Friday, June 5, 2020

Town Council - June 3, 2020 Meeting Recap

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 #tc0603

Chair Tom Mercer opens meeting
Chair Tom Mercer opens meeting

State Delegation

  • Senate President Karen Spilka present to provide some insights on State house across multiple topics, acknowledges Rupert Dubler for his fine work, happens to be a Franklin resident! #tc0603 state unemployment has not been as high since 1976
  • FY20 estimate 700m to $1b short for this fiscal year, looking at alternative ways to fill gap for this fiscal year. FY21 is not good, still uncertainty about how the pandemic will play out. Estimates on revenue will be done but currently all over. #tc0603
  • Strict rules around use of the Cares act money, hopeful of it being relaxed but uncertain. #tc0603 only $200m for schools this time around can $1b from Feds during 2009-2010 period. Don't use the gov's numbers for use in budgets (great! We did, and vote on it Thursday)
  • Hamblen C thanks for being here, doing the best we can. Food sourcing a legit issue, MA does not have an FDA approved chicken processing plant, important for Farmers and local options. Spilka will look at this, thanks for raising it. #tc0603 pick your own will be important
  • Hamblen - MA makes it mandatory about taking cash, can there be an option for business to go digital. Spilka that should be addressed, I will raise the pick your own with the Governor tomorrow. #tc0603
  • Chandler - Q on early retirement option vs layoffs, Spilka hasn't been looked at currently, it can be effective but is also costly as it adds to the long term pension benefits. #tc0603 Dellorco C - on long recovery, people are fearful and issue with opioid again
  • Rep Roy up next to provide his update; thanks for peaceful and safe event on the Common on Tuesday. #tc0603 SNETT tunnel under construction, will be done this summer; state forest parking lot construction also under way along Grove St. Contollo MA Mfg was awarded a grant
  • Approx 20% of the state money set aside was part of the grant funding. Dealing with constitute issues, particularly around unemployment claims #tc0603 Legislation passed house today on restaurants with outdoor seating to ease way. Vote by mail option and early voting on docket
  • Program on confronting COVID-19 to be broadcast next Tuesday via Franklin TV. 6/9 6 PM
  • #tc0603
  • Senator Rausch acknowledged Tuesday event on Town Common as well, in particular during the 9 minutes the group was silent, amazing! #tc0603 updates on 2 of her Subcommittee work on municipal budget and town meetings, also on election/voting
  • Open for questions to the state delegation: (participation up to 93 - note limit via Zoom is 100) #tc0603 there are other options for viewing meeting via cable Comcast/Verizon and streaming from Town web page
  • Town admin Jamie Hellen makes the case for local aid, and it's impact, re-opening will be critical to enhancing the revenue forecast and actuals #tc0603 Bissanti - Q to Rausch on homeless issue and her vote on a particular bill
  • Brianna T - Q on fast track vaccine and whether it should be mandatory? Rausch - I would defer to public health experts on matters of public health. #tc0603
  • Shawn - raising question on permit process for meeting in the common. Hellen - turn around of permit request is generally quick, police would review, depending upon nature of the event, key elements to not block the public way, like at the triangle downtown for safety #tc0603
  • Dashe Videira also raising question on vaccination due to the language removing doctor for liability and making the parents #tc0603 Rausch happy to take conversation offline, did have public hearing in December
  • Monica - Q as a local physician, question on language of immunization bill. Rausch - bill does address the concern for addressing unique circumstances for a patient, that option does not exist now #tc0603
  • John back with a question for Melanie about the possible exposure at the common, Melanie replied that she wore a mask and was in a group that did and socially distanced. The cash issue is relative to the safety of her workers. #tc0603
  • Jess Q on Community immunization act, public hearing held in Dec, more awareness now, vaccine safety for kids, are you planning on holding another hearing? Rausch - legislative process is continuing to unfold, comments are best directed to their legislative delegate #tc0603
  • Joe Evans resident and business owner, feel it is appropriate, wants to protest but meeting over ten is not allowed per governor, town allowed the gathering last night complaint about double standard, claims already reports of transmission due to the gathering #tc0603
  • Stephen R concerned about the gathering and social distance not observed, shouldn't be at the Town Common again. Hellen - thanks for the feedback, indoor options are not available now. #tc0603
  • Whitney also a Q for Rausch how does the community immunization act be funded? Rausch data is incomplete, components are incomplete, some schools haven't reported, there is a trust fund and money available. #tc0603 bill will complete the data collection
  • Abraham Q on whether there is a plan to extend legislative session. Spilka - at this time not yet, early still as it needs to be joint between house and Senate #tc0603 2nd Q on bill with public program and claim of leaving some students out in private placements

Police Statement on Excessive Force
  • Chief TJ Lynch addresses inquiry on police operations to uphold rights. Reads statement on position in support of the department and the community. Steps to reduce excessive forces, trust with Community is required, per President Obama executive order in 2014. #tc0603
  • Pillar 1 - use of force incidents published since 2014, transparency. 16000 incidents with public and only 9 required use of force in 2019. Bias and training related, profiling, officers trained over the years. Policy page and data as referenced #tc0603
  • Chief Lynch talks of the Halloween party, work with the Senior center, etc. Have full time social worker are part of the department, splits time with Medway to work cases; police career incentive pay bill creates an educated force #tc0603
  • Chandler an officer can stay out of trouble if he/she ask themselves is it right, is it necessary, is it done with respect? #tc0603
  • Minimal police presence last night, two of the officers requested and did kneel in solidarity with the group, Ben Franklin the therapy dog is a good program gaining kudos regularly, do not have a body camera due to the costs of the program #tc0603 pillar 4 Community policing
  • Earls Q on mutual support with local community neighbors as well as the MECC? Yes, not out today but have participated when requested. Hamblen - thanks for the response, hadn't realized all the info that was on the police page #tc0603 Dellorco thanks 4 the coaches of the sports
  • Joanie Q on the outdoor seating with restaurants, what is your thoughts? Chief - I have been working closely with Cathleen at the Health Dept, I do have concerns as not totally prepared just yet. Education will be important #tc0603

Community Preservation Act
  • Next up - Community Preservation act up for discussion, no vote tonight, regrouping per discussion at prior meeting to our it out (Councilor Pellegri was absent at prior meeting, hence this discussion) #tc0603 plugged in 3% due to eligibility for matching rounds
  • Kelly - concern about the high unemployment and possible opposition. For CPA, not sure of 3%, let's get it in with a smaller amount first. Bissanti - looking for additional info for why and how, education needed. #tc0603 Dellorco 3% is high, got to start the ball rolling
  • Jones do need to educate what the CPA is and does for us, money we have lost for many years. #tc0603 3 might be high, 1.5 might be better. Hellen - Council can not form an ad-hoc subcommittee to advocate for it, a 3rd party needs to do that, could do a forum.
  • Chandler was in favor of the 2 to 3 % but if folks want to start lower, I am ok with it. Pellegri suggests a special meeting for discussion on the percent, not good timing, shouldn't give it up this year. #tc0603 CPA will help the community
  • Hellen - could also borrow against the CPA, the largest vote turn out is expected in November, voter education will be key. Forum and citizen input sounds good, concern about schedule with other budget hearings and time to get decision on ballot #tc0603

Internal Audit Results - Melanson-Heath
  • Moving to internal audit update, they have been patient, a little different in that a rotation of the staff was involved per Melanson-Heath. Next year will complete the rotation of the team. #tc0603 town received a green opinion best could get
  • To follow along the doc used is at #tc0603 Norfolk liability increased, OPEB decreased due to health costs increasing less than had been forecast
  • $11m in unassigned fund balance, about 9% and fund agencies like to see about 10% of total revenues, so you are in a good position. #tc0603 slight decrease in free cash due to use of stabilization funds to balance last budget. No management letter, hence good controls!

Legislation for Action

To Closing

  • Motion made to allow Town Admin Hellen authority for temporary extension of liquor license extension for outdoor service for existing restaurants #tc0603 motion made, passed 9-0 via roll call
  • No future items, Councilors comments Pellegri thanks to Jamie for good job keeping residents informed. Kelly thanks to Chris Flynn for memorial day video. Quotes MLK Jr #tc0603 Hamblen thanks to board of health for all their work, amazing
  • Earls, nothing at this time. Chandler thanks to the residents for participating tonight. Bissanti saw so much democracy in action recently. #tc0603 Jones - great democracy in action tonight, thanks to FPD officers who knelt last night. 1st manned flight after 9 years
  • Dellorco thanks for everything going off peaceful last night. #tc0603 congratulations to the FHS class of 2020. Mercer thanks to my fellow Councilors, difficult times, I applaud your efforts, long meetings and there will be more. Motion to adjourn, passed 9-0 via roll call

The agenda and documents released for this meeting

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