Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Live reporting; Candidates Forum - Town Council

Note: since there are only seven candidates for School Committee, they are not participating tonight. Only the contested positions are being given time to present their position this evening.

Brett S. Feldman
Robert R. Vallee
Peter E. Padula
Charles F. Delfino, Jr.
Andrew M. Bissanti
Matthew T. Kelly
Glenn F. Jones
Judith Pond Pfeffer

Not Present
Thomas D. Mercer
Stephen T. Williams

Each candidate opens with a brief statement on their background and experience

Pfeffer - long history of servicing on various boards and committees
Jones - looking for second term
Kelly - multiple memberships on boards and committees, also looking for second term
Bissanti - long time Franklin resident, family history, business, second term

left to right; Bissanti, Kelly, Jones, Pfeffer

DelFino - looking for first term
Padula - had Vallee as a teacher many years ago, he will do his homework if elected
Vallee - looking for 8th term on Council, he is 'boring"
Feldman - former Finance Committee member, good knowledge of the Franklin finances

left to right; Feldman, Vallee, Padula, DelFino

statement read for Williams, former Chief of Police
statement read for Mercer, current Town Councilor, School Building Committee Chair

Pfeffer - asked how is government to serve and what needs improvement? Every year we are asked the same question, how do we get more money and no one here has that answer

Jones - the three major issues, (1) OPEB needs to be addressed, (2) maintenance of roads/streets and (3) finding new and interesting ways to generate revenue sources

Kelly - Should the Council play an active role or a passive role in business development? We just had an opportunity to do this. Sometimes it takes nine members of the Council to say we need to look at this or do this. Do this make sense for Franklin?

Biassanti - should Franklin adopt a mayor form of government? before we answer the question, we really should look at the different forms of government and decide what we want. Our current form mimic this as he answers to the Council.

DelFino - What do see as the Council's role in the daily affairs, especially to address the citizens concerns?Look at both sides of the story as presented to the Council

Padula - I would move on it sooner than later money now is cheaper than later? We do need to look at the cost of rehab and see what it would compare to the cost of a new building.

Vallee - how can the town best improve its financial situation? Look to expand the base as much as we can, there is not much other than raising taxes with prop 2.5

Feldman - how can the town best improve its financial situation? In my finance experience, Franklin does a great job managing the budget, there is no waste. Given that, trying to get more business in commercial and industrial. Look at different zoning opportunities. There is growth in the region along the i95 belt. Going to be tough, need to look at the long term, look to the future.

Pfeffer - favorably disposed to 5 stories in the central district? we recently passed changes to allow 3 stories, we do want more money, so it depends upon what it can do for Franklin

Jones - Treasurer/Collector should be elected or appointed? The question has come back up again and will be on the ballot. There are various reasons for qualification of the candidate. i am leaning to have it appointed but it is up to the peoples choice

Kelly - How would you fund the million dollar requirements to fix Franklin's roads? This has come up to the Council with the citizens concerns. You have a couple of choices; an override. You can bond it, a 15 year bond. But before you decide is you have to have a maintenance plan. The future Council has to worry about the fixing plan and the maintenance plan. It won;t be a one time problem. It will be one for years to come.

Bissanti - The Globe once described downtown as 'seedy'. You know I never realy through so. We do need to attract developers to the downtown, we need to give them the range and latitude to do something. They should have and opportunity

DelFino - the Council just approved the Master Plan? It was a good job to approve it.

Padula - wouldn you run for mayor? No, I would not run for mayor. I hope it wasn't a reference to your office (Bisaanti) moving closer to downtown. I know Vallee's office is downtown so it is not for that reason. I thiink it is a great discussion to have

Vallee - how should Franklin look in the future? Enhancing our revenue stream is importnat, to increase teachers in the school system. To revise our bylaw, we have a citizens committee shaking things up

Feldman - I am pro teamwork, on a team with five people from five continents. It can be hard, some can hold their own turf. We need to work together. Some sacrifices for other groups to get balance over time

Pfeffer - opinion on dual vs single tax rate? I have always been in favor of a single tax rate. It would burden the residential taxpayer

Jones -When should the Council assert its authority when a favor development is not being delivered? Our approach should always being in favor of what the community wants, if the council endorses something that the folks don't necessarily want, they should find out before asserting their authority

Kelly - maintenance of town buildings could be improved? the most recent example is the old town hall and surprise the Council. We had asked for these items every year. We want to go back to the providers maintenance records and get a report of repairs regularly. If I am re-elected, this will,be on the forefront. The council needs to be more proactive on building maintenance

Bissanti - would you support adoption of the Preservation Act? I would, folks don't realize how much that this program can offer for us. Bryan Taberner is in favor of bringing it forward

DelFino - Council role on the Town Administrator? It should be an even type of relationship

Padula - does the Cook's Farm bylaws fit into the Master Plan? if they don't they should, we need to put protocols in place so there are no issues?

Vallee - Shoud the council be proactive in residential and commercial development? yes, it is in the hands of the council at this present time

Feldman - what is the most pressing issue? the roads have been raised as the big, we did see a presentation on the DPW plan, with maintenance, we need to think about the funding options, look at other technologies on road repairs, issues with the State providing their funds. It affect people directly.

2 minute closing for each candidates

Pfeffer - goal of council is to serve all the people, people should go out an vote on Nov 5th

Jones -second opinion on voting, the major power of the citizens of this country for our community to be the best

Kelly - thanks to the panel for putting this together, thanks to the citizens for the opportunity to serve, my desire is to serve the people of Franklin

Bissanti - I will them with the proper pacing and drama. Without change there can be no growth. when we cease to grow we die. I did not miss a meeting the past two years. I look forward to be part of a council that will provide more direction than it receives

DelFino - since I feel down on the first two questions, I'll keep my closing short. I am willing and capable of making those decisions for the common good

Padula - life long Franklin resident, it has been a privilege and pleasure to raise my family here, with my background and experience I think I would be a value here and look for the opportunity to serve

Vallee - we had to be reactive mode instead of proactive, we need to craft something for Cook's Farm. We are not listed in the Top 50 in the schools in the state, I know why, we haven't funded it or staffed it properly. I want may councilors to get 10 new teachers, we are under staffed

Feldman - professionally I work in the energy industry, I have pushed to be as prudent as they can to control our destiny. I look forward to the new solar developments in town to help. I have worked on a number of boards so I know what it takes to make decisions and work things out. I look forward to being part of the solution

Thanks to the panelist

Liz Bank, Milford daily News
Greg Chalk, Dean College
Jim Roche
Jack Lank, United Chamber of Commerce

Two questions on the ballot read aloud by Town Clerk, Deb Pellegri

1 - binding is to move the current treasurer from elected to appointed
2 - non-binding to see what the voters would like to decide to see a mayor, it would take time to do so. only a public opinion question

absentee ballots are in, can come in to the office to vote

thanks to Larry Benedetto our moderator and our panelists

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