Saturday, September 2, 2017

Election Prep: What does the Planning Board do?

From the Town of Franklin Planning Board webpage we can share:
"The Planning Board, established under Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 41, Section 81A, is an elected board comprised of five members, each with a three year term and one appointed associate member. 
The Planning Board’s primary responsibilities are to administer the Subdivision Control Law pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 41 and to issue certain special permits and site plan approval under the Town of Franklin Zoning By-Laws in order to ensure the public safety, interest and welfare of the residents of the Town. State and local laws and regulations governing procedures for these approvals are MGL Chapter 40A (the Zoning Act); MGL Chapter 41, Sections 81K - 81GG (the Subdivision Control Law); Chapter 300 of the Franklin Town Code Subdivision Regulations; and the Town of Franklin Zoning Bylaws Chapter 185.

The Board conducts meetings and public hearings in compliance with Town of Franklin General Laws to review and consider preliminary and definitive subdivision plans, Site plans and Special Permits, Approval Not Required (Form A) plans, and Certificate of completion applications.
The Planning Board also considers and prepares amendments to the Town of Franklin Zoning By-laws and the Town of Franklin Subdivision Regulations. The Board conducts public hearings on amendments created by the Board and on zoning amendments that are submitted to the Board by way of citizen petition or by landowners or other town boards through the proper procedures for submitting to Town Council.

All material received by the Planning Board in connection with applications is considered public information and can be seen during posted office hours."

Additional information on the Planning Board can be found on their page

Note: the Town of Franklin webpage is incorrect in stating the terms of office are three years (they are 4) and that the Associate is an appointed position (it is up for election this year).


The Planning Board, as established by MGL. Ch. 41 sec.70, is responsible for “…making plans for the development of the municipality, with special reference to proper housing of its inhabitants.” The Board is charged with administering the State’s Subdivision Control Law (MGL. 41 Ch.81K) and the local subdivision rules and regulations (Chapter 300). The Board makes recommendations to the Town Council on Zoning By-Law amendments and may at its own discretion adopt new subdivision regulations. The Board is also designated as the permitting authority for various site plan and special permit submittals under the Town’s Zoning Bylaw (Ch. 185). The Board receives recommendations from the Design Review Commission on building design, elevation, and signage for commercial site plan permits, and from the Conservation Commission on wetland related issues, and works closely with the Planning and Community Development and Public Works Departments. 
In FY2016, the Planning Board reviewed and issued decisions for several projects throughout the year. One major project the Planning Board approved was 150 Emmons Street, a multi-unit retail development at the location of the former Municipal Building. The Site Plan includes demolition of the existing building and construction of a new retail building, which is to include a restaurant, salon and additional retail spaces. In front of the building land has been reserved to create a small park with a statue of Horace Mann. The largest project before the Planning Board during FY16 was the proposed Central Square project at 300 - 340 East Central Street, which will replace the former Ficco Bowling and Keigan Auto buildings with a multi-building, 113,000+ sf retail, commercial, and restaurant shopping center. Proposed uses include but are not limited to a 4,500 sf filling station and convenience store, and a 2,371 sf vehicle service/repair center. The Planning Board reviewed and approved a Site Plan for a bath house at Camp Haiastan, which was for summer campers. 
The Planning Board approved two new Definitive Subdivisions, Union Meadows and Rolling Brook Estates. Both were for single family homes to be built on a new roadway that end in a cul-de-sac. The Planning Board voted to endorse (2) two 81-P plans, and accepted ten (10) Form H - Certificate of Completions. Acceptance of a Form H indicates all work has been completed according to Site Plans or Subdivision Plans previously approved by the Planning Board. Examples of completed Site Plans include Midas Auto Repair and CVS Pharmacy, both located on West Central Street, and Eastern Propane located at 11 Forge Parkway. The table below is a summary of Planning Board Activity during the 2016 Fiscal Year.
Decisions - Approvals Total FY2016
  • Preliminary Subdivisions 1
  • Definitive Subdivisions 2
  • Definitive Subdivision Modifications 2
  • 81-P Plans (ANR) 2
  • Site Plans 3
  • Site Plan Modifications 3
  • Limited Site Plan 1
  • Limited Site Plan Modifications 2
  • Special Permits 3
  • Street Acceptance Recommendation 1
  • Certificate of Completion 10
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendments 4
  • Subdivision Regulation Amendments 2
  • Bond Releases 1
  • Acceptance of Bonds 1

The Planning Board held public hearings on several proposed Zoning Bylaw changes including Zoning Bylaw 16-762, which clarifies requirements of the Stormwater section of the Zoning Bylaw, and Zoning Bylaw 16-764 was needed to address the filing criteria for a limited site plan. With these changes, the Planning Board is hoping to better streamline the application process. The Board continues to help property owners make the desired changes and improvements to their properties while fostering responsible growth and development in the Town of Franklin. 
The Planning Board typically meets twice a month on Mondays at 7:00 PM in the Municipal Building. All Board meetings are open to the public, and are televised via Community Cable Access.
Planning Board Membership
The Planning Board consists of five members and one associate member. The associate member participates in all hearings but only votes on Special
Permits if one of the members is unable to act. The Board members are elected and serve 4-year terms. Below is a list of current Planning Board members:

  • Anthony Padula, Chairman 
  • Joseph Halligan, Vice Chairman 
  • John Carroll, Clerk 
  • Gregory Rondeau 
  • William David 
  • Rick Power, Associate Member
Respectfully submitted,
Anthony Padula, Chairman

the Horace Mann statue stands to welcome folks to downtown Franklin
the Horace Mann statue stands to welcome folks to downtown Franklin
in the front of the new building at 150 Emmons St

Download and read the full Annual Report for the Town of Franklin FY 2016

Prior year annual reports can be found

Hold the Date - Beatlemania Stage Show - Nov 3

Catching up to a future event from the social radar:

"The Franklin High School Band will host a Beatlemania Stage Show benefit concert at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 in the Franklin High School Auditorium, 218 Oak St. The event, called Keep Music Education Alive, will raise funds to support the school’s music programs. 
The concert is a professional production with big venue sound and lighting equipment. The national touring production Beatlemania Stage Show will perform the complete Beatles experience, from the Ed Sullivan days through the Magical Mystery Tour, Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road, with period costume changes and authentic Beatles instruments."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Hold the Date - Beatlemania Stage Show - Nov 3
Hold the Date - Beatlemania Stage Show - Nov 3 (Image from show webpage)

For more about the show and organization that performs

BFCCPS hosting an Ice Cream Social - Sep 15

An Ice Cream Social will be hosted by B.F.C.C.P.S Parent Community Organization Friday, Sep 14 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.

Join us to kick off the school year. TC Scoops will be scooping up the fun with ice cream and Italian ice. We look forward to seeing you!

BFCCPS hosting an Ice Cream Social  - Sep 15
BFCCPS hosting an Ice Cream Social  - Sep 15

As additional info is available it is likely to be posted to the Facebook event page

For Tots Only - Coming This Fall

Franklin Public Schools ~ Lifelong Learning Institute
Lifelong Community Learning
Music & Yoga for Tots
Don't miss these......

Mommy and Me Baby Yoga
Use yoga to help strengthen your bond with baby as you enjoy their budding personality! Babies will experience yoga poses, songs and rhymes specific to infant development while on their backs, tummies and being held. Enjoy quality time with other moms and caregivers in this relaxed, judgement-free, supportive, nurturing environment.

8 Thursdays Beginning September 28

1:00 - 1:45 pm
Tranquil Souls Yoga, 15 East Central Street, Franklin
Cost:  $65

Music Together - Ages Birth thru 5 yrs

Music and Movement for babies, toddlers, preschoolers...and the grownups who love them®
10 Fridays Beginning September 15
10:00 am - 10:45 am
Music Together, 10 Main St, Franklin
Cost: $205
FPS- Lifelong Learning, 355 East Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038

Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact

Friday, September 1, 2017

Upcoming Events in Franklin, MA Area: FRI 9/1/17 - THU 9/7/17

FRIDAY 9/1/17
12-6pm   Franklin Farmers Market @ Town Common

All Day   Rise and Shine Food Drive (breakfast foods) @ St. Mary’s Parish
9am-4pm   You Pick Tomatoes - End of the Season Sale @ Grateful Farm on Prospect Street
10-1pm   Franklin Historical Museum Open

SUNDAY 9/3/17
All Day   Rise and Shine Food Drive (breakfast foods) @ St. Mary’s Parish
1-4pm   Franklin Historical Museum Open

MONDAY 9/4/17 - Labor Day
7pm   Learn to Cope Franklin Chapter Meeting @ FUSF

TUESDAY 9/5/17
7pm   Franklin Garden Club Monthly Meeting (perennials swap) @ Franklin Senior Center

5:30pm   Family Paint Night @ Kidz Plaster Zone
6:30pm   Calling All Wrestlers - Open House @ New England Gold Wrestling (842 Upper Union Street)
6:30pm   Christian Zen Weekly Meditation @ McMahon Guest House (1061 Upper Union Street)
6:30pm   Franklin Art Association Monthly Meeting @ Franklin Senior Center

8:30am   Franklin Downtown Partnership: General Meeting @ Dean College, Campanella Board Room  (Note  - time change - originally was 7:00 PM)
10am   Tinkergarten Free Trial Class @ Fairmount Fruit Farm (sign up at
5-8pm   Franklin Historical Museum Open
6:30pm   FPAC’s Open Auditions for Spamalot @ The Black Box
7-8pm   Healing Hearts Community Support Group @ Franklin YMCA

For the Town of Franklin Public Calendar click HERE.

For all other events and Franklin happenings click HERE.

*To submit an event for the Community Calendar, please use this FORM

Election Prep: What does the Board of Health do?

From the Annual Report of 2016, we share this text to provide a summary of the Board of Health:
"Board of Health 
The three-member elected Board of Health is the policy making arm for the Health Department. The board members assist in the drafting of public health bylaws and regulations, and review all site plans for compliance with local and state public health regulations. The board presides over administrative hearings in all matters concerning Health Department licensed and permitted activities. Board members are available for consultation on issues relative to the public health as well."

One position is up for election on November 7 for a 4 year term. The other two positions will be up for election in 2 years. This staggers the membership to maintain some institutional knowledge.

What does the Health Department do?

The Franklin Health Department is charged with protecting the public health and well-being of the community, in accordance with federal, state and local public health laws and regulations. 
The Franklin Health Department's responsibilities include inspecting and permitting new and repaired/upgraded individual septic systems, witnessing percolation testing, biannual inspections of all food service and retail food establishments, investigating complaints of public health nuisances, enforcement of the state sanitary code relative to housing, licensing of children's recreational camps, inspection of semi-public swimming pools and spas, tanning salon and manicure/pedicure establishment inspections. The Health Department also issues permits for individual private drinking water and irrigation wells.

State Required Duties of the Board of Health can be found here


Mission Statement

The Franklin Health Department is charged with protecting the public health and well being of the community, in accordance with federal, state and local public health laws and regulations. To fulfill this responsibility, the Franklin Health Department enforces a multitude of public health laws and regulations, and administers a comprehensive inspection program.

The following list identifies the primary components of the department’s inspection program, and the total number of inspections and re-inspections conducted for each component.

* Food Service/Retail Food/Inspections/complaint Investigations 390
* Title V Septic System Plan Review and Installation/Repair, Total Applications 23 New, 19 Repairs,
19 Minor Repairs, and Approximately 165 field Inspections Conducted. 61
* Chapter II Housing Code Inspection/Re-Inspections 38
* Public Health Nuisance/Odor/Noise/Animal/ Smoking Complaint Investigations 80
* Semi-Public Pool/Spa Testing/Inspection and Public Beach Testing 36
* Inspection and Licensing of Children’s Recreational Camps 10
* Tanning Salon Inspection 3
* Manicure/Pedicure Establishment 4

Communicable Disease
As mandated by the State Department of Public Health, local health departments must report, investigate and track all communicable disease
occurrences in their jurisdictions. The Franklin Health Department has had a long-term contract with the former VNA and Hospice of Greater Milford, now call Salmon Health Care, to assist with the investigation and follow up of reportable communicable diseases that occur in the community.

During Fiscal year 2015/2016, the VNA investigated over 200 suspect and/or confirmed cases of communicable disease in the community.

The following list depicts the reportable illness activity for fiscal year 2015-2016 in number of official confirmed cases:

  • Malaria 0
  • Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis 1
  • Calicvirus/Norovirus 3
  • Babesiosis 0
  • Campylobacter 7
  • Hepatitis A 0
  • Hepatitis B 1
  • Hepatitis C (Chronic) 13
  • Lyme Disease 13
  • Meningitis 0
  • Streptococcus, Group A/B 3
  • E. E. Coli E. Coli 0
  • Ehrlichiosis 1
  • Giardiasis 2
  • Salmonellosis 6
  • Bacterial Infection, Avium, Vibrio 1
  • Encephalitis 0
  • Cryptosporidiosis 2
  • Legionellosis 2
  • Pulmonary TB 0
  • Chicken Pox 0
  • Pertussis 2
  • Influenza 33
  • Dog Bites 14
  • Cat Bites 4
  • Shigellosis 0
  • TB related 0
  • Streptococcus Pneumoniae 1
  • Yersiniosis 0
  • Vibrio sp 1
  • Dengue Fever 0
  • Enterovirus 1
  • Haemophilus Influenza 1
  • Shiga Toxin 1
  • Varicella 0
  • Chikungunya 0

Flu Clinics
In fiscal year 2015-2016, the VNA/Salmon Health Care held one seasonal flu clinic immunizing 67 residents. The wide spread availability of flu vaccine has reduced attendance at our public clinics in recent years. The VNA/Salmon Health Care also provided TB screening/ testing.

Licenses and Permits
The following is a comprehensive list of all permits/licenses issued by the Franklin Health Department during fiscal year 2015-2016. Most licensed/permitted activities require at least annual inspections as part of the permitting process. During 2015/2016, the Franklin Health Department receipts for permits/licenses totaled $62,872.50.

  • Beaver Permits 10
  • Burial Permits 90
  • Bottling 1
  • Catering 1
  • Cleaners/laundromats 1
  • Recreational Camps 7
  • Septic Installers 44
  • Disposal of Offal 29
  • Food Establishment 111
  • Funeral Directors 3
  • Infectious Waste 1
  • Keeping of Animals 13
  • Frozen Desserts/Ice Cream 10
  • Milk and Cream 29
  • Milk and Cream Vehicles 4
  • Mobile Food 3
  • Pasteurization 1
  • Private Wells (potable) 7
  • Irrigation Wells 7
  • Recycling 1
  • Retail Food 35
  • Stables 19
  • Manicure Establishment 17
  • Tanning Establishment 3
  • Temporary Food 18
  • Trench Permits 28

The current Health Department staff is as follows:

  • David E. McKearney, R.S. Public Health Director
  • Virginia M. McNeil, Health Agent, Elizabeth Hoey,
  • Environmental Health Inspector, (14) hours,
  • Mary Ellen Ficco, Administrative Assistant, (16) hours.

The Franklin Health Department wishes to once again thank the Town Administrator and all department heads and staff for their continuing assistance and support of the Health Department throughout the year.

Board of Health
The three-member elected Board of Health is the policy making arm for the Health Department. The board members assist in the drafting of public health bylaws and regulations, and review all site plans for compliance with local and state public health regulations. The board presides over administrative hearings in all matters concerning Health Department licensed and permitted activities. Board members are available for consultation on issues relative to the public health as well.

Bruce Hunchard, Board of Health Chairman
Philip Brunelli, Vice Chairman
Donald Ranieri, Jr. Board Clerk

Hours of Operation
The Franklin Health Department office is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Wednesday from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Friday from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Health Department inspection staff is available to meet with customers from 8-9:15 AM and again from 3:15-4 PM each day, or other hours by appointment as necessary.

Respectfully submitted,

David E. McKearney, R.S.
Public Health Director
Franklin Health Department

Election Prep: What does the Board of Health do?

Download and read the full Annual Report for the Town of Franklin FY 2016

Prior year annual reports can be found

FHS Football outlook for 2017

Hockomock Sports has published their outlook for football in the Kelly-Rex Division. We share the Franklin information here. Follow the link below to find out the outlook on the other teams in the Kelly-Rex Division. The Davenport Division is also linked to below. That outlook was published yesterday.

2015 Record: 2-9
2015 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Eian Bain

Key/Returning Players: Jake Noviello, Sr., QB; Sean Leonard, Jr., WR/TE; Brian Kosicki, Sr., OT; Nolan McLaney, Jr., S; Jackson Gilbert, Sr., DE; Ryan Driscoll, Jr., CB; Riley Downing, Jr., OL/DL

The first season for the Panthers under new head coach Eian Bain was a struggle at times for a young roster that was adapting to new systems on both sides of the ball, but there is hope that the experience gained last fall will pay dividends in 2017. Franklin will have a number of returning players to count on this season.

Offensively, Franklin will have to find ways to make up for the production of graduated running back Jacob Wolowacki, who was a go-to weapon in the ground and passing games. Senior quarterback Jake Noviello will be counted on to lead the offensive unit after more than 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall. Junior wideout Sean Leonard started all 11 games last year and will be a tough matchup for defenses along with fellow receivers Jack Nally, Will Davis, and Evan Wendell and running back Sean Hofferty. Three-year starter Brian Kosicki will be the leader of the offensive line and tight end Patrick Morrison will be a weapon in the passing game.

On defense, the Panthers have depth in the secondary, including junior safety Nolan McLaney, who was second on the team in tackles last year. Junior Ryan Driscoll has speed on the corner and Bain called him the “focal point” of the defense. Nick Gordon will hold down the other corner spot. Senior defensive end Jackson Gilbert is coming back from injury that cut short his junior season and will add strength on the edge. Junior Riley Downing gives Franklin size and speed in the middle of the line.

“We are in year two of our process,” said Bain. “We are in a different place than we were a year ago…Fans should expect to see a better team in 2017. We have a roster full of experience and had great participation through the Franklin speed and conditioning program. In a league this good we have to bring our best every week.”

Twitter profile image for @FHS_Gridiron
Twitter profile image for @FHSFootballGridiron

The Kelly-Rex preview

The Davenport preview

You're invited to Cultural Council Grant Workshop (Sep 14, 2017)

You are invited to the following event:
Cultural Council Grant Workshop
Event to be held
Thursday, September 14, 2017 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)
Town of Franklin Municipal Building
355 East Central Street
Franklin, MA 02038

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Cultural Council grant season is upon us! The Massachusetts Cultural Council last year launched an online application system, which we found caused some consternation for some applicants. In addition, we find that many organizations who apply for grants are uncertain as to what information they should include in their application. The Franklin Cultural Council, therefore, is hosting a Grant Workshop to walk applicants through the online application and answer any questions about the grant process. 

In addition, FCC members will be on hand to discuss specifics of individual proposed projects to give advice and suggestions. The workshop will be held at 7pm in the 3rd floor training room of the Franklin Municipal Building. This event is free and open to anyone interested in a Cultural Council grant, even those organizations from towns other than Franklin.

Applications will be accepted from Sept. 1 - Oct. 16, 2017 for 2018 grants. To apply for a Local Cultural Council grant, visit:

SAVE THE DATE for our new CULTURAL CONNECTIONS roundtable...cultural_connections_logo

Oct. 10: Cultural Connections, an arts and culture roundtable, will be held at 7pm at the new Rhapsody's Victorian Coffee House at 395 E. Central Street, Franklin. Anyone interested in arts and culture, from any organization in any town, is invited to attend. The subject of this roundtable will be social media. 

Come meet other like-minded individuals interested in the arts, swap stories of what has and hasn't worked in social media for your organization, and learn some new tips and tricks. A great opportunity to network!

For more information on the Franklin Cultural Council, visit us online at
On Facebook at
On Twitter at
Share this event on Facebook and Twitter

We hope you can make it!

Franklin Cultural Council

Eventbrite, Inc. | 155 5th St, 7th Floor | San Francisco, CA 94103

"Cancer is no longer a death sentence and shouldn’t be taboo”

Via the social media feeds, a good Franklin story to share:

Franklin resident Susan Rosen sat slumped on her couch in a quiet house — her two children were at school — and let the news sink in: She had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. 
“I’m never going to be a grandmother,” she told her husband through sobs. 
But that was four years ago. Susan, now 52, no longer views incurable cancer as a death sentence. The local wife and mother is one of a growing number of people managing the disease as a chronic illness, thanks to new, less toxic treatments that are tailored to each patient’s needs. 
“Things are getting better every day in regards to treatments,” Susan said. “This is the best I’ve felt in years.”

Continue reading the full article at the Boston Herald

You can follow Susan's blog at Let Us be Mermaids

Susan Rosen - image from her webpage
Susan Rosen - image from her webpage

Franklin listed #40 among the Best Public School Districts in Boston 2017

From the social media feed, we share the listing of the Best Public School Districts in Boston 2017 as published by Boston Magazine.

Follow the link to find the interactive chart. Franklin is listed as #40.

"Use the chart below to explore our exclusive ranking of 125 districts in Greater Boston. Sort by what matters most to you—SAT scores, class size, AP participation, and more. PLUS: See more from our annual schools feature."

Franklin listed #40 among the Best Public School Districts in Boston 2017
Franklin listed #40 among the Best Public School Districts in Boston 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

FPAC Announces Open Auditions For Spamalot - Sep 7

Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC) will hold open auditions for Monty Python’s Spamalot on Thursday, September 7 at THE BLACK BOX, FPAC’s home and performance venue, located at 15 West Central Street in downtown Franklin. Auditions will begin at 6:30 p.m. for ages 14-17 and continue at 7:00 for adults. Please prepare 16-32 bars of a musical theater song in the style of the show.

FPAC will present Spamalot on October 21-22 and October 27-29 at THE BLACK BOX as part of the Company’s 27th season. A hilarious retelling of the legendary tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, the musical parody was inspired by the 1975 classic comedy film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and likewise diverts from more traditional versions of the legend. 

Spamalot features irreverent shenanigans including a bevy of beautiful showgirls, a flatulent Frenchman and killer rabbits. Outside there is plague with a 50 percent chance of pestilence and famine. Throughout the show, Arthur, traveling with his servant, Patsy, recruits several knights including Sir Bedevere, Sir Robin, Sir Lancelot and Sir Galahad to accompany him on his quest. They meet such memorable characters as the Lady of the Lake, Prince Herbert, Tim the Enchanter and Not Dead Fred. 

With book and lyrics by Eric Idle and music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle, the 2005 Broadway production won three Tony Awards, including “Best Musical,” after receiving 14 Tony Award nominations.

For more information, including a breakdown of roles in the musical, visit or call (508) 528-3370. 

FPAC Announces Open Auditions For Spamalot - Sep 7
FPAC Announces Open Auditions For Spamalot - Sep 7

Election Prep: What does the Board of Assessors do?

While the Town Council sets the tax rate annually, the calculations on what the tax rate should be are based upon the valuations of all the commercial, industrial, residential, and personal property that Franklin has record of. These calculations are performed by the Assessors under the oversight of the elected Board of Assessors.

The state just changed the requirement for a property revaluation from every three years to every five years.

There are three members of the Board. One position is up for election this year. All three positions are four year terms of office and staggered to avoid a complete replacement and loss of institutional knowledge.

From the Town of Franklin Board of Assessors page

Establish and maintain valuations for all real and personal property within the community for purposes of generating tax revenues. 
Services and Programs 
Valuation, classification and assessment of all real and personal property for tax purposes. Conduct research of real estate market (including sales and ratio studies); prepare sales and other reports for state review and certification of values. Prepares and certifies abutters lists. Processes abatements, liens, and apportionment. Maintains assessors' maps, plans, property transfer records, and valuation data. Processes all real and personal property abatements and exemptions. Processes and abates motor vehicle excise. Prepares data for state approval of tax rate. 
Inquiries regarding the valuation of residential property, industrial and commercial valuations, or questions about personal property valuations should be directed to Kevin W. Doyle, Peter Mooney or David Ruberti. 
Questions regarding abatement and exemption applications, abutters lists, motor vehicle excise, ownership of real and personal property and general assessment data should be directed to the clerical support staff."

Additional detail on the tax rate and property valuation process can be found in last year's annual report.



Annual Revaluation Update
The revaluation of all real and personal property in the Town of Franklin was completed Fall 2015 in preparation for Actual Fiscal Year 2016 3rd quarter tax bills. Following is a brief review of that achievement.

Data Collection
Fourteen years have now passed since we installed the real estate valuation and assessment administration software developed by Patriot Properties, Inc. Because our start-up data was from a different form of valuation system and most of our data had not been refreshed in nearly ten years, it was necessary to complete a town-wide data recollection program prior to finalizing the FY 2005 valuations. Patriot Properties was hired for this task. Over the past 11 years, our appraisal staff has performed the on-going property exterior measuring and interior inspecting for all real estate classes. Such reviews are done for the Department of Revenue (DOR) required cyclical program, as well as for building permitted changes, pre-appraisal and abatement verifications.

Field Review
In addition to individual property on-site review, field reviews are required periodically to check for obvious data accuracy and consistency. This driveby review provides another level of assurance that when valuation schedules are applied, the results will be “Fair and Equitable”. Commercial/Industrial/Apartment Valuations Annually there are analyses of sales data as well as income & expense market data. The Board contracted Patriot to work with our Director to establish an income approach to value for each property. All requirements of the Massachusetts
Department of Revenue were met through final approval of the FY 2016 valuations.

Sales Analysis
The majority of the sales analysis was completed by September 2015, and the interpretation of sales continued through the next two stages of valuation. The town-wide program resulted in a valuation system that was applied uniformly throughout the town, while reflecting all the adjustments warranted individually and by neighborhood, to result in “Full and Fair Cash Values” as per Massachusetts General Law.

Value Generation
A system of valuation was established based on valid property sales and where applicable the income approach to value. These schedules concluded from the market were then uniformly applied to all taxable and exempt real property.

Final Value Review
Final reviews were completed in preparation for the DOR review. These include studies of various computer-generated reports to check for value consistency, final field checks required, and for DOR documentation and its analyses.

DOR Review and Final Approval
Any on-site and statistical reviews by the DOR took place from April to September 2015. The appraisal staff provided files, generated property records, answered questions and addressed any concerns. At the conclusion of the DOR review, we were granted approval authorizing public disclosure.

Public Disclosure
The DOR approved valuations were available for disclosure to the property owners. While the administrative staff provided property record cards and general data reviews, the appraisers conducted informal hearings on valuations.

Personal Property
Business assets and those of utilities are reviewed for valuation as taxable Personal Property. For fifteen fiscal years we have engaged the specialized services of Real Estate Research Consultants (RRC) in the discovery and valuation of these accounts. These services have served us well, resulting in DOR approval and consistently defendable valuations. Also, considerable new growth has been certified annually. Additionally, the RRC Personal Property Software installed in our office has benefited us. The personal property valuation formulas are very straightforward, and the administrative capabilities have met our needs.

Classification Hearing and Tax Commitment
Following some discussion and a few presentations relative to single versus split tax rates, the Council approved a single tax rate at $14.50 per $1,000 of taxable value as calculated by the Board for all property classes. The tax commitment and mailing were timely for an actual 3rd quarter tax bill.

Abatement Reviews
Upon mailing of the tax bills and on or before the due date of the first actual bill, property owners have an opportunity to file an Abatement Application on the basis of overvaluation or misclassification. 98 abatements applications were filed of 11,520 taxable accounts, or 9/10ths of 1%. Generally those with merit were resolved through our conducting a complete on-site exterior measuring and interior inspection. Usually a valuation discrepancy is the result of a data error or as a result of an inspection appointment not being arranged and thus the data having been “estimated”.

Technology Improvements
In addition to our state-of-the-art software for the valuation and administration of both real and personal property, Cartographic Associates, Inc. (CAI) of Littleton, NH has continued to maintain the digital/GIS-mapping program it first developed for us in FY 2005. Following aerial photography and planimetric (physical features) mapping, CAI constructed cadastral tax maps (depicting parcels) through the use of over 5,000 plans and over 15,000 deeds. These new maps are continuously in our process of reconciliation with our property records for consistency in both parcel inventory and land area. With the support of Town Administrator Jeff Nutting and the Town Council, we have capacity in our Patriot software to link and utilize the maps with our assessment file. In addition, for the past eleven years we have provided our tax maps on the web for the benefit of both the Town staff and the general public.

Appraisal and Administrative Staffing
The use of automation has minimized the former heavy burden of traditional data processing. Due to this and numerous other office improvements, the Town approved our Staff Restructuring Plan. We have adjusted our administrative support staff to Board Secretary Anne Covell who is responsible for continuing to improve our service to the public at the counter and by phone. She focuses her efforts on providing and reviewing public records, Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Commitments and Abatements, Exemption Applications, the general and specific support to the Appraisal Staff and any other assignments as required. She continues to train in various administrative duties and computer applications. We thank Anne for her efforts in 36 years of service to the Board. The Appraisers have made special efforts in the development and implementation of usable written instructions for the assessing office procedures and for MUNIS financial software applications. These instructions were developed consistent with all Mass. General Law and DOR requirements.

We thank Kevin W. Doyle, Director of Assessing for his diligence especially as Director beginning following his first two years here. He has overseen the completion of all our work these past fifteen fiscal years, five full revaluations and ten interim years of market adjustments. We are also pleased with the support work of Appraiser Peter Mooney since August 2004 and of Appraiser David Ruberti since July 2005. Our Director received his Massachusetts Accredited Assessor (MAA) in 1990. Within the past nine years both Appraisers completed their designation required education and experience, being granted their MAA designations and maintaining the periodic recertification required.

Town Revenue Enhancements
In addition to meeting all state requirements as well as daily office oversight, the Director and Appraisers have achieved many additional improvements to benefit the Town taxpayers. One such is the efficiencies built into the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Commitment and Abatement processes in conjunction with the new MUNIS tax software installation. These excise taxes represent about 4.5 million dollars in locally raised annual revenue, or about 6.5% of locally raised tax revenue. We assure the citizens that like real and personal property, taxes on these are assessed and abated appropriately and uniformly for the maximum benefit of all. Registry of Motor Vehicles’ automation aided the Director and Appraisers to further enhance revenue in assessing dealer and repair plate registrations. As well, with the automation improvements of the Environmental Police, this professional staff successfully developed a new annual revenue stream in the identification and assessment of excise taxes on boats principally situated in the Town of Franklin.

On-site Periodic Property Reviews
Because we have initiated the cyclical property remeasurement and re-inspection program acceptable to the Massachusetts DOR, we continue to make various public information efforts to assure property owners have advance information about this on-going program. Briefly, please note that the purpose of these property visits is to verify that the correct data is being used in the determination of valuations to achieve “full and fair cash value” in accordance with Mass. General Law Chapter 59. The Board appreciates the general public’s cooperation in its efforts to serve all property owners in all property types to assure fair and uniform values.

Your Elected Board of Assessors
Before entering the performance of his/her duties, each Assessor upon election has taken the oath of office specific to assessors. Massachusetts General Law has provided that because the DOR Commissioner of Revenue has regulatory oversight of assessing in every city and town, the
Commissioner likewise determines the training requirements for the assessors and any assistants. At this time, the Commissioner has determined Course 101, including the Classification Training Workshop, meets the minimum requirements. All three assessors have completed these and have been certified as such by the Commissioner of Revenue. The Board looks forward to continuing education opportunities offered by the MA DOR and the professional associations, the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers (MAAO) and the International Association of Assessing Officers
(IAAO). The assessors have attended seminars and workshops to broaden and reinforce their understanding of property tax law.

In particular, the Board has focused on current and possible future tax relief and deferral options for Franklin’s elder citizens. To that goal following meetings of the Town Senior Outreach Committee, last fall the Board, its Staff and the Office of the Council on Aging continued a broad-based effort to reach seniors. This resulted in successfully providing tax relief (exemption) information to additional seniors who owned and occupied their homes.

Also, with the valued assistance of Veterans Agent Bob Fahey, special efforts were made to identify veterans and their surviving spouses entitled to state exemptions, much of it reimbursable to the Town. At the close of FY 2015, Bob retired as Veterans’ Agent; his dedication to veterans and his assistance to our Board and Staff in these matters is remembered and always appreciated. The Board wishes to recognize and indicate its appreciation for the dedication and efforts of new Veterans’ Agent Dale Kurtz. We look forward to continuing to work with him in supporting our veterans.

All these efforts are consistent with the Board of Assessors commitment to meet its challenges as key Town Financial Team members to the benefit of all the citizens of the Town of Franklin.

As we write, the Board of Assessors and its Staff are preparing to finalize the Real and Personal Property Appraisal files for the Fiscal Year 2017 Revaluation subject to DOR review and Final Certification.

Respectfully submitted,

W. Ken Norman, Chairman of the Board
Christopher K. Feeley, Assessor, Clerk
Donna Greenwood, Assessor, Member Franklin Board of Assessors

Town of Franklin Board of Assessors photo
Town of Franklin Board of Assessors photo

Download and read the full Annual Report for the Town of Franklin FY 2016

Prior year annual reports can be found