Thursday, March 8, 2012

Real time: Town Council 3/7/12

Present: Mercer, Dellorco, Kelly, Powderly, Vallee, Pfeffer, Jones, Bissanti, Roy
Absent: none

Note: I was able to watch via the live internet feed but connected as the Public Hearings got underway.

Sign Bylaw
Bryan Taberner and Beth Dalhstrom presented on the sign bylaw changes. These have been before the Council, went to the Planning Board to be formally reviewed and approved there and are now back before the Council. This is the public hearing portion of the cycle and first reading. There will be a second reading before the Council gets to have their final vote on this matter.

Much of the discussion was around the political signs. Frank Falvey stepped up from the audience to speak for the overall intent but against some aspects that would effectively limit 'free speech'.

The Council ended up moving the items to a second reading and in the process did remove the requirement for the political signs to be taken down post election. While there is a current bylaw limiting posting signs before and after an election, this new bylaw effectively removes those restrictions.

There was also discussion about the 'banner' signs and whether the Town could still post their banner sign on the railroad bridge to announce special events. Government signs are exempt from the bylaw. The bylaw applies to all signs by businesses and citizens.

Annual Audit
The annual audit was reviewed with nothing of significance to note. Franklin is delinquent in putting together a more formal risk policy but from my point of view while this would be a good ting to do, it does require people to do this and Franklin is not about to add staff for this nicety when there are so many other pressing needs. Frank Falvey again stepped forward to speak on the amount of time the audit results are delayed. The books for the fiscal year effectively close on June 30 and we are hear 8 months later getting results of the audit.

If something did come up along the way of the audit, notification would be raised at the time. The books are only available to the auditors in Sep (and that is likely due to the already short staffing situation). If we wanted to do business differently, we would need to staff accordingly.

Remote Participation
This was approved as discussed for the Town Council and its subcommittees. Each other body (School Committee, etc.) could model their policy after this but this doc only relates to the Town Council operations.

1. Resolution 12-14: Authorization to Borrow-repairs and remodeling to various school buildings, painting a tank, upgrades to the water plant, new water lines and engineering
motion to approve, passed 9-0

2. Resolution 12-15: Designation of “Special Municipal Employee” Under State Ethics Law
addition of the committee members from the Citizens Committee and Master Plan Committee under the indemnification protections of Franklin, as is done with other committee members.
motion to approve, passed 9-0

3. Resolution 12-16: Master Plan Committee – Amended
a technical adjustment as the original resolution did not include the number of committee members
motion to approve, passed 9-0

4. Resolution 12-17: Appropriation: Elections & Registrations
motion to approve, passed 9-0

5. Resolution 12-18: Appropriation: Veterans’ Benefits
motion to approve, passed 9-0

6. Resolution 12-19: Appropriation: Beaver Street Recycling Center
motion to approve, passed 9-0

7. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-669:Amendment to Chapter 185-45Administration and Enforcement – 1st Reading  motion to move to second reading, passed 9-0

8. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-670: Amendment to Chapter 185-3. Definitions – 1st Reading
motion to move to second reading, passed 9-0

9. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-671: Amendment to Chapter 185-4. Districts Enumerated – 1st Reading
motion to move to second reading, passed 9-0

10. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-672: Amendment to Chapter 185-20. Signs- 1st Reading
motion to amend removing the time restriction on political signs, passed 5-4
motion to move to second reading, passed 9-0

11. Bylaw Amendment 12-673: Amendment to Sewer System Map – 2nd Reading
motion to move to second reading, passed 9-0

12. Bylaw Amendment 12-679: Amendment to Chapter 82, Appendix A, List of Service Fee Rates – 2nd Reading  motion to move to second reading, passed 9-0

13. Bylaw Amendment 12-680:Amendment to Chapter 82, Appendix A, List of Service Fee Rates – 1st Reading  motion to move to second reading, passed 9-0

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