Saturday, February 13, 2010

Solid waste - Newton's info

Newton implemented an automated single stream solid waste process similar to what is coming to Franklin. From the Newton website I found the following:

The size of the cart was selected for several reasons:
  1. In a survey conducted in 2007, 88% of the households could fit trash into this cart;
  2. The cart will encourage more recycling;
  3. The average household in Newton produces approximately 40 lbs of trash per week.
  4. NOTE: The new blue carts will hold the same amount as two large standard trash bags (each holds 35 lbs) or five small kitchen trash bags (each holds 20 lbs) or two 35-gallon barrels (each holds 40 lbs)
  5. In the pilot survey, 82% of the participants stated that the 64-gallon carts held their weekly trash without a problem.

Thanks to Warren Reynolds for providing the link from his post on the new system. You can read Warren's post here:

The link to Newton's pages can be found here:

Time to wake up on obesity

There are a number of problems in this world but many of them pale in comparison with obesity.

Franklin's budget problem is minor. The trash fee is minuscule.

Jamie Oliver gave this talk at TED recently. It is a powerful and yet easy message to take a step on. Today.

Powerful? Wait until you see the wheelbarrow!

What are you going to do?
When are you going to start?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wired Kids Summit

The Franklin Teenangels group could use your help in raising money to attend the following event. If you would like to contribute, please contact Lisa Keohane

Prior posts on the Teenangels can be found


The Milford Daily News wrote about the Teenangels here


The Fifth Annual Wired Kids Summit logo
Wired Kids and The WiredSafety Group’s  FBI-trained Teenangels
and Tweenangels invite you to join them at their Wired Kids Summit
given entirely by these expert teens and pre-teens.       
 Teenangels and Tweenangels share:
·        What do Kids Currently Use the Internet for?
·        What are the Latest Interactive Technologies and How Do Kids Use Them?
·        What Sites Do Kids Visit the Most and Why?
·        What’s the Latest on Kids and Cyberbullying, Blogs, Cyber-dating, Downloading Media, Privacy, Security, Cell phones and Text-messaging as well as Predators on the Web?
Come Join Us and Hear from the Real Experts –
The Teens and Preteens Themselves
Panel discussions: The summit will consist of panel discussions run entirely by FBI-trained preteens and teens, our real Internet experts. Moderated by Parry Aftab, cyberlawyer and Executive Director of Wired Kids and the Wired Safety Group, four separate panels will allow the expert preteens and teens to share their expertise, views and accolades about the Internet, their favorite sites and visionaries.
An Awards Ceremony take place throughout the summit, including our Internet Super Hero Award which will be presented this year by Marvel’s Spider-Man and Parry Aftab.
About Us and the Wired Safety Group is a 501c3 organization. It is the largest online safety and help group in the world, operating through thousands of volunteers in 76 countries around the world. The Wired Safety Group operates,,, and

Date: May 25, 2010
Place: WashingtonD.C. at the Senate Russell Building, Room 325.
Time:    Registration will begin at 9:00 A.M.
The Summit will be held from 9:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.
A special lunch will be served for invited guests from 1:15 P.M. – 2:30 P.M. Over lunch, the Tweenangels and Teenangels will join the guests and share their expertise and presentations on Internet predators will be delivered by Teenangels with bestselling author, Katie Tarbox. (Sorry, luncheon invitations are reserved for special guests, WiredKids advisory board members and Teenangel supporters.) 
Space at the Summit is limited so please reserve your place early by e-mailing us at or by visiting and clicking on “events” and filing out the reservation request form.
We look forward to seeing you!
·        Panel 1: Stop Cyberbullying! presents information about how young people are using the internet to harass other kids online. The panel will cover real cases, prevention, and safety tips for parents, kids and schools.
·        Panel 2: Keeping Kids and Families Safe in a Digital World will share information about the 4Ps – privacy, predators, pornography and piracy, the new video, the Teenangels’ and Tweenangels’ own safety tips and what parents, schools and industry leaders should know.
·        Panel 3: The Secret World of Kids Online will share hidden risks of new technologies and showcase products and improvements created or enhanced by the TeenAngels as well as recommendations for features to existing products to enhance online safety, privacy and security.
·        Panel 4: Just for Fun will explore what kids enjoy doing online including their favorite sites and activities. (The Wired Kids Best of the Web Awards will be given during this panel.)
Awards Ceremony:
The Summit will include awards for the following:
·        The Teenangels Hero Awards
·        WiredSafety’s Super Librarian of the Year
·        The Wired Cops Awards
·        The Educational Superstar Award
·        The Wired Kids’ Best of the Web Awards
·        The Internet Visionary Award
·        And for the first time, our Internet Super Hero Award will be presented by Marvel’s Super Heroes, including Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk
In addition, the Internet safety video – The 4Ps – Privacy, Predators, Porn and Pop-ups will be released in honor of Christina Long, the first confirmed murder victim by an Internet sexual predator.

HMEA 5K Race/Walk - May 23rd

The Horace Mann Education Associates - HMEA, Inc. is located here in Franklin, MA but their effective service delivery is to over 100 communities in MA.

HMEA has a long history of providing innovative services in school, at work, at home and in the community and now serve over 2400 children and adults with developmental disabilities. Services include: Residential, Day and Family supports, and services for children.

HMEA's Employment Programs provides people with disabilities the opportunity to pursue meaningful employment either on a full- or part-time basis. For people in the Employment Program who work part-time, HMEA encourages volunteering for community organizations, or leisure and recreation activities to supplement their day.

HMEA's Employment Programs serve people 22 years of age and older who live within the commuting distance of program locations in the following cities and towns: Bellingham, Clinton, Hopedale, Plainville and Worcester

The annual fund raiser for HMEA is the 5K Race/Walk and Family Fun Day scheduled for May 23, 2010.

From Passionate Runner

SAVE THE DATE...Sunday, May 23, 2010 HMEA's 9th Annual Independence 5K Walk/Run in the Park - MARK YOUR CALENDARS and grab your sneakers to participate in this "Fun-filled Family Day fundraising event...
This event, which is hosted by our good friends at EMC2 Corporation in Franklin, MA gathers 2,000 or more people to help HMEA continue its mission to make a difference in people's lives. AND, all the money raised is returned to the many programs at HMEA, which supports 2,400 children and adults with intellectual challenges and developmental disabilities.
Once again we have Gene Lavanchy from Fox News25 and tentatively Gail Huff from WCVB-TV Channel performing hosting duties for us. And our great friends and inspiration to many, "TEAM HOYT", Dick and Rick will be on hand again this year -- plus we're pretty sure there will be a few other celebrities and mascots on hand as well!
So come on down and participate in the fun...there's raffle prizes, food, tee shirts for participants (while they last), prizes, a Kids Corner filled with games and activities, a Kids "FUN RUN" and so much more... 

In addition to working the road race registration table (and providing splits at the 2 mile mark), I have decided to help HMEA do some fund raising this year.

I love the quote from Horace Mann that they use on their History page:
"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity"

You can help the HMEA make a difference with a donation. I have a widget in the center column of this and my other blogs, should you choose to donate an amount within your means.

I will appreciate it.
The HMEA clients you help will too!


If you would like to register for the race you can do so here

If you'd like you can contribute in one of several options directly through the HMEA website here

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Solid Waste Pros/Cons - Updated

I received two emails this morning in response to my posting here. I provide answers to them as follows:

The first:

The new trash fee will be $233 (MAYBE it will go down to $220, but no guarantee).  However, all cost bases are going off the $220 number.  I feel that is a big mistake.  There is no $20 savings per resident.  There is only $7, based on the assumed current cost of trash pickup being $240.  So stickers to the dump will cost $20 now, which means the residents net cost is $13 for those wishing to use that service.  It is not a wash.

Do you know where they are getting the 800,000 from?

Let's walk through this step by step. It can be confusing and easy to mix up the numbers to end up with incorrect math. I caught one of my own mistakes as I went through this.

1 - The current annual is $244. That is 4 quarter charges of $61 dollars per quarter.
The proposal on Wednesday 2/10/10 was shown as $233
So the savings of this proposal would be $11.

Considering the Beaver St Sticker fee would increase from $10 to $20, the net savings for the approx 2500 folks considering the $11 savings for the annual curbside fee would be $1.

2 - The original proposal of the new system would $220. This does still require a Council vote but I think would be likely. More likely than not. The further savings of $24 dollars would come from use of a surplus of the Solid Waste enterprise account. Jeff Nutting has mentioned this a couple of times. Application of the surplus against the curbside fee would allow for the $220 annual fee for the next two years.

You may argue that the application of the surplus would be better used elsewhere. Those could be options to consider. Considering the cast flow and time value of money, the savings provided by the reduced fee to Franklin residents today would be better.

However, assuming the $220 becomes the new system fee, the resulting savings is $24 per resident per year.

Applying the $24 savings to the increase in the Beaver St fee it becomes better than a wash which I did claim earlier. The resident now saves $14.

Annual Curbside fees  
Current         244
Proposed 1    233
Savings 1       11
Current         244
Proposed 2    220
Savings 2       24

Beaver St sticker  
Current          10
Proposed        20
Increase       -10

3 - The $800,000 is the gross amount required to fund the totters/bins required (with some spares). Jeff Nutting has said a couple of times that the full amount may not be needed. Historically, an amount authorized for borrowing if not fully utilized can be rescinded and has been rescinded. You can check the actions for the Town Council meeting on February 3rd, where two prior bond authorizations were rescinded as no longer required.

Per Jeff it is $45 per totter/bin and we need 2 for each resident. $90 per resident at 8600 residents comes out to $774,000 or $800,000 in round numbers.

The $800,000 would be borrowed against the enterprise account to finance the purchase of the totter/bins over a five year period. This amount is included in the calculations that would still result in either the $11 savings or the $24 savings.
4 - As I went back through my notes and the Town video archives, the presentation to the Council at the January 20th meeting showed a $3 over flow sticker. Assuming the $24 savings, this would allow residents to obtain 8 overflow stickers and still break even for the year ($3 x 8 = $24).

The second:

You refer to a $20 savings in your article, but I thought the savings is only $11. Which is correct?

Actually based upon the above, my "savings of $20" is an incorrect calculation. It should be $24. It currently is $11 until the Town Council approves the budget which as I mentioned above is likely to bring it to $24.

I hope this helps to clear up some confusion around the numbers, some of which I contributed to with my own math error. 


For additional information:

1 - You can review the Town Council meetings on the video archive here

2 - You can review the solid waste presentation to the Town Council on 1/20/10 here

3 - My summary of the recent Town Council meetings covering this topic
2/10 ->
2/03 ->
1/20 ->

Solid waste - pros/cons

While it is a done deal with the Town Council approving to set the new trash fee at $233 per year (with future action to possibly reduce it to $220 per year) let's recap the impact on the average homeowner.

My typical trash day:

What it could be with the two new tooters:

Approx 2,500 people get stickers at Beaver St to dump trash there. The cost for the sticker will go up $10 to a total of $20. But the annual curbside pickup service rate drops from $240 to $220 so it is a break-even situation for those 2,500 folks. They pay $20 for the Beaver St sticker but save $20 $24 on the annual curbside rate. For the other approx 6,000 Franklin trash users, they all save $20 $24 per year. Franklin has a net savings.

Franklin residents currently would need to buy and maintain their own trash barrels. The Town does supply the current recycle containers. In the new system, the Town will buy and maintain new 65 gallon tooters or bins or trash barrels with wheels. The wheels should allow for easier movement from garage or wherever to the sidewalk or curbside. If a wheel comes off, call the DPW and they'll get it repaired. All this is included in the $20 $24 per year savings.

The totters (bins, barrels, etc) would be purchased from the enterprise account. With current interest rates, the financing cost will be minimal and after a projected five year payback, the Town owns the totters. The annual rate can drop as the financing is complete. The Town could elect (and probably should elect at that time) to put some of the project $19 savings aside in the enterprise account for future purchases to replace the totters as they wear out after ten years. All this would be done with the existing $20 $24 per year savings and a possibility for more after five years.

Some fear that the large totters with wheels will be too hard to navigate from the garage/shed/wherever to the curbside. Well it seems to me something can roll a whole lot easier than it can be carried even if the ground is uneven. The Town has committed to give the 65 gallon containers a trial period. At different times it was talked of from 3-6 months, after which if someone really needs a smaller container, they can have one. There would be no reduction in fee for the smaller size. They would still benefit from the overall $20 $24 annual savings.

Some fear that the 65 gallon container would not be sufficient for their normal trash usage. This might be a good opportunity to look at your trash usage and perhaps try to recycle more, or change your purchases to avoid creating so much trash. For those few times a year (holidays and special parties, in particular) where the 65 gallon container would not be enough, the resident could obtain (in some not completely specified manner) a sticker to put out an additional bag (at presumably an additional cost). It could also be an opportunity to be careful about what goes into the container when it would be anticipated to get too full and hold some of the trash for the following week when there would be more space. It could also be an opportunity to put some in with a neighbor (assuming they have room). It could also be cause for the resident if this happens on too frequent a basis, to actually obtain an additional 65 gallon trash container and pay the additional fee for it. How many residents would fit into this category on a regular basis? Good question, I don't believe anyone knows. 

Given the one uncertainty and the more compelling cost savings considered above, I think the Council made a good choice. The final result will clearly be known overtime as the new system gets implemented.

Updated - I caught a math error of my own that was replicated throughout this posting. Subtracting 220 from 244 is 24 not 20.

Town Council - 02/10/10

The collection of posts live reported from the Town Council meeting on Wednesday can be found here:

Spilka and Vallee to Hold Office Hours in Franklin; Fri - Feb 19th

Senator Karen Spilka to Hold Office Hours in Franklin

Join Senator Spilka and Puja Mehta, Senator Spilka's District and Constituent Services Director, for coffee and conversation.  They will update constituents on the latest news and events, and answer any questions you may have.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Franklin: Elizabeth's Bagels and More
10:00 a.m -11:00 a.m.
456 West Central Street, Franklin


Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin, will hold walk-in office hours on Feb. 19 in Medway and Franklin.

Vallee or a member of his staff will take visitors at the Medway Town Administrator's office on 155 Village St. from 9 to 10 a.m.

From 10:30-11:30 a.m., he or a staff member will be at his Franklin office at 4 West St.

He and his staff may be reached at 617-722-2600 or

In the News - trash fee reduced, Seniors get aid

Franklin sets new trash fees

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin seniors missing out on aid

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

"a real positive service for the whole community"

Despite a tight budget, state Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin, has announced that more than $30,000 in state funds has been awarded to area Councils on Aging.

On Friday, Vallee said Franklin was awarded $22,841 and Medway received $10,346.

"In tight budget years (the state) is generally cutting programs, but this particular program went up" he said Monday. "It's indicative we're satisfied with the way grants are being utilized."

Each town was granted $7 per senior citizen. Vallee said last year, towns were only allotted $6.50 per senior.
 Read the full article in the WickedLocal pages here

Grants to help seniors

from Wicked Local Franklin News RSS

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Live reporting - closing

Councilor comments
Zollo - thanks for the participation tonight. The amount of preparation and process was important. I would recommend you focus with the same level of interest and forethought at budget time. That is a very important process.

Pfeffer - he said it much better than I could, please come again

Jones - reiterate with Zollo and Pfeffer said, come out again

Whalen - I was really happy with the level of interest in this issue. I did listen to all the concerns raised tonight. They just didn't counter balance the three benefits, (1) reduced cost, (2) increased recycling and (3) the overall efficiency of the system.

A lot of people said that you didn't realize the hidden costs in this. I can not agree, Jeff, Brutus put in a lot of time and effort in this.

Mason - I was in Baltimore and saw their snow removal operation, I want to thank Brutus for the excellent work they do.

Live reporting - legislation

1. Resolution 10-06: Acceptance of Gift- Franklin Library
motion to accept, seconded - passed 8-0

2. Bylaw Amendment 10-641: Chapter 82; Appendix A: List of Service Fee Rates, Solid Waste and Recycling Fees – 2nd Reading
motion to accept, seconded

(copy of cost comparison to be added later
copies of the three motions by the Recycling Committee)

Pfeffer - the committee voted to not increase the Beaver St fee
Nutting - yes, we are loosing money there and would like to get closer to break even

Pfeffer - how many stickers do we sell?
Nutting/Cantoreggi - about 2,500

Vallee - I will not support this fee increase as it will be a deterrent to recycling

Powderly - a couple of questions, first; a clarification on the bulk items being put out, there is no cost to the residents if the amount was above or below the forecasted amount
Nutting - that is correct

Powderly - second question; what if some residents can't physically manage these totters/bins?
Nutting - we'll be able to handle them but let's go with everything the same to start. We'll be able to offer a smaller one after a reasonable time to try the system.

Pfeffer - would there be a different fee for the smaller device?
Nutting - no, the fee would be the same for either size

Zollo - summary of what he is hearing
1 - promote recycling
2 - promote recycling in a cost effective manner
spreadsheet shows comparison of current system versus new system, current is $100,000 more than the new system

Nutting explains about the cost of the bins/totters is estimated as being paid off over the first five years, after the fifth year, there would be a further savings of about $19 per resident. The totters have at least a ten year life, likely beyond that so we'll save further money.

Zollo - I am having a hard time understanding why this would not be a benefit to the town and its citizens?

Kelly - How would the totters/bins would be distributed?
Cantoreggi - The contractor would distribute them to the residents

Mason - what about the maintenance, wheels falling off, etc.?
Cantoreggi - yes, there would be some damage from misuse, we have factored in $25,000 to cover the damage. We will have spares and parts available.

Whalen - the concept of imported trash, can you explain that?
Cantoreggi - Franklin has a curbside collection program, most of the surrounding communities do not. Imported trash is basically folks from other communities bringing in their trash to put on our curbs where we would pick it up. Millis has to pay a $1.50 a bag to dispose of it. They can save by coming here. It is hard to put a quantitative number on it. The bigger weight savings we'll get is with the lid, we would save on water weight.

Nutting - under this system, with bulk items, you'd still have to call and let us know they have something to pick up. It would be a separate truck to come by.

Jones - What about the existing barrels and recycle bins?
Cantoreggi - we would recycle them at Beaver St. One of the programs that Chris implemented at Beaver St was for recycling the large plastics. You can do the large kids toys, etc. that way.

Jones - I have two 65 gallon bins of my own, is there anyway to insert them in the system? I am all for recycling that is a good thing. I am looking to make this as easy as possible.
Cantoreggi - Ours are colored and have a tracking system in them.

Pfeffer - only the people that are paying for trash will be getting totters/bins?
Cantoreggi - yes, we've scrubbed the listing. It will be easier to track going forward with the tagged bins.

Vallee - Every other meeting it seems to me that Mr Nutting comes in here proposing a tax increase, it is disguised as a fee but it is a tax. The people outside are getting anaything, in fact their loosing their jobs. There are 2,000 families that are making less than $35,000 per year. There are 8,000 families making between $35,000 and $49,000. I will not support a tax increase whatsoever.

Dan Innauzzi (?) - On the bulk burnables, the proposal was for $25, did it change for the large items?
Nutting - We negotiated a flat fee rather than accept his proposal. That was his original proposal, it doesn't mean we have to accept that.

Dan Innauzzi - We are reducing the services as well as the cost so it not apples to apples.

John King - Is there a cap?
Nutting - the cap is that we have a contract that they will live to, they are not taking any risk in this. They have all kinds of statistics based upon what they do for a living.

John King - What is the number of bulk burnable items?
Nutting - There is no limit. There is about 1700 per year for the town. There is no risk in the current system, there is no risk in the new system.

John King - I would like to note that there is probably a risk in the future. Are we not essentially going from an unlimited recycling system to a limited recycling system?
Zollo - Single stream dramatically improves the recycling. All gets into one bucket, it is easier. The odds that we would increase the overall amount in the one container.

Nutting - with the totter its effectively four of our bins today that would go out each week. In all our research, we have seen nothing in this area as an issue.

Mason - I mentioned that I have been given one of the new totters to try out. I have found that I have not been able to fill this.

Peter Lopes - I have been very happy with the current contract. Is this a one year contract?
Nutting - No, this is a multiyear.

Lopes - Why wouldn't you count the 15%  reduction against the current contract? I think that defies logic.
Cantoreggi - the 15% is a forecasted reduction and actually a conservative number

Lopes - I think it is a bad time to be borrowing $800,000 with numbers that someone is guessing at. The numbers don't really mean anything if there just a guess.

Dellorco - I am very happy with the current system as it is. I worry about the $11 evaporating very quickly. For the sake of $11 I don't see the sense of changing. If every month or so, you put out an extra bag, the savings goes away. My understanding is that you can do single stream without the use of the totes. Was that pursued?
Nutting - no

Dellorco - it would save us the $800,000 and I am sure the current provider would be able to do this and save the money right away.

Mason - you're talking about an apples to oranges comparison, the bid that went out was for an automated trash pick up.
Dellorco - so there was no bid for single stream without the automation

Zollo - Is the current system single stream? did the current provider bid on the automated bid?

Nutting - yes, there were three bids, he was the highest. We started talking with them a year ago. It is quicker, faster, cheaper in the long run. Won't have as much blown litter down the street. You can't put a dollar value on some of these items. We would be the 22nd or 23rd community in the state to do this. We are not the first to do this.

Gene Garella - Chairman of the Recycling Committee
The trash budget is set up as an enterprise account, it is separate from the Town budget. The $800,000 would not detract from the Town budget, the schools needs, etc. The trash fee payers would be paying for this. The more we can recycle, the more we can reduce the trash and save on the tipping fees. I looked at this system to see that the costs would go down, otherwise the residents would not approve. We provide more convenience. We are buying them barrels that they would have to pay on their own.

Randy Davis - experience I had in Atlanta with the same contractor where I was on the homeowners board. They promised the same thing, we saw it the other way. The costs went up and we were stuck with the totes. What we saw it didn't change peoples habits. They were charged extra for the extra amounts they were putting out.

Mason - the fee is negotiated as part of the contract so it can not go up. other than the contracted price.

Powderly - any idea on how MA might be different?
Davis - That was ten years ago, maybe people have become more green.

Roger Sertivant (?) - I have purchase nice trash barrels recently and they might be recycled. At the end of five years, if this doesn't go forward, wouldn't we be needing to get new trash barrels or get another vendors barrel. To me the big problem is doing the separating, if I do it all it one it would be easier.

Nutting - the Town will own the barrels, so we will own them.
Mason - They are a standard design, more than one vendor uses these.

Jay Fredkin - I agree with a lot of the information.
1 - 800,000 bothers me, I would consider using what we have
2 - the bulk negotiations were done with the leading vendor why not with all three?
3 - you should let the vendors do some creativity, ask them for best and final, make sure there is some transparency across the board.

Zollo - let's just the accept the spec, the bidding process is best and final. The bid process produced difference that were not immaterial. All things would produce a net savings in the new system. Under the current system it is what it is. The current system does not produce. With the new system, the provider has made some assumptions that says there will be some reductions.

I am hearing wide discrepancies on the bulk items.

Citizen (TBD?) - Was there an override question on pay as you throw?
Nutting - Yes, in 2003.

Citizen (TBD?) Why aren't we doing that now?

Michael Galvin - the current contractor and a resident came in to comment
I can do single stream with existing trucks and save on the new trucks.
Something changed in the last week, Waste Management had bid $25 and now it is a flat rate? Something changed. It doesn't make sense.

Trying to pick out aspects of the system will break the system
Trust that the guys will work this system

Powderly - If we put it back out to bid, single stream, using our existing bins, without automation. The totters also bring cost control and reduction with water weight. There is a benefit not just because of single stream.  Would the benefits of a manual single stream system would outweigh the automated.

Citizens - imported trash, there is a massive assumption that the path to the street is level and clear. It also makes an assumption that at the end of this contract, we would still have the same system with the same barrels. We should embark on other ways to increase recycling. There are additional consumer constraints. I believe this chart is false and should be set aside.

Whalen - I gave a lot of thought to the elderly on how would implement this system. I have used and tried the barrels that were on display, They were extraordinarily easy to maneuver.

Jones - the single stream, whatever is in the barrel is assumed to be recycled?
Cantoreggi - yes

Jones - how would that catch items that shouldn't be recycled?
Cantoreggi - I can't sit here and say what people are going to do. It is an automated truck process. I haven't heard from others about that problem. The biggest problem is the solid waste. There were other proposals, pay as you go, etc. We were asked to come up with a single system. And we have.

Nutting - those items would get caught at the processing center.

Citizen (TBD?) - I have had my trash held and not picked up because it contained something it shouldn't.

Whalen - I was being relative in my assessment. Bending over and picking it up, versus tipping it back and rolling it, it is much easier and less risk of injuries.

Maxine Kinhart - I am single, with children, the wheeled unit changed my life, it is much easier. This is going to make my life a lot easier. I didn't hear that scenario said at all.

Robertson (?) - every week you have trash, seeing this coming in to save me a few bucks. I have two trash bins and they are full. How is this new plan really going to benefit people? I don't see the upside for certain holidays. The current system is flexible, I don't see how this will provide a benefit.

Mason - I am not a big fan of change especially when it is change for the sake of change. We are charged by the voters to be fiscally prudent. To me this is a no brainer, we are reducing trash, we are increasing recycling, I don't agree with not raising the Beaver St fee.

We have a motion on the table.

Powderly  can I make a motion to amend?
Nutting- the Beaver St fee is in the DPW budget, it is not in the enterprise find.

Vallee - what is the amount of the surplus and what do you propose to do with it?
Nutting - I would use part of the surplus to reduce the fee at budget time.

Role Call
No- Jones, Vallee
Abstain - Pfeffer
Yes - Kelly, Mason, Zollo, Whalen, Powderly

passes 5 (yes) - 2 (no) - 1 (abstain)

Live reporting - Senior Outreach

  – Senior Outreach- Update

Tina Powderly provides an update on an analysis that was done to examine the exemption amounts for tax abatements and other benefits for seniors.

The recommendations have been reviewed by the Board of Assessors and have been approved by them.

1 - Raise the exemption under 41c from 500 to $750. This exemption has not been raised since it was adopted.

2 - Exemption amount for 37a, to raise it from 437 to $500 which is the current max allowed by the State.

3 - Raise the gross ceiling under 41a - which is a deferral of property tax, this puts a lien on the home, it is not utilized heavily, want to tie the income eligibility to the circuit breaker program which would ease the tax burden administratively.

4 - Proposed to raise the property tax work off benefit from 750 to $800. This would be equal to the $8 minimum wage at 100 hours.

The subcommittee would like to bring these proposals forward at a future meeting for formal approval.

Mason - kudos to Tina for quarterbacking this proposal

Live reporting - Town Council

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

Absent:  McGann





 - Design Review Commission - Mark V Fitzgerald
motion to approve - passed 8-0

F. HEARINGS - none

What is online learning?

We are fortunate that online learning is being explored in Franklin. You may have heard of Moodle which is open sourced software used to deliver the content of a particular classroom subject. This video provides an overview of online learning:

Thanks to Dr Scott McLeod who writes at Dangerously Irrelevant for sharing this which he helped to create.

What are Smartboards?

Some Smartboards have been installed in Franklin's classrooms and more are being requested in the capital budget. What is a Smartboard and how does it work in the classroom?

These two videos will provide an overview:

"Interactive white boards" is the better description for this tool. Smartboard is also a brand name which is becoming like Kleenex and used to refer to tissues.

School Committee 02/09/10

The collection of posts from the short School Committee meeting held on Tuesday, Feb 9th can be found here:

Let's be honest! - seminar for Middle School Parents

The second of three seminars for parents of 5th through 8th grade students will be held Thursday evening, beginning at 7:00 PM Horace Mann Middle School Auditorium. The seminar should end about 8:30 PM.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Mindy Craven is the scheduled speaker for Thursday's Let's be honest seminar:
Mindy Craver is a Senior Community Health and Sexuality Educator for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.  She has been facilitating sexual health presentations for 14 years and is part of our Professional Training team.   Mindy has held teaching positions at several area agencies including Health Awareness, Pro Health and ResourceFul, Inc. and has consulted with many other Central Massachusetts agencies, fostering a solid reputation for providing fact-based, fun and experiential sexual health programs.  Mindy has successfully reached a variety of audiences with her participatory teaching style, including public middle school students, high risk youth, social service professionals, and parents.  Mindy’s workshops are age-appropriate, thought provoking, and engaging.  Currently, Mindy is focusing her efforts on the launch of Planned Parenthood’s parent education program Let’s Be Honest in Worcester.  She is a graduate of Bridgewater State College with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.

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

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Franklin mock trial team beats Bellingham, 83-77

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Melanie Graham/Daily News staff on 2/9/10

In their final preliminary match of this year's mock trial competition, Franklin High School beat out Bellingham High School 83 to 77 this afternoon.

With the win, Franklin remains undefeated this year with a 3-0 record in the state-wide mock trial competition, sponsored by the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Bellingham, who entered today's match undefeated, falls to a 2-1 record.

In the match, Bellingham acted as the defense and Franklin as the plaintiff. The trial took place at Bellingham Public Library.

This week marks the third and final week of preliminary competitions. Each team has three preliminary matches within one of 16 regions.

Following the results of this week's matches and any necessary tie-breakers, 16 teams will be chosen to move on to the next round. The final match will take place Friday, March 26 at Faneuil Hall in Boston.

Things you can do from here:

Vallee to hold office hours in Franklin, Medway

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Staff reports on 2/9/10

Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin, will hold walk-in office hours on Feb. 19 in Medway and Franklin.

Vallee or a member of his staff will take visitors at the Medway Town Administrator's office on 155 Village St. from 9 to 10 a.m.

From 10:30-11:30 a.m., he or a staff member will be at his Franklin office at 4 West St.

He and his staff may be reached at 617-722-2600 or

Things you can do from here:

Live reporting - closing items

5. Information Matters
• Superintendent’s Report
a. Enrollment Comparisons
b. The Backpack Bulletin – February 2010

391 students thus far have registered for kindergarten

Old business

New business
No information about the status of school, the weather information is still sketchy.

FEF Trivia Bee - Apr 29th
The central office has a team called the Histerbees!

Summer catalog for LIfe LOng Learning is not out, check out the offerings.

Motion to enter executive session, to not return to open session.

Live reporting - Action items

4. Action Items
a. I recommend acceptance of a check for $3,000.00 from the Davis Thayer PCC for field trips & in-house enrichment.  motion to approve, passed 5-0

b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from Lueders Environment for the district gift account for scholarships.  motion to approve, passed 5-0
c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $3732.50 from the Oak St. PCC for In house enrichment as detailed.  motion to approve, passed 5-0
d. I recommend acceptance of the donation of labor to fix the Davis Thayer scoreboard from Mr. Glenn Jones as detailed in the attached pictures.   motion to approve, passed 5-0

Glenn spoke about his idea to remove the existing scoreboard that was approx. 50 years. Confirmed by a couple of folks that is was there when they attended. He was planning on painting and returning it, when he plugged it in, he found it still worked. He had to replace or repair some components. A new clock is included. Donations from a number of businesses helped along the way. It is now hanging in the Davis Thayer gymnasium.

He has a few surprises to reveal during a presentation scheduled for Wednesday assuming the weather holds.

One way to test the scoreboard would be have some test with the School Committee and the Town Council in some competition.

It was a lot of fun for Glenn to do. He hasn't come across many things that old that still works and is functional.

Live reporting: School Committee

Present: Cafasso, Rohrbach, Mullen, Roy, Trahan
Absent: Douglas,  Glynn (for the very short public meeting, he did arrive in time for the Executive Session)

1. Routine Business
• Citizen’s Comments   none
• Review of Agenda
• Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the Open and Executive Sessions of the January 26, 2010 School Committee Meeting.  motion to approve (with minor adjustment for Executive Session to adjourn, not to return to open session) passed 5-0
• Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn
• Payroll Mrs. Douglas  not present
• FHS Student Representatives
• Correspondence:  Budget to Actual

2. Guests/Presentations
a. none

3. Discussion Only Items
• none


Abbey Wind Turbine

I got out to Mount St Mary's Abbey in Wrentham to record this brief video of the wind turbine in action:

One advantage of wind over solar, the wind sometimes doesn't stop when the sun goes down. It can continue to generate power during the night as long as there is sufficient wind.

Earlier posts/photos of the wind turbine can be found here

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

Franklin mock trial team beats Holliston, 97-84

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Melanie Graham/Daily News staff on 2/8/10

In their second preliminary match of this year's mock trial competition, Franklin High School beat out Holliston High School 97 to 84 on Friday.

The win brings Franklin's record to 2-0 for this year's state-wide mock trial competition, sponsored by the Massachusetts Bar Association.

The match, which took place at Waltham City Hall, had Franklin acting as the defense and Holliston as the plaintiff.

Franklin coach Michael Walsh said four members of the team received a perfect score of 10 for their performance. Each performance, whether it is an attorney or witness, is scored on a scale from 1 to 10. The highest possible score for a team is 110 points.

This week marks the third and final week of preliminary competitions. Each team has three preliminary matches within one of 16 regions.

Following the results of this week's matches and any necessary tie-breakers, 16 teams will be chosen to move on to the next round. The final match will take place Friday, March 26 at Faneuil Hall in Boston.

Franklin's next match will take place Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. against Bellingham High School at the Bellingham Public Library, 100 Blackstone St.

Things you can do from here:

Monday, February 8, 2010

FM #57 - Week ending 2/7/2010

This internet radio show or podcast is number 57 in the series for Franklin Matters.

Let's take about ten minutes to keep current with what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends February 7, 2010

In this session I’ll cover the Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, Feb 2, and the Town Council meeting on Weds, Feb 3.

Time: 8 minutes, 52 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:
This internet radio show or podcast is number 57 in the series for Franklin Matters.

Let's take about ten minutes to keep current with what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends February 7, 2010

In this session I’ll cover the Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, Feb 2, and the Town Council meeting on Weds, Feb 3.

1 - The Finance Committee heard the initial presentation from the major Town departments, Facilities, Schools, Technology, Fire, Police and DPW on the capital requests. Much more is on everyone's list that was actually presented. There is a prioritization being done by the departments, guided by Town Administrator Jeff Nutting.

No vote was taken on the capital requests. As Franklin uses 'free cash' to fund both the snow/ice budget and capital, we need to wait until winter passes to see what we have left for capital.

Some have asked why don't we fully budget snow/ice? Franklin has been gradually increasing the amount over the past several years. One of the risk you run is you also don't want to fully fund it for a bad winter, then the next year you can't reduce it due to state finance controls. Bringing it up higher to be closer to reality is good, getting it exact is not a good thing to do.

The free cash is a good use of coverage for snow/ice. Someday, there should be a capital budget line item but it won't be not anytime soon given the budget constraints that already exist.

The vote on the capital budget would more likely come in late March or April depending upon the winter season and how close it seems to be ending.

For additional details on each departments needs, there are posts on Franklin matters. You can also view the video archive to see the meeting and discussion for yourself.

2 - For a short Town Council meeting, there was a bit of interesting discussion.

The discussion started right away with Citizen's Comments
Michael Galvin, Vice-President of American Waste Services, LLC (the current waste contractor and a bidder on the new contract), also a Franklin resident spoke.

He referenced an 11 page document that apparently the Town Council received (at least some of them) and tried to condense his remarks to keep within the guidelines for citizen's comments (5 minute limit)

He didn't make it; he got cut off at five, but then was allocated another five minutes from another resident.

This is what I walked away with:
- The contract is still under negotiation, three bidders are involved, why is this discussion in public, shouldn't the other two have equal access?

- There is some dispute about the numbers. If the current contractor has actual numbers, why wouldn't they be considered along with the research from other communities? Why weren't the actual numbers from Franklin's experience included earlier in the discussion. (If they were, it wasn't apparent from the discussion Weds.)

- Mr Galvin's comment should have stood alone. However, when the second piece of legislation scheduled for the meeting agenda came up for discussion, the conversation deviated from the matter at hand to get into this.

- The second piece of legislation was the authorization of the purchase of the totters/bins to implement the single stream contract. The totters would be used no matter which of the three bidders won.

The argument by Councilor Vallee that this is the wrong time to spend any money is interesting. This is actually the best time to buy the totters (assuming we go with this single stream process).
* The interest rate (for financing the purchase) is as low as it can be
* The cost for the bins will be low
* The waste rate will actually be a cost savings for Franklin residents (from $244 to $220, a $24 savings)
* It will be a sort of 'stimulus purchase' for the vendor who actually sells us the bins/totters, hence a really good deal, especially at this time

Given that the waste fee second reading will come before the Council for the 2/10/10 meeting, this discussion will possibly be continued and revisited with more time wasted (yes, that pun is intended) by some folks trying to.micro-manage the situation.

Assuming the second reading does come forward, all it is supposed to do is set the rates for the Town to charge the residents. The contract will still be negotiated sometime before the current one expires on June 30th.

Stay tuned to see what happens!

Looking ahead
The School Committee meets on Tuesday
The Town Council meets on Wednesday

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.

Finance Committee 02/02/10 - Collection

The collection of posts covering the Finance Committee meeting of Feb 2 can be found here:

Finance Committee - 2/02/10 - part 2

Deputy Chief Steve Semergian, Kevin Ryan - Police Dept

Requesting to replace 5 cars from 2006. Replacing some desktops and laptops that are ready. There are also printers to be replaced that are getting hard to fix and get parts for. While the cruises are being replaced, the cars go to the garage and would be re-used within the Town.

Question on Police request for computers why are they not part of the overall Town Technology budget listing?
Nutting - Good question, I hadn't thought of it that way. They do have some special needs and requirements. Everything does go through Tim anyway. Everything is purchased off the State bid list, every copier is off the same manufacturer to ensure we have standard pricing and replacements available.

The pricing includes the special police software, the hardware pricing would be the same as the Schools.

Police cruisers have engine hours calculated to account for rolling miles and time just running and sitting.

Chief Gary McCarraher, Fire Dept.
Per Nutting, there is an Engine replacement requested but we have put that off at this time. Some of these requests, you have seen before.
McCarraher, it is groundhog day!

The Chief provides an overview of the department's equipment and life expectancy with the replacement plans, how they are utilized and re-utilized for different roles before going away. In general terms, the fleet rotation exceeds the recommendations of national best practices.

The Fire Dept full FY 2010 budget proposal (both operating and capital) can be found here (PDF)

Prior portions of the meeting can be found here

and here