Sunday, November 22, 2020

Town Council Meeting Recap - Nov 18, 2020

Quick Recap:

  • Corporate change at Shaw's requires approval of the change on the liquor license. There is no operational impact.
  • NationalGRID representative explained process for tree trimming, efforts underway to improve service to the northern part of Franklin. Several residents complained of the impact and expressed desires for more action sooner than revealed.
  • Adjustments to the FY 2021 budget (previously reviewed and approved by the Finance Committee) and by the Budget Subcommittee (held prior to the Council meeting) were discussed and approved. Budget stabilization fund restarted with addition of $850K
  • The bylaw to create the Community Preservation Council per the passage of the CPA at the Nov 3 election (roughly 11K voted yes to 7K voting no) was misunderstood by some in the community as well as on the Council. 9 members will be appointed, 5 from existing board (as defined by the CPA state statue) and 4 at large (a slight change from the proposal of 3 with the fourth a representative of the Agriculture Commission). The second reading of the bylaw will come back at a December meeting.
  • Two other items somewhat 'lost' in the meeting were 
    • Franklin's COVID-19 case count had risen to 104 (and to 116 as of Thursday's community data released by MA DPH)
    • Only 5% of the NationalGRID electric accounts opted out of municipal aggregation. (Given some of the threads on Facebook, one would have expected more to have opted out).
Agenda details with individual documents
Photos captured during the meeting and shared in the Twitter thread can be found online

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  #tc1118

  • Agenda doc for Town Council meeting available #tc1118
  • To watch or listen Town Council 11/18/20 : Via Comcast (Channel 11) or Verizon (Channel 29) Call-In Phone Number:Call 1-929-205-6099 & enter Meeting ID # ​829 5161 9518 -Then press # Via live stream
  • For active participation Town Council 11/18/20: Via Zoom: ​ #tc1118
  • Real time reporting underway for the Town Council meeting #tc1118 Chair Tom Mercer reads the protocol and connection announcements.
  • Town clerk Nancy Danello printing error found on initial mail ballots, replacements being sent, either way the error will not affect the election for candidates or anyone involved. Candidates night scheduled for 11/23 #tc1118
  • Open for citizen comments, citizen speaking on power outages, it is on the agenda. She can speak at that time. She also wants to speak on the CPA question also on the agenda. #tc1118 suggestion to have the access info on the bottom of the cable screen
  • Motion to approve minutes for Oct 7, Oct 21, Nov 4, each separately moved, seconded, passed assuming 8-0 (will verify with head count later) #tc1118
  • Motion to approve appointment of Janet Jewett for Council on Aging made, second, passed 8-0 #tc1118
  • Administrative changes to license of record for Shaw's #tc1118 also change to management ownership, no operational changes to store, hours etc. Primary reason for administrative changes to keep current instead of private ownership now public ownership
  • Motion to approve license transaction for Shaw's second, passed 8-0 #tc1118
  • Next license transaction for sales only at farmers markets #tc1118 for Winters Farmers Market on the 3rd Sat of the month at Fairmont fruit farm (no samples due to covid-19) passed 8-0
  • Representative from National Grid starts to explain circuit routing, one at Beaver Pond, one at Peck st and one at Union st; problems mostly with one of the circuits serves from Beaver Pond. #tc1118 main thing during storm are tree falls interrupting the lines, also squirrels
  • Work on trees trimming done every 5 years, spent over $500k doing trimming this year alone, maintain a 6' and 10' clearance per contract did also make notes on trees or large limbs to take down, need to take with tree warden (Brutus) or residents as needed #tc1118
  • Look at equipment itself and replacement where necessary, spacer cables or tree wires, looking to do quick fixes. Also do a grid modernization program with DPU. If tree touches wire and does it three times, the line shuts. Looking to working isolation #tc1118
  • Project on isolation to start in April 2021. #tc1118 nationalGrid doesn't serve Medway so the north section is at the end of the line. Can out a lot of load as it is all residential, other lines have less as company or industrial accounts take more
  • 16 hour shift during storm duty, can't go to truck when wind is over 40 mph, roads and trees need to be cleared before lines are restored. #tc1118 how long will the April project take once started? Hopefully by end of year if weather cooperates
  • #tc1118 process is to address the larger issues first, work way through the process, things have improved, but it still takes time. Frequency of storms and complexity of the system contribute to issue. Storms without warning are a big issue
  • #tc1118 where are we on the priority list? They look at the poor performing feeders to manage those, there are none currently in Franklin. We are looking at the northern section per your request. So the line will be looked at more closely? Yes.
  • It is possible that a resident could be keeping a tree that is creating a problem for others. Would need to address through the Town tree warden. #tc1118 Brutus sends hundreds of letters to residents to address the tree issues.
  • Clarification on modernization, two pieces of equipment to be changed to help isolation, starting with this. #tc1118 "saying you are going to start in April, what are we going to do during the winter? This isn't acceptable. Needs to be rectified sooner than later"
  • Replacement of some wires closer to Beaver St and other short term fixes should help. Improvements should be helping improve the service. #tc1118 if you know the issue and aren't going to be taking action on a reasonable, then that may be negligent
  • Concern with the amount of time to restore the outage, 2 days here, another 2 here, maybe make a commitment to do more sooner #tc1118 there will be other work being done before April, she will let DPW and Fire know of work being done
  • #tc1118 important to provide updates on improvements being made, as they go. Without power, no water, no data so the web pages Jamie mentioned don't work. It is a safety issue when you can't flush. Thanks for the text message program, 40 hours total outages this year
  • Without power can't use the stove to cook for her child. #tc1118 Moving on to subcommittee reports. Budget met earlier this evening, items coming upon agenda. Listening session postponed, to be combined with Dec 9th
  • Legislation for action first up #tc1118 the additional 150k for rec and town clerk accounts per subcommittee meeting earlier. FinCom approved 7-0; thanks for working with a tight budget and avoiding an override.
  • State money is less than last year, can not continue to fulfill unfunded mandates, our #1 problem. #tc1118 some of the Cares act funds couldn't be used for the personnel costs for the election, could and did get used for the plexiglass and other items
  • The State lost $3b, and our delegation kept us pretty well whole. Motion, seconded passes 8-0 #tc1118
  • Motion to add to the budget stabilization fund, $853k; currently nothing in it, had been drained over last years. #tc1118 new growth had been forecast at $600k, now coming in at $1.6m hence the savings opportunity; second, passes 8-0
  • recognition of gift to fire dept #tc1118 motion seconded, passes 8-0
  • first of a couple of lot line changes for first reading, motion to second reading. Prior approval by council, approved by planning board, seconded, passes 8-0
  • Moved quickly by waiving reading of the motion by the clerk; motion to second reading, passes 8-0
  • motion to create chapter 16 for a Community Preservation Committee, an outcome of the passage of the CPA in the Nov election, requires two readings, then open process for application and appointment sometime next year #tc1118 reading of the bylaw
  • Update by Jamie, a good tool for the community, bylaw sets terms for the committee. How to do this is already in MA gen'l law, there is also training by Community coalition, this is a long process. Then appointment of committee, tax collection doesn't start until 7/21 #tc1118
  • In transparency, any changes to what was voted on. The ballot question was authorization to raise the taxes, this is the process to do the due diligence for the process, no bait and switch. #tc1118 5 of the seats are all mandatory, the statue requires a bylaw to admin the CPA
  • The CPC is the gate keeper of the projects and funding. Boards get letter vote for a member, the nominations come to Town Administrator for review and town Council approval/ratification. Anyone who would like to serve has an opportunity to do so #tc1118
  • #tc1118 concerned about adding AgComm to this similar to Conservation Committee, would rather have more citizens at large, need an attorney, a CPA to under stand the funding, a builder, an inspector. Would prefer to have town Council to do the interview and appointment
  • The statue specific is already set in legislation. The town Council already accepted the statue with the town Council vote to put before the voters. The statue is well defined (20 years in work) Town clerk can enter in the tables. The bylaw is before them now #tc1118
  • Pellegri not agreeing with the statue and bylaw as described. Bissanti joins in AgComm and ConComm duplicates. Jones agreeing with an additional at large person. AgComm is optional, ConComm is required. Max per statue is 9. AgComm is different on role from ConComm #tc1118
  • Would need to reorder the appointment terms of going with 4. AgComm is open space advocate for Franklin as we are structured #tc1118 they will all be Franklin residents, period. To change wording now is not bait and switch, the act approved the funding...
  • This bylaw creates the Committee, folks got 'confused' between the ballot question and operational discussion on the bylaw, 5 are defined by State, 9 is also max per State, only decision is which the four are. #tc1118
  • Remove AgComm, and change terms due to four at large, #tc1118 those changes to be made when it comes back vote to move to second reading as amended to second reading 8-0
  • 104 cases some clusters out there, we need to be careful, we are not in the next category and need to stay away from that. COVID-19 Report on municipal aggregation, only 5% opted out. 1.5 cents less on bill effective Nov 1. Shout-out for Franklin fire dept #tc1118
  • Fire dept grant Committee a great success #tc1118 explore potential of a citizens Committee, could help keep public informed... Comments: executive session will cover the spear phishing issue. Farmers market Nov 21 first one, help decorate downtown also Nov 21.
  • Hopefully after the executive session we'll be able to say something. What about the former councilor and an issue with bill of sales on some plows. Statement on the issue will be made at the next session. Happy Thanksgiving to all, stay safe. #tc1118
  • Move to executive session, on the spear phishing issue, motion seconded passes 8-0 #tc1118 via roll call 


From the archives: Wed, Dec 20, 2017
Representative Jeff Roy announced that the Agricultural Commission had been formally signed by Governor Baker. He presented a copy of the official parchment along with the pen used to sign the legislation to Councilor Melanie Hamblen who was instrumental in getting the Agricultural Commission started.

Representative Jeff Roy and Councilor Melanie Hamblen
Representative Jeff Roy and Councilor Melanie Hamblen

No comments:

Post a Comment