Saturday, March 16, 2013

Three Franklin Events for Sunday, Mar 17th

1 - Start with the Community Garden. From 9:00 AM until noon there will be spring garden work and demonstrations

2 - Help celebrate the solar installation at the First Universalist Society at 11:45 AM

3 - Franklin celebrates it 235th birthday at the Historical Museum from 1:00 to 4:00 PM
Historical Commission Chairwoman Deborah Pellegri knows exactly how far her town has come since March 2, 1778, the date of its incorporation. And this year she will renew a tradition of holding public celebrations of Franklin's birthday. 
Pellegri, also the town clerk, invites one and all to a special party from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Historical Museum, 80 West Central St. In addition to wishing Franklin a happy birthday, she will recognize, as well, several residents born on March 2. 
Emma Newton, a 13-year-old harpist from Franklin, will perform, as well as local singer/songwriter Jamie Barrett, who’ll play "The City Known as the Town of Franklin," his ode to the town.

Read more:

Jamie Barrett's "The City Known as the Town of Franklin"

And an alternative to these three events would be to get to Boston to see the boys hockey team play in the State Championship game

TED 2013: Bono on poverty (video)

Spend 14 minutes to get some impressive facts on poverty.
"We're going to win if we work together as one, because the power of the people is so much stronger than the people in power." Bono

Take action. Become a factivist with

Or focus your activities on the Franklin community and help with the Franklin Food Pantry

In the News: Dean College, DelCarte

Lenny at Large: Dean College teacher on the Boston stage

The busy life is nothing new for McCaela Donovan. On this recent day, she is leaving the hustle of Boston for suburban Franklin, where the 30-year-old teaches acting to Dean College students who are serious about the craft, maybe as serious as she was at their age.

FinCom sets up development of new recreational park

The Finance Committee on Thursday night paved the way for a new recreational park inside the Ernest DelCarte Open Space, also know as the Franklin Reservoir.

Friday, March 15, 2013

DelCarte Recreation Proposal

There were two items on the Finance Committee agenda before they got into their budget hearing on Thursday. The first approved $35,000 for a solar powered speed alert to be installed on King St near the Parmenter School (Wachusett St) to slow the traffic down and make it safer for students to cross the road.

The second reallocated money that had been set aside for the repair of the dams on the DelCarte property. There had been $1.4M set aside last year. The bids came in for the dam repair at about $900,000 leaving this money in the fund that still needs to be spent on 'capital'. There was a public hearing on Tuesday where about 6-9 neighbors attended to review the plans. The Finance Committee voted 6-0 to approve the reallocation. The measure now moves to the Town Council agenda for their approval. Assuming approval, the work on the dams would be complete sometime in June and this work would begin thereafter. Depending upon the weather and priorities, the remainder of the work may not be completed this year.

A display of the proposal and playground model

DelCarte Recreation Proposal
DelCarte Recreation Proposal

A close up of the playground model

DelCarte Recreation Proposal
DelCarte Recreation Proposal - playground model

A close up of the overall display board

DelCarte Recreation Proposal
DelCarte Recreation Proposal - display board

A map of the DelCarte porperty showing the proposed trails and playground. Pleasant St is running along the top of this map. The train tracks are the solid line along the bottom of the photo.

DelCarte Recreation Proposal
DelCarte Recreation Proposal - map of trails and playground

These display boards are located in the entrance to the Franklin Municipal Building.

"assist with the unfunded mandates"

The Milford Daily News reports on the budget hearing from Thursday night:
The town’s portion of the more than $27 million in improvements planned for the Charles River Pollution Control District treatment plant has decreased by a half a million dollars, significantly reducing the proposed fiscal year 2014 sewer budget. 
Jeffrey Nutting gave the Finance Committee the news on Thursday, during its second night of hearings to review the $95,109,701 FY ’14 budget. The change in Franklin’s commitment to the Charles River project brought the sewer budget down by about $800,000, to $3,652,810. 
Franklin must cover 67 percent of the total cost to the plant, while Medway’s share will be 16.75 percent, or $4.6 million. Millis and Bellingham will foot the remainder.

Read more:

While the sewer budget will decrease the sewer rates were already set so there won't be an immediate change. The real impact will be in the future where due to this decrease the anticipated increase to cover the DEP mandated enhancements to the plant will be less which would mean that the rate increase to cover that assessment would be less. Still it is good news but not an immediate effect on the rates we pay today.

Related links:

The short version of the budget document reviewed last night can be found on the Franklin webpage

The complete set of documents for the school budget can be found here

My reporting from the budget hearing Wednesday can be found here

My reporting from the budget hearing Thursday can be found here

Spring Curbside Yard Waste Pickup Schedule

Week of April 8th, 2013
Week of May 13th, 2013
Yard waste will be picked up on your trash day each of the 2 pick up periods. Yard waste must be in compostable bags or open bins and barrels. Small brush will be collected and must be bundled with organic twine no larger than 2 feet by 4 feet. Branches must be under 4” and less than 4 feet. No — loose yard waste, plastic of any kind, large items or non-yard waste.

Franklin Library: Krafty Mondays - Airplanes!

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Public Library by Franklin Public Library on 3/14/13

Things you can do from here:

In the News: beef bandit

Franklin police seek public's help in identifying beef bandit

The bald-headed man, authorities say, told the butcher in Shaw’s Supermarket exactly what he wanted: 26 porterhouse cuts.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Live reporting - Finance Committee - Mar 14, 2013

Present: Goldsmith, Dufur, Quinn, Roche, Dewsnap, Aparo
Absent: Smith, Feldman, Huempfner

Susan Gagner, Jeff Nutting and Jim Dacey (from right to left as you watch the video broadcast)

Action Items (3/14/13)
Request for Funds: Pedestrian Safety Signal - Parmenter School $35,000
Nutting - Traffic study completed, police issuing tickets to help
looking for free cash to install some solar powered units to help slow down the traffic on King St
solar powered, flashing lights showing the vehicle speed

Chief - the signs do work, we see drivers hit their breaks when it shows their speed

Nutting - if we need to do something like this on Lincoln St, we'll have had a year experience

motion to fund as requested, passed 6-0

Request for Funds: Del Carte Recreation Improvements $395,000
Nutting - display of proposed work on the recreation area for DelCarte
playground model, loop trails, boardwalk
photos to be added
The original money was for the repair of the dams, not all of this is needed for the work on the dams, it still needs to be used for capital and this is a good use for it
Will be a premier recreation spot eventually

Motion to approve funding as requested, passed 6-0

Budget Hearing

The short version of the FY 2014 budget for Franklin:

School Dept - 300               C-1

Note the complete set of documents for the School Budget can be found here

Superintendent Maureen Sabolinksi, Business Administrator Miriam Goodman
School Committee Chair Paula Mullen, members Susan Rohrbach and Sean Donahue

Overview by Sabolinski
most of increase driven by contractual agreement
alignment with Common Core, additional legislation for English Language Learner training

Title 1 could be affected by sequestration issue; approx $70,000 in question

Q - how many bilingual students do we have
A - about 100 currently

Q - have you incorporated the 70,000?
A - no, we'll look to do that if it happens

Q - what part of this is funded by transportation and athletics?
A - we have revolving funds for those where we are using some amounts

Q - at the school budget level Parmenter is down and Oak St is up
A - do to staffing changes, the salary follows the personnel

Q - how are you on space?
A - modulars are coming down where necessary, there is a space needs committee looking at the overall plan and we may need to redistrict to shift some of the population among the schools

Nutting - Thayer is also being looked at with a design study

Q - out of district costs?
A - students with disabilities who are sent out of district, we look to service all here but some we can not serve

Q - State aid funds the schools?
A - grant money, school choice and circuit breaker

Q - is that money at risk
A - oh yes - we are projecting receiving about 70% which is what we got this year and we feel fairly comfortable with that

we have been conservative in spending down the revolving accounts per an audit results from a few years ago

Roche -  looking at the professional development, that is a whopper of an unfunded mandate

Sabolinski - implementation of a new tool for July to measure teachers, need to collect a variety of feedback and data from all the stakeholders; a survey to start in Sep to gather feedback on student participation, food service, etc.

Librarians - actually EA's we don't employee librarians
2400 series are at the discretion of the school principals, allocated per pupil on a three tier structure (elementary, middle and high school)

Information Systems - 155   A-30
Tim Raposa, Technology Director for schools and town
there was an increase earlier this year due to an outsourcing item to offset needs

Nutting - you heard the schools say they have a mandate and need software to help

Roche - tech salaries are paid for by the Schools, all else is paid for the by the Town in the arrangement set up several years ago

22 sites all connected via fiber

Inspection - 240                  B-67
Lloyd "Gus" Brown - Building Commissioner
a couple of changes in staffing shown in the budget
looking to get the online permitting in July
the online forms will link to UniPay to enable the payments
pay differential but not a loose or increase of hours

Appeals - 176                     A-39
money to add legal costs for the Zoning Board of appeals which is reimburse to the Town by the applicants

Police - 210                         B-1
Chief Stephen Semerjian, Kevin Ryan
slowly moving towards regional dispatch
hired an architect to design the facility and operation which will be still about 18 months away
we'll turn our dispatch over to the regional unit and pay an allocation but should save overall

If we have only one on duty, it is stressful, if there are two, it can still be busy with 911 and patrols checking in

biggest increase is in training, which requires 32 hours but the state only reimburses 20
everything else was contractually driven via the collective bargaining agreement

unfunded mandate is a recurring theme

daytime is much busier with the schools and businesses in operation
technology has helped to keep up (via the capital funding)

Statistics can be gleaned from the system, don;t have numbers with me now
we have seen an increase in motor vehicle activity in the last six months

Q - scheduled overtime dropping?
A - trying to be as frugal as we can, based upon history

biggest thing both fire and police face is off duty hours due to injury, hard to forecast that
keeping people healthy is good for the bottom line

we could always use more people, yes

Nutting- we peaked at 50 officers in 2000 and haven't been close to that since
a lot goes to the great staff we have, we have to balance what dollars we have

Parking Meters - 293           B-74
repair and replace existing meters
may come back in the fall if the Town Council comes back to do some 'free parking' for the holiday season, it would be good to have some nice covers rather than plastic bags

meter receipts are up through Feb over all of last year
parking tickets are also up, bringing in additional revenue
coins, batteries and stuff get jammed in there, the parking control officer helps to monitor those

met with the downtown folks to look at the parking regulations
need to update the bylaw to give 30 minutes in some spots and 2 hours in others
in the meantime, don't park illegally, actually you can, we'll make some money

DPW - 422                          D-1
Brutus Cantoreggi, DPW Director
Linda Feely, Office Manager
Laurie Ruszala, Water/Sewer Superintendent

Lots of working coming, the downtown side roads, Lincoln St, Daniels St, the DelCarte piece you just approved
Maintain the town vehicles for police, fire and school
the two biggest drivers were Central Motors and fuel

the staff has changed quite a bit, working through some transition
looking to hire a new town engineer (replacing one promoting up)

put our own water lines, water sewer and highway, sculpture parks, taking down houses, etc.
65% of my budget is based upon expenses
we have to deal with the weather, snow wasn't here last year, but is here plenty this year

Salt went down, doesn't affect the budget as we still need to budget the $900K for snow, etc.

personnel coming in to replace others, coming in at a lower step so that savings come in

We have a great team here, we get a lot of work done
Franklin has been a leader in storm water, Brutus in particular is getting recognized for this

Purchasing Director is backlogged, we need to get a new building out to bid so we can take down the old one and move the stuff out of the high school before the new school comes online

We do get complaints about the snow, but in regards to how much we have moved, it is not much
some curbs have been pushed back with the snow to get the roads open
we pushed back 4.5 feet of snow, that is a lot

we pay 40 to replace the mailbox when we knock it down, so don't pay a hundred for it

We had a lot of thankings the last two snow storms, we did have a lot of positives
the 3-6 inch storms we can never do it right, but the big ones are more evident on how well we do

The police are the ones that notify us of the road conditions
we have about 40 something vehicles, and another 60 contractors - when I make that call I am going to spend 35,000 as they have a four hour minimum
it is a constant balance act between public safety and expense
can you drive fast? maybe not
within four hours after the storm, we want to be down to the surface
that is what the residence expect

there used to be some buckets of self service?
DEP regulations restrict that, you can't do that anymore

I don't get called with people being stuck, I do get calls about people going off the road
that usually is from people going off the road

who is supposed to clear the sidewalk?
downtown bylaw requires the businesses to clear in front of their property

we do the sidewalks on school routes
these routes we review with the school department

Streetlights                          D-21
we bought all of our street lights 7-9 years ago, if there is a light out, call the DPW
we lose about 20% per year, been watching to see to switch to LED but they are not cost effective yet
about 1650 street lights

lights are on more in the winter than summer, solar just isn't there yet
80% of our electricity will be coming from the solar farm when it is up and running

MassDOT is actually moving away from LED lights on street signals as they don't heat up and melt the snow

Enterprise Funds                 H-1
the water budget is up, collective bargaining agreement
starting budget for OPEB, debt is going up

we are looking to borrow about 5M in August and over the next few years to pay for all the projects voted on the past few years, with a low interest rate and pay it off with cash, we can come back in a couple of years for another 5M for additional projects

any chemicals we put in are to fight bacteria and provide a better water balance
we have one of the largest groundwater systems
beavers cause lots of problems
we had hits on the incoming side and we needed to notify the users
we had a beaver dam moved near well 6 and the problem has gone away
we have PH control
we use other chemicals for cleaning the treatment plant

the vote on fluoride was 50 years ago
we get complaints from some citizens about it but then we get awards from the DEP for the perfect application of it
it is not a cost issue, it is a policy issue
we used to have green toilets and sinks from the copper in the water
EPA was going to modify the plant to get rid of the copper

assessment of the Charles River Water Control should drop about $500,000
as we put less into the plant we get a lesser assessment
we have very low sewer debt for a community of our size
we were anticipating an increase in the assessment a year from now and the increase should be about half what we thought it was going to be with this factor
we pump a billion gallons of water a year
we have less than 7% of unaccounted for required, means not a lot of leaks
we are replacing old water lines, once Lincoln Street is done, we'll be in better shape

Solid Waste
the big gain we got in year one when recycling went up from a revenue gain and the trash went down
has leveled out now

old business
missing minutes from a meeting in Dec

"boring in a good way"

The Milford Daily News reports on the first budget hearing Wednesday:
It’s an absolute pleasure to present a level-service budget that does not reduce any services, both on the municipal and the school side," Nutting said. 
However, he took a more ominous tone looking into the town’s future, saying Franklin faces "huge challenges," both in managing an $85 million Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) burden and dealing with a tremendous backlog of road improvements that will cost an estimated $45 million. 
Flanked by comptroller Susan Gagner and treasurer/collector James Dacey Jr., Nutting addressed the Finance Committee during the first of two hearings this week on the proposed fiscal 2014 budget of $95.1 million.

Read more:

Note: According to my notes and conversation with Jim Dacey, the contract for the online billing service is out for bid currently. The service is expected to begin in July with Water/Sewer bills. Property taxes would be introduced for online billing in November.

For a more complete reporting on the hearing including a link to the a summary view of the budget document itself follow this link:

Downtown Partnership asks "Please Sponsor Us!"

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Downtown Partnership by (Terri Frank) on 3/13/13

Franklin DowntownPartnership
Franklin DowntownPartnership

Dear FDP Members:
Spring is almost here and that means it is event planning time for the Partnership.
We want to thank all of our past sponsors who supported our events.  We look forward to another successful year and hope that we can count on your support again.
As you know, the FDP is only able to continue these events with funding from businesses like yours.  Our first event is the Strawberry Festival, on June 13th.  The deadline is May 5th to be included in the newspapers and promotional materials.

Thanks for your continued generosity,

Lisa Piana
Executive Director

Things you can do from here:

In the News:summer art, kindergarten, arraignments

Franklin schools announce summer art classes

The Franklin Public Schools Summer Art Institute will offer a two-week program from July 1 to 12 .

Franklin announces Ready Set Kindergarten program

Franklin Public Schools Summer Program 2013 is offering Ready Set Kindergarten.

Dunkin’ Donuts suspects held after superior court arraignments

A husband and wife accused of robbing several Dunkin’ Donuts shops last October using a syringe are both still in custody following their recent arraignments in Worcester Superior Court.

Cumberland Farms Sponsors I-90 Free Tolls Friday


Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 3/13/13


MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey announced that on Friday, March 15th from 5-6 p.m., I-90 tolls will be free for travelers passing through the Allston/Brighton, Natick, and Weston toll plazas (Interchanges 13, 15 and 19) thanks to a sponsorship from Cumberland Farms and its SmartPay Check-Link program.

"Finding valuable ways to give back to our motorists is part of MassDOT's commitment to customer service," said Secretary Davey. "We are pleased to partner with Cumberland Farms on this toll sponsorship."

The Cumberland Farms SmartPay Check-Link payment program allows users to pay for gas and in-store purchases using their mobile phone or with a swipe of a card. After completing a free online enrollment process at, customers will automatically save 10 cents on every gallon of gas, every day.

Cash customers must still stop at the toll plaza. E-ZPass holders will receive a credit on their monthly statement and details about SmartPay. Along with covering the cost of all tolls, Cumberland Farms is also paying for signage and any promotional handouts.

In 2012, MassDOT logged approximately 12,000 toll transactions at the sponsored plazas on the Friday before St. Patrick's Day.

Things you can do from here:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Live reporting - Finance Committee - Mar 13, 2013

Present: Goldsmith, Dufur, Quinn, Roche, Feldman, Aparo, Huempfner
Absent: Smith, Dewsnap

Susan Gagner, Jeff Nutting and Jim Dacey (from right to left as you watch the video broadcast)

Jeff Nutting opens with comments and overview of the budget. Thanks to Susan Gagner for coordinating to put the budget together and to the employees for their daily contributions.

A level service budget, no reductions, no job adds, very few tweaks, collective bargaining agreements that now need to be funded. A balanced budget, no anticipated state aid included. No reserves being used for the first time in 3 years.

Did increase our OPEB obligation, we need to do more there but this is a start.

no increase for Fire Dept, they are the only ones without a deal at this point. Will need to adjust the budget when a collective bargaining agreement is reached. Currently may be heading to arbitration.

This year was difficult but it will get more difficult going forward. The days of huge increases in Chap 70 are gone. Communities our size are collecting more property tax than we are. There will be a struggle as the only way to address that is to increase taxes and that is not a popular idea.

OPEB is going to need a legislative solution for the state.

Unfunded road challenge will need to be addressed.

Need to maintain our debt plan, about 3.5% of our budget is debt and we have some projects that should use this capacity. Everything but the schools in Franklin have been built without a debt exclusion. The Senior Center, the Fire Stations, the Historical Museum, all of these were done without a debt exclusion by living within our budget using this debt capacity.

Issue with the library funding at the State level. We should not have to ask for an exception every year, times have changed but the funding formula has not.

The short version of the budget is now online

Q - are we affected by the sequestration?
A - the Schools could be as they have Title 1 funding

Budget Hearing (3/13/13)
Assessors - 141             A-10
Kevin Doyle - Director of Assessors
A-10 refers to the section of the budget book
141 - refers to the dept number for the budget and accounting

FY 2013 = 297,358
FY 2014 = 302,191 (slight increase in salaries)

100% of what the assessors do is under the control of the DOR

Staying consistent with current budget, only significant change has been from 2012 to 2013 due to a change in the process for Commercial/Industrial properties

Board of Health - 510    E-1
Public Health - 525        E-6 
Dave McKearney, Health Director
Dept 525 is really coverage for the contract with the Visiting Nurse Assoc. of Milford

COA - 541                    E-7
Karen Alves,  Director of Senior Center
asking town to partially fund health and wellness nurse, previously funded through a grant which is no longer available. Blood testing, sugar testing, screening, and fall prevention to mention a few

Gait assessment, fall assessment conducted and referrals to primary care physicians
Install grab bars around the elderly homes
Chronic disease self management programs
Friends of Franklin Elderly help to pay for the cook, and will partially pay for the nurse

The demographics are compelling, 75% more seniors by the end of this decade
Targeted to go from 4,000 to 7.000 within Franklin
12% Friends
16% State
11,000 volunteer hours also affect the performance and help minimize the budget

Planning - 175                A-40 (rescheduled for Thu)

Town Council - 111       A-1
Nutting - this amount covers the due for the Mass Municipal Association
Town Admin - 123        A-2
Nutting - overall budget up but mostly shifting from expense to salary
based upon new contract agreement
Fin Comm - 131            A-4
Roche joking requests a stipend for the FinCom
everyone is a volunteer
Comptroller - 135          A-5
Gagner - pretty much status quo, switching partners within the audit firm just to get a new look at the books
asst comptroller will be retiring, added some hours to one of the clerks to help cover for her with 40+ year experience who would be leaving

over the next 7-8 years, you'll have a 40-50% turnover in the staff

Recreation - 630            F-7
Ryan Jette, Director of Recreation
rely on 100% of the fees to run the department
work closely with sports groups and other organizations with Town

spring sports start next week, this is when the turf fields start to really payoff
the grass fields won't be ready until about Apr 10 as it has been so wet recently

they use the tax workoff program, how to use the phones and computers to process the registrations in the office, just did the training last week

about 8,000 residents in the year, the programs continue to grow each year
self funding hence zero cost for the town

Treasurer - 147             A-14
Jim Dacey - Treasurer/Collector
new parking officer has written over $30,000 worth of tickets for parking violations
parking meter income is increasing so people are starting to learn to pay the meter
Electronic bill presentment can start July with water bills
savings in paper offset somewhat by the system to do the electronic presentment
equipment wear and tear will also be saved but won't be seen in the budget

e-billing savings will be seen in the postage, taxes, excise, water/sewer will be available
real estate taxes should be available with the November bill cycle
contract for 3 years with two one year renewals likely but not set yet

Legal - 151                   A-21
Nutting - back in the late 90's the Town had an outside person providing legal advice
when Jeff came, he brought that in house to save money and provide additional advice before a dispute would occur
The only change is with an outside attorney for contract and collective bargaining work
it has been a real success and not a lot of change in this budget
Central Services - 196  A-53
Gagner - static budget from last year, usually turning back some funds from this budget
likely to see the postage savings in here going forward
printing for annual town reports here as well

You might seem some in DPW you don't see great variation due to volume with this small departments
The one exception is DPW, everybody else is 80% salaries

We're pushing hard for online permits to start in July, it will take time for people to get use to it
the technology is a great equalizer, we are asking for more folks due to technology

so many things are covered by statutory requirement within the Board of Health, Building Dept, and Treasurers office

There is a little cushion on the revenue side, no bones about it, we don't control the economy so we never budget 100% of our expected revenue
historical average is about 2.5% free cash, and that is about 2.5% of our overall budget

Police, DPW and Schools will be a heavy budget session on Thursday

Reminder: early dismissal today

From the Parmenter School sign today:

Early dismissal today
PCC meeting 3/15
Auction at CBS Scene in Sat 3/16

"Our human resources are our most important asset"

The Milford Daily News reported on the School Committee budget review on Tuesday in part as follows:
School Committee Vice Chairwoman Sue Rohrbach commended Goodman and other administrators for presenting a clear, well-developed budget. 
"Every year we have a budget presentation … and you walk away saying, ‘We should have done this a little differently,’" Rohrback said. "But this is the first year where I think we really hit the nail on the head." 
Sabolinski said officials built the budget conservatively, attuned to the state of the town’s "economic climate." 
"We are calling this a level-service budget," she said. "This is our third consecutive year of not reducing any teacher positions."

Read more:

The detailed budget package can be found here.

The school budget will move to be reviewed by the Finance Committee in a budget hearing on Thursday, March 14 before moving to the Town Council for their budget hearing and final approval. The budget needs to be approved by Jun 30 and will begin with the new fiscal year July 1, 2013.

The current budget hearing schedule for the Finance Committee (Wed Mar 13 and Thu Mar 14)

Note the fiscal year (FY) is usually referred to with the year ending in Jun. So this current budget is called FY 2013. The new budget for next year is called FY 2014 because it begins July 2013 and ends in June 2014.

"Franklin faces Wilmington on Sunday afternoon at the TD Garden"

Hockomock Sports has the write up for the Franklin Panthers hockey win to bring them to the State title game on Sunday.
The Franklin Panthers will be moving to Division 1 next year, so they made sure to leave D2 as they have spent each of the past two seasons – on top. 
Franklin scored inside the opening 30 seconds of the game and went on to win its third straight D2 South sectional title with a 3-1 victory over the Oliver Ames Tigers. This was also the fourth straight year that Franklin has eliminated OA from the postseason.

Read the full article here

MassBudget: tax fairness + revenue proposal options

MassBudget    Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center    Democracy.
Revenue Options and Tax Fairness
To fund new investments in education and transportation--and prevent cuts to other vital areas--the Governor has proposed a tax plan that would 1) raise significant new revenue and 2) increase the fairness of our tax system. These two features of the Governor's plan are the subject of two new MassBudget factsheets.
  • The first, "Possible Reforms to the Governor's Tax Plan," analyzes four options that would raise roughly the same amount of revenue as the Governor's proposal without eliminating personal income tax deductions. The Governor's plan eliminates a number of these personal income tax deductions--many of which are popular and serve legitimate policy goals.

  • Currently, the tax system in Massachusetts is regressive, meaning that low and middle-income people pay a larger share of their income in state and local taxes than high-income people. "Examining Tax Fairness," our second new factsheet, describes the various causes of this imbalance.

In addition to these new factsheets, MassBudget has also updated "Effects of Raising Rates and Exemptions on the State Income Tax," an analysis of a proposed tax reform plan would would raise the state's income tax to 5.95%, increase the personal deduction, and set a single tax rate of 8.95% for all investment income.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA 02108
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Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center | 15 Court Square | Suite 700 | Boston | MA | 02108

In the News: free ride, readiness defined, Senate candidates, anti-casino

Free tolls on the Mass Pike Friday

Drivers on the Massachusetts Turnpike this Friday will get a break on some tolls thanks to Cumberland Farms, the company said today.

State education boards develop new post-high school readiness definition

The state’s Board of Higher Education Tuesday voted to accept a new definition of post-high school readiness, encompassing skills and qualities ranging from reading comprehension to the ability to receive direction and criticism in the workplace.

Republican Senate candidates talk gun control, sequester at Stonehill College forum

The three Republican candidates for U.S. Senate looked calm and composed as they appeared for the first time together in an issues forum at Stonehill College.    Former U.S. Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, of Cohasset , State Rep. Dan Winslow, of Norfolk, and former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, of Abington,  exchanged few blows and appeared prepared for tough issues as they talked about personal issues, gun control, the federal budget, and immigration.

Milford anti-casino group to host forum at Holliston middle school

In an effort to educate residents on the work it takes to challenge a proposed casino development, a Milford group is hosting a forum Thursday at Holliston's Robert Adams Middle School.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring green for the budget season

Doesn't exactly feel like spring with so much snow around. It is March. The Ides of March approach on Friday. St Patrick's Day on Sunday. There should be lots of green around this weekend.

Community Garden
Community garden bed

There will be green on the minds for some Franklin discussions this week beginning with the School Committee meeting Tuesday evening. The school budget is proposed to be $54,307,969 an increase of $1,597,969 or 3.03% over the current year budget.
The full set of budget documents for the school budget can be found here

The Finance Committee opens its series of budget hearing with meetings on Weds and Thurs. Both nights beginning at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers on the 2nd Floor of the Municipal building.

I find the Finance Committee budget hearings to greatly insightful. They tend to be more collegial and more informational than the Town Council budget hearings (sorry Councilors!). If you really want to find out what goes into the budget, the interviews with each of the department managers during the series of budget hearings, I think is the very best time to do so. I learn so much from each of these sessions.

Budget Hearing (3/13/13)
Assessors - 141             A-10
Board of Health - 510    E-1
Public Health - 525         E-6
Planning - 175                A-40
COA - 541                    E-7
Recreation - 630            F-7
Town Council - 111       A-1
Town Admin - 123        A-2
Fin Comm - 131            A-4
Comptroller - 135          A-5
Treasurer - 147             A-14
Legal - 151                   A-21
Central Services - 196  A-53

Action Items (3/14/13)
Request for Funds: Pedestrian Safety Signal - Parmenter School $35,000
Request for Funds: Del Carte Recreation Improvements $395,000

Budget Hearing
Inspection - 240                  B-67
Appeals - 177                     A-39
Police - 210                         B-1
Parking Meters - 293           B-74
DPW - 422                          D-1
Streetlights                          D-21
Enterprise Funds                 H-1
School Dept - 300               C-1
Information Systems - 155   A-30

The full agenda for the FinCom meeting on Wednesday

The full agenda for the FinCom meeting on Thursday