on the Franklin Town Common is impressive at night

Franklin, MA: Department of Public Works (part 1)

The Department of Public Works (DPW) provides a wide range of services to the residents of
Franklin. It is organized into eight (8) divisions:
1. Administration
2. Engineering
3. Highway (including Highway Maintenance and Construction, Central Motors, Snow
and Ice Control)
4. Park and Grounds (Parks; School Grounds Maintenance and Forestry/Insect Control)
5. Water (including ground water withdrawals, water treatment and distribution)
6. Sewer
7. Solid Waste and Recycling (including the operation of the Beaver St. Station)
8. Street Lighting

The major functions of the Administrative Division include developing capital projects, long range planning, intergovernmental relations and compliance, grant writing, processing various private construction permits, drain layer licenses, DPW- purchasing, budgeting, accounting and payroll, and water/sewer/trash billing, sprinkler/hydrant billing and cross connection billing.

Capital Projects
The Administrative Division in conjunction with Engineering and the operating divisions develop major capital projects.

Design, permitting, bidding of I-495 Exit 16 Interchange has been completed.
Construction at this sight will commence fall 2009.

An extensive interview process was held and the engineering firm, Weston and Sampson was selected to work with the Town for the improved design of the Downtown area. Options and ideas are being considered to make the “Triangle” area more pedestrian and business friendly. Considerations include providing two-way traffic on route 140 again, underground utilities, period lighting, planters, sidewalk and cross brickwork, curbing and parking improvements and an improved transition with Dean College. The Town is still waiting for Funds to be released for this project. It is anticipated that “Survey work” will commence in fall 2009. Design work continued on Pleasant and Lincoln Streets, and survey work was undertaken on Grove Street.

The DPW continues to initiate, forecast, design, plan, fund and permit long-range projects with construction phased in over the next three to four years. Progress on specific capital construction projects is outlined in the respective Divisions’ portion of this report.

It is important to note, that many of these projects are preformed “in-house” without “bidding out” complete projects to “outside contractors”. To plan, design, permit, and construct these projects “in-house” is a very arduous and requires a lot of coordination and cooperation between each DPW Division and other Municipal Departments. By doing many of these projects this way, the Public Works Department is able to save substantial amounts of money that can be used on other capital improvement projects.

The DPW was slightly re-organized last year. With the Public Works being tasked with the additional responsibility of maintaining all outside areas of school buildings and associated fields, a “Park and Grounds” division was created in D.P.W. All though no new employees were hired, it was felt to improve and standardize conditions of Town properties, one division and manager should be responsible. The new Park and Grounds Division is responsible for the outside maintenance of all Town of Franklin buildings whether a School, the Town Municipal Building, water stations, parks, etc.

Grant Writing
The Town received a $130K grant for Storm Water Improvements and a $5K grant for recycling programs. Much of the credit for the Town’s success in obtaining highway funding and other grants goes to the Town’s legislative delegation, including Rep. Jim Vallee, Sen. Scott Brown, Sen. Karen Spilka and Congressmen James McGovern.

Permits and Long Range Planning
The Town successfully was able to mitigate a Water Management Act Permit with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (D.E.P.) that covers “Permitted” water use. This permit governs how much water the Town can use annually. D.E.P. had proposed radical changes without recognizing all the work and monies that the Town has spent in the past to improve the infrastructure of the distribution system. The State has also failed to recognize the significant past and future growth of the Town and the conservation efforts of all the residents of the Town of Franklin particularly during the summer months. The Town of Franklin submitted a more realistic permit plan and was able to negotiate a solution that recognized the Town of Franklin as a leader in water conservation that meets the future growth needs of Franklin. The Town of Franklin continues to take a lead and work with other area Towns to insure that the region’s water supplies are protected.

The Town of Franklin continues to follow and implement the new “Phase II” Storm Water Permits as required by the E.P.A. Phase II required the Town to highly regulate and monitor storm water throughout the Town. The Department will continue to refine and improve adopted regulation to continue to improve the Storm Water in Franklin.

Long range planning is critical in the area of Public Works and must be accomplished consistently in order to ensure that the Town’s water, sewer and roads can support the needs of our residents. The Town’s Master Plan, the 1993 Water Distribution System Study, Sewer System Evaluation Study and the Sewer System Master Plan studies are important sources of planning information, which are utilized to support this planning effort. In October 2001, Tata & Howard of Westborough completed the distribution system update to the 1993 Water Master Plan. This identified approximately $40M in water system needs. The ‘20/20’ plan allows the Town to address the most critical of these needs.

Even though the Town of Franklin presently has a long-term trash disposal contract with Wheelabrator Corporation in Millbury The DPW continues to “look outside the box” to improve town wide recycling and collection procedures. The Town is in the process of negotiating a new long-term trash-hauling contract with various contractors. All options are being considered for collection, including “pay as you throw”, single stream, automation and any combination of them. We continue to work with the School Department and the Recycling Committee to reduce the amount of tonnage into the “Waste Stream” and increase recycling.

The DPW continues to work with both D.E.P. and the Massachusetts Department of Recreation and Conservation to facilitate the final closing and capping of the Beaver Street Landfill Site.

Hails and Farewells
The Department was fortunate to add the following people to its staff last year: Mr. Carlos Rebelo as the new Park and Grounds Superintendent, Mr. Alan Tetreault to the Highway Department. Mr. Robert Costanza, Mr. John Bedoya, Ms. Ann Durham and Mr. Philip Vondras transferred from the School department into the new Parks Division. Ms. Valerie Carrachino joined the office staff.

With gains, there are always losses. The greatest loss of the Department was the retirement of Mr. Phillip Brunelli as the Superintendent of Highway Department. Phil had a long career with the Department and moved up the ranks to “Superintendent”. Above all, Phil was a great “Snow Boss”. During the winter months, the roads in Franklin were always safest and best around with Phil running the snow program. Ms. Denise Zambrowski, the Town’s Environmental Affairs Coordinator, left for job opportunity in the “Private Sector”. Ms. Yvonne Tran was laid off as a result of budget cuts.

As the Director, I as always owe many thanks to my staff that make this whole department work and serve all residents in a timely manner. Everyone is committed to providing extraordinary service to the Town in the most cost-effective manner possible. The Town Engineer Mr. William Yadisernia, Office Manager Mrs. Paula Lombardi, Deputy Director of Operations Mr. Anthony Mucciarone, Water and Sewer Superintendent Mr. Alfred Boone, Highway Superintendent Mr. Kenneth Gormley, Park and Grounds Superintendent Carlos Rebelo, G.I.S. Coordinator Mr. James Esterbrook and Engineering Aid Mr. Warren Groth are all dedicated professionals that put in so much extra time and effort to make this Department a success. The Town and I are very fortunate to have such talented individuals to work with. I would also like to thank Linda Feeley, Paula Juarez, Sandy Wedge, Faith Flaherty and Valerie Carrachino who support the Administration Division. These individuals respond quickly and with courtesy to hundreds of requests for assistance and information throughout the year.

I would especially like to thank the “Crew” and the mechanics that work out of the D.P.W. garage. These are the ladies and gentlemen that are not always seen but provide the day-to-day services that are taken for granted. They pump, treat and deliver safe drinking water, they care for parks and ball fields, and they maintain the roadways, repair and sustain not only Public Work’s vehicles but also all Town owned vehicles and handle all our wastes. They are always available, day and night, working long hours to assist in any emergency situation whether it is snow removal, water breaks, sewer backups, wind/electric storms, flooding, etc. They are all extremely professional and dedicated to their jobs; I cannot thank them enough.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert A. Cantoreggi II
Director of Public Works

Paula M. Lombardi
Office Manager

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.  Additional departments of the DPW will be reproduced here soon.

You can visit the DPW pages on the Town website here

Franklin, MA: Franklin Public Library

Committed to Excellence in Customer Service

Community Vision Statement

Franklin strives to create a welcoming community:
Alive with a sense of neighborhood
Committed to the delivery of the highest quality education and lifelong learning opportunities
With a desire to maintain the welcoming character of a New England town and a vibrant downtown center
Where all residents can find convenient access to strong municipal services and enjoy a sense of security and physical safety
Where the professional and business community can find support and growth
Where residents accept and value their diversity and work collectively to enhance the well being of the community and
The library is regarded as the place for innovation, entertainment and information.

We value:
Customer service excellence
The people we serve, their opinions, capabilities, needs and interests
Freedom of expression and the free flow of ideas
Equitable access to library resources and services
Creative solutions and innovation
Our proud history and rich heritage
Our skilled and knowledgeable staff
Building on Solid Accomplishments
Through strategic planning, targeted service delivery, enhanced technology, productive staff and collaborations with other Town departments, the Franklin Public Library has accomplished large and small improvements in both external and internal operations in the past and current fiscal years. This report is sprinkled with a few of the countless positive comments we receive from a very grateful public. Our customers are many and varied in their needs. They comprise the very young, seniors and many in-betweens. Some come in daily to read the newspapers and magazines, while others come for computing, access to the Internet and electronic databases, quiet study, participate in book discussions, instruction, attend programs, place requests or check items from a vast collection of over 99,000 books, audio books, books on CDs, music CDs, DVDs, games and etc. They also appreciate the fact that they can obtain items from other libraries in a timely manner. In FY09 Franklin residents borrowed 4000 items from other libraries. The positive effect on the many that use library resources and services can better be summed in the words of one satisfied customer “I would be orphaned without this Library.”

Work on securing the building envelope is almost complete. The Town’s Facilities Department was very instrumental in this regard. The installation of security cameras and security access points now provides patrons with a greater sense of security. Entrances are welcoming. Interior spaces are warm, inviting and comfortable with many designated quiet spaces and collaboration areas for groups that are not necessary quiet. Many of our customers are very pleased and have enormous praise for the two contrasting yet complementary environments. An environment with accommodation for all: quiet havens and learning spaces for people who just sit and think or do computing, read a book, or magazine, or newspaper, or write. There are areas for active engagement with others such as studying in groups, conversation groups, instruction sessions and much more.

The Friends of the Franklin Library has been instrumental in updating and upgrading the appearance of the Library with classic furnishings and ergonomic workstations. While we wait for phase two of the renovation project, small steps to restore the original splendor of 1904 are underway.

We have replaced the oblong tables in the reference room with round mahogany ones and the tall shelving blocking the view of the murals with much lower shelves. This has changed the feel of the reference room, created more space for the entire magazine/ newspaper section and added to the grandeur of the lobby. Additionally, round tables are more conducive to group study. The Library patrons are genuinely thankful for our vast collections, responsive services and the comfortable surroundings. This description by a patron of the new magazine area by the fireplace reflects the general mood. “I have always appreciated your collection of magazines but this new setting is so relaxed. It makes you want to kick your shoes off and just stay in the library forever”.

13,416 reference questions were answered by librarians at the Reference and circulation desks. Customers made 213,781 visits to the Library. The Library filled 43,314 Interlibrary Loan request.

Circulation Statistics

The Library continued to experience extraordinary increases in use. Library stats, usually considered a key indicator of success are a fitting tribute to an exceptional and hardworking staff. They paint a glowing picture of our overall performance and point to a thriving, vibrant and relevant public institution. Big jumps in circulation, 12%, were the norm in the last fiscal year. From July – November of 2008, circulation rose again another 21% putting the Library on the top 10 increases in circulation in the State, on the front page of the Boston Globe (January 4th) and also on the front page of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners newsletter.
Note: This was written in mid-year 2009. The work on the exterior of the library building was completed. Work on the interior will be on the capital funds listing awaiting priority.

The Future
Once again, the Library faces an uncertain future. The library staff is committed to maintaining fundamental library services. However, significant cuts of the Library’s budget unravel much of what has been accomplished in the last five years. America’s Star Libraries have one common denominator – secured funding. Dedicated library funding translates into a better collection, more computers, more public programs, and more hours open, all of which contribute to outstanding public library service.
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.

The Library website can be found within the Town website here