Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Live reporting: Town Council - May 22, 2019 - Budget Hearing #1

Present: Hamblen, Casey, Dellorco, Kelly, Mercer, Jones, Padula, Pellegri, Earls 
Absent: none

Agenda ItemSummary

This meeting is being recorded by Franklin TV and shown on Comcast Channel 11 and Verizon Channel 29. This meeting may be recorded by others.
Citizens are welcome to express their views for up to five minutes on a matter that is not on the agenda.  The Council will not engage in a dialogue or comment on a matter raised during Citizen Comments. The Town Council will give remarks appropriate consideration and may ask the Town Administrator to review the matter.

A Earls - Saturday, June 1
a 90 minute course on how to run in Franklin 
sign up on website, seating is limited

Dale Kurtz - Veterans Officer
hosting Memorial Day parade, 10:30 AM
finishing at Town Common at noon

Kathy Mahler - Skyline Estates residents
objection to sideways being removed, streets being narrowed, truck turning issues, bus turning issues
response from Town Administration to keep sidewalk on her side
rationale is that the road override failed
now turn to get streets paved, water pipes installed
only at meeting Apr 23 was it notified that the roads would be narrowed; replacing with lesser product life cycle
4th changed in this way
look out your window, what would you do if yours would be changed
creative suggestions on speed mitigation, I have 80+ signature to keep it approved
I am prepared to pursue this to the extent possible

Dan Ballenger - Skyline Estates
purchased based upon what was there
Town planning on changing the neighborhood experience
an argument to the change might violate the ADA regulations; change in quiet enjoyment, dispute in value
what your doing is planning is changing what I purchased

FY 2020 Budget Hearing: 7:10 PM

open public hearing on FY 2020 budget
thanks to all for the countless hours to prepare this document for your consideration

tax levy will increase 2.7M
overall state aid declining about 900K
net revenue under 2M for first time
used our reserves, School will talk about their budget
we will make it work this year but for FY 2021 shortfall likely in neighborhood in area of 4M

state aid might change but not likely to get an update until this summer, could change before rate is set in the Fall

no dramatic changes, schools being funded by less than 2M
eliminating road budget of 600K for next year to save jobs
we will survive this year and move forward

Town Council- Kelly
councilor and school committee are volunteer positions
doing it because we choose to do it

Treasurer/Collector - Padula
we had a position overlap for training, and now the retirement will happen in Aug

Information Technology - Earls
Tim Raposa, Director
overall spending? large portion of the budget is bascially subscription fees
for permitting software, website, 5-10% is break fix
website hosting, board and service fees
the phone calls for snow days, etc. (Brutus's call)
printer service covers toner and paper as well as break fix

- Pellegri
Where is your salary?
we're all volunteers - the School budget holds that
14 years ago, the IT efforts merged and the School have run the combined IT since
a few years after that we took over all the facilities
something to discuss for future

Facilities - multiple holds
contain operational cost to contain costs and future costs
even though we use the solar farm, we bid our electric and ended up with a contract for 4 years, fixed price 10 cents/KW
currently electric is generally rising, to avoid future increases, almost 85% LED saving more
spoke at a NationalGrid conf, using their grants
we are a partner with them not an adversary, we're getting 15-20 % back
changed the way we bring dial tone for all schools and all town properties, Siptrunking - dial tone over internet services, saving lines and cost
saved $2600/month used to purchase new phones
became a green community, maintenance program working well
illness and infections occur in a building, used to spray everything in the room
actually not cleaning it is disinfecting, machines and products examined to do it easier
one person can spray a room in hours rather than 4-5 folks spending a day

Pellegri - electrician and plumber to be hired to save money
how can you explain spending all that and what was the saving?
we also used a contractor to do projects as opposed to the day-to-day work
the hired person was also out for illness and we had coverage via the contract for that
1.3M sq feet of building but one person can't do it all

Dellorco - i agree one is just not enough, even of we hired a HVAC guy we'd still need outside
how fast do you get to your work orders?
depends upon the trade? if life safety, out within hours; usually have several work orders at any given time
How puts the priority on the orders?
how come you haven't been to Parmenter for the mold?
spent weekends cleaning using the disinfectants etc. painting etc.

Kelly - difference between last and this? what are we doing in raises for public property
no raises, no steps and levels, we added part-timers for Library
approx 70K for raises; OT in high school added for lunch time

how many employees do you have?
12-14 part-timers, custodians, about 56?
at least 3 part-time, big turn over
I don't get how many you have and how many your trying to fill
turning over new people

we have a number of sprinkler failures and folks coming to us with complaints?
I am concerned about this line item
I'd like to understand what's going on, one in particular twice if not 3 times

it is not from you I am hearing it, I am hearing it from others, teachers

Fire - Casey
mutual aid going to other towns, do we get reimburse operational costs for those
No? they may come over to us many times as well
if there was a medical call, that would be billed
about a couple of hundred times a year

mutual aid agreement

how you saved money since the regional dispatch?
budget for this year was more due to their delay, moving forward so there will be some savings

Regional Dispatch
question was just answered, thanks

Opened on May 9, opened couple of weeks, 911 works great
working on reporting issues to get resolved shortly

meeting regularly to work out all the bugs
still a few more issues to be worked by 4th of July, by middle of summer should be good

Schools -
Town Council  doesn't have control of the individual line items
School Committee and administration handles the details
Special Ed annual issue; one of the drivers
other include salaries (76%), health insurance, transportation
look at student needs first and foremost
some of the areas escalation are the out of district tuition
out of district transportation also an issue which is generally revealed later
legally required to provide a free education
decisions made carefully, costs watched carefully, providing services
advocating with our legislators to ensure that State funding is fully funded
transportation is not currently included and we hope to advocate for it

you have used your reserve funds the last several years, the end is near or here?

strategically we have been spending down the revolving funds to balance the budget
we are spending our revolving accounts in the year as it goes
for FY 2021 and FY 2022, could not use anymore than we have
this budget uses 4.87M in revolving

enrollment? opened at beyond capacity at the High School
separating K-8 from high school
at 1750 this year, 1780 last year
we are expected to be stable next year as well as low 1700's for the year after

the FY 2022 will start seeing the decrease in enrollment currently in the elementary grades
K-8 stable this year for the first time, as opposed to decreases prior years
middle school seeing the dip; possible smaller K enrollment
expansion of charter school K-5 will take some students
census and birth rates down, do see move ins during the summer

what is the future of the Davis Thayer school?
we do have a policy around the building use
we have known of the fiscal issues coming, we have looked at
comprehensive closing factors, planning and study done
emotional impact is large, not taking lightly
looking at over the next few months

1924, an old building, once the Franklin High School

Casey - SEL issue? what costs go up associated with this issue
we have always been focusing on teaching the whole child, there is a renewed focus on the SEL development, lots of causes to point to, impact of technology and children's brains, disrupting our social fabric, is one part of it; increasing information exposure, school being seen as more social service agencies rather than just an educational institution; coordinating efforts with Franklin Food Pantry as well as the Y for our food insecure community
schools are increasing counseling services on site to better service
providing intervention and curriculum support as well as for teachers
from pre-K to 22

are still pursuing substance abuse prevention through all our schools
Substance Abuse task force also helping in this arena
wellness classes were asked for at middle schools but it is an unmet need

do you have a social media message program against vaping etc.?

1.4M per year over ten year increase; that doesn't look sufficient?
it is sad that it is still not enough to meet our needs

You did a good job coming back to us with cutting 2M from it
by next year, it may be more?

what would your range of class size be?
bby and large within school committee guidelines, some in elementary in teens
some in low to mid 20's
middle aimed for 20-24, shoudl see that
high school does exceed our guidelines, not supporting to reduce class sizes
27-28 some of the norms larger than we would like
we did attempt to add at high school but it wasn't feasible in this budget

health insurance and transportation?  anything else that we can do?
group of all the union  heads have worked well together to save money
relative to transportation, include special ed in circuit break calculation would be a help
we appreciate your support of our capital requests, i;e. the recent van purchase helped us keep costs down

when we built the high school was for 1650 and dictated by the state, they wanted it at 1600, after fighting we we got it to 1650, after it opened it was 1750

Norfolk aggie
just a tuition cost, don't get the final number until February

can you explain the impact to the budget for the 600K in roads
last year we had limited funds for roads, usually around 200K
this year worked we have done at Lincoln St
we're going to additional parts of Pond St, it will affect how much we get done
easy to point out the mill and overlays
we all get calls on the roads, it is a concern
because of where we are now, we cut the 600K
do better with less

$40M to get to the backlog, the council supported a dedicated override in 2014 that was voted down
that 5 year plan turned into a fifteen year plan

point well taken but there is nowhere to get the money

March MMA advocacy for Chap 90 (road funds)
you can go out to bid until you get the money, we hold our Chap 90 funds to use
Gov Baker gave more and we got about 300K of it

basically a million/mile
crack seal really cheap;

stormwater management law suit with EPA
Franklin took the lead on the lawsuit, approx $5K
we are leaders in stormwater; we are in mediation right now
still a disconnect with the conservation groups, could cost us $40M
even if we win, there will be a cost, it will be huge

our wells, conservation plan
our wells have recovered, our ground water is permitted by the state, starts after Memorial Day

Library -
floor to be completed in fall per Felecia and Mike

Debt Services
policy to not to exceed 3.5% for debt
currently in 2.5%
we have moderate per our financial advisor, will continue to decline
level principle and declining interest, to build capacity to take on other projects
we want to keep reinvesting in our facilities

Employee Benefits
over 5M for pension obligation
health insurance, threefold active, retired, school employees
active work with unions to provide fair and good plans
work with employees to be fair to them and fair to the town
health going up 8% a year, not really in our control

town pays 68% , employee pays 32 %

it is right to be cynical about the health insurance industry, we have worked well together
we spend time on it to keep the numbers down

looking back at 2010, 99M
129M 30 M difference 3% per year
only allowed to asses 2.5%
avg 3-4% inflation, crippled by the 2.5% process
we're falling further and further behind

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