Thursday, April 29, 2021

The stormwater story summary for Franklin

One of the key items in all of the budget discussions is going to be the stormwater utility question. This has been a topic that has developed since 2007 when the initial storm water bylaw was passed. The EPA and Mass DEP have continued to add requirements to how storm water should be managed. The costs for such mitigations have grown over the years. The introduction of the storm water utility fee would allow the Town to better manage the impact on the Town budget.

Why must we manage storm water?

We are part of the area feeding into the Charles River and hence are under the provisions as outlined in the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permit. We have an extensive outflow system to catch and manage storm water. Check out the map here -> 

Did the Town of Franklin sue the EPA?

Yes, and while we ultimately ‘lost’ the case, we did gain concessions on the implementation timeline that benefit all under the MS4 permit requirements.

When did the storm water bylaw pass?

The Storm water bylaw originally passed in 2007. Check out the bylaw language here ->

What is the storm water utility fee?

Article IV - storm water utility was added in Jan 2020. Bylaw #19-846 approved 9-0 vote. Check out the language here -> 

What is the MS4? 

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems or by the shorter name MS4. The current storm water mitigation plan - updated in 2020 ->  Stormwater Management Plan (revised 2020)

Can I find out what my impervious coverage is?
Check out the impervious coverage map for your property ->

Finance Committee budget hearing scheduled to continue this discussion

  • April 29 Agenda  = Dept of Public Works


How did we get here?

Soak it up Franklin site introduced in 2014 

Find the “Soak it up Franklin” page here ->

Storm water mitigated by rain gardens 

The storm water utility was mentioned in the EPA response in 2015

“Full compliance with the 2014 Draft MS4 Permit is an additional significant effort that cannot be currently supported with the Town' s existing resources and funding within the next permit cycle, as specified in the draft permit. The Town wishes to continue improving stormwater management and water quality, but this effort needs to take into consideration the progress made to date and be balanced with future infrastructure demands town-wide and economic conditions. Additionally, the town feels that the most cost-effective approach for stormwater improvements is integration with redevelopment and capital projects as infrastructure needs to be upgraded and/or replaced.


Similar to many other communities, Franklin has considered creating a stormwater utility to meet the current and proposed additional costs associated with the updated MS4 permit. Attached are working budget sheets that are based on current costs to meet the existing MS4 permit compared to estimated short-term EPA proposed MS4 stonn water activities. These worksheets clearly show that the additional tasks proposed by the new MS4 permit would go up over l00%!


Presently the Public Work's General Fund Operational Budget (GFOB) is $3,996,424.00. It is estimated that 14% or $559,499.00 of the GFOB is used for  only stormwater tasks.  lf the new MS4 permit becomes effective as proposed, it is estimated that the stormwater program effort in Franklin would require an increase to 26% or $1,039,070.00 of the GFOB”


Find the full doc with this quote here -> 

Storm water info mailer in 2018 

The bylaw was discussed in Nov 2019 TC meeting

Received first reading and approval to second reading 

Actions taken Dec 4 move to 2nd reading

Dec 2019 TC meeting

Stormwater Utility fee structure was approved by 9-0 in Jan 2020

Actions taken Jan 8 2020 - approval to set the process for the MUNIS adjustments required to bill for an actual fee (to be determined later).

Info session doc 3/11/20 

Town council goals midterm

You ask, we answer

MS4 info session summary

Finance Committee meeting in June 2020

Town Council Budget hearing June 2020

Storm water ad-hoc committee meeting Aug 2020 (audio)

Storm water ad-hoc committee meeting Sep 2020 (audio)

Finance Committee meeting Jan 13, 2021 (Audio)

Town council Jan 20, 2021 (audio)


The stormwater story summary for Franklin
The stormwater story summary for Franklin

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