Monday, January 6, 2020

Franklin Issue on the 2020 'Watch List': Multiple Fiscal Challenges

I struggled with a short and quick way to state the obvious without going over the top to grab a headline. There are any number of fiscal challenges facing Franklin, and yes, I believe that this year IS different from the prior years. While I have heard any number of folks say every budget year is a challenge, in the dozen or so years I have been closely reporting on the Franklin budget, I have not seen as many issues come together as this year brings.

Exhibit one: the Town Council's proposed 'goals and objectives' doc fortunately captures most of these in the first Fiscal section:

● Approval of Annual Capital Improvement Plan -- FY20 and FY21
● Approval of a balanced Operating Budget -- FY21 and FY22
o Closely monitor expected budget shortfalls in both FY21 and FY22
● Establish Ad Hoc Subcommittee to evaluate storm water fee analysis
o Present analysis to the full Council
Determine Water rate increase for FY20/FY21, notably for the water treatment plant and wells loan package
Determine Sewer rate increase, if needed, for FY20/FY21
● Seek new borrowing capacity for municipal and school building capital improvements and sidewalks
● Discussion on the Community Preservation Act
Discussion on Trash & Recycling account
● Continue to ask for OPEB solutions with state officials
● Explore new revenue options, generally

The Town always passes a 'balanced budget', by law it has to, so the real issue is how do you bring the revenue and expense sides to 'balance' especially with "expected budget shortfalls in both FY21 and FY22"?

There is a new storm water fee coming and we are already facing increases in the water/sewer and trash/recycling fees. That is a whole lot of money coming from Franklin residents in one year. So I rest my case that it will be a challenge and ask your participation in the resolution.

The adage goes: you can be part of the problem, or part of the solution! I recommend getting involved in the discussion (aside from Facebook!) to be part of the solution. 

  • Get to a meeting. 
  • Talk with our Town Council, School Committee, Finance Committee, School Administration (including Superintendent Sara Ahern) as well as Town Administrator Jamie Hellen.
  • Have a civil conversation about one or more of these issues, together we can, and must, find a solution.

The full goals and objectives doc can be found on the Town of Franklin page

Franklin Issue on the 2020 'Watch List': Multiple Fiscal Challenges
Franklin Issue on the 2020 'Watch List': Multiple Fiscal Challenges

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