Sunday, December 11, 2016

2 police officers sworn in, tax rate set, and fire fighter civil service saved among key items at Town Council meeting

For the recap of the Town Council meeting held on Wednesday, Dec 7, 2016 I have the following summary and associated details:

Two new police officers were sworn in at the beginning of the meeting; Jack Flynn and Tara Souza.

Chief  Lynch introducing Jack Flynn and Tara Souza
Chief  Lynch introducing Jack Flynn and Tara Souza

Additional photos can be found here

The tax rate was set at 14.58%. This is a .08 increase over last year and while an increase, the good news within the details is that the overall assessed value of the properties in Franklin is approaching levels not since seen 2006. Beginning in 2008, the total assessed value declined for 6 years. We are now into the 4th year of increasing assessed values.

The annual renewal of liquor licenses was approved. For those businesses with unpaid bills, the license is held until payment is made. This time each year you can get a good listing of which businesses has a liquor license.

After much verbal positioning, the Town Council voted 6-3 to keep civil service for the fire fighters. Civil service came into Franklin in the 1950's and 15 groups were part of it. The fire fighters are the last unit remaining on civil service. The three councilors for removing the civil service were Mercer, Vallee and Kelly. Pellegri, Padula, Pfeffer, Bissanti, Dellorco and Jones voted to keep it. 

The Council declared the Milford Daily News as the newspaper that legal notices will be posted in, as well as the homepage of the town website. While legislation was passed earlier this year creating an online notice portal, the newspaper lobby kept the measure in place for communities to still post in the local papers.

The Council declared Forge Rill Road property as surplus land. Franklin TV will use the land to put their new radio broadcast tower on. The tower will also have space for the Town to move their antennas over to this tower and avoid an annual payment. This is a win-win for all of Franklin. We'll get a radio station next year and the Town of Franklin will save some money.

The Council approved an appropriation to purchase Google Applications for all town staff. With additional records keeping requirements coming, the Town Council will all get new Gmail addresses to conduct their official town business. This is part of the phased effort to bring the town communications technology more to better handle the current needs and be positioned for the future.

The Council approved an appropriation for funds to begin the design of new turf fields at the High School and on Beaver Street. The turf fields have been subject of much discussion regarding the crumb rubber infill. The Council voted to fund the design to use an encapsulated rubber. The rubber is coated which should provide more safety than the exposed crumb rubber currently used. A measure will come back in 2017 to fund the replacements which would likely be conducted during June and July while school is out and before the heavy use of the fields is needed in the fall.

The Council approved an appropriation to pilot E-Permitting software for the Town Clerk’s Office. Dog permit renewals are targeted to be the first enabled for online purchase. Additional departments will be brought on overtime.

The Council approved the first reading of amending a bylaw on delinquent taxpayers to conform to the Governor’s Municipal Modernization Act. The measure brings the language into conformance with the current requirements.

The published Actions Taken document

For the link to my notes taken live during the meeting Wednesday

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