Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ichigo Ichie, Cook's Farm and a bunch of budget adjustments

Ichigo Ichie

The Town Council took up the Ichigo Ichie license suspension in a public hearing on Wednesday night's meeting. You may recall that the initial hearing on Sep 11th lead to a suspension of their license for 5 days. They appealed to the Alcohol Beverage Commission (ABC) and re-opened discussions with Franklin. According to the presentation by Franklin Attorney Mark Cerel, the town usually has an agreement with the party before the hearing. Due to some miss-communications around the consecutive days to be served (actual days in a row, not consecutive Fridays), the prior hearing had been entered into without an agreement. The miss-communication issues were resolved, an agreement was reached, and the appeal will be recinded to close the matter.

What had been a 5 days suspension with 3 days held in abeyance will now be a 4 day suspension with 4 days held in abeyance. The suspension of their liquor license will begin this Friday evening (Oct 18) and run through Monday (Oct 21).

Related posts 
August notification of pending hearing 
September hearing result

Cook's Farm

What had been one of the most contentious discussions of this Town Council ultimately ended with the passage of a set of zoning bylaw amendments each by a 6-1 vote. With two councilors recusing themselves due to relations with the Cook family, and the requirement to obtain a 2/3 majority vote, the 6 votes was the minimum required for passage. The measures had been moved to the second reading by a 5-2 vote putting the measures in jeopardy.

What changed? One can observe that Councilor Roy's defense of the measure as meeting many of the goals and objectives of the recently approved "Master Plan" to be the turning point. There is still no consensus on this time as the Planning Board voted against approving the measures and the lone Council "no" vote had previously declared the same objections. On this day, enough votes were gathered and assuming the remaining steps in the process for approvals both by the town and the backers of the development make progress, then there will be a 35 unit housing development on the property.

Budget adjustments, funding approvals

With the bond sale to fund the new high school completed, the funds received were more than forecast so there were some technical adjustments to the FY 2014 budget which will result in a saving to the Franklin taxpayer. The tax bill increase for the new high school will be approx $35 less than forecasted.

With the Finance Committee endorsements, the Town Council also voted to fund the Senior Center stabilization account, the operational stabilization account, approve funds for paying the ambulance bills, and to hire a technician for the new high school.

This continues the fiscally prudent steps of putting some money aside now to be available later. The second floor of the Senior Center needs to be built out and these funds are accumulating to be able to do so in about 2016. The small house on Beaver St recently purchased by Franklin will be demolished to allow an expansion of the parking lot. This work will begin sooner as it will be required before the second floor is completed and brings additional folks to the Center.

House to be demolished

The full set of notes from my live reporting at the Town Council meeting can be found here

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