Showing posts with label FY 2017. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FY 2017. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Insights from the Audit Report 2017

The Audit Report for Fiscal Year 2017 does not have a "Management Letter" this time around. Hence, one can easily say the Town is in the best financial position from a control perspective than ever before.

The Audit Report is a good source of information, not just data.

How much stabilization money do we have?
At the end of 2017, the total was $6.7M a decrease of $1.3M primarily due to the use the purchase of the fire truck and the resurfacing of the turf fields. Both have stabilization accounts where we were saving for this expected purchase. (See the table at the top of page 10 of the printed doc, page 13 of the PDF for details).

How much did the FY 2017 budget change during the year?
You might be surprised to find that we added $3.9M to the budget but that was primarily due to the use of the "free cash" from the prior year. The expenditures for the fire truck and turf fields helped to contribute to this as money from "free cash" was added to what was saved in their respective stabilization accounts to provide the total for each purchase. (See General Fund Budgetary Highlights on page 10 of the printed doc, page 13 of the PDF for details).

How many stabilization funds do we have and what amount is in each?
Other than the agenda doc for each Finance Committee meeting which shows the current total during the fiscal year, this is one place to see that answer. The table also shows the change in funds along with the change in amounts over the years from 2008 to 2017. (See section G. Stabilization Funds on pages 11-12 of the printed doc, page 14-15 of the PDF for details).

How do we get "free cash"?
"Free cash" is neither free nor cash. It comes from two sources. (1) You receive more revenue than you budgeted for (2) you spend less than you budgeted for. You can see this effect in the table on See General Fund Statement of Revenues and Other Sources, Expenditures and Other Uses - Budget and Actual, for the year ended June 30, 2017. According to this, we should have $2.9M 'free cash' to use for FY 2018 which is less than we had available in FY 2017 (recall the $3.9M). (See page 19 of the printed doc, page 22 of the PDF for details).

You can find the audit report on the Town of Franklin webpage as part of the Town Council agenda for the January 24 meeting.

Insights from the Audit Report 2017
Insights from the Audit Report 2017

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Annual Report 2017: Insurance Advisory Committee

The Annual Report is compiled and published each year to be ready for voters to obtain at the November election. A PDF copy is also posted online and available for viewing our downloading. 

The following is a text representation of the printed pages 94-95 (actually 101-102 of 264)


Each of the municipal and school unions, as well as retired employees has a seat on the Town of Franklin Insurance Advisory Committee (IAC). It provides recommendations to the Town Administrator on health and dental plans. Meetings are an opportunity for employees from the unions to learn about insurance products, industry trends, and to help identify ways to meet employee needs within the framework of the Affordable Care Act, Massachusetts General Law, a changing health care environment, and available financial resources.

With the Affordable Care Act continuing to evolve or be replaced, we anticipate changes, administrative challenges, and premium increases in the coming years. After several meetings to discuss claims trend and customer service questions, the various plans were modified modestly and renewed with Tufts with less than a 1% increase to HMO premium, the plan that covers 95% of our non-Medicare eligible employees. This saved employees and the Town significantly. We will monitor claims and medical trends to share with the IAC in the coming year and continue to work to provide the best benefit possible at the best rate available.

The Town continued a Health Reimbursement Arrangement to help offset hospital in patient costs. We are happy to report that few of our employees required an overnight stay in the hospital.

The Town provides dental benefits on an employee paid basis. The Committee again selected Guardian Life Insurance as the provider for its dental plan with no increase to premiums. Approximately 300 employees have elected this benefit.

The Flexible Spending Account vendor was retained. This vendor provides debit cards for employees to use for immediately payment. Employees can avoid an additional out of pocket expense by using the cards. The plan runs on a September 1 through August 31 calendar to more closely coordinate with the Health Insurance Plan and with the school year. We hope the participation in this plan will grow as employees recognize the tax savings available to them, and become more experienced in planning for medical and dependent care costs. Since this program exists on a pre-tax basis, changes at the federal level may cause plan changes. We will monitor any activity about Sec. 125 of the Tax Code to ensure we remain in compliance.

Participants on the IAC consistently brought good questions to the process and have been very effective in exploring alternatives, and making recommendations. We appreciate their willingness to do what it takes to manage the benefits and costs. The insurance environment continues to evolve and it seems inevitable that costs will continue to rise. In the coming year we hope we will be able to reach out through the IAC committee to other employees so that there is wider understanding of benefit plans.

Respectfully submitted

Stephanie Lutz

Human Resource Director

Annual Report 2017: Insurance Advisory Committee
Annual Report 2017: Insurance Advisory Committee

You can find the online copy at the Town of Franklin webpage

and specifically for 2017

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Annual Report 2017: Human Resources Department

The Annual Report is compiled and published each year to be ready for voters to obtain at the November election. A PDF copy is also posted online and available for viewing our downloading. 

The following is a text representation of the printed pages 93-94 (actually 100-101 of 264)

Human Resources Department

The primary function of all departments of the Town of Franklin is Customer Service. To support this, we work to hire and retain the best employees possible. The Human Resources Department provides Customer Service primarily to applicants, active and former employees and retirees.

During this fiscal year turn-over of staff has been high as we continued to see a transition in staff. Baby boomers retired and some employees have moved on to new positions outside Franklin.

Three (3) Clerical staff, two (2) Custodians, four (4) Dispatchers, two (2) DPW workers, two Patrol Officers, four (4) Firefighters, and three (3) members of the professional staff resigned or retired. We were very sad to have one of our Full-Time Fire Dispatchers pass on unexpectedly.

We were fortunate to be able to hire well qualified individuals as clerks (2), custodians (3), DPW workers (2), Dispatchers (4), Firefighters (5), experienced Patrol Officers (3), professional and support staff for various departments (4) as well as a new Youth Services Librarian. Hiring includes a transition of management in the Human Resources Department. As the fiscal year ends we are also finalized the hiring over thirty (30) high school and college students to work in temporary jobs or the summer in DPW or Public Facilities, working with full time staff to cut grass, pick up trash, move furniture, and clean classrooms. They learn a bit about what it takes to care for the Town schools, public buildings, and grounds, and provide a valuable service.

There are many conversations about benefits with new hires, and questions continue throughout an employee’s time with the Town, as their lives change, and contact continues into retirement.

In addition to the mandatory participation in Norfolk Retirement System, the Town offers:

  • Life Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Section 125 Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Short and Long Term Disability plans
  • Section 457 Savings Plans

Health Insurance continues to be a major focus of planning, budgeting and communication. Federal Health Care Reform, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had a significant impact on our health insurance program and premiums as it includes per capita fees for a national study commissions. Uncertainties about what will happen on the Federal level causes many to ask what they can expect for coverage in the future, but that is not something we can predict. Other than wages and salaries, it represents one of the largest single costs to the Town. The reporting requirements for this new mandate are extensive and complex. We work closely with the Comptroller’s Office to be sure records for each individual are correct, as they become a part of reporting to the IRS.

All employees, other than Police and Fire, are covered by Workers’ Compensation, a federally mandated program. Our goal is to prevent accidents and lost time from work, and to protect individuals from financial loss when there is an incident. This “no fault” insurance is designed to provide income security and medical coverage for individuals injured on the job. Since July 2011, the program has been insured with MIIA. Human Resources continues to ensure that incident reports are filed timely with Worker’s Compensation. We are now able to file claims “on line” to get them set up quickly so employees are treated and claims processed quickly. Employees who have needed to use the services report a strong and positive experience working with claims managers. We also work with managers and employees across the Town to support safe work practices, so that the frequency and length of workers’ compensation and 111F absences are held to a minimum. The number and severity of incidents has been reduced significantly and we appreciate the work of all employees who practice safe work habits. Our goal is to get each employee back to their job as quickly as they can perform their tasks safely. There is no benefit to anyone who needs to be out for a work related injury.

The Town of Franklin Safety Committee monitors practices and policies, with an eye to reducing hazards at the worksite. In the future, this committee will be under the arm of the Deputy Town Administrator.

We provide benefits that are competitive with the market to attract and keep the right workforce and provide those quality benefits at the lowest cost possible. We review all benefit programs on a regular basis to be sure they comply with Federal and State laws. We continue to work to comply with all new reports and regulations. Over the coming year this will continue to add complexity as we coordinate changes at the Federal level with state regulations, or locally negotiated agreements.

We provide benefits that are competitive with the market to attract and keep the right workforce and provide those quality benefits at the lowest cost possible. In addition to active employees we are responsible for over 550 retirees and spouses of retirees of the Town of Franklin and Franklin Public Schools who have health and/or life insurance as a result of their long-term employment with the Town.

All retirees from the Town and School Department are cared for in the Human Resources Department. Retirees contact our office with changes to their health insurance programs as they move around the country and become eligible for Medicare. We enjoy hearing about their activities after they have left employ with the town. As retirees are a very mobile population, it is our goal and mission to assist all retirees and their covered spouses with any questions they might have which includes the processing of all of their enrollment, coverage and address changes on a daily basis. They receive mailings each year as health insurance plans and rates changes.

As we begin the next year our goals include:

  • Complete the successful transition for the new Human Resources Manager. A new perspective will bring new opportunities to deliver services.
  • Seek opportunities to streamline processes and reduce paper processes while remaining in compliance with state and federal requirements.
  • Work with all departments to maintain a safe work environment, to reduce lost time from on the job injuries.
  • Review return to work options for employees who have been out on Workers’ Compensation or 111F.
  • Review best practices in the public sector and find opportunities for skill development to offer to municipal employees.
  • Continue to monitor changes arising from National Health Care Reform.
  • Identify the various workload activities, and ensure proper documentation and training.
  • Partner with School HR activities to find service improvements and cost-efficiencies.
  • Deliver high quality customer service to employees, retirees, and citizens.
  • Constantly monitor full range of benefit options.

Focus on the Health Insurance Program.

  • Identify information which can be best communicated electronically and keep web site current.
  • Provide excellent service to and resolve administrative issues arising from municipal health insurance program.
  • Facilitate managers using job descriptions and performance evaluations to strengthen organizational and employee performance.
  • Support managers and employees in employee relations activities.

We appreciate our employees and retirees and look forward to another year of providing timely and useful service to them.

It has been my pleasure to serve the Town as Human Resources Director, and wish all well in the coming years.

Respectfully submitted

Stephanie Lutz
Human Resources Director.

Annual Report 2017: Human Resources Department
Annual Report 2017: Human Resources Department

This was the last report by Stephanie, Karen Bratt is now handling Human Resources

You can find the online copy at the Town of Franklin webpage

and specifically for 2017

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Annual Report 2017: Recreation Advisory Board

The Annual Report is compiled and published each year to be ready for voters to obtain at the November election. A PDF copy is also posted online and available for viewing our downloading. 

The following is a text representation of the printed pages 98 (actually 105 of 264)

The Recreation Advisory Board’s purpose is to assist other town agencies in meeting the recreational needs of the community. The Board works closely with the Director of Recreation, the Town  Administrator, the Department of Public Works Grounds Division, and the Athletic Director. The Recreation Advisory Board also advises the Town Administrator, Finance Committee, and Town Council regarding the expenditure of monies from the Fletcher Fund. 

The Recreation Advisory Board meets monthly to discuss issues pertaining to youth recreation, development of additional playing fields, field dedications, and spring/fall field allocations. 

During the past year, the Recreation Advisory Board worked on the following:
1. Advised Public Works regarding safety concerns of fencing at Dacey Field, Fletcher Field and recommended replacement fencing. 
2. Completed the conflict of interest law examination and submitted to Town Clerk.
3. Reviewed and commented on the 2015 Open Space and Recreation Plan.
4. On-going discussions with Public Works on our successful trash and recycling program for public facilities.
5. Reviewed and accepted all field permit applications with assistance from Director of Recreation.
6. Monitor capital projects at DelCarte Recreation Area.
7. Advised Director of Recreation on Fletcher Tot Lot components.

Goals of the Recreation Advisory Board

  • Development of multi-purpose facilities in various locations of town.
  • Continued partnership with the Department of Public Works Grounds and Maintenance Division, and their efforts to maintain all town and school fields.
  • Bring all recreational facilities into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act, making facilities accessible to all users.

Members of the Recreation Advisory Board are:
Chairman; Wayne Simarrian, Larry Pollard, Mark Eccher, Kinjal Patel, and Robert Dellorco.

Ex-officio members include: Jeff Boudreau, FYBO, Bjorn Dragsbaek, FYSA, A.J. Grant Pop Warner Football, Gail Hamilton, Franklin Girls Softball, Pete Davis, Franklin Boys Lacrosse, and Tom Angelo, FHS Athletics.

Respectfully submitted,
Wayne R. Simarrian, Chairman

High School Field Concession Stand has a GoFundMe page
High School Field Concession Stand has a GoFundMe page

Visit the Recreation Advisory Board on the Town of Franklin webpage

You can find the online copy at the Town of Franklin webpage

and specifically for 2017

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Annual Report 2017: Franklin Historical Commission

The Annual Report is compiled and published each year to be ready for voters to obtain at the November election. A PDF copy is also posted online and available for viewing our downloading. 

The following is a text representation of the printed pages 90-91 (actually 97-98 of 264)


The Franklin Historical Commission is a volunteer committee appointed by the Town Administrator and ratified by the Town Council. We are dedicated to maintaining, staffing, and operating the Franklin Historical Museum, and to preserving the historical assets of the Town of Franklin. Meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM at the museum and are open to the public.

We have up to 7 full-time Commission members with voting privileges along with non-voting associate members.

Mary Olsson, Chair
Phyllis Malcolm,Treasurer
Bob Percy, Recording Secretary
Colette Ferguson
Connie Lawson
Richard Remillard
Jeremy Ball
Associate Members
Mary O'Neill 
Kai Olsson 
Alice Vendetti
Anyone interested in becoming an associate member of
the Historical Commission is encouraged to contact us.

The Franklin Historical Museum has been in our present location for 7 years now. The museum occupies the old Town Hall Building at 80 West Central Street, just a half block before the fire station, and across the street from the new Horace Mann Square. We continue to work to engage the community and area residents so they rely on the museum and find it a place to explore and celebrate the Town's heritage, achievements, and unique place in history.

Mission Statement
The Franklin Historical Museum is a center for community engagement, committed to facilitating the exploration of Franklin through a local, regional, and national lens, to a multigenerational audience.

Saturdays 10 AM to 1 PM;
Sundays 1 PM to 4 PM;
Thursdays 5 PM to 8 PM. During winter months (early December thru end of March) we are closed on Thursday evenings.

Museum Hosts
Commission members and volunteers keep the museum open by giving of their time to host at the Museum during our open hours. Our hosts answer questions and share their knowledge of Franklin’s history. To become a host volunteer, contact any member of the commission.

Events this past year:

Town of Franklin Birthday Party
On March 2nd we celebrated the founding of the town by inviting local town residents who share the same birthday with the town. Those birthday celebrants attending were entered into a drawing for a $100 ‘picture of Ben’. And, as with any birthday celebration, cake was served.

Horace Mann Day
Each year we recognize Franklin’s most famous son, Horace Mann, born May 4, 1796. Mann, known as the Father of Education, was a lawyer, statesman, abolitionist, and a great humanitarian. We are proud to celebrate his birthday each year and remember his noble accomplishments.

This year’s celebration was highlighted by the dedication of an oversized statue of Horace Mann across the street in the newly designated Horace Mann Square. Congratulations to all those who helped facilitate this great tribute to Franklin’s favorite son.

Hi-definition Photographs on display
A major addition to the Museum in 2017 was the iC4K Display Screen, invented and produced by Almont Green Studios of Medway. This display screen allows visitors to view and browse through large format digitized photographs of Franklin’s past.

Abraham Megerdichian - Metal Sculptures
Robert Megerdichian, son of former Franklin resident and metal sculptor Abraham Megerdichian loaned many of his father’s sculptures to the Museum and gave two memorable presentations on his father’s passion for producing detailed and finely crafted miniature cars, animals, musical instruments, and countless other miniature sculptures.

Wedding Dress Display and Speakers
Returning this year was another exquisite wedding dress display, the product of many volunteer hours. To complement the display were two separate event presentations on wedding dresses.

Franklin Downtown Partnership Events
The Commission enjoys being part in the annual events planned by the Downtown Partnership which include the Strawberry Stroll, October’s Harvest Festival, and the Holiday Stroll. The Holiday Stroll, in early December, is always a fun evening attended by Mrs. Claus reading to many wide eyed children.

Social Media
The Museum’s presence in social media is growing. In a typical week in February on our Facebook page there were 37 page views, 665 people reached, and 1,106 post engagements.

Wall Calendars
In 2017 we produced calendars of vintage Franklin photographs and key dates. Stop by and pick up your 2018 Franklin Calendar, available at the Museum Gift Shop for a nominal fee.

Area Historical Commissions and Societies Hosted at Franklin Museum
For a second year, the Franklin Historical Museum hosted area Historical Commissions for a meet and greet and informal discussion. It was well attended by the surrounding towns of Wrentham, Bellingham, Norfolk, Plainville, Millis, Foxborough, Medway, and Blackstone. We also enjoyed gathering at Plainville’s An Unlikely Story bookstore this year. It is always a pleasure to meet with our counterparts from neighboring towns.

School Participation
We encourage elementary, middle, and high school student visits to the museum to learn about Franklin throughout the course of the year. So many stories to tell! Learning about our town’s history is a wonderful gateway to history as a whole. Teachers are encouraged to contact us to make arrangements to bring their class in for a visit and hosted tour.

Demolition Requests
Under the demolition bylaw passed by the Town Council, the Historical Commission reviews any demolition request of a property built in 1930 or before. We make every attempt to encourage the preservation of any building of historical significance. We have the option to delay the demolition of a building for up to a year so that suitable alternatives can be considered. The following properties were approved for demolition:

  • 899 Upper Union St. 1850
  • 36 Plain St. 1810

This speaks to the ongoing issue of the disappearance of the Town’s historical assets.

Friends of the Franklin Historical Museum (FFHM)
The Friends, which is the fundraising arm of the museum, work to bring special events and programs to the museum. Donations to this organization are always welcome! Because the Friends is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, all donations are tax deductible.

We also encourage people to donate items that pertain to the town’s history (such as artifacts, photographs, and written records) at the Museum during our regular hours of operation. These donations to the Friends are also tax deductible.

Thanks goes to members of the community who have helped enrich and deepen our understanding of the town’s history, and we look forward to working on additional projects in the future. We are grateful for your support and look forward to another exciting year!

Respectfully submitted,
The Franklin Historical Commission"

Contact us:

You can find the online copy at the Town of Franklin webpage

and specifically for 2017

Annual Report 2017: Franklin Historical Commission
Annual Report 2017: Franklin Historical Commission

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Annual Report 2017: Franklin Fire Department

The Annual Report is compiled and published each year to be ready for voters to obtain at the November election. A PDF copy is also posted online and available for viewing our downloading. 

The following is a text representation of the printed pages 84-85 (actually 91-92 of 264)


Fire Headquarters
40 West Central Street
Franklin, Massachusetts 02038
(508) 528-2323

The Department
The Franklin Fire Department is divided into two divisions: Operations and Maintenance, which is the largest and responsible for dispatch, emergency medical services, fire suppression and hazardous materials response. Administration and Support Services is responsible for personnel, budget and finance, training, code compliance and coordinating the Town’s emergency preparedness.

Our Mission
The mission of the Franklin Fire Department is to: Have a positive impact in the lives of citizens and visitors of Franklin in their time of crisis by providing compassionate, contemporary, community driven services.

Safeguard human life from the perils of fire, sudden illness, injury or other emergency medical condition, natural and man-made disasters as well as preserve the environment and property from ensuing destruction. Be responsible for a safe, productive and pleasant work environment for our employees, and provide them opportunities to gain new skills and advance their personal career goals.

Operational Objectives

  • Initiating advanced life support to patients within 10 minutes of receiving the telephone call at our communications center.
  • To access, extricate, treat and transport 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.
  • To insure response readiness remains greater than 70%.
  • 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 educational opportunities for department members to insure optimal performance and safety.
  • To develop and maintain “best practice” to insure personnel and citizen safety.
  • Insure fire safety through timely, consistent code compliance services to all external customers.
  • Provide all department services in a manner that satisfies the needs of our customers.
  • Process emergency notifications in our dispatch center within 120 seconds of receiving the initial call for 99% of all calls.

Message from the Fire Chief
Fiscal Year 2017 ended as the busiest year in department history, with 4,150 emergency responses. Fortunately, the community did not suffer any fire related deaths this year, although there were several tragic incidents which resulted in the loss of life. Department members suffer two loss time work related injuries during the fiscal year. The department continued to see the impacts of opioid related incidents throughout the community. We applaud the work of the SAFE Coalition, Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti and District Attorney Michael Morrissey for their continued support and resources to provide family assistance during times of crisis.

The department enjoyed the award of two grant initiatives during the Fiscal Year. The first was in the amount of $65,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide department personnel with hearing protection. With the Support of Representative Jeff Roy, Senators Karen Spilka and Richard Ross the department was able to purchase hearing protection which also allows for wireless communications with the two-way radio system. These devices will greatly reduce the effects of hearing loss for firefighters. The next grant was from the FEMA in the amount of $ 219,000 will be used to replace the department’s cache of Self Contained Breathing Apparatus.

We continue to see the number of calls for service that occur back-to-back or simultaneously grow at an alarming rate. Back-to-back or simultaneous calls are where the department receives another emergency call for service while managing a call for services (two at a time). In Fiscal Year 2017, this caused 200 ambulance responses from other Towns into Franklin. The increasing use of out-of-town resources causes delay in our ability to provide timely transport to the hospital emergency room. Franklin’s average response time is 5 minutes, 44 seconds; the average response time for an out-of town ambulance is 12 minutes, 33 seconds – this time difference can have a great impact on the quality of patient outcomes for people with medical emergencies.

The trend of call distribution is compounded by the increasing calls for services. As previously noted, the department responded to 4,150 emergency responses in Fiscal Year 2017, an increase of nearly 9% from Fiscal year 2017.

We believe the trend is in response to an upturn in our economy. This year saw increased occupancy rates in the Town’s Industrial Parks as well as opening of new businesses and facilities. All of these combine to bring more people into the community and increase the demands for our services. We will continue to monitor all of these trends and work with the community to develop strategies to maintain acceptable levels of emergency services within the Town.

Di Ana Baker
The department experienced the sudden loss of Dispatcher Di Ana Baker. Di had been a department dispatcher since 2000. Her energy, vibrancy and
willingness to assist the community will be greatly missed.

This year saw the retirement of three long term employees, Firefighter Robert Tucci; Firefighter Richard Leitch and Firefighter Leo Gallagher. Firefighter Tucci began his career with the department in 1988 and assisted in many department roles. Bob’s career with the department was cut short as a result of a line of duty injury. Firefighter Leitch was with the department for 23 years at the time of his retirement. He was also forced to end his career early due to a long term illness. Firefighter Gallagher retired from the department in December 2016 after nearly 18 years of service. We thank them all for their years of their dedication and service to the Town and wish them the best in retirement.

This year we welcomed new members Becki Carloni, Kathryn Forest and AJ Morris. All come to the department with a wide variety of experiences that
strengthens our ability to provide services to the citizens of Franklin and we look forward to their long productive careers with the department.

In addition to emergency response, the department also continued to try to expand its fire prevention education activities, providing safety and survival education to the most vulnerable population to fire – our children and seniors. Through the dedicated efforts of SAFE Officer Keith Darling, the department reached over 7,600 individuals with safety related programming. This included 100% of all Elementary Students, summer YMCA Camps and various Boy and Girl Scout programs and tours as well as a various activities at the Senior Center. This year the department continued to offer home visit for our senior citizens and include 48 visits. The focus of these visits is to insure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, remove trip hazards as well as provide safety education. Firefighters Kevin Marshal, Bill Blanchard and Christian Mills provide dedicated assistance in completing this important service to our citizens.

In closing, I would like to recognize our employees, who are among the best fire service professional in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts! They continue to work tirelessly to protect life and property within Franklin. In addition to their on-duty responses, our employees commit countless hours in continuing education and training targeted to maintain and improved upon their emergency skills. Additionally, they continue to press forward in attempt to provide the highest level of service to the community based upon advancement in the fire-rescue field and advancements in technology. They continue to be the chief reason for maintaining our current the level of success and level of services we provide our citizens of Franklin.

Respectfully submitted

Gary B. McCarraher, Fire Chief"

Annual Report 2017: Franklin Fire Department
Annual Report 2017: Franklin Fire Department

You can find the online copy at the Town of Franklin webpage

and specifically for 2017

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Annual Report 2017: Finance Committee

The Annual Report is compiled and published each year to be ready for voters to obtain at the November election. A PDF copy is also posted online and available for viewing our downloading. I'll highlight some key sections from the current report over the next week or so.

The following is a text representation of the printed page 83 (actually 90 of 264 in the PDF version)

Year in Review - 2017

Our fiscal year, which started July 1, 2016, began with a proposal to raise and appropriate $162,350 to continue full day kindergarten given state grant money was not received as expected. The committee approved unanimously a motion to recommend passage to the Town Council. We also were informed by the Town Treasurer the “Municipal Modernization Bill” was passed and will have a positive impact on various operations within the town.

During the year the committee met 8 times. Three of those meetings were focused on the Fiscal 2018 budget process, with the end result being the approval of a projected $120.5 million operating budget for the town. The budget allows for the town to provide services at the same level as FY 2017.

The long term financial plan projected continues to project financial challenges over the next 5 years. While our town continues to provide excellent services with little increase in resources, our reserve levels continue to be challenging. A concerning indicator is shown in the Franklin Public Schools need to draw on their reserves at an unsustainable pace. Housing units are projected to grow and the impact on the school budget is currently unknown and will need to be monitored on a regular basis.

The town continued our prudent practice of reserving funds to our OPEB Trust Fund, Fire Truck and Recreational Fields Stabilization funds.

Our town continues to invest in our public spaces, appropriating $0.5 million for general road and sidewalk maintenance. Additionally, snow removal exceeded the budget by $85K and the committee voted unanimously to fund the deficit from Free Cash.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank my fellow committee members for their ongoing dedication to continued improvements and the financial well being of our town.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael Dufour
Chairman, Franklin Finance Committee"

Annual Report 2017: Finance Committee
Annual Report 2017: Finance Committee

For more about the Finance Committee, visit their webpage

You can find the online copy at the Town of Franklin webpage

and specifically for 2017

Monday, January 1, 2018

Annual Report 2017: Franklin Community Cable Access (Franklin.TV and WFPR.FM)

The Annual Report is compiled and published each year to be ready for voters to obtain at the November election. A PDF copy is also posted online and available for viewing our downloading. I'll highlight some key sections from the current report over the next week or so.

The following is a text representation of the printed pages 77-79 (actually 84-86 of 264)


for Our Operating Year 2016 dba Franklin.TV (

Franklin.TV is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

We operate the local access TV studios for Franklin. We produce local TV programs on three channels:

  • Franklin All Access TV = Our Public Access Channel (Comcast 8, Verizon 26).
  • Franklin Pride TV = Our Educational Channel (Comcast 96, Verizon 28).
  • Franklin Town Hall TV = Our Government Channel (Comcast 11, Verizon 29).

We are Franklin’s local TV channels on Comcast and Verizon, but we do not provide cable TV service.

The Town of Franklin is the Local Franchise Authority (LFA) that maintains agreements with Comcast and Verizon. Franklin.TV’s funding comes from a 4.8%
access fee that cable subscribers pay per the LFA agreements. Thus, F.TV is not funded by taxes. We operate at no cost to the town of Franklin. F.TV pays a PILOT fee (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) to the Town of Franklin by agreement. We are the first nonprofit organization that pays for town services.

As an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable organization we also may receive grants and donations from contributors.

Local Programming Produced in 2016
During our 2016 operating year we generated:

  • 217 Public Access Programs
  • 95 School/Sports Programs
  • 19 School/Civic Events Programs
  • 96 Government Meetings

427 Locally Produced Programs

All of these programs were produced, recorded and edited by our staff on behalf of Franklin residents, organizations, agencies and local government.

Our extensive production support reaches beyond the customary charter of other public access studios to lend equipment and provide technical training. This additional commitment of professional support enables us to provide a broader range of programs

Community Bulletin Board Service
In addition to programming, Franklin.TV offers free community announcements on our Bulletin Board for all three P/E/G channels. Nonprofit organizations who wish to promote their meetings, special events and activities are welcome to contact us.

Our Studios and Offices
We have five thousand square feet that houses two video studios (a large drive-in access studio and an interview studio), two audio recording rooms, four digital video editing/effects systems, and our offices. We also have general purpose Community Meeting Space available – free to qualified nonprofit groups and service organizations for occasional meetings. Our facility accommodates up to 30 people.

A Broadcasting Opportunity, WFPR-FM
In February of 2014, Franklin.TV was awarded a construction permit by the FCC for a 100 Watt, noncommercial educational FM radio station. WFPR, (Franklin Public Radio) broadcasting on 102.9 FM. After completing approvals and clearances for our new radio tower located at the top of Forge Hill, Franklin Public Radio began broadcast operations and went on the air for the first time at 10:29 AM on February 2nd 2017. Our WFPR tower is also home to Franklin’s Police and Fire Radio Communications systems. The town relocated their services this spring, saving the cost of renting antenna space on a nearby cellular tower.

WFPR is a public broadcasting extension of F.TV’s media services to Franklin and surrounding towns. WFPR provides opportunities for local citizens to have a voice by producing their own radio programs or participating as volunteers to make our radio station successful as a local community resource.

In June, as part of our continuing commitment to Franklin students, Franklin.TV awarded two $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors:

  • Tatyana Youssef of Franklin High
  • Emily Scannell of Tri-County High

Our congratulations and best wishes go out to them in their academic endeavors.

Our Charter Operations
We continue to see increasing requests from various town agencies and civic organizations to provide TV coverage for local events. We cover Franklin events that are cultural or institutional in nature and of general interest. We are always interested in training volunteers who would like to learn the craft of video production. Trained volunteers and interns work alongside our roster of freelance and staff professionals to shoot and edit the
institutional programs that we cover.

Citizen Access
Residents who produce their own access programs are the owners of these programs. As such, these producers hold their own copyright and may copy and distribute these programs freely, provided that the programs are cablecast on the Franklin system. Per our Public Access charter, we do not provide equipment for covering private or personal events or for purposes other than generating Access Programs to be shown over the Franklin cable system

Information about our weekly programming can be found on our web site: While visiting our website, also read our informative F.A.Q. on P/E/G TV studios, their operation, history and charter. We also recommend browsing our past newsletter archives to learn more about Franklin.TV, our growth and development, and the civic events that we cover throughout the year.

Finally, in closing, “Thanks for watching!”

Respectfully submitted,

FranklinTV’s Board of Directors
Ken Norman, President
Jay Horrigan, Vice President
Wesley Rea, Treasurer
John Milot, Clerk
Anne Bergen, Pandora Carlucci, Rose Turco

Peter Fasciano,
Executive Director
Franklin.TV and"

Annual Report 2017: Franklin Community Cable Access (Franklin.TV and WFPR.FM)
Annual Report 2017: Franklin Community Cable Access (Franklin.TV and WFPR.FM)

You can find the online copy at the Town of Franklin webpage

and specifically for 2017

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Annual Report 2017: Board of Assessors

The Annual Report is compiled and published each year to be ready for voters to obtain at the November election. A PDF copy is also posted online and available for viewing our downloading. I'll highlight some key sections from the current report over the next week or so.

The following is a text representation of the printed pages 73-75 (actually 80-82 of 264)


Triennial Revaluation
The revaluation of all real and personal property in the Town of Franklin was completed Fall 2016 in preparation for Actual Fiscal Year 2017 3rd quarter tax bills. Following is a brief review of that achievement.

Data Collection
Fifteen years have now passed since we installed the 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 12 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-appraisal and abatement verifications.

Field Review
In addition to individual property on-site review, field reviews are required periodically to check for obvious 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 2017 valuations.

Sales Analysis
The majority of the sales analysis was completed by September 2016, 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 result in “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 concluded from the market were 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 and Final Approval
Any on-site and statistical reviews by the DOR took place from April to September 2016. The appraisal staff provided files, generated property records, answered questions and addressed any concerns. At the conclusion of the DOR review, we were granted approval authorizing public disclosure.

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

Personal Property
Business assets and those of utilities are reviewed for valuation as taxable Personal Property. For sixteen 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 and Tax Commitment
Following some discussion and a few presentations relative to single versus split tax rates, the Council approved a single tax rate at $14.58 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. 80 abatements applications were filed of 11,529 taxable accounts, or 7/10ths 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 being arranged and thus the property data having been “estimated”.

Technology Improvements
In addition to our state-of-the-art software for the valuation and administration of both real and personal property, Cartographic Associates, Inc. (CAI) of Littleton, NH has continued to maintain the digital/GIS-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. These new maps are continuously in our process of reconciliation with our property records for consistency in both parcel inventory and land area. With the support of Town Administrator Jeff Nutting and the Town Council, we have capacity in our Patriot software to link and utilize the maps with our assessment file. In addition, for the past twelve years we have provided our tax maps on the web for the benefit of both the Town staff and the general public.

Appraisal and 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 staff to Board Secretary Anne Covell who is responsible for continuing to improve our service to the public at the counter and by phone. She focuses her efforts on providing and reviewing public records, Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Commitments and Abatements, Exemption Applications, the general and specific support to the Appraisal Staff and any other
assignments as required. She continues to train in various administrative duties and computer applications. We thank Anne for her diligence in 37 years of service to the Board. 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.

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 sixteen fiscal years, six full revaluations and ten interim years of market adjustments. We are also pleased with the support work of Appraiser Peter Mooney since August 2004 and of Appraiser David Ruberti since July 2005. Our Director received his Massachusetts Accredited Assessor (MAA) in 1990. Within the past ten years both Appraisers completed their designation required education and experience, being granted their MAA designations and maintaining the periodic recertification required.

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 new MUNIS tax software installation. These excise taxes represent about 4.9 million dollars in locally raised annual revenue, or about 6.5% 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 automation improvements of the Environmental Police, this
professional staff successfully developed a new annual revenue stream in the identification and assessment of excise taxes on boats principally situated in the Town of Franklin.

On-site Periodic Property Reviews
Because we have initiated the cyclical property remeasurement and re-inspection program acceptable to 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 in 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. Massachusetts General Law has provided that because the DOR Commissioner of Revenue has regulatory oversight of 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. All three assessors have completed these and have been certified as such by the 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) and the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO). 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 Franklin’s elder citizens. To that goal following meetings of the Town Senior Outreach Committee, last fall the Board, its Staff and the Office of the Council on Aging continued a broad-based effort to reach seniors. This resulted in successfully providing tax relief (exemption) information to additional seniors who owned and occupied their homes.

Also, with the valued assistance of new Veterans’ Agent Dale Kurtz, special efforts were made to identify veterans and their surviving spouses entitled to state exemptions, much of it reimbursable to the Town. We look forward to continuing to work with him in supporting our veterans. 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.

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 2018 Interim Year Update subject to DOR review and Final Certification.

Respectfully submitted,
W. Ken Norman, Chairman of the Board
Christopher K. Feeley, Assessor, Clerk
Donna Greenwood, Assessor, Member
Franklin Board of Assessors"

sample of real estate tax map showing the Public Library
sample of real estate tax map showing the Public Library

You can find more info on the Board of Assessors on the Town of Franklin webpage

You can find the online copy at the Town of Franklin webpage

and specifically for 2017