- The Town Council heard a presentation on the Market Study performed by MAPC. Details of the study will be picked up for action by the Economic Development Subcommittee (beginning July 30 6:00 PM).
- The Town Council heard a presentation on the PACE Program and voted to enroll in it so businesses (for profit or non-profit) can take advantage of this opportunity.
- The Town Council 'reluctantly' voted for the final time to approve the water rate increase which has been planned for years and most recently (March 2020) was also cause of much discussion around the 'poor timing.' Poor timing because we are in the middle of a pandemic, folks are economically stressed or hurting, and we are also in the middle of construction to fix the water treatment for wells 3 & 6 which if we didn't would result in a default on contracts and likely larger legal fees that the water rate increase will raise. Oh, and by fixing the wells we get access to over 700,000 gallons of water which we need.
- The meeting was the first conducted with Zoom installed in the Council Chambers for the Council to be physically together in person. The meeting technically was a success broadcast via Zoom, the cable channels, and live streamed via Franklin TV.
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 #tc0729
The full agenda doc (162 pages) can be found here
This was shared from the Town of Franklin page
- Real time reporting underway for #tc0729 meeting
- Motion for approval mins may 6 meeting passed with 1 abstain; motion for may 20 passed, Jun 3 passed, June 17 passed #tc0729
- Appt for Ag comm, motion made, passed ; conservation comm, motion made, passed https://franklinmatters.org/2020/07/franklin-ma-town-council-agenda-july-29.html? cultural council 2 individuals, motion made separately for each, both passed #tc0729
- Next up MAPC market analysis #tc0729 good starting point to help recover from whatever is needed post COVID. EDC will pick up the details to be worked going forward.
- Data gathering all done before COVID-19, some things may change but the info should be good. Slides to be posted later #tc0729
- Full market analysis doc is posted to ToF page good reading / study material https://franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/8a._final_town_of_franklin_market_study_1.pdf #tc0729
- BTW this meeting is hosted on Zoom in the Council chambers, live streamed via Franklin TV (via Town of franklin page) as well as broadcast to the two cable channels. A first !!! #tc0729 currently about 18 via Zoom but that includes the council etc in Chambers
- Chandler comment/question on how to get workers to turn right into town rather than taking the left from the industrial parks and head home #tc0729 Kelly, affordability of Franklin is an issue, commuter housing is needed
- #tc0729 Jones, thanks for the work putting the report together, push to EDC for further review (it is scheduled to do so) Hamblen, looking to complete streets and extend the rail trail downtown, how to recruit minority businesses to here?
- Bissanti, thanks, read just about all of it, not all doom and gloom on housing, need to explore the banking avenues, it is a great investment for a home owner #tc0729 Dellorco, thanks, what scares me is the COVID issue. No one wants to ride mass transit today
- Mercer, COVID has changed what the future will look like. Is there any funding to relook at the study for a COVID recap? #tc0729 Raul will look to see if there are any options
- Will go to the EDC for further action, next meeting 7/30 6 PM agenda and virtual link posted
- Next up PACE program up for discussion and vote later. Council does need to approve of the community entry to this program. #tc0729 https://franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/8b._pace_program_presentation_-_massdevelopment.pdf
- An important economic development tool to reduce energy costs
- Property Assess Clean Energy (PACE) finance for energy improvement. #tc0729 betterment assessment aligned with the property, 22 states offer this program. Wendy is the program director
- Municipal opt in a one time requirement, hence the vote by TC tonight #tc0729 energy cost savings must be cost positive, 3rd party capital provider. Property placed on a lien if approved.
- #tc0729 Hamblen, is there a downside? Financing facilitated between parties, should work out.
- Pellegri, no fee to participate in program. Because of payment via betterment assessment need the municipal approval, just launched this week
- #tc0729 Bissanti, property owner gets energy audit or Mass development? Property owner does and then comes to us to help facilitate the financing agreement. Advantage is long term, 20 years. Assessment secured by a lien
- Next up subcommittee reports: capital no meeting, EDC Thursday as noted, budget, nothing from the state yet. #tc0729
- https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/10a._resolution_20-42_pace_massachusetts.pdf #tc0729 PACE approval vote (note all 9 councilors present, confirmed via video and voice) (prior approval Committee appts were 9-0) Vote on this item passes 9-0
- franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/10b._resolution_20-43_gift_acceptance_police_department.pdf #tc0729 motion to accept donations, passed 9-0
- franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/10c._resolution_20-44_gift_acceptance_historical_museum.pdf #tc0729 motion to accept donations, passed 9-0 Pellegri talks of the changes to the museum to handle/display the storage and security of the items
- franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/10d._resolution_20-45_easement_overhead_system_-_final.pdf #tc0729 grant of easement to electric company/Verizon, motion to approve, passed 9-0; related to water treatment plant in construction on Grove st next item is same
- Franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/10e._resolution_20-46_easement_underground_electric_system_-_final.pdf #tc0729 easement related to earlier motion to support water treatment plant construction on Grove St, motion to approve, passes 9-0 via roll call.
- franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/10f._resolution_20-47_prior_year_solid_waste_bill.pdf #tc0729 motion for payment of prior year bill, passed 9-0 closes out FY 2020 for solid waste enterprise account, 2/3 need but not roll call needed,
- franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/resolution_20-48_gift_acceptance_-_fire_department.pdf #tc0729 motion to accept donation passes 9-0 thanks for their support
- franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/10g._zoning_bylaw_amendment_20-858_beaver_and_oak_streets.pdf #tc0729 zoning bylaw changes for lot line clean up for area along Beaver and Oak sts. Motion to waive reading, passed 9-0; motion to refer to Planning Board, passed 9-0
- franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/mai/files/10h._bylaw_amendment_20-855_water_fee_increase.pdf #tc0729 water rate increase up for second approval, already heard once, required to fund the water treatment plant under construction, not seeking sewer rate increase this or next year.
- #tc0729 question on water ban, would like to lift but given the weather is a consideration each week; Beaver St interceptor up for presentation Sep/Oct, difference between ban and conservation measures, wells regulations by State, Kelly concerned about the timing of this.
- #tc0729 drought condition a cause of ban, wells 3 & 6 need to be fixed to give us more water and water quality, hence the rate now is needed, 726000 gallons of capacity for water and fire safety, about half built, if we can't pay it with this increase how?
- #tc0729 is there any place we could take for this? $500,000 a year. About 40/unit. Water conservation is the annual useage with limit of once per week allowance; the water ban eliminates the once a week allowance due to drought this year and in 2016? And last year's fire
- #tc0729 it is a utility and a use, this fixes and pays for our infrastructure. Yes it is an expense. Gallon costs less than a tenth of a cent from Franklin (not the Poland spring rate) where would we find a half million to finish the projects, if we don't find it, we default
- #tc0729 people can regulate the water being used to a sense, if we don't approve we're in trouble. We're pigeon holed, for funding this. What have we done with the usage year over year, how much is there a change? What about the dual water meter option? Bring someone in
- #tc0729 Kelly, I guess I need to be a yes as our lawsuit will cost us more. Jones, a lot of families will struggle with this, this is painful. It is a far greater cost if we don't. Where can we roll back some rates down the line? Bissanti, This all came out in March
- #tc0729 we have to think of the greater good for Franklin. Chandler, this is the hardest thing we need to do. Vote on the motion (finally) 9-0 reluctantly by a few!
- #tc0729 3 active cases of Covid in Community currently, editorial slightly, phase 3, this Community has done very well, the rest of the country is scary. Keep it up.
- Re-opening, inspections resuming! Assessor inspections resumed, recreation bball started one of few
- #tc0729 concerts on the common started last week, good to see, check the schedule, food trucks coming, do the right thing, we can continue to expand, coordination with Farmers market; about $100k through a grant process for businesses locally details coming by end of month
- #tc0729 FY 2020 revenue came in at 102% so we did cover all our bills. Thanks to fire dept for the pinning date; thanks for Pete and Franklin TV to be back here in Chambers, feels good to be here
- #tc0729 question on accept of private roads; people are happy with the nets at the high school; thanks to Franklin TV; thanks to chief McLaughlin for the ceremony last week, hybrid meeting tonight, almost normal; first class event last week, made a good decision last year
- #tc0729 masks are important, we can't fall back per Pellegri, just wear it, trying to help you. Etc. etc. Thanks to the SchComm and department for handling things in this trying time. Apologies to the town for last week's non-meeting, was a technical challenge and we did it now
- #tc0729 thanks to Pete and his crew for their work to bring this to fruition, we should be able to continue this, allows citizens to speak from their homes via the Zoom call. Being under 10 is great, thanks to the community for masks, social distance, etc
- motion to adjourn, catch you next time folks #tc0729
|Chair Tom Mercer opens meeting|
|Raul (on left) Bryan (on right) on the Market Study|
|Wendy leads the PACE Program|
|summary work flow of PACE Program|
|Town Administrator Jamie Hellen cautions the Council on default of contract if water rate isn't passed|