Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Live reporting - Long Range Financial Planning Committee

Present: Doug Hardesty, Craig DiMarzio, Graydon Smith, Sue Rohrbach, Orrin Bean, John Hogan,  Ken Harvey, Tina Powderly, Jeff Nutting (late), Glenn Jones
Absent:  Deb Bartlett

Brian Benson, Milford Daily News reporter, in attendance

Motion to approve minutes of Feb 9, Feb 23 meetings. Separate motions, both passed unanimously.

Agenda - to complete the review of the Long Range Financial Planning Report
the final  report of the prior committee from last year (PDF)

picking up on page 26
Structural deficit likely to continue

Another item to be added is the proposed EPA regulations (originally to be determined by Dec 2010 but not yet finalized) There are two aspects, one for the M4 permit and one for the private sector with more than 2 acres of impervious coverage.

Key example of the 'known unknowns' - tabled a full update of the regulation and issues around it, point to come back to, for now, just to have it acknowledged as an item

Discussion on prior committee role in making recommendations, they were not part of the charge but were attempted  (see page 27 of report link above)

Let's make sure that we can present the facts such that no matter what position one may take, they at least can work from the same set of numbers with confidence.

There is little remaining to be done with efficiencies in Town operations so from the Committee point of view that there is only an increase in revenues or a cut in services.

There is little agreement amongst some aspects of the population on this point however. The point needs to be addressed.

Improve transparency and accessibility remains a key route to success

comparative metrics can make a strong point but they can't be used alone

Do you spend time on new issues, or do spend time working to spread the word on what we have?
A regular question being revisited.

If you show some progress on the major issues, you might have a chance to gain their buy in

Town Council and the citizens, two major stakeholder groups
1 - From the Town Council view, how bad is the budget crisis and what can we do about it?
2 - We can't hold ourselves responsible for making those who are not interested interested. You have also folks who already have their minds made up. Then there are the people on the fence who haven't made up their minds. Those are the ones who we need to focus on.

Override vote in 2010 had 41.7% turnout. 2008 has 40.3%, and 2007 had 47.3%. In 2004 held in Nov, 83.2% turnout failed the override. Situation was different in 2004 compared to the more recent ones. In 2004, the stabilization fund was large and some money was used after the override failed to ameliorate the effect of the vote.

Looking to provide the best most reliable information to the electorate to enable them to make a decision.

Now to do some brain storming on some questions to propose answering withing each area of responsibility.

Where were we, where are we, where are we going?

In what ways can the Town manage its growth?

Do Franklin residents pay a reasonable amount of property taxes? Need to rephrase that as it already has a judgement in the question. Feedback on being under-taxed was underwhelming. What is the relative burden?
Need to have non-judgmental language in all the questions.

Why did I chose Franklin? Taxes, location, schools, house prices were all compelling pieces of the discussion when I came here 12 years ago.

What are relative out of pocket expenses for services? water, sewer, trash, busing... etc.

I know a cynic can attack any information put across. Anyone can raise a 'waste, fraud, and abuse' question without having to back it up.

 What is the ultimate goal, is the report just an update or will it look different?

Come up with the list of the key questions and then check to see if the Town leaders agree on these.
poll the council on the questions they would like answered? Poll at least some of the general public to gather some input from them. It will be a sample but should be something to work with.

What are the top 3 or 4 legislative items that would help the town benefit from a budget stand point?
We would have something to hand to Vallee, Spilka and Ross to go work
We could hand to the citizens the listing and say we can do only so much now and do more when these items are changed.

Bringing meeting to close. Continue to work on your own questions, send to Doug. He will compile and bring to the group for the next meeting to review/discuss the listing.

Need to balance the two constituents (Town Council and citizens) if we do one and not the other, then we'll not be providing enough information to make an informed decision.

One of the benefits of the way the committee is comprised is that we have a range of exposure to Town government and we want to leverage that in particular to ask fresh questions, simple or complex.

Franklin, MA

No comments:

Post a Comment