Thursday, July 1, 2021

Franklin Annual Report - 2020: Town Administrator

The Town Administration works with the Town Council together to improve the quality of life of our residents. We are diligent in balancing the budget and keeping an eye on the Town’s future needs and maintaining its assets.

Accomplishments in FY20 include:
We continue to update our Town Budget webpage with helpful resources such as how the budget process works, operating and capital budgets, and fiscal forecasts.

A balanced operating budget was submitted to the Town Council and was approved. We have received five year Capital plans from all departments including the Water And Sewer Enterprise fund. Having long term Capital plans prevents more expensive costs down the road.

As part of our expansion of customer service we have expanded our Viewpoint Online Permitting System to the Health Department and will continue adding new applications throughout the year to make for a more convenient process.

We continue to update the Town’s website to make information easily accessible for the public. All Agendas and Minutes of all boards and committees are web-based and continuously updated. These can be found on the boards and committees’ pages on our website. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for News and Announcement as well as visiting our website at

The Town Administration staff has worked diligently with the Board of Health to ensure the Town, our employees and residents stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to serve the Town and its residents while staying safe and following the guidelines and requirements set forth by the Governor of Massachusetts, DPH and the CDC.

To continue our efforts in keeping the Town informed of updates and alerts related to COVID-19 our Marketing and Communications Specialist, Anne Marie Tracey has created a user friendly Coronavirus Portal on our website and sends out important information frequently through our subscriber lists and social media.

The Town Administrative Assistant, Alecia Alleyne who has been here just a little over a year has worked with our Finance team to make sure we receive FEMA and Cares Act assistance during this pandemic. Alecia has applied for and received over $1 million of assistance for the town and anticipates another million in additional funds by year end.
Covid-19 Pandemic
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic all Town Buildings closed in mid March. However, due to our fantastic Technology staff we were able to quickly get most if not all of our staff up and running remotely. Working remote has had its challenges but we continue our efforts to improve the way we will be doing business for the unforeseeable future.

The Town Administration staff, Technology staff and Franklin TV worked together to make sure Town Council Meetings could continue and comply with Open Meeting Laws. These meetings currently are being recorded, streamed live through the website, Zoom and Cable TV.

Assistant to the Town Administrator, Chrissy Whelton and Human Resources Director, Karen Bratt worked with the towns Safety Committee, representatives from each department and MIIA representatives and earned over $50,000 in insurance premium savings and was recognized by the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) as a leader in preventing risk in the workplace through employee training programs.

Franklin “Bends the Trend” by working with the Insurance Advisory Committee (IAC) to keep insurance rate increases for employees to a minimum, The Town continues to offer a Qualified High Deductible Health Care Plan.

Franklin signed agreements with three Solar Companies for a PILOT program. Kearsarge Upper Union LLC agreed to make payments in lieu of taxes for a period of twenty consecutive fiscal years totaling $124,495.00 . Maple Street Solar 1, LLC has agreed to make payments in lieu of taxes at an annual rate of $52,800 for 20 years. Spring Street Renewables, LLC ℅ Neexamp, Inc. agreed to make payments in lieu of taxes for 20 years totaling at $1,220,302.
The Town of Franklin also worked with Nexamp to ensure that a portion of their farm be reserved for Franklin residents. On a first-come, first-served basis residents were eligible to subscribe to receive credit on their Electric bill at a special rate of 15%. Due to a high interest from Franklin residents the farm is now filled however Nexamp is still offering their standard discount rate of 12.5%.

The Town has signed five (5) Host Community Agreements with proposed marijuana establishments. A total of $300,000 in revenue generated from these establishments will be earmarked for the SAFE Coalition ($25,000) and $275,000 will be used by the public school system to address mental health and substance abuse issues amongst our students. Revenue generated by these establishments will also help to offset certain tax burdens on residents.
Town Administration, Human Resources and all Municipal Unions successfully completed collective bargaining and settled through 2022.

The Town hired a new Fire Chief, James McLaughlin in July of 2019. The Chief was a former Fire Chief from Rhode Island. We have seen some major positive changes in the department since the hire. The Town also gained a new Conservation Agent, Jennifer Delmore in May of 2019 and has seen much progress in the department over the past year.

Long time Senior Center Director Karen Alves retired in September 2020 and Assistant Director Erin Rogers was promoted to Director and will continue with offering the highest quality of services to Franklin Seniors.

Our goal is to deliver high quality customer service while keeping costs under control. There will be difficult challenges to our budget in the coming year; but you can be assured that the Town Administration and Town Council will work together to solve budgetary issues.

It is my pleasure to submit an annual report of the Town Administrator for your review, and please feel free to write, email, or stop by with any questions, concerns, or comments.

Respectfully submitted, 

Jamie Hellen,
Town Administrator

The full Annual Report for 2020 can be found online

Prior Annual Reports can be found online

Franklin Annual Report - 2020: Town Administrator
Franklin Annual Report - 2020: Town Administrator 

No comments:

Post a Comment