Friday, June 19, 2020

Town Council Budget Hearing #2 - Recap - June 18, 2020

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.

The Twitter hashtag can be found online #tcbh0618

  • Two options for listening/participating in the Town Council budget hearing tonight 1/2 = use your web browser to listen to or tune to the radio dial at 102.9 in the Franklin area #tcbh0618

  • Getting ready for real time reporting for the Town Council meeting tonight. Out on the FHS football field again, broadcasting live on the radio or 102.9 on the Franklin area dial #tcbh0618
  • Sound check underway, should be online soon #tcbh0618
  • Another gorgeous evening here at FHS on the football field, Pisini Stadium. Less then a dozen folks in audience this evening (approx 75-80 last night) aside from Council and town management #tcbh0618

  • Q on some items in DPW budget items, their budget is complex as they also support the enterprise funds, and trying to take care of storm water along the way. #tcbh0618 Q how many folks would you need? More than we have, we're about 2/3 of comparable Community
  • Q on town bylaw to not touch a road after it has been rebuilt? Still in effect, does only cover the full rebuild, could modify the bylaw to include other types of repairs. #tcbh0618
  • Cerel interjects to clarify unfunded mandate restriction of use to state imposition but not to the Federal government. #tcbh0618 Mercer asks Brutus for a brief primer for storm water. There have been info sessions on this, there will be a utility fee to assist
  • We have to do the Storm water maintenance, the question is how we pay for it we could use the utility fee, or we just keep it in the budget. #tcbh0618 find much of the info here
  • Q if we needed to cut more where would you cut in the DPW? It could be in any number of areas but would also affect the looks and quality of life. #tcbh0618 the storm water utility could gradually get the items moved from operations to the utility
  • Q on speculation of a farmer suit that could toss the regs and hence we would have lost the money? It is speculation, so no further answer required #tcbh0618 recognition for Cathy Liberty and Health Dept for the work on the pandemic
  • Next up, Senior Center - Karen Alves current Director, and retiring; Erin Rogers, new Director, no questions, just recognition #tcbh0618
  • Next up, Recreation - COVID-19 has been tough to deal with, lots of credits issued for programs we couldn't run, are getting ready to do some in July, mostly fee based programs #tcbh0618 court at Fletcher underway, nets for safety at the high school ball fields
  • Approx $600K in grants over last five years for various projects for recreation. #tcbh0618 concerts in the common, socially distanced on then common for 4-5 weeks
  • Q on debt/interest as percent of ops budget. Deep in the report are details showing the position where we are, some bonds will be paid off freeing up room for capital funding. There is a separate item on the agenda for a funding list. #tcbh0618 have good rating credit rating
  • Another glorious evening out on the field tonight. #tcbh0618 update on the CARES Act for COVID expense, highly restricted for response only, not operations used for PPE, some technical items but not ops
  • Recieved $1M in the first allocation, most of this was used for 1,000 Chromebooks for schools in prep for a possible hybrid model in September #tcbh0618 that completes the first run through of the budget line items
  • Next up vote on the budget Passed 9-0, no roll call required this evening
  • Next up Community Preservation Act a surcharge of 2% proposed to be out on the ballot for the Nov election, passed 9-0, no roll call required
  • Capital appropriation with draft set of projects  Motion to approve, passed 9-0, again no roll call required
  • So what do those three votes mean? After the discussions, no one steps up to call for additional revenue for schools although a year ago the Joint Budget Subcommittee called for it. What happened? The CPA is approved for voters to have their say #tcbh0618
  • The third vote for capital is a reasonable and required appropriation. It definitely shows fiscal planning. However the fiscal planning on that is missing on the operational budget. #tcbh0618
  • Councilor comments. #tcbh0618 by the way, the audience grew from when I first took a count, was about 2 dozen folks tonight.
  • June 19, 2019 the joint budget subcommittee meeting notes refers to an override required for this year but not discussed tonight, maybe as this budget round continues #tcbh0618
  • Chair Mercer closing meeting with this budget as a work in progress #tcbh0618 . This completes the reporting for tonight catch you all next time!
ready for the three votes to close out the procedings
ready for the three votes to close out the procedings

Town Administrator Jamie Hellen explains; Assistant Chrissy Whelton listens
Town Administrator Jamie Hellen explains; Assistant Chrissy Whelton listens

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