Saturday, September 11, 2010

Municipal Calendar

The MA Dept of Revenue (DOR) publishes the Municipal Calendar so that each community government can plan accordingly. I have shared this here previously and will new readers joining us, think that this quarterly update is appropriate. While we see little of the work that all of the folks in the Municipal Bldg do for us in Franklin, this should give a good indication of some things that go on behind the scenes.

Municipal Calendar

September 15: Accountant/Assessors Jointly Submit Community Preservation Surcharge Report This report (CP-1) is a statement of the prior year’s net Community Preservation Surcharge levy, and is used to distribute state matching funds on October 15.

September 30: Taxpayer Last Filing Day for Classified Forest Land, M.G.L. Ch. 61

September 30: Municipal and District Treasurer/Collector Compensating Balance Report If compensating balance accounts were maintained during the prior fiscal year, a report and account analysis schedules are required.

September 30: Accountant/Superintendent/School Committee Jointly Submit End of Year Report to the ESE Schedule 1 — determines compliance with prior year Net School Spending requirement. Schedule 19 — determines compliance with current year Net School Spending requirement.

September 30 Accountant Submit Snow and Ice Report This report is a statement of snow and ice expenditures and financing sources.

September 30: Treasurer 4th Quarter Reconciliation of Cash for the Previous Fiscal Year (due 45 days after end of quarter or upon submission of a balance sheet for free cash/excess and deficiency certification, whichever is earlier) A reconciliation is the process of comparing the Treasurer’s accounts to the Accountant’s/ Auditor’s or Schools Business Manager’s ledger balance to determine if they are consistent, and for the officials to make any necessary corrections. When the reconciliation is complete, the Accountant/Auditor/School Business Manager should indicate agreement with the Treasurer’s balances. Reconciliations are required every quarter by DOR, but communities and school districts should reconcile monthly for their own purposes. The fourth quarterly report as of June 30 must be completed and returned to DOR. The first three quarterly reports of the fiscal year should be completed timely and filed in both the Treasurer’s and Accountant’s/Auditor’s or School Business Manager’s offices for possible BOA inspection or audit. Municipalities and school districts may also use these reports to monitor cash practices of the Treasurer’s office. If the Accountant/Auditor/School Business Manager and Treasurer are not consistently reconciling cash accounts, or if the reconciliations indicate variances, the Mayor, Selectmen or School Committee should inquire as to the reasons.

September 30: Treasurer Statement of Indebtedness Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 44, Sec. 28 requires the Director of Accounts to maintain complete and accurate records of indebtedness by cities, towns and districts. This statute also requires Treasurers to furnish any other information requested by the Director in respect to the authorization and issuance of loans. This Statement is the annual report required from Treasurers to accomplish this purpose. Treasurers should reconcile their debt records with the Accountant/Auditor before filing the Statement of Indebtedness to ensure that the Statement and balance sheet are in agreement.

September 30 State Treasurer Notification of Quarterly Local Aid Payments on or Before September 30 When local aid payments are transmitted to communities, the cover letter indicates what funds (e.g., Ch. 70, Lottery) will be made available, less quarterly assessments (see Cherry Sheet attachment for details).

October 1: Collector Mail Semi-Annual Tax Bills For communities using the regular semi-annual payment system, actual tax bills or optional preliminary bills should be mailed by this date.

October 1: Taxpayer Semi-Annual Preliminary Tax Bill — Deadline for Paying Without Interest According to M.G.L. Ch. 59, Sec. 57C, this is the deadline for receipt of the preliminary tax payment without interest in communities using the annual preliminary tax billing system, unless the bills were mailed after August 1. If mailed after August 1, the payment is due November 1, or 30 days after the bills were mailed, whichever is later.

October 1: Taxpayer Deadline for Applying to Have Land Classified as Agricultural/Horticultural Land or Recreational Land, M.G.L. Ch. 61A and Ch. 61B. According to M.G.L. Ch. 61A, Sections 6 and 8, and Ch. 61B, Sections 3 and 5, this is the deadline to apply to assessors to have land valued, taxed and classified as agricultural/horticultural or recreational land in the next fiscal year, unless a revaluation program is being conducted for that fiscal year. Under M.G.L. Ch. 59, Section 38 and DOR guidelines, assessor must review all property valuations and make adjustments to ensure current fair cash valuations every year. Because a revaluation program is being conducted every year, taxpayers who do not submit their applications by October 1 have until 30 days after the actual tax bills for the fiscal year are mailed to apply.

October 15: Superintendent Submit School Foundation Enrollment Report to DESE

October 31: Accountant Submit Schedule A for Prior Fiscal Year This report is a statement of the revenues received, expenditures made and all other transactions related to the town’s finances during the previous fiscal year. The Schedule A classifies revenues and expenditures into detailed categories that will provide information essential for an analysis of revenues and expenditures generated by various departments. This data, like other financial information reported to DOR, is entered into DOR’s Municipal Data Bank; as such, the Department may provide time series, comparative and other types of analyses at the request of a city or town. This information is also sent to the US Census Bureau and eliminates a prior federal reporting requirement. Failure to file by October 31 may result in withholding major distributions of state aid until the Schedule A is accepted by BOA.

October 31: Selectmen Begin Establishing Next Fiscal Year Budget Guidelines and Request Department Budgets

October 31: Assessors Begin Work on Tax Rate Recapitulation Sheet (to set tax rate for annual preliminary tax bill communities) A community that uses the annual preliminary tax bill system (on a quarterly or semiannual basis) should begin gathering tax recap information in order to have enough time for the tax rate to be set and tax bills mailed by December 31. See August’s Complete Tax Rate Recapitulation Sheet.
November 1: Taxpayer Semi-Annual Tax Bill — Deadline for First Payment According to M.G.L. Ch. 59, Sec. 57, this is the deadline for receipt of the first half semi-annual tax bills or the optional preliminary tax bills without interest, unless bills were mailed after October 1, in which case they are due 30 days after mailing.

November 1: Taxpayer Semi-Annual Tax Bills — Application Deadline for Property Tax Abatement According to M.G.L. Ch. 59, Sec. 59, applications for abatements are due on the same date as the first actual tax installment for the year.

November 1: Taxpayer Quarterly Tax Bills — Deadline for Paying 2nd Quarterly Tax Bill Without Interest

November 1: Treasurer Deadline for Payment of First Half of County Tax

November 15: Treasurer First Quarter Reconciliation of Cash

November 15: DESE Notify Communities/Districts of Any Prior Year School Spending Deficiencies By this date, or within 30 days of a complete End of Year Report (see September 30), ESE notifies communities/districts in writing of any additional school spending requirements.

November 30: Selectmen Review Budgets Submitted by Department Heads This date will vary depending on dates of town meeting.

This calendar was provided by the Division of Local Services

Franklin, MA

Friday, September 10, 2010

Franklin Photo Day - Sat, Sep 11

  1. Take your camera
  2. Walk Main St
  3. Take some photos
  4. Share them on

Unlike last weekend, Labor Day weekend complicated by the remains of Earl, the weather this weekend looks to be much better.

Spend sometime with your camera walking along Main St (or your street) and take some photos of the environment around you.

What do you see?
How long has it been there?
Will it, could it change?

Share them on the Mapping Main St link. There are currently no entries for Franklin, MA.

Will you be the first?

And while you are walking around, if you see someone else with a camera, stop and introduce yourself.

Franklin, MA

Charter Changes - ballot question text

Jeff Nutting sent this along to share with you. This should be the text for the two ballot questions that Franklin voters will get to cast their ballot on in November:


Question #1 Summary:

The proposed changes to the Franklin Charter contained in Sections 1-7, 10-13, and 15-25 of the Home Rule legislation include updates to various provisions to comply with existing law or to reflect current municipal practice; they also include several technical corrections.
The major changes are summarized as follows: redefining duties of Town Council Clerk to comply with Open Meeting and Public Records laws, providing the Town Council with the ability to reorganize itself and flexibility in scheduling meetings, clarifying the Town Administrator's authority and duties including his appointing authority, updating the listing of standing committees and appointed positions to eliminate obsolete ones, provision for both a temporary and acting town administrator if the town administrator is absent or the position is vacant, reduction of the finance committee from eleven to nine members and updating of the process for their appointment, updating of annual budget and financial planning processes, elimination of obsolete section governing personnel suspension and removals, and elimination of obsolete transitional provisions in connection with charter's original adoption and prior amendment.

Question #2 Summary:

The proposed changes contained in Sections 8, 9, 14 and 26 of the Home Rule legislation eliminate Treasurer-Collector as an elected position and make it an appointed one; the appointment will be made by the Town Administrator and ratified by the Town Council as is presently the case for all other town officers except the Town Clerk. A transitional provision allows the incumbent Treasurer-Collector to continue in office until the end of his elected term.

Franklin, MA

Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee Meeting - Agenda - 9/14/10

Proposed Agenda for Sept. 14, 2010
Location: Franklin YMCA 45 Forge Hill Road
Start Time: 7:30PM

I. Call to Order / Introductions of New Attendees
A. Introduction of new attendees
B. Review & approve minutes of previous meeting
C. Ask for volunteer to keep minutes of meeting

II. Report from our representative from DCR
A. Gates & Grading
B. Sheet of Acrylic Glass & Painting of Kiosk. What information can we place under the Glass?

III. Membership Committee Report
Committee to report on membership activity
Corporate Membership questions & policy decisions

IV. Report from Finance Committee
Report from Treasurer

V. Report of Fund Raising Committee
Report on fund raising activities
Report Road Race Committee

VI. Report from Grant Writing Committee
A. Chris & Dave to Grant Writing Workshop on Sept 17th

VII. Report on addition of Network Solutions as our new web site hosp provider
Remote monitoring
Navigation & Links

VII. Unfinished Business:
Discuss proposed meeting with Scott Brown
Build business plan
Who to attend & when

VIII. New Business:
SWAP Legislative Breakfast slated for Sept 24th. Invitation from Beth Dahlstrom to Comm Chair and one other.

IX. Set Date & place for Next Meeting and Adjourn

Franklin, MA

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Franklin on Chronicle - Monday, Sep 13 at 7:30 PM

You may recall that Chronicle came to record in Franklin during August. The word is out now that the Franklin town segment on Chronicle will air Monday, September 13th 7:30 PM on Channel 5 TV

Franklin, MA

Charter Changes - Approved by Governor

The changes to Franklin's charter were approved by Governor Patrick and are confirmed to be on the November ballot. The November election will give Franklin voters the chance to approve or reject the changes as proposed.

The actual PDF (Chapter 331 Acts of 2010) as signed by the House, Senate and Governor can be viewed here:

This will result in two ballot questions to appear on the November ballot. The text of those questions will be published here as well.


My reporting from Town Council meetings earlier this year on the Charter changes can be found here

1 - Charter revisions reviewed by subcommittee 

2 - Charter revisions got a formal hearing 

3 - Charter changes approved by a 6-2 vote (Jones, Zollo, voted no – Vallee was absent) 

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

Franklin, MA

5th Annual Casino Night - Nov 19

On Friday, November 19, 2010, the Franklin Education Foundation (FEF) will hold its 5th Annual Casino Night at the Franklin Elks from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. The event will feature Black Jack, Roulette and Money Wheel as well as raffles, a Silent Auction, cash bar and FREE hors d’oeuvres. The event is well known as a fun evening out with friends and neighbors, all while contributing to a worthwhile cause.

FEF is currently seeking table sponsors as well as auction donations. If you have an item to donate or if your company is interested in sponsoring, contact FEF. It’s a great way for local companies to show their commitment to education in Franklin.

Admission is $25. To avoid waiting in line at the door, advance ticket purchase is recommended. For ticket purchase, auction donation or sponsorship information, please contact Peter Minor at (508) 541-6700 or Cash only accepted for chip purchase. Checks and Visa/MC accepted for Silent Auction items. For more information visit

Since 1997, The Franklin Education Foundation events have raised well over $190,000 which has been distributed to Franklin public schools in the form of special grants. All Franklin Public School staff members are eligible to submit creative, innovative ideas for programs or activities that would not traditionally be funded by tax dollars. To see a list of programs FEF have funded over the years, visit

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: the sign in question

During the Citizens Comment portion of the Town Council meeting Weds evening, Ken Norman objected to the sign on the Town Common near the revamped war memorials.

Going back to May 2009, these signs were present (one in front, one further behind)

A more recent photo (March 2010) shows the enhanced sign.

This seems to be a more permanent sign than the one depicted in 2009. The coloring is aligned with the monument color scheme.

What do you think? Should the sign be there?

Franklin, MA

Town Council - 09/08/10

The collection of posts reported live during the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Sep 8, 2010 can be found here:

Franklin, MA

In the News - DelCarte, affordable housing, yard sale, Taste of Region

Franklin council wants more info on dam project

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin celebrates addition of affordable senior housing (with video)

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Live reporting - Closing

Eaton House open house today, a great accomplishment on affordable housing that took a long time to get here

Water conservation restrictions were removed

EPA has $300,000 grant to help Milford, Bellingham and Franklin to help figure out the storm water issue that you'll be hearing more of

Sep 29th, a presentation on the downtown area is also available

Powderly - any data on the new trash program?
Nutting - I think we are waiting on the first quarter to complete

Pfeffer - discussion on sewer policy
Mason - October is a good month to discuss sewers

Jones - vacant and abandoned property bylaw, properties around town are in this condition and we don't have something on the books to address this.

Nutting - several communities have adopted something like Mr Jones is suggesting, to get the title holder to take care of the property. I think it is worthy of discussion of the Council. 

Jones - I also think would be good to avoid a safety issue.

Mason - let's put this on the first October meeting

Motion to put on an agenda a vacant and abandoned properties
Motion to approve, passed 7-0

Powderly - thanks to Steve Sherlock for helping to keep the community informed

Kelly -schools open, please drive safely

Jones - Sep 14th primary coming up, get out an vote

Whalen - I would like to comment on the $1.29 million that the School Dept just received.
The money was our share of a $10 billion Federal Jobs bill. It was good to receive. Hard to see how it generated such diverse reception. The timing and nature is problematic. It could have come earlier to avoid the layoffs. The short term and non recurring nature requires that the funds only be used for teacher salaries and benefits. This is a short term fix, cash windfall. Relative under investment compared to our peer towns.

Mason - Florida plays inaudible buzzing noise to keep the teenagers away from parking lots, on Channel 11 we play rock music to scare the seniors away. 

Thanks for all the grant writing you do, it helps a whole lot.

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

Motion to adjourn, Passed 7-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Action items, continued

8. Bylaw Amendment 10-649: Amendment to Sewer System Map, Coutu Street- 1st Reading
Bill Yadsernia, Town Engineer
Approx 400 feet for a private sewer line to connect to a public street and public portion of the sewer line
meets the bylaw criteria, a single house for a single extension, done twice before on Brook (and somewhere else)
400 feet paid for by the developer and remain a private road

Pfeffer - I am for this one, a single house is the way we should be going
Vallee - do you recommend this?
Yadsernia - yes, I do

Motion to approve, passed 7-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Action items

1. Resolution 10-48: Appropriation – DelCarte Open Space Design & Permitting of Repairs to Dam
Background on donation of the land to the Town, research done, proposal to repair dams now before us. Cost reduced to $1.3 million. The amount of $140,000 is for the final design and permitting for the work to take the next step. The debt stabilization account has functionally completed its use, the money can be used for other capital purposes.

There are open space and recreation grants available but on a once a year cycle, need to have the engineering work in place.

Ray Willis (Conservation Commission) - Dams 3 and 5 are being registered with the State. Due to the height and amount of water being held back.  Dam 5 in the most dire condition. Not only holding back the pond behind 5 but all the water behind the others before it as well. Earthen dam with one concrete sluice-way.

If we do nothing, the worse case is the pond would revert back to a stream. It currently serves as a storm water storage system. It reduces phosphorus before it gets to the Charles River. By loosing the pond, we would loose treatment. The exact amount of phosphorus is unknown.

The pond network provides flow control. If you remove the pond it would increase the flow through to the lower areas. If an upper dam would fail, then the flows would increase downstream. 

They are all earthen dams. The flow control structures maybe partially concrete.  With Dams 3 and 5 the State will eventually look at them and tell us what to do.

Vallee - That was a brook, it was created once years ago to create a cranberry bog or fish pond.

Whalen - Part of the Capital Budget process is to prioritize the requests, is there a reason that this can't be included.

Nutting - This has been on the capital budget, it now has a better cost estimate to help make an analysis.

Whalen - We have so many competing needs to scare funds, I am not sure where this fits in the priority listing.

Nutting - We have to take 50% of the phosphorus out of the Charles River. This is the largest body of water that will allow us to do that. If we can get some state grants etc. 

Pfeffer - Can you do what Mr DelCarte did and dump rocks, etc on it?

Willis - You need to reinforce the entire structure, fixing just one section will increase the pressure upon the other.

Pfeffer - we have lots of open space money can we use that?

Nutting - we can't use the funds that are already in the account. We can use it from future contributions to the fund.

Jones - Does it means that as soon as we register the Dams 3 and 5, the State will state looking at them and force us to fix them.

Willis - We are waiting to hear back from the State on what they will do.

Jones - do they have any funding for this?

Willis - I don't know that information.

Powderly - is there a threat to the surrounding homes if a dam we to fail?

Willis - There would be some damage to property but no loss of life as far as we can tell.

Con Commission - It is a beautiful piece of property, it is being used, it can be used even better with some investment in the upkeep of this property. Down the road we can have an amazing recreation place. The residents are locally patrolling it, keeping it good. It would not be good to let it fail. 

Chamenski - It is a beautiful area, full of wildlife. As this thing dries out, it does smell. It has an impact on the abutters. We have a beautiful area. To Mr Vallee's point, there has been a change, man-made or not, there is change. There are heron, geese and other wildlife. We should restore what has been created not take it away.

Alfieri - Conservation Agent - All these dams have already failed, they are already leaking, the ability to hold back the level is already lost. These ponds have drained and filled back up. The odor that comes off from the area. Not just from the dead fish, but from the vegetation. We have signs all over the dams to warn against crossing them, they are dangerous.

Whalen - I would like tonight not to be an up and down. Is there a larger document that goes with the summary we have. 

Nutting - You can table it and we can come back with the Engineering Company to answer questions.

Motion to postpone until the next meeting (9/29/10), passed 7-0

2. Resolution 10-49:Rescission of Authorization to Borrow, Municipal Parking Garage - removed from agenda,  motion to approve removal, passed 7-0

3. Resolution 10-50: Rescission of Authorization to Borrow, Construction of Fire Station
Motion to approve, passed 7-0

4. Resolution 10-51: Rescission of Authorization to Borrow, Fire Ladder Truck
Motion to approve, passed 7-0

5. Resolution 10-52: Scheduling of Public Hearing to Consider Removal of Utility Poles, Overhead Wires, and Associated Overhead Structures in Downtown Area
Scheduled for Sep 29, 2010 7:10 PM

Motion to approve, passed 7-0

6. Resolution 10-53: Creation of Energy Committee
Motion to approve, passed 7-0

7. Resolution 10-54: Transfer of Tax Title Possession Parcels to Different Municipal Purposes
2/3 vote required, roll called, m
otion to approve, passed 7-0

---- 3 minute recess -----

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Town Council

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

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – August 4, 2010 and August 18, 2010
Motion to approve as amended (Whalen correctly absent but noted as seconding the motion to adjourn), passed 7-0

B. ANNOUNCEMENTS -Meetings of the Town Council are Recorded
Meeting also being recorded by Steve Sherlock for Franklin Matters


Ken Norman 
1 - representing former Veterans Memorial Committee, requesting removal of sign recognizing the businesses who did contribute to the memorial, temporary was okay but it diminishes the integrity of the site
2 - representing the Council on Aging, requesting the removal of the hard rock music being played while the announcements are scrolling on Channel 11
3 - won't be able to attend the hearing on the underground utilities, involving about six utility poles at the cost over $1 million dollars.
Cultural Council - C Kai Olsson
motion to approve, passed 7-0

Historical Commission - Mary O'Neill, Mary Morrissey Olsson
motion to approve, passed 7-0

Zoning Board of Appeals - Timothy C Twardowski
motion to approve, passed 7-0

F. HEARINGS - none



- none

Franklin, MA

"The earthquake is over, the disaster is not"

Glenn Jones is returning to Haiti to help with the recovery efforts from the earthquake. He will be
"continuing to contribute my electrical skills to a small village called Leogane. Leogane was in the epicenter of the Earthquake that shook Haiti in January."
Glenn wrote this letter to explain his contribution and seek your help:

Glenn Jones Letter on 'Going to HAITI'

A video summary of the work of MissionE4:

This is a great example of a "good news" that I'd like to share more often. If you have a good news story, please let me know.

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

Franklin, MA

East of Shirley at the Harvest Cafe on Sat Sep 11, 2010

The group East of Shirley is one that I have featured as the intro and exit music for the weekly podcast. They have scheduled a gig this Saturday up Rt 85 in Hudson at the Harvest Cafe.

More information on this gig can be found here:

Note: now that the summer break is over, I do plan on returning to providing a weekly summary. In case you missed the Jan - June recap you can find it here:

Finance Committee 09/07/10

The live reported posts from the Finance Committee meeting of Tuesday Sep 7, 2010 can be found here

Franklin, MA

Dean College: President's Cup Golf Tournament

The 14th annual Dean College President’s Cup Golf Tournament is scheduled for Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at the New England Country Club, Bellingham, MA.

Check-in, registration and breakfast begins at 8 a.m. The tournament begins with a shotgun start and scramble format at 9 a.m., and concludes with a luncheon and awards at 2 p.m.

For more information or to register, please contact the Dean College Office of alumni relations at 1-888-711-3326, or go online to

Franklin, MA

In the News - DelCarte, water ban, community garden

Franklin dams may be fixed

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin water ban lifted

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Live reporting - capital plan to closing

Head's up that we are looking to do a capital plan earlier than we have done before
the same five or six departments put in the capital requests, you should be able to do the due diligence

The staff will start working in October on the 2012 budget
Other than some increases in benefits, etc. we won't be adding folks,
Pension usually comes in about March, we would like to make decisions earlier than later
State potential shortfall of 2-3 Billion for next year, if that is true, it can't be good for us
Because we have lived with lots of State Aid, that hurts us more when the cuts come
It puts us at a greater risk for Fiscal 2012. Jim Vallee has done a great job for us, but if the state doesn't have money that won't help us.

Don't give me what you want, give me what you have now and any known increases
For example, an energy increase may be possible with a contract coming due next year.

The vote on the sales taxes could cut the overall State income in half and that would trickle down to us.
Let's look at a zero based budget, what are we actually required to provide by statue

The guts of government that cost the least are the ones you have to have, the quality of life is created by the other departments that do help us and cost the money.
It gets and will be very difficult. We have lost one of every ten jobs on the municipal side since I have been here. I don't see that changing.

The big piece of the puzzle is the schools. They have been working hard to do what they can with they have.
Maybe in a perfect world we have no net new revenue so we will struggle. We have done well with what we have. People are getting a great bang for the bucks they do spend.

When can we expect free cash to be certified?
Probably in November.

It is our policy to use free cash to fund the capital plan.
It is not free and it is not cash. The funds left over from the previous fiscal year are turned back and revenues in excess of anticipated. When it is all mixed together, it goes to the State, they then certify. Traditionally we have gotten around 2 million and we are a 100 million dollar business. We want to have some left over. It is better planning to have free cash than to be short. We are conservative in estimating revenues.
Usually set aside a half million for snow/ice right away. We are building that account up over time but we are not there yet. Depending upon the weather, we see what we have left. The capital plan goes up and down depending upon what we have left in free cash.

We can't use free cash to balance the operating budget. Free cash is one time and can be used for capital not operations.

It is confusing to some of the citizens but whether we have 40 or 45 police officers, they still need cruisers and cruisers do wear out over time and need to be replaced.

There are two items of concern: one the roll back on the sales tax and one the roll back of the liquor tax. The last time the roll back the income tax got 40 something percent of the vote.

Any further progress on regionalization?
Nothing yet, we have feelers out. It is a piece of the puzzle. We are doing the library and recreation. Fiscal stress is the mother of invention. The more stress, the more people may be ready to dance. There are so many pieces to the puzzle here in the commonwealth.

Hope to have a contract with the architect for the high school project completed next week. Still targeting next November for the voters to have their say on the renovations.

The Governor did sign off on the petition for our charter questions this November. We will have two questions (one with regard to the technical items) and two to make the treasurer/collector an appointed position. (The questions will be posted to Franklin Matters and discussed further as we get closer to November.)

Finance Committee would move to a three year term and be staggered to get into it. Some would take one year, some two year, and some three year terms to get it going.

It is important that the stabilization fund is not used for operations. Our overall balance is down 5 Million over the last several years. A reduction in rating now is about a half a percent on the bond rating.

We look at all the options. What is coming off, what will come on, what will it look like so we can explain to the citizens what the school issue would look like before the vote.

We upgraded out bond back in 2002. S&P has us at the same rating, Moody's dropped us.

New business
Oct 23 - Assoc of Finance Committee meeting at Tri-County

Cameron - re: funding just received by the School Committee, some of which is being saved and some is being used.
Nutting - If it came five months ago, it would have been a lot easier, three months later it would have been too late. They voted to use part of it and save the remainder for FY 2012. Any questions should be directed to the School Administration and School Committee.

The money was directed for teacher salary and benefits to be spent by 2012.

Motion to adjourn, passed 10-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Finance Committee

Present; Cataldo, Rivera, Meserve, Huempfner, Quinn, Cameron, Texieria, Feldman, Roche, Goldsmith
Absent:  1 open spot (Meare resigned)

Holding off on replacement pending the charter review where it would be reduced to 9 members instead of the current 11.

Brief review on the changes in the open meeting laws.

Minutes to approve
April 27, 2010 (budget hearing) - motion to approve, passed 10-0
May 4, 2010 (budget hearing) - motion to approve, passed 10-0
May 6, 2010 (budget hearing) - motion to approve, passed 10-0
May 10, 2010 (budget hearing)motion to approve, passed 10-0 as amended (one figure referenced 48 million, when it should be 48,000.)

Transfer from Debt Stabilization to DelCarte, $140,000
needed for engineering design and permitting to start the detail design work on the property
two of the dams have been registered per state requirements
fix a couple of dams, remove a couple, all designed to reduce phosphorous input to the Charles River
Full cost of repairs will be covered later with grants, in-kind work and potential debt coverage

Where does this leave us with debt stabilization account?
We really don't need to any longer, could have removed it during the budget process but it came up to late
Our debt is going down to a low 3 percent (below the 3.5 percent threshold)

What are potential liabilities if we don't do this work?
The dams are registered. There probably wouldn't be a whole lot of impact unless there was a major flood condition. If there was only one pond, the amount of phosphorous input to the Charles River needs to be reduced.

What is the Open Space fund for?
Yes, we do have one, it is for the purchase of or improvement of land purchased. Since this land was gifted, we can not use the fund to improve this particular land. If we did by some other property, i.e the DelCarte house itself, then those funds can be used to improve that land. We would have to change the legislation to use the open space funds for the 130 acres. It was special legislation for the town created in 2001.

What is the total projected cost?
About 1.3 million.

What about the grants?
Grants go in a cycle, we will look to see if any other them can cover in this case. Maybe get the Army Corp of Engineers to help us, or in-kind work. We'll look at every and all possibilities to get this work done.

Is this a bondable project?
Yes, that is an option if we can not come up with the other sources.

About 6 months of design work, look to the remainder no earlier than June
Would we like to have a shovel in the ground next fall, yes. But we don't have the money. We don't have to bond this for twenty years.

Motion to transfer $140,000 from Debt Stabilization Fund to Del Carte, passed 10-0

Franklin, MA

Let's start a community garden in Franklin

The Boston Globe has a cover page article on local campuses that are growing food to help the students with their learning and well as their health.

Franklin has already established some raised garden beds and is looking to expand upon that start to get into a community garden.
There is an effort afoot to start up a community garden in Franklin! This is your chance to get in on the ground floor. The first planning session will be held on Wednesday at 7:00 PM at the Franklin YMCA. No gardening experience is necessary.
The Growing in Franklin website can be found here

Related posts on raised gardens and the community garden effort can be found here:

Franklin, MA

Picturing America and Taking Pictures around Franklin

1 - The National Endowment for Humanities has created a new initiative Picturing America.
NEH also wishes to recognize the following organizations and individuals for their support of the program:
The Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the National Park Service have helped to extend the reach of Picturing America. 
Explore the website here:

2 - Public photography day is coming up Saturday, Sep 11, 2010
An idea is in the works by a few people. What we are hoping to accomplish is a peaceful mass photo get together from Coast to Coast City to City Town to Town across Canada and anywhere else to bring attention and awareness to the fact that public photography is not a crime and photographers are not criminals. Lately, in different parts of the world, photographers are being detained and sometimes arrested under the guise of ‘suspicious behaviour’ merely for photographing in public. Photographers are just people with a pastime, a hobby or a job and photography is the means in which we express ourselves.
Details on the photo shoot for Saturday can be found here:

Franklin, MA