Saturday, May 29, 2021

Recap: Town Council - May 27, 2021 - $138M FY 2022 budget passes

Quick Recap:

  • A shorter evening to close out the two night budget hearing. Not as long this time, total meeting under 2 hours.
  • FY 2022 budget passes unanimously to fund the operations for the fiscal year beginning July 1 as recommended by Town Administrator Jamie Hellen and already approved by the Finance Committee.
  • Dr. Sara Ahern returned with answers to questions from the prior night. The answers apparently will give some council members new reading material to help with their apparent new interest in the details of the school budget, particularly in chasing down the unfunded mandates. For the record, the School Committee has held a Legislative Forum four years running to help with that topic with our legislative team (currently Senate President Karen Spilka, Senator Becca Rausch and State Rep Jeff Roy). Kudos to Councilor Frongillo for recognizing that while chasing the $5M (in unfunded mandates quantified by the Schools), there is a bigger number to look at: What would take us to get us from our current per pupil spending to get to the State average? Approx. $18M. Or was the expression of interest in the schools a reflection that November is coming? Time will tell. It is too late to do much with this year's budget but as been reported here before housing, stormwater, and the school budget are the major issues Franklin faces.
  • LaCantina was approved for their pouring license to help with their presence at the Farmer Market for this summer, their 6th year there.


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  #tc0527 

Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album =

Town of Franklin budget page 

Franklin Schools budget page 

  • Getting ready for the Town Council meeting, part 2 of the budget hearing. Weds went over 4 hours; not likely to be as long tonight. Doc with connection info  #tc0527
  • What is right with this budget? What is wrong with this budget? Please elaborate... #tc0527 
  • Meeting underway #tc0527
  • Citizen comment against stormwater fee and the potential nurse proposed for Health Dept. Citizen #2 speaking on school funding needs and confusion/misunderstanding among the councilors. Thanks to Dr Ahern, had observed she wasn't treated with the respect of other -> #tc0527
  • Department heads. Q on historical commission and museum. Pellegri wasn't aware of capital budget available to use (and yet she leads Capital Budget Subcommittee) withdraws her request to move amounts. #tc0527 Jones talked with HC chair about funds and not to move
  • Explanation on Town Council role of school budget, only have the top line item and not detail control. One of few times for TC to discuss budget, hence questions. #tc0527 Dr Ahern hands out follow up data to councilors. Enrollment of Franklin students
  • Trend on decline of enrollment seen across the schools, charter included (yes, overall population is growth is flat) #tc0527 births compared to graduation steep decrease in last 10 years. Per pupil comparison for Accept/BICO collaboratives to Franklin #tc0527
  • Midpoint in comparison with the DOT communities. #tc0527 had provided a listing of such in the November budget workshop, shared that with Council. Mandates on 3rd page that were hard to quantify. Clarification on birthrates. Issue of recruiting for Tri-county/Norfolk
  • Need for trades is there. Middle school students don't do tours anymore but we do have them come in to talk about the opportunity and set up visits for those interested. #tc0527 need to discuss the unfunded mandates (yes, but even if they were funded we would still need ->
  • To fund more, period per state minimum requirements. #tc0527 point of record, Jones asked for this mandate last year, the schools provided it in their workshop previously. Lobbying legislation is only part of the issue. Assume we got half, we still would need to ->
  • Figure out what we need to restore. Kudos to Frongillo, he just said we need to find the $18m which would get us to the state average. The $5m of unfunded is small change #tc0527 the state accounting is the same across the entire district. Can we use meritorious credit with ->
  • The state? Not likely, however we should use it internally.#tc0527 citizen confused about per pupil expense, not understanding it by nature allows for comparison at a student level not the district level. Dewsnap talks for schools, Spencer talks for schools ->
  • What do we value? Our values are reflected in the budget. #tc0527 Budget hearing closes. Next up license for LaCantina to add pouring samples at the Farmers Market. 31 vendors at the market this year. 6th year for LaCantina at market
  • Motion to approve, second, passes 9-0 #tc0527 Moving to legislation for action - adoption of FY 2022 budget $138,564,865 
  • Motion to approve expense limits, second, passes 9-0 Limits the same as last year, no requests to increase. #tc0527
  • Motion for CPA reservations, second, #tc0527 Annual reserve account allocations for CPA funding which starts collection in FY 2022, and 1st disbursement likely 4Q 2022. passes 9-0
  • TA report: public health nurse (RN) is required by state law, we contract out and are now working on a shared grant for a nurse for 3 years; learned from COVID-19 experience, needed more than what we had. #tc0527 Municipal building will open June 16 for meetings
  • Main reason for delay us not COVID related, actually due to the construction still underway at the building #tc0527 Councilor comments: Fund established at Rockland Trust, also asking for gift cards for the fire victims. Thanks to FDP and Eileen Mason for ->
  • The beautification day last weekend. Recognition of Bob Dean and work with the cable operations. Thanks to all for the work on the budget. #tc0527 thanks to the councilors for the work on this budget. Nick Gaspar 8th grade Horace Mann has cancer fund raising efforts
  • Have a safe Memorial Day. #tc0527 Thanks to the town employees, long listing, for the hard work and effort during pandemic. Motion to adjourn, second, passes 9-0 that's all for tonight, Catch you next time!

Recap: Town Council - May 27, 2021 - FY 2022 budget passes
Recap: Town Council - May 27, 2021 - FY 2022 budget passes

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