Thursday, May 16, 2013

Town Council meeting summary - May 15, 2013

The Town Council had a busy session on Wednesday. If you turned aside for a moment you could easily get confused. There was a series of public hearings scheduled include the major one for next year's budget. Before getting into the budget, let's cover the zoning bylaw changes.

There were several sets of hearings covering different groups of bylaw changes.

1 - The first set was around impervious surfaces. A couple of these bylaws are still with the Planning Board for modification so it seemed confusing but all together the set will come forward eventually. There will be a hearing on June 5th to continue the discussion on this topic.

2 - The next set was some minor modifications to the adult entertainment zoning. These are being modified because the next set on medical marijuana is built upon the adult entertainment zoning. This set was officially the first reading of two readings by the Town Council. Hopefully, no one in the audience really wanted to speak on this and the next topic as the hearing were closed summarily without looking up to the audience at all.

3 - Next up was the set for the medical marijuana zoning. This would be provisioning the Town to handle a permit for a medical marijuana dispensary as approved by the voters in the last Statewide election. There are no current proposals but this prepares Franklin should one come forward. These were officially the first of two readings before being voted on by the Town Council.

Not covered by a public hearing were two items that were referred to the Planning Board. They are zoning adjustments and targeted to handle a possible RFP and proposal to utilize the long unused property on Pond St for an anaerobic digestion facility. What the heck is anaerobic digestion? Check out the wikipedia entry here to get some background info on this process.

The Planning Board is scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, June 3rd to review this. Per the meeting tonight, a bunch of information will be forthcoming so we need to wait for the hearing and pay attention to that one. Sitting the facility near the Tri-County Regional Voc Tech and in the middle of a neighborhood will generate some discussion for sure.

Having participated in the Finance Committee budget hearings there was nothing really new in this presentation by Jeff Nutting. You can find the detailed he shared in the full agenda document here

Jeff Nutting at the budget hearing
Franklin Town Administrator Jeff Nutting

The school budget was also the subject of a brief presentation and then the Town Council went into the reading line item by line item were some were held for further discussion on Thursday night.

I caught the Police and Fire budgets as the major ones held for discussion. I think I missed one or two others. We'll see for sure on Thursday.

There was significant discussion on the resolution to approve salary increases for the Town Clerk and Treasurer/Collector. They normally get the equivalent percent increase that everyone else gets. This year (and the first time in several years but the exact last time was not confirmed during the meeting)  there was a proposal to provide more of an increase to help make the salaries competitive. With the increase the salaries are 13,000 and 8,000 less than the average respectfully per the analysis done. The measure was approved by a roll call vote 8-1 with Judith Pfeffer the lone dissenting vote.

Under new business, there was discussion and we should see sometime in the future a presentation to consider funding options on how to get the roads into a better condition. There was also discussion on how to get a medical emergency facility located here in Franklin to better serve our community. More on this topic as it develops.

The full set of notes taken live during the meeting can be found here

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