Saturday, February 10, 2024

Watch the Planning Board playlist on YouTube back to January 2022

Franklin TV broadcasts many Town and School meetings to multiple channels. 
  • Verizon and Comcast
  • Live stream via Zoom
  • And to YouTube
You can find the Planning Board playlist on YouTube for meetings since January 2022  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNyv0AkVasIQke5CNZkM7XcSzaCBW4IID


Watch the Planning Board playlist on YouTube back to January 2022
Watch the Planning Board playlist on YouTube back to January 2022

More Perfect Union - WFPR

More Perfect Union - WFPR
Discussing American Politics and Current Events
Peter Fasciano, Dr. Michael Walker Jones, Dr. Natalia Linos, Jeff Roy, and Nick Remissong host a round table discussion on current events and American politics, bringing about thoughtful conversation, compelling discourse, and a look at what the future might hold for the United States.

Listen to More Perfect Union on wfpr.fm or 102.9 on  Monday's at 11 AM, 2 PM, and 8 PM

Find all the episodes in your favorite podcast app or https://more-perfect-union.captivate.fm/

More Perfect Union - WFPR
More Perfect Union - WFPR

Annual Report Of The Conservation Commission: FY 2023 Report

The Franklin Conservation Commission is responsible for promoting and protecting the Natural and Wetland Resources within the Town of Franklin, including Rivers, Streams, Vernal Pools, Habitat, and Threatened and Endangered Species.

The Commission is composed of seven volunteer residents appointed for three year terms by the Town Council. Current Commission members have diverse professional experience related to environmental science, biology, engineering, and project management. Because of their differing backgrounds, each Commissioner is able to offer a unique perspective during the review of wetland permit applications. This diversity in experience ultimately benefits Franklin and its associated Resources.

Franklin has continuously been represented at the annual conference of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC), Massachusetts Association of Wetland Scientists (AMWS), Society of Wetland Scientists - New England Chapter (SWS), and the Society of Ecological Restoration. During the MACC annual conference, Commissioners can further their education with classes and workshops, and are able to collaborate with other Commissioners from across the state; as well as scientists, ecologists, engineers, and lawyers active in conservation. Newly appointed, Commissioner Livingstone holds a seat on the Board for MACC; and Agent Goodlander maintains a seat on the Outreach Committee for SWS and is Co-Chair for the Program/Education Committee for AMWS.

Overall, the Department of Planning and Community Development (Conservation) provides administrative and technical support to the Commission.

Permitting of Work within or Adjacent to Wetlands Resources
The Franklin Conservation Commission is the primary authority for administering the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act and the Franklin Wetlands Protection Bylaw and corresponding Regulations. These laws and regulations require permits to work in or within Wetland Resource Areas, including Habitat, as well as within the 100-foot Buffer Zone to a Wetland Resource; in or within the 100-foot Buffer Zone to the 100-year Floodplain; or in or within the 200-foot Riverfront Area to a Perennial Stream.
 
During FY22, the Conservation Commission received 57 permit applications to work within areas under their permitting jurisdiction. Five of these applications are still being permitted for FY23 and one of these applications has been denied. The Commission also issued Certificates of Compliance and Permit Extensions for previously permitted projects, with three Certificates of Compliance denied.

The table below is a summary of Conservation Commission activity during FY22:

Conservation Commission activity during FY22
Conservation Commission activity during FY22

Each permit application has associated local filing fees which must be paid in full prior to permit approval. These fees pay for a wide array of wetland protection projects, including treatment at the DelCarte Conservation Area, plantings of native species, and even a summer internship for a Franklin High School student. Thank you, Rex Cinelli, for all of your hard work this past summer!

Public hearings continue to be held in the Council Chambers in a hybrid meeting style.

Open Space and Recreation Plan
Throughout FY22, the Conservation Commission and Agent were tasked with drafting the 2023 Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP). An OSRP is best described as a guiding document through which a community can plan for the future of its conservation and recreation resources. It is an accumulation of public participation, stakeholder engagement, and goals and objectives identified as most important to the community.

To facilitate this community engagement, the Commission connected with residents in a variety of ways, including emails, a citizen questionnaire,  
Google Form, external presentations, and 20 focus group meetings for over 100 stakeholders. Focus group meetings ran from January 12 to May 19 of FY22, and were conducted four times a month.

Topics for these meetings ranged from "Sports and Recreation Programs" to "Habitat Protection and Ecosystem Restoration". The citizen questionnaire, comprising 30 questions, was available from February 13 to April 30. The Commission would like to thank all residents who participated throughout this engagement process.

The OSRP is set to be approved by Town Council in FY24 with OSRP work continuing in the 2035 Master Plan. Commissioner Hagen has been appointed as a Master Plan Update Committee Member and Chair of the Open Space and Recreation, and Natural, Cultural and Historical Resources Subcommittee.

...
...

The Commission would like Franklin residents to be aware of the potential tax savings of M.G. L. Chapter 61 Forest Lands and Forest Products, Chapter 61A Agricultural and Horticultural Land, and 61B Recreational Land. Such programs are designed to benefit the land owner via reducing the tax burden, as well as to preserve and maintain the quality and quantity of environmentally sensitive and natural areas within the Commonwealth.

The Conservation website continues to be reworked and updated to be more user-friendly. The Conservation Agent continues to develop and publish standard operating procedures and educational snippets to help residents understand the operations of Conservation and why Natural and Wetland Resources play an important role in the Franklin community.

Please visit our website for additional information: www.franklinma.gov/conservation.

Lastly, the Conservation Commission underwent substantial membership changes during FY22. Meghann Hagen and Mark LePage were appointed as Commissioners by Town Council after Commissioner Batchelor stepped down from the Commission. The Commission wishes to thank Commissioner Batchelor for his years of service.

Below is a list of current Conservation Commission members:
  • Patrick Gallagher, Chair
  • Jeffrey J. Milne, Vice Chair
  • Michael R. Rein
  • Meghann A. Hagen
  • Jeffrey Livingstone
  • Mark C. LePage
  • Richard W. Johnson


Respectfully submitted,
Patrick Gallagher, Chair 
Breeka Li Goodlander, CWS, PWS, CERPIT, 
Conservation Agent/Natural Resource Protection Manager


Note: Not all of the Conservation Commission report was shared here due to formatting challenges. You can find the complete ConComm section in one PDF ->   https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rNUihQsw6X6GNK4rMw4q62Opvdeb5Ors/view?usp=drive_link


The full Town of Franklin FY 2023 Annual Report can be found online

Annual Report Of The Conservation Commission: FY 2023 Report
Annual Report Of The Conservation Commission: FY 2023 Report

Annual Report of the Franklin Fire Department: FY 2023 Report

The Department
The Franklin Fire Department administration is led by a Fire Chief who is assisted by an Executive Assistant. The department is divided into two divisions, operations and administration, which are each under the direction of the two Deputy Chiefs. The operations division is responsible for dispatch, emergency medical services, fire suppression and hazardous materials response. The administration division is responsible for personnel, budget, training, code compliance and coordinating the Town's emergency preparedness.

Our Mission
The Franklin Fire Department offers the highest level of public safety services for our community. We safely protect lives and property of all hazards through fire suppression, training, emergency medical and transportation services, disaster and crisis management, fire prevention and public education.

Operational Objectives
Initiating advanced life support to patients within 10 minutes of notification of the emergency.
To access, extricate, treat and transport trauma patients to a level one trauma medical facility within one hour of the occurrence of the injury.
Interrupt the progression of fires in structures within 10 minutes of open flame ignition.
Provide safety and survival skills for all school students in grade K through 5 consistent with the Student Awareness Fire Education (SAFE) initiative of the Commonwealth.
Provide continued valuable services to the senior population with home safety inspections and smoke/carbon monoxide battery replacement.
Provide educational opportunities for department members to ensure optimal performance and safety.
To develop and maintain "best practice" to insure personnel and citizen safety.
Ensure fire safety through timely, consistent code compliance services to all external customers.
Obtain grants to fund equipment and training.
Provide CPR training for the community in conjunction with the town nurse.
Provide all department services in a manner that satisfies the needs of our customers.


Message from the Fire Chief

Fiscal Year 2023 was another active and rewarding year for the Franklin Fire Department. In fiscal year 2023, the Department responded to 5056 incidents which is an increase of 68 calls from fiscal year 2022.
 
This is the first time in the history of the Department that there were over 5,000 emergency responses recorded in a fiscal year. Although we are very proud of attaining an ISO 1 designation on July 1, 2022, we are committed to continue to strive to be even better and further develop our professional emergency services to the community, through our training and education programs, to meet future challenges. In addition to Fire/EMS training, the Department participated in Active Shooter Hostile Event Response (ASHER) training with the Franklin Police Department in May 2023 that will continue in the future.

Since  July  2019,  the  Department  has  received $1,839,964 in grants and generous local donations. A Grant Committee, composed of department members who volunteer their time, pursue and apply for funding opportunities that can help offset department costs to the taxpayers. The Department during FY23 received grants including $632,269.18 to replace all of our portable radios, $38,964.28 for a fire prevention/investigation camera and fire extinguisher training props, and $301,279.62 for training and equipment to better respond to Hazardous Materials incidents and those requiring advanced Rapid Intervention Training (RIT) for firefighter rescue.

Ambulance transport revenue this fiscal year was $2,223,200 which was an increase of $347,988 from the previous year. In addition to revenue generated from ambulance transport billing, the Department collected an additional $212,048 from the voluntary Certified Public Expenditure (CPE) program that allows ambulance providers the opportunity to receive additional Medicaid reimbursement for services delivered to MassHealth members. The Town Council has agreed during the May 2023 budget hearings to allow the Department to staff a third ambulance during business hours in FY24 to help offset the amount of mutual aid calls into Town which will benefit the level of service in town as well as increase the ambulance transport revenue. The Department took delivery of a new ambulance in August 2022 which will allow the opportunity to have two reserve ambulances as well. The reserve ambulance at Headquarters is fully equipped and ready to respond, if the need arises, for the added approved coverage during peak hours.

On February 1, 2023 the Town Council unanimously approved the purchase of a new 100 foot Tower Ladder expected to be delivered in the spring/summer of 2025. Two new staff cars were delivered this summer for the two Deputy Chiefs. The Department is especially appreciative of the Town Council and Finance Committee for their support for the purchase of these new vehicles to maintain a reliable fleet. Additionally, the Department has an internal Health & Wellness Committee that is composed of members of the Department dedicated to improving the health and wellness of our greatest asset - our firefighters.

The Department hired four firefighter/paramedics to the Department in FY23 which maintains department staffing at 56 firefighter/paramedics which will increase to 58 firefighter/paramedics on July 1, 2023 with the approval of the Town Administrator and Town Council. The new Firefighter/Paramedics that were hired during FY23 are Victor DaCosta, Nicholas Brosseau, Kristin Krauss and Jack Lennon. All of these new firefighters have been great additions to the Department that bring along a lot of experience and we wish them a healthy and productive career. We also want to wish the best in retirement to Firefighter/Paramedic David Morris who was a 36 year veteran of the Department and retired on October 1, 2022.

The Department consistently provides community outreach throughout the Town through various programs and events including our SAFE program for our students and Senior SAFE for our seniors, high school senior project program, public fire prevention awareness/training, CPR training, fire station open houses and our very popular annual corned beef and cabbage dinner at the Franklin Senior Center.

In our budget narrative we consistently reference the three important components of an effective fire department which are well staffed, well trained and well equipped personnel. This Department once again was able to make significant strides in all three categories due to the support of the Town Administrator and his staff, Town Council, Finance Committee, business community and most importantly the general public. On behalf of the members of the Franklin Fire Department I want to thank everyone for your support. It is an honor and privilege for us to serve this community.

Respectfully Submitted,

James G, McLaughlin, 
Fire Chief/EMA Director


The full Fire Dept Annual Report section is contained in this PDF.

The complete Town of Franklin FY 2023 Annual Report can be found online
Annual Report of the Franklin Fire Department:  FY 2023 Report
Annual Report of the Franklin Fire Department:  FY 2023 Report

Tax preparation help available at Library

VITA at the Franklin Public Library offers help preparing to file your income taxes. Stop by each Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Volunteers will help assess your needs and either schedule an appointment to process your taxes or maybe do them on the spot.






Shared from -> 

Friday, February 9, 2024

Franklin's Event Outlook: February 9, 2023 to February 15, 2024

Why have multiple calendars?
There is a Cultural events calendar upon which other community events are layered to create the Community calendar. The Library and Senior Center calendars are too full of events to include all their events so we tend to focus on the major events. Town and School meetings are also kept separate. Links for all the calendars are shared here:

The Cultural calendar displays only the cultural events      https://www.franklinculture.org/things-do/pages/calendar

Find the full Community event calendar  https://www.franklinmatters.org/p/blog-page.html

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:  https://forms.gle/oPdi8X3ZbHHyrHzo6

The Library calendar of events ->    calendar link

The Senior Center calendar of events ->   https://www.franklinma.gov/node/39/events/month/39/2023-12

The Town meeting calendar is found  https://www.franklinma.gov/calendar
The School district calendar is found  https://www.franklinps.net/calendar-by-event-type/26 

Franklin's Event Outlook: February 9, 2023 to February 15, 2024
Franklin's Event Outlook: February 9, 2023 to February 15, 2024

Annual Report Of The Finance Committee: FY 2023 Report

I hereby submit the Annual Report of the Franklin Finance Committee for FY2023.

During the year we had some turnover in the membership of the committee. We lost Mike Kasberg, Dave Weich and Tyrel Hansen. On behalf of the Town of Franklin I thank them for their service and wish them well in their next chapter. We subsequently welcomed Mike Hamilton, William Batchelor, and Lauren Nagel. We look forward to having these new inquiring minds on the committee.

Over the last few years, we have worked to change the focus of the committee from basically a very informed approval body to a more proactive approach to understanding the information at a much deeper level. My predecessor as Chairman started what has become a series of "Deep Dives" into each department. This year we reviewed the Assessing Department, the Franklin Public Schools, the compensation plan for the town and the planning and building departments. Each gave us and those watching a much better understanding of what happens every day in those important departments.

In the coming year we will again perform "Deep Dives" on the larger departments with an eye toward determining what they need to properly serve the town for the next several years. It is important that we let them articulate what they need to provide the high-quality service we have come to enjoy and expect.

Perhaps our most important function occurs each May when the annual budget is presented to the committee. Each and every line of the budget is subjected to review with the appropriate department head present to answer questions. We are the only committee to perform this level of review for the public so it is important that we ask the questions that the public may have. All of our meetings and agendas are posted on the town's website and can be viewed both in person and are available on the Zoom platform as well as viewable on Franklin TV and YouTube.

As we approach the challenges of FY25 it is very important that we fully understand what will be needed to support the services that each department provides.

It is important that I acknowledge the quality of the information we receive from the Town Administrator Jamie Hellen and the Finance Director Chris Sandini. The data is always in the most readable and understandable format that we could ever ask for. Also thank you to the department heads for putting up with some questions from "out of left field" but that's how we and the residents learn.

It is very important that I acknowledge and thank my fellow committee members for their participation and focus during our meetings.

Respectfully submitted,

George Conley, Chairman 
Natalie Riley, Vice Chairman 
Nicole Corbosiero, Clerk 
John Grace
Chuna Keophannga 
Stephanie Koke 
William Batchelor 
Michael Hamilton 
Lauren Nagel


The full Town of Franklin FY 2023 Annual Report can be found online

Annual Report Of The Finance Committee: FY 2023 Report
Annual Report Of The Finance Committee: FY 2023 Report

Franklin Police share sources for Internet safety with children

The Franklin Police Dept have two detectives assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force created the SMART Tips for Parents guide to promote Internet safety.


Visit for the resources available


Veterans Coffee Social at the Franklin Senior Center

Save the date!!!

March 6 at 10 AM.

State Rep Jeff Roy, State Senator Becca Rausch and Secretary of Veterans Service, Jon Santiago



Shared from -> 

Girl Scout Cookies for sale this weekend


Where will the cookies be in Franklin?
Saturday, Feb 10
  • Shaw's 9 am - 2 pm 
  • Dean Bank 8:30 am - 12 pm
  • Stop & Shop 10 am - 2 pm
Sunday, Feb 11
  • Shaw's 9 am - 2 pm
  • Stop & Shop 10 am - 2 pm

Check out the Facebook page for updates on specific locations

Girl Scout Cookies for sale this weekend
Girl Scout Cookies for sale this weekend

Franklin TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) schedule for Friday, Feb 9, 2023

  • wfpr.fm or 102.9 on the FM dial = Friday

9:00a/12:00p /6:00p Chapters – Jim Derick  Insightful, life-affirming stories and interviews


10:00a/1:00p/7:00p Music to Lift the Spirit - Jim Derick & Frank Falvey


11:00a/2:00p/8:00pm Senior Story Hour – Senior Center Scribblers Group


  • Franklin All Access TV - Our Public Access Channel         (Comcast 6, Verizon 26) = FRIDAY


  • Franklin Pride TV - Our Educational Channel        (Comcast 8, Verizon 28) = FRIDAY


  • Franklin Town Hall TV - Our Government Channel (Comcast 9, Verizon 29) =  FRIDAY


Get this week's program guide for Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) online  http://franklin.tv/programguide.pdf   


Thursday, February 8, 2024

Save the Date! Empty Bowls Fund Raiser - May 23

Save the Date!


Franklin High School Empty Bowls Fundraiser to Support the Franklin Food Pantry scheduled for Thursday, May 23, 2024, from 6-8 PM, Franklin High School Cafeteria, 218 Oak St, Franklin, MA.


Join Franklin High School’s Empty Bowls Club for a simple meal of soup and bread and bid on silent auction items including ceramic pieces made by club members. Each attendee will receive a handmade bowl as a reminder that “somewhere, someone’s bowl is empty”.  All proceeds from the event will support the Franklin Food Pantry.


Tickets go on sale on Monday, April 1, 2024.


Sponsorship opportunities are available: https://bit.ly/47P0MWk


For more information, please email Jen Johnson at jjohnson@franklinfoodpantry.org


Save the Date! Empty Bowls Fund Raiser - May 23
Save the Date! Empty Bowls Fund Raiser - May 23

Franklin's Three Middle Schools Receive Grant to Support STEM Career Learning

 

Superintendent Lucas Giguere is pleased to announce that the Remington Middle School, Horace Mann Middle School and Annie Sullivan Middle School recently received grant funds from the One8 Foundation to offer an expanded curricular program from Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to support STEM career learning.

The One8 Foundation collaborates with partners to identify, support and scale high impact programs, like PLTW, to help schools and teachers prepare students for success.

PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for PreK-12 students and teachers through coursework in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. Franklin's three middle schools join more than 12,000 schools across the country offering PLTW programs to millions of students.

“Receiving these grants gives us the opportunity to realize what we imagine for our students," said Director of Curriculum STEM Eric Stark. "By expanding our partnership with the One8 Foundation, our computer science and STEM teachers will join a nationwide community of educators, and our students will gain access to an engaging and rigorous curriculum and high-quality instructional materials."

The grant funds will be used to implement three PLTW Gateway units for the first time in Franklin Public Schools. In the first unit offered, Design and Modeling, students will discover the design process and develop an understanding of the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives. They will be challenged to use and apply what they have learned throughout the unit to design a therapeutic toy for a child who has cerebral palsy.

"We are so excited to be a part of this partnership with Project Lead the Way for the first time,” Superintendent Giguere said. "We are looking forward to seeing our students participate in these programs and how they can apply their skills across the computer sciences, shaping them for real-world experiences."
The second unit that will be offered is Computer Science for Innovators and Makers. Students will discover computer science concepts and skills by creating personally relevant, tangible and shareable projects. Throughout the unit, students will learn about programming for the physical world by blending hardware design and software development. They will design and develop a physical computing device, interactive art installation or wearable, and plan and develop code for microcontrollers that bring their physical designs to life.

The third unit that will be offered is called App Creators. This unit will expose students to computer science by computationally analyzing and developing solutions to authentic problems through mobile app development, and will convey the positive impact of the application of computer science to other disciplines and to society. Students will customize their experience by choosing a problem that interests them in the areas of health, environment, emergency preparedness, education, community service and school culture.

Funds from the grant will also support teacher professional development and the purchase of materials and equipment that will be used in PLTW courses. In addition, as a school with PLTW programming in Massachusetts, each school will have access to a regular set of teacher professional learning opportunities, student project showcases, and connections to industry professionals offered by the Mass Learning Project and the One8 Applied Learning Hub.

“Students are hungry for experiences that allow them to apply what they are learning to solve real-world, meaningful problems," said One8 Foundation President Joanna Jacobson. "Providing equitable access to hands-on applied learning programs that deliver academic gains while building critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills ensures students are engaged and interested in school and prepared for success in this ever-changing world."


About Project Lead The Way
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a mission-driven organization that is transforming the learning experience for millions of PreK-12 students and thousands of teachers across the country. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW's teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning.


Annual Report Of The Board Of Assessors: FY 2023 Report

Revaluation
The revaluation of all real and personal property in the Town of Franklin was completed Autumn 2022 in preparation for Actual Fiscal Year 2023 3rd quarter tax bills. Following is a brief review of that achievement.

Data Collection
Twenty-one years have now passed since we installed the Assesspro real estate valuation and assessment administration software developed by Patriot Properties, Inc. Because our start-up data was from a different form of valuation system and most of our data had not been refreshed in nearly ten years, it was necessary to complete a town-wide data recollection program prior to finalizing the FY 2005 valuations. Patriot Properties was hired for this task. Over the past 18 years, our appraisal staff has performed the on-going property exterior measuring and interior inspecting for all real estate classes.
Such reviews are done for the Department of Revenue (DOR) required cyclical program, as well as for building permitted changes, pre- appraisals, abatements and sales verifications.

Field Review
In addition to individual property on-site review, field reviews are required periodically to check for observed data accuracy and consistency.

This drive-by review provides another level of assurance that when valuation schedules are applied, the results will be "Fair and Equitable".

Commercial/Industrial/Apartment Valuations Annually there are analyses of sales data as well as income & expense market data. The Board contracted Patriot to work with our Director to establish an income approach to value for each property. All requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue were met through final approval of the FY 2023 valuations.

Sales Analysis
The majority of the sales analysis was completed by September 2022, and the interpretation of sales continued through the next two stages of valuation. The town-wide program resulted in a valuation system that was applied uniformly throughout the town, while reflecting all the adjustments warranted individually and by neighborhood, to arrive at "Full and Fair Cash Values" as per Massachusetts General Law.

Value Generation
A system of valuation was established based on valid property sales and where applicable the income approach to value. These schedules were developed from the market and then uniformly applied to all taxable and exempt real property.

Final Value Review
Final reviews were completed in preparation for the DOR review. These include studies of various computer-generated reports to check for value consistency, final field checks required, and for DOR documentation and its analyses.

DOR Review & Final Approval
The on-site and statistical reviews by the DOR took place from April to October 2022. The appraisal staff provided files, generated property records, answered questions and addressed any concerns. At the conclusion of the DOR review, we were granted Preliminary Certification authorizing public disclosure.

Public Disclosure
The DOR approved valuations were available for disclosure to the property owners. While all staff provided property record cards and general data reviews, the Director and the appraisers conducted informal hearings on valuations.

Personal Property Business assets and those of utilities are reviewed for valuation as taxable Personal Property. For twenty-two fiscal years we have engaged the specialized services of Real Estate Research Consultants (RRC) in the discovery and valuation of these accounts. These services have served us well, resulting in DOR approval and consistently defendable valuations. Also, considerable new growth has been certified annually. Additionally, the RRC Personal Property Software installed in our office has benefited us. The personal property valuation formulas are very straightforward, and the administrative capabilities have met our needs.

Classification Hearing & Tax Commitment Following some discussion and a few presentations relative to single versus split tax rates, the Council approved a single tax rate at $12.58 per $1,000 of taxable value as calculated by the Board for all property classes. The tax commitment and mailing were timely for an Actual 3rd Quarter tax bill.

Abatement Reviews
Upon mailing of the tax bills and on or before the due date of the first Actual bill, property owners have an opportunity to file an Abatement Application on the basis of overvaluation or misclassification. 49 abatements applications were filed of 11,753 taxable accounts, or just over 215th of 1%. Generally those with merit were resolved through our conducting a complete on-site exterior measuring and interior inspection. Usually a valuation discrepancy is the result of a data error or as a result of an inspection appointment not arranged and thus the property data used was estimated vs. actual.

Technology Improvements
In addition to our state-of-the-art software for the valuation and administration of both real and personal property, Cartographic Associates, now CAI Technologies of Littleton, NH has continued to maintain the digital1GIS-mapping program it first completed for us for FY 2005.

Following aerial photography and planimetric (physical features) mapping, CAI constructed cadastral tax maps (depicting parcels) through the use of over 5,000 plans and over 15,000 deeds. This new mapping program is annually updated and reconciled with our property records for consistency in both parcel inventory and land area. With the support of the Town Administrator, the Finance Director and the Town Council, we have capacity in our Patriot software to link and utilize the maps with our assessment data file and any other available location-based data. In addition, for the past eighteen years we have provided our parcels and more on the web as AxisGIS for the benefit of both the Town staff and the general public.

Appraisal & Administrative Staffing
The use of automation has minimized the former heavy burden of traditional data processing. Due to this and numerous other office improvements, the Town approved our Staff Restructuring Plan. We have adjusted our administrative support to be shared among the Appraisers who are responsible for continuing to improve our service to the public at the counter and by phone. They have focused these efforts on providing and reviewing public records, Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Commitments and Abatements, Exemption Applications, posting Building Permits and Sales and any other assignments as required. They have continued to train in rotation in various administrative duties and computer applications. The Appraisers have made special efforts in the development and implementation of usable written instructions for the assessing office procedures and for MUNIS financial software applications. These instructions were developed consistent with all Mass. General Law and DOR requirements and are subject to frequent change due to legal changes and software enhancements.
 
Appraisers
We thank Kevin W. Doyle, Director of Assessing for his diligence especially as Director beginning following his first two years here. He has overseen the completion of all our work these past twenty-two fiscal years, seven full revaluations and fifteen interim years of market adjustments. We also acknowledge the support work of Appraiser David Ruberti since July 2005, Appraiser Peter Mooney since August 2004, and Appraiser Susan Reagan since September 2019. Our Director received his Massachusetts Accredited Assessor (MAA) in 1990 and the MAAO Wilson Award in June 2013. Within the past sixteen years all three Appraisers completed their designation required education and experience, being granted their MAA designations and maintaining their periodic recertification.

Town Revenue Enhancements
In addition to meeting all state requirements as well as daily office oversight, the Director and Appraisers have achieved many additional improvements to benefit the Town taxpayers. One such is the efficiencies built into the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Commitment and Abatement processes in conjunction with the newest MUNIS tax software installation. These excise taxes represent about 5.28 million dollars in locally raised annual revenue, or about 5.5 % of locally raised tax revenue. We assure the citizens that like real and personal property, taxes on these are assessed and abated appropriately and uniformly for the maximum benefit of all. Registry of Motor Vehicles' automation aided the Director and Appraisers to further enhance revenue in assessing dealer and repair plate registrations. As well, with the ongoing automation improvements of the Environmental Police, this professional staff successfully developed a new potential annual revenue stream in the identification and assessment of excise taxes on boats principally situated in Franklin.

On-site Periodic Property Reviews Because we have initiated the cyclical property re-measurement and re-inspection program as prescribed by the Massachusetts DOR, we continue to make various public information efforts to assure property owners have advance information about this on-going program.
Briefly, please note that the purpose of these property visits is to verify that the correct data is being used in the determination of valuations to achieve "full and fair cash value" in accordance with Mass. General Law Chapter 59. The Board appreciates the general public's cooperation in its efforts to serve all property owners of all property types to assure fair and uniform values.

Your Elected Board of Assessors Before entering the performance of his/her duties, each Assessor upon election has taken the oath of office specific to assessors and assistant assessors. Massachusetts General Law has provided that because the DOR Commissioner of Revenue has regulatory oversight over assessing in every city and town, the Commissioner likewise determines the training requirements for the assessors and any assistants. At this time, the Commissioner has determined Course 101, including the Classification Training Workshop, meets the minimum requirements. The full Board of Assessors and all four staff have completed these and have been certified as such by the Mass. Commissioner of Revenue.

The Board looks forward to continuing education opportunities offered by the MA DOR and the professional associations, the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers (MAAO), the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO), the Mass. Chapter of the IAAO, the Northeast Regional Association of Assessing Officers and the Norfolk & Suffolk Counties Assessors Association. The assessors have attended seminars and workshops to broaden and reinforce their understanding of property tax law.

In particular, the Board has focused on current and possible future tax relief and deferral options for our disabled and elder citizens. To that goal, following meetings of the Town Senior Outreach Committee, the Board, its Staff and the Office of the Council on Aging continued its broad-based efforts to reach seniors. This has resulted in successfully providing tax relief (exemption) information to additional seniors who owned and occupied their homes.

Also, with the valued assistance of the Town's Veterans' Agent Shannon Nisbett, special efforts are continuously made to identify veterans and their surviving spouses entitled to exemptions, much of it State reimbursable to the Town. We look forward to continuing to work with Shannon and all the Senior Center staff.

All these efforts are consistent with the Board of Assessors commitment to meet its challenges as key Town Financial Team members to the benefit of all the citizens of the Town of Franklin. The Assessing Department is officially a part of the Franklin Finance Division headed by Finance Director Christopher Sandini who also serves as Comptroller. We and especially our staff have been successfully coordinating efforts with Treasurer-Collector Kerri Bertone and look forward to continuing this cooperative and productive work with Chris and Kerri into the Town of Franklin's future.

The close of Fiscal Year 2023 coincided with the first year anniversary of hiring of Council on Aging Director Danielle Hopkins who has been very helpful in this Board's efforts to reach out to Franklin's Seniors assisting in preparing Property Tax Exemption Applications. The Board and the Staff express appreciation for Danielle's contributions and efforts throughout the fiscal year.

Considering the unexpected pandemic, important and valuable office restructuring was done. The three Appraisers are meeting the challenges of our industry, the restructuring and the needs of all the Town of Franklin's citizens, property owners, their agents, Town Officials and Employees, and the Public at large.

As we write, the Board of Assessors and its Staff are preparing to finalize the Real and Personal Property Appraisal files for the Fiscal Year 2024 Interim Year subject to DOR review and final approval. The FY 2022 Revaluation was Franklin's first since the State modified the cycle from three to five years, thus it followed four Interim Year Updates. These next three years will be Interim Year Updates and FY 2027 will be the next Revaluation. Meanwhile, with the cooperation of property owners, the property descriptive information on file will be continuously improved and maintained and we will achieve market-based valuation adjustments that are both Fair & Equitable.

Assessor Ken Norman has announced he is not seeking reelection to the Board in November. We are very grateful for the years of service he has provided to this Board and in many other Town areas both during and previously.

Respectfully submitted, 

Christopher K. Feeley, Chairman 
Daniel Ballinger, Clerk, Assessor
W. Ken Norman, Member, Assessor 
Franklin Board of Assessors

Visit the Board of Assessors page on the Town website ->

The full Town of Franklin FY 2023 Annual Report can be found online

Annual Report Of The Board Of Assessors: FY 2023 Report
Annual Report Of The Board Of Assessors: FY 2023 Report

Franklin TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) schedule for Thursday, Feb 8, 2023

  • wfpr.fm or 102.9 on the FM dial = Thursday

9:00a/12:00p/6:00p   A Priest, A Minister, and a Rabbi


10:00a/1:00p/7:00p   Frank’s Music – Frank Falvey and Jim Derick

11:00a/2:00p/8:00pm   Frank Presents – Frank Falvey Presents


  • Franklin All Access TV - Our Public Access Channel (Comcast 6, Verizon 26) = Thursday


  • Franklin Pride TV - Our Educational Channel        (Comcast 8, Verizon 28) = Thursday


  • Franklin Town Hall TV - Our Government Channel (Comcast 9, Verizon 29) = Thursday


Get this week's program guide for Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) online  http://franklin.tv/programguide.pdf  


Watch Listen Read all things that matter in Franklin MA
Watch Listen Read all things that matter in Franklin MA