Showing posts with label FY 2022. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FY 2022. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

CommonWealth Magazine: "Senate budget reflects need for post-pandemic social services"

 

"THE SENATE WAYS and Means Committee on Tuesday released a $47.6 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2022, a $1.2 billion increase over the current year’s budget that reflects the anticipated need for additional social services as Massachusetts emerges from the pandemic.

“If the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic aftershocks have frayed the fabric of our Commonwealth, this budget takes on the important but sometimes invisible work of stitching that fabric back together,” Senate President Karen Spilka said at a virtual briefing with reporters. "

Continue reading the article online
 
"Massachusetts Senate leaders on Tuesday unveiled the contours of a $47.6 billion budget proposal that would boost spending by $1.2 billion over the current year and funnel hundreds of millions of more dollars to local schools, without any broad-based tax increases.

The chamber will debate changes to the bill on May 25, after which Senate and House leaders will have to reconcile differences between their proposals before sending a final product to Governor Charlie Baker for the fiscal year starting July 1."

Boston Globe coverage:  (subscription may be required)
 
The link to the legislative details can be found here
 
CommonWealth Magazine: "Senate budget reflects need for post-pandemic social services"
CommonWealth Magazine: "Senate budget reflects need for post-pandemic social services"

 
 

MA Senate Ways and Means Releases FY 2022 Budget Recommendations

Today (05/11/21), the Senate Committee on Ways and Means announced a $47.6 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22). The Committee’s budget is a forward-looking plan that maintains fiscal responsibility and recommends targeted investments to address emerging needs, safeguard the health and wellness of our most vulnerable populations and ensure our residents can benefit equitably as we recover from the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and build a more inclusive and resilient Commonwealth.

“If the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic aftershocks have frayed the fabric of our Commonwealth, this budget takes on the important, if sometimes invisible, work of stitching that fabric back together,” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “The investments made in this budget–in our children and families, students and communities, and in housing, public health, veterans, older adults and friends and neighbors with disabilities, and especially in mental and behavioral health–are like threads of gold, acting to strengthen and reinforce the fabric of our Commonwealth, making it stronger and more resilient for the years to come. I’d like to Senate Ways & Means Chair Michael Rodrigues for his tremendous work on the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, as well as all of the members of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, especially Vice Chair Senator Cindy Friedman, Assistant Vice Chair Senator Jason Lewis, and Ranking Minority Member Senator Patrick O’Connor. This is an extraordinarily hopeful budget, designed to get us ‘back to better.’”

“As we work to recover from this pandemic stronger and more resilient, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means Fiscal Year 2022 budget is a forward-looking, fiscally responsible plan that doubles down on our commitment to building an equitable recovery; shifting our focus from surviving to thriving; and from not just getting back to a new normal, but getting back to better,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Charting a path forward for our post-pandemic future, I am extremely proud of this budget that makes targeted investments – in areas like education, mental health, public health and much more - while working to combat poverty and expand opportunity. Thank you to my colleagues in the Senate, especially my colleagues on the Committee, whose continued advocacy and dedication helped to inform the overall direction of this budget plan, and Senate President Spilka for her continued leadership as we work to ensure our residents can benefit equitably and recover from the impacts of the pandemic while building a more inclusive and better Commonwealth for all.”

“Just months after finalizing the FY21 budget, the Senate Ways and Means FY22 budget once again represents the Senate’s strong and ongoing commitment to ensuring that the fundamental needs of our residents are met,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “This budget also reflects the major lessons learned from the pandemic, including funding for public health initiatives, addressing the critical lack of children and adolescent mental health services, and getting our schools ready to support returning students.”

“This budget represents an essential step forward as our Commonwealth looks ahead to recovering from the pandemic and rebuilding a strong and equitable economy for Massachusetts families, businesses and communities,” said Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), Assistant Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “I’m especially proud that this budget invests substantially in Massachusetts K-12 public schools and in early education and child care, which form a key pillar of economic opportunity for millions of working parents and families across the state.”

The Committee’s budget recommends a total of $47.6 billion in spending, a $1.2 billion increase over the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) General Appropriations Act. This spending recommendation is based on a tax revenue estimate of $30.12 billion for FY 2022, representing 3.5 per cent growth, as previously agreed upon during the consensus revenue process in January. With tax revenue collections exceeding expectations, the Committee’s FY 2022 budget employs a sensible approach to maintain long-term fiscal health by including $1.55 billion from the Stabilization Fund, ensuring that our Commonwealth maintains healthy reserves for years beyond the pandemic, and taking advantage of changes at the federal level to maximize revenue opportunities. It also excludes the use of federal American Rescue Plan funds as we await further federal guidance that will help to inform the development of a responsive and thoughtful plan to support the needs of our Commonwealth.

As a cornerstone of our Commonwealth’s equitable recovery, the Committee’s budget maintains access to educational opportunity and charts a path forward for students, families, and educators. This budget continues the Senate’s strong commitment to students and builds off the more than $2.6 billion in available federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds through the inclusion of a number of meaningful investments in education. As the Senate remains committed to fully implementing the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) by FY 2027, this budget fully funds the first year of the SOA consistent with the local aid funding agreement reached in March with the House Committee on Ways and Means by $5.503 billion, an increase of $220 million over FY21.

Despite the uncertainty created by the pandemic, this increased level of investment represents a 1/6th implementation of SOA rates and ensures that school districts across the Commonwealth have adequate and equitable resources to provide high quality educational opportunities for all students. The budget also includes $387.9 million for the Special Education (SPED) Circuit Breaker, reimbursing school districts for the cost of educating students with disabilities at the statutorily required 75 per cent reimbursement rate. In addition, recognizing that school districts across the state have experienced fluctuations in student enrollment related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee’s budget creates a $40 million reserve consistent with the March local aid agreement to provide additional aid to districts experiencing increases in student enrollment compared to October 2020.

Education investments include:

•    $5.503 billion for Chapter 70 education funding
•    $387.9 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker
•    $149.1 million to reimburse public school districts for costs incurred when students leave to attend charter schools
•    $78.6 million to reimburse school districts for regional school transportation costs, representing a 90% reimbursement rate
•    $571.2 million for the University of Massachusetts, $321.7 million for the fifteen community colleges, and $298.1 million for the nine state universities
•    $40 million reserve to provide additional aid to districts experiencing increases in student enrollment compared to October 2020
•    $15 million for grants to the Head Start program to maintain access to early education services for low-income families
•    $10 million for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative to expand access to pre-kindergarten and preschool opportunities in underserved areas
•    $9 million for a reserve to cover parent fees for families receiving subsidized childcare through the end of calendar year 2021
•    $6 million for Dual Enrollment and $5 million for Early College Programs, more than doubling our commitment to these programs that provide high school students with better opportunities for post-graduate success
•    $5 million for Social Emotional Learning Grants to help K-12 schools bolster social emotional learning supports for students, and $1 million for a new pilot program to provide mental health screenings for K-12 students
•    $3 million for rural school assistance
•    $2 million for grants offered through the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative to support high school students with intellectual disabilities ages 18–22 with access to higher education opportunities

The Committee’s budget confronts the frontline health care impacts of COVID-19 and sustains support for the state’s safety net, while protecting and safeguarding the health and wellness of vulnerable residents. The budget funds MassHealth at a total of $18.98 billion to provide over 2 million of the Commonwealth’s children, seniors, and low-income residents access to comprehensive health care coverage. Understanding that the pandemic has strained our health care safety net, the Committee’s budget also targets investments in mental and behavioral health while supporting children and families across the continuum of services that our Commonwealth provides.
 
Health investments include:

•    $507.5 million for Adult Support Services, including assisted outpatient programming and comprehensive care coordination among health care providers
•    $175.3 million for a complete range of substance abuse treatment and intervention services to support these individuals and their families
•    $97.1 million for children’s mental health services
•    $50.3 million for domestic violence prevention services
•    $38 million for early intervention services, to ensure supports are accessible and available to infants and young toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities, including funds to support health equity initiatives.
•    $23 million for Family Resource Centers to grow and improve the mental health resources and programming available to families
•    $10 million to recapitalize the Behavioral Health, Access, Outreach and Support Trust Fund to support targeted behavioral health initiatives, including $5 million for loan forgiveness for mental health clinicians, $3 million of which is for child and adolescent psychiatrists, $1 million for public awareness campaigns, $3.5 million for student access to telebehavioral health services in schools, and $500,000 to enhance the mental health workforce pipeline
•    $10 million for new grants to create Programs of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) in each of the six executive office of health and human services regions of the Commonwealth to provide intensive community-based wraparound services to children and adolescents with serious mental and behavioral health needs
•    $10 million for grants to support local boards of health, including funds to build upon the State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) Program
•    $3.9 million for the Office of the Child Advocate, including $1 million for the establishment and operation of a state center on child wellness and trauma
•    $2.5 million for Children Advocacy Centers to improve the critical supports available to children that have been neglected or sexually abused
•    $2 million for veterans’ mental and behavioral health supports through Mass General’s Home Base Program

In addition to these health care investments, the Committee’s budget recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected children and youth while exacerbating a growing behavioral health crisis. As such, the Committee’s budget engages the existing Children’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council, established in 2008, and charges the Council to evaluate the impacts of the pandemic on the behavioral health continuum of care for children in the Commonwealth and submit an interim report to the Legislature by November 15, 2021, and a final report by March 15, 2022.

As we work to emerge from this pandemic stronger, the Senate remains committed to an equitable recovery, combating poverty, expanding opportunity and building a more inclusive Commonwealth. To that end, the Committee’s budget takes a number of critical steps to strengthen supports for workers and lift up working families with economic opportunities.

Opportunity investments include:

•    $50 million for adult basic education services to improve access to skills necessary to join the workforce
•    $30 million for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program
•    $23 million for summer jobs and work-readiness training for at-risk youth
•    $18 million in Healthy Incentives Programs to ensure vulnerable households have continued access to food options during the pandemic
•    $15 million for a Community Empowerment and Reinvestment grant program to provide economic supports to communities disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system
•    $10 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to connect unemployed and under-employed workers with higher paying jobs
•    $8.5 million for Career Technical Institutes to increase our skilled worker population and provide residents access to career technical training opportunities.
•    $6 million for Regional Economic Development Organizations to support economic growth in every region
•    $5 million for Community Foundations to provide emergency economic relief to historically underserved populations
•    $4 million for the Secure Jobs Connect program, providing job placement resources and assistance for homeless individuals
•    $2.5 million for the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Innovation Fund, including $1.5 million for new regional security operation centers which will partner with community colleges and state universities to provide cybersecurity workforce training to students and cybersecurity services to municipalities, non-profits, and small businesses
•    $2 million for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership
•    $1 million for employment programs for young adults with disabilities

In addition to investments that support an equitable recovery for all, the Senate recognizes that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on families experiencing barriers to economic opportunity. To confront this, the Committee’s budget addresses the increasing costs of caregiving for low-income families by converting existing tax deductions for children under 12, dependent adults and business-related dependent care expenses into refundable tax credits. Coupled with the expanded Child Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care tax credits under the federal American Rescue Plan Act, the Committee’s child tax credit will help to lift 85,000 families out of poverty and support low-income working parents.

Additionally, the Committee’s budget builds on the success of last year’s efforts to tackle ‘deep poverty’ with a 20 per cent increase to Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) benefits over December 2020 levels, ensuring families receive the economic supports they need to live, work and provide stability for their children. The Committee’s budget also expands eligibility for these programs by eliminating the asset limits for both the TAFDC and EAEDC. This will allow families in need to receive economic assistance without having to spend down their savings accounts. With these steps, the Senate is supporting an equitable recovery that opens doors of opportunity, provides relief, and builds a more inclusive and resilient Commonwealth.

Over a year into the pandemic, the role that access to affordable housing will play in our economic recovery is clear. Stable and affordable housing is linked to economic security and should be a right and not a privilege for all who call the Commonwealth home. Recognizing this, the Committee’s budget reflects the Senate’s strong commitment to affordable housing and housing stability by investing $572 million in housing and homelessness services. In addition to the more than $800 million in federal resources made available to support housing stability efforts, the state investment will help to keep families in their homes and support tenants and property owners during this challenging time.

Housing investments include:

•    $195.9 million for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters, including funds to create an independent ombudsman’s office to act as a mediator and advocate for households applying to or residing in family shelters
•    $150 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), including $20 million in unspent funds carried forward from FY 2021, and recommended changes to the program to cap the share of a household’s income paid towards rent at 30 per cent
•    $85 million for assistance to local housing authorities
•    $16.3 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), in addition to $350 million in federal emergency rental assistance, and including emergency changes to the RAFT program to increase the maximum amount of rental assistance that a household can receive from $4,000 to $10,000 and allow eligible households facing a housing crisis to access both RAFT and HomeBASE
•    $56.4 million for assistance for homeless individuals
•    $14.2 million for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) providing rental assistance to people with disabilities, including $5.5 million in unspent funds carried forward from FY 2021, and $2.5 million for grants to improve or create accessible affordable housing units
•    $8 million for the Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs).
•    $8 million for assistance for unaccompanied homeless youth
•    $3.9 million for the Home and Healthy for Good re-housing and supportive services program, including $250,000 for homeless LGBTQQ youth
 
The Committee’s budget reflects the Senate’s unwavering support for cities and towns, and provides a significant amount of local and regional aid to ensure communities can continue to provide essential services to the public while addressing local impacts caused by the pandemic. This includes $1.168 billion in funding for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), consistent with the March local aid agreement, to support local level investments and provide predictability for cities and towns. In addition to traditional sources of local aid, the Committee’s budget increases payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for state-owned land to $35 million. PILOT funding is a vital source of supplemental local aid for cities and towns working to protect and improve access to essential services and programs during recovery from the pandemic.

Local investments include:

•    $94 million for Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) to support regional public transportation system as a public good necessary to helping commuters, students, seniors and people with disabilities and supporting economic mobility
•    $36 million for libraries, including $13.5 million for regional library local aid, $13 million for municipal libraries
•    $20 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council to support local arts, culture and creative economy initiatives

Senators can file amendments to the Senate Ways and Means recommendations until Friday, May 14, at 2 p.m. The full Senate will then debate the FY22 budget in formal session beginning Tuesday, May 25. The FY22 Senate Ways and Means Budget Recommendations are available on the Massachusetts legislature’s website: https://malegislature.gov/Budget/SenateWaysMeansBudget.

 

https://malegislature.gov/Budget/SenateWaysMeansBudget
https://malegislature.gov/Budget/SenateWaysMeansBudget

 

Monday, May 10, 2021

FM #535 - Capital Budget SubComm Mtg - 05/05/21 (audio)

FM #535 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 535 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares the Town Council Capital Budget Subcommittee meeting held on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: the Capital Budget SubCommittee members, Town Administrator and key personnel, were in the Council Chambers; the public was remote via conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

Quick Recap:
  • The capital budget round two was reviewed, questions answered and vote conducted on each item along the way. At the there was another vote on the grand total which effectively recorded a second vote of approval for the items.
  • Funding for a study of the police station options was approved. Long a discussion item, now the growth of the department is forcing the issue be faced as the space doesn't meet the needs of the staffing. The options of renovate, build new, including where, all need to be sorted out before a decision can be made. Good timing to study now with School also looking at their facility master plan along with updated population numbers to help with the planning.
Links to the meeting agenda and associated documents are included in the show notes. The recording runs about 50 minutes, so let’s listen to the Capital Budget Subcommittee meeting. 


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Town of Franklin budget page  https://www.franklinma.gov/town-budget 
Franklin Schools budget page  https://www.franklinps.net/district/school-district-budget 

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We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm). 

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit   Franklinmatters.org/  or www.franklin.news/

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!

------------------

You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

FM #535 - Capital Budget SubComm Mtg - 05/05/21 (audio)
FM #535 - Capital Budget SubComm Mtg - 05/05/21 (audio)


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Recap: Finance Committee approves FY 2022 budget as proposed

Quick Recap:
  • Last of the 4 budget hearings scheduled for Finance Committee to preview the FY 2022 budget before the Town Council gets it later this month. Generally good questions asked, answers received, not always telling complete story that should be told
  • What should you know? Schools get almost 50% of their budget from State Chap 70 funding which is about $11M more than we should under the revised Student Opportunity Act. The Town participation in school funding is expected to increase over the next several years (at least until the excess 11M is reduced). "This dynamic is the future decade for Franklin."
  • So forget about OPEB (there is a plan to resolve it) The largest issues on the town front on the school budget and stormwater funding. If we don't fix the stormwater funding (first), the school issue will become more severe (and nevermind how they determine to redistrict, the issue is here - redistricting is not going to save that much money)
  • Funny how all the parents upset about possible school budget cuts have disappeared from meeting participation. They should be paying attention now. 
  • Only one vote by FinCom to approve the whole general fund and enterprise accounts to pass along to the Town Council who are scheduled to do their cursory review on May 26-27.

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As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.
 
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #fincom0504

Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album   https://photos.app.goo.gl/7aWLKfP4xhrHqSbG9

The agenda for this meeting can be found

https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/_2021-05-04_finance_committee_agenda_.pdf


  • Last of the 4 #FinCom0504 budget hearings coming up at 6:30 PM - this one features, the three school budgets; Franklin K-12, Tri-County, and Norfolk Aggie. Then the FinCom gets down to voting to approve/adjust as they see fit. What will it be? Follow and find out
  • The agenda for the #fincom0504 meeting, includes connection info (via Zoom) - meeting also available via Verizon/Comcast cable and live stream from http://Franklin.TV   https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/_2021-05-04_finance_committee_agenda_.pdf
  • Meeting opens #fincom0504
  • Starting with coverage of the tri-county and Norfolk Aggie budgets with line item coverage, an assessment beaded up Franklin student enrollment in those institutions. #fincom0504. Follow along with https://franklinma.gov/town-budget/files/a1-town-administrator-recommended-budget-voting-document-budget-book and next link ->
  • Schools budget doc to follow along https://franklinma.gov/town-budget/files/b1-school-department-executive-summary-fy22 #fincom0504 Schools did adjust budget by $700k+ to meet town allocation by prepaying some accounts
  • Trend of lower enrollment due to COVID not like other communities, less here, more there. Still on downward trend in elementary overall. Watching carefully for fall #fincom0504 graduation 400+ incoming class size more 300 odd
  • Q the out of district tuition? How flat if an increase expected? Some students aging out which reduces but the rate is increase so there is an offset. Prepay will eventually create a "cliff" but not there yet, MA laws allow for prepay in private placements #fincom0504
  • Students supported by law through age up to 22. If we can provide enough service in district, then we need to go out. About 80-85 students in out of district. #fincom0504 internet upgrade to support remote learning, most of increase is for 10G line as well as split ->
  • Of cyber security share with town side, as previously discussed. Anticipating that the state will not allow full remote learning come fall so no increase anticipated there #fincom0504
  • Q on additional staff at central office, one person spot adding in replacement of Dr Edwards, her slot will support both as well, offset of some of the stipends previously used #fincom0504 curriculum development focus, reporting to Lucas Giguere
  • Redistricting study is a continuation of the facilities plan, how should we use space in the district. The prior studies were done pre-pandemic. To develop a road map of what to do and when. #fincom0504 do you have any reserves aside from revolving funds?
  • Do not have stabilization fund! Do use the revolving funds as necessary but the policy is usually for a year on hand. This avoids the check in, check out process. Lifelong learning is one key area visible and impacted by revolving funds. #fincom0504
  • They do adjust yearly. These are all meant to be self supporting programs. Buses, sports, lifelong learning, etc. Q how has declined ridership affect busing expense? #fincom0504 adjusted contract with vendor to run fewer buses riders down about 1/3, usually about 3000 students
  • Saw savings in contract but lost revenue more than the savings #fincom0504 did end up with revolving funds worth more than the one year policy requirements. FTE is calculated at working the 35 hours. Teachers don't get paid hourly, they're paid over the 180 days
  • Q refresh on circuit breaker? State sets a threshold, and if we pay more than the state can reimburse the excess portion at about 75% #fincom0504 student opportunity act is not beneficial to use compared to others, we are a minimum aid Community
  • We receive $11m excess (2nd only to Boston) and until that 11 decreases we won't get much more. We do anticipate get help with circuit breaker and transportation but not from per pupil (only $30/year). Town contribution will increase from 71% over next several years
  • No major increase in chap 70, generally flat. State funding for schools is approx 50% of what they have. #fincom0504 "this dynamic is the future decade for Franklin".
  • One vote on all general and enterprise fund budgets motion made, seconded passes 9-0 #fincom0504 Adjournment, seconded approved 9-0 And in case you missed it, there was no allowance for any Community comments during the discussions
  • That's all for tonight, catch you next time - Three meetings back to back on Weds 5/5/21, Board of Health, capital budget Subcommittee, and Town Council. Agendas posted on Town and http://www.franklin.news pages #fincom0504

 

Recap: Finance Committee approves FY 2022 budget as proposed
Recap: Finance Committee approves FY 2022 budget as proposed

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Capital Budget Subcommittee Meeting - May 5 - 5:30 PM

Capital Budget Subcommittee Meeting
Agenda & Meeting Packet
May 5, 2021 = 5:30 PM 

 
Discussion:
1. FY20 Capital Budget Round 2
 
 
The agenda doc contains connection info:
 
Note: The agenda doc shows a 5:00 start, yet the calendar and prior meetings have started at 5:30 so 5:30 is what is shown here. If it changes, I'll update accordingly.  Agenda doc updated to show 5:30 PM Start time
 
 
Capital Budget Subcommittee Meeting - May 5 - 5:30 PM
Capital Budget Subcommittee Meeting - May 5 - 5:30 PM


Monday, May 3, 2021

FM #528 - Finance Cmte Budget Hearing #3 - 04/29/21 (audio)

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: members of the Finance Committee, selected guests, and Town Administration personnel were in the Council Chambers, the remainder were remote along with the public via the Zoom conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

The show notes contain links to the meeting agenda including documents released for this agenda. 

Let’s listen to this budget hearing on "all things DPW"

Audio file = https://player.captivate.fm/episode/d4c456be-97e9-4a06-b37d-acb36622db3e

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  • April 29 Agenda = all things DPW
 https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/_2021-04-29_finance_committee_agenda_.pdf

  • Town budget page for FY 2022

https://www.franklinma.gov/town-budget/pages/fy-22-budget-materials
  • My notes from the meeting
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2021/05/recap-fincomm-budget-hearing-3-all-dpw.html

--------------

We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial. 

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit www.Franklinmatters.org/   or www.franklin.news/

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!

------------------

You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

FinCom member Susan Dewsnap
FinCom member Susan Dewsnap

Saturday, May 1, 2021

FM #526 - Finance Cmte Budget Hearing #1 - 04/27/21 (audio)

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: members of the Finance Committee, selected guests, and Town Administration personnel were in the Council Chambers, the remainder were remote along with the public via the Zoom conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

The show notes contain links to the meeting agenda including documents released for this agenda. 

Let’s listen to this budget hearing on "General government"

Audio file = https://player.captivate.fm/episode/d9c1b417-b587-4cee-a861-c5409f4085cf


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  • April 27 Agenda = Central government, Human Services, Culture and Recreation, Debt and Interest, Benefits

https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/4.27.21_fin_com_agenda.pdf

  • Town budget page for FY 2022
https://www.franklinma.gov/town-budget/pages/fy-22-budget-materials
  • My notes from the meeting
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2021/04/finance-committee-budget-hearing-1-of-4.html

--------------

We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial. 

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit www.Franklinmatters.org/   or www.franklin.news/

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!

------------------

You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

FM #526 - Finance Cmte Budget Hearing #1 - 04/27/21 (audio)
FM #526 - Finance Cmte Budget Hearing #1 - 04/27/21 (audio)


Representative Jeffrey N. Roy: FY 22 House Budget update

Jeffrey N. Roy (@jeffroy) tweeted on Fri, Apr 30, 2021:

"Happy to report that the FY22 House budget passed this week including some great pieces of local aid for Medway and Franklin. 

The budget provides local resources for education, food security, substance use disorder, the commuter rail, and economic development. https://t.co/m4an9fNBNF"

For more info about Rep Roy visit his page ->  https://jeffreyroy.com/

Representative Jeffrey N. Roy: FY 22 House Budget update
Representative Jeffrey N. Roy: FY 22 House Budget update


Friday, April 30, 2021

DPW loses two positions in FY 2022 budget due to Town Council inaction on Stormwater utility proposal

Why Town Council inaction?
You should ask them individually. I have been reporting on their meetings and while there is a lack of understanding around the reality of stormwater for some of the members, and how to best fund it, I had been lead to believe that this discussion was coming in the budget discussions. 

I found out during the Finance Committee hearing Thursday evening, that adjustments were made to 'get by' in anticipation that the Town Council would not approve the utility fee. So the DPW gets cuts now. There is still time for the stormwater discussion to happen. The Council has their budget hearings May 27-28 at which they will approve the budget for FY 2022.

  • The stormwater story summarizes the development since the stormwater bylaw was passed in 2007.

The stormwater utility fee was established as a mechanism to fund stormwater by a Unanimous vote in Jan 2020. It was created then to provide time for the MUNIS system to be adjusted to actually enable the billing. The software work required seems to be done as the billing does show stormwater utility with $0

All that is required now is for the Council to (1) actually create the fee so (2) the other detailed items can help establish it (credit items, credit process, etc.) and potentially restore the two positions to the DPW for FY 2022.


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From the DPW section of the Town of Franklin FY 2022 budget narrative:
 (bold text indicates my change for emphasis to show where the cuts were 'buried' in the text.)

FY22 Budget Modifications, Increases & Reductions
It is important to note the shifting funding amounts and location of costs in the DPW Budget. The issue of stormwater affects the FY22 budget for DPW and will continue in future fiscal years.
Going forward, the DPW will see significant budgetary changes that will affect the services they perform. The effects of the pandemic and economy will only expedite the process.  The most notable impact being the implementation of EPA’s federally required stormwater permit and how to pay for it.  The new mandated requirements of this permit are unfunded (yes, an“unfunded mandate”).  In order to implement these legal requirements, staff have to propose shifting funds from other areas of DPW to a new stormwater division. The amount of funds required in FY22 are only the beginning,over the next two years cost increases due to theMS4 are anticipated to be at least another $200,000annually. Over time, this will “eat up” operating capacity in the budget which, in turn, will reduce other services and improvements we provide.
In order to continue to meet the needs of our residents,address changes in regulatory requirements, and staffing concerns next year, the following list outlines the major changes in the Franklin Public Works Budget.While there are nominal increases in some areas, the majority of changes are just shifting funds from specific lines to areas that are of a higher priority.
Once again, the most pressing issue is funding the new MS4 permit requirements that are mandated by the recent settlement with the EPA, but have not been appropriately funded in the past.
In order to accurately reflect the cost of the ongoing required stormwater efforts, we have to create a Stormwater Division within the DPW General Fund with a budget of $867,545. Specifically, $265,545 in personnel salaries and $602,000 in expenses.
The salary costs of $265k are a reallocation of current staff from other DPW divisions to reflect their current efforts in stormwater the town has been doing for years. In other words, these monies have not changed, they have just moved from one division in the DPW to another.
Therefore, the additional funding needed to meet the requirements in FY22 is $602,000 over what the Town already does for stormwater work. To make up for the deficit caused by these additional costs, many cuts and reallocations of funds were made in other DPW Divisions. The most pressing concerns include cutting two labor positions, one from our highway and one from our grounds crews, which will affect our response to daily duties but more importantly to emergency situations like snow and ice operations.  Expense line items were cut across the board as deemed the most appropriate.In addition to these cuts, requests for increases in various service areas were forgone, most notably in road construction and tree maintenance.
Overall the DPW General Fund budget did go up $338,000. This includes a cut of ($22,000) on the salary side and an overall increase of $360,000 of expense items.
The majority of the salary change includes, cutting two positions from our crew, adding a GIS position to accommodate town wide needs, adding staff hours to meet increased demand at the Recycling Center, and required payroll increases due to the collective bargaining agreement, COLA costs for non-union employees and the minimum wage increase in Massachusetts.  Many of the salary and personnel decisions revolve around current and future stormwater requirements. We have also reallocated a portion of the salaries of our Stormwater Manager, Management Staff, Administrative staff, and two DPW Crew Members to the new Stormwater Division.
With the retirement of our Deputy Director of Operations in FY21, we made a change to our management structure by eliminating the position  and hiring an  Assistant Highway & Grounds Superintendent and an Assistant Water & Sewer Superintendent instead. Due to the growing needs of our department, this transition has been very successful and we plan to continue this setup in FY22.  The Town did not fill the Deputy Director of Operations position.

 

You can find this section beginning page 64

You can also find the DPW section (extracted from the full doc here)  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WqhlP0LsIHcAY3HKTngU1gSRGQgSVnFo/view?usp=sharing  

DPW loses two positions in FY 2022 budget due to Town Council inaction on Stormwater utility proposal
Check out the impervious coverage map for your property -> https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/e45452a3047e4c83b27170a8f4f79aa5


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Finance Committee - Budget Hearing #1 of 4 -> 2nd pass at Capital approved, General Government budgets heard

Quick Recap:
  • $765,547 approved in this second pass at the Capital Budget. Recall that the first pass was done earlier, waited until the snow/ice expenses were tallied before taking this second pass. Now goes to Town Council for approval
  • Policy on setting aside stabilization amount from free cash deferred to  May meeting for a more full discussion on theory/principal and then amount or percent
  • Review of the highlights in the budget narrative, then pretty much page by page through the General Government sections; questions asked and answered
  • Part 2 scheduled for Weds to include Public Safety, Part 3 for Thursday to be all DPW (including storm water), Part 4 next Tuesday (May 4) for the School budget

Worthwhile tidbits of info
  • There are 611 wireless access points throughout town and school buildings
  • New growth calculated at the 10 year average (as opposed to an increase, this is really more conservative)
  • While Norfolk County pension reqs will increase over the next several years, after 2028 (i think) those funds will have been covered (by law) and then the pension funding can then be diverted to cover the OPEB requirements. Hence OPEB is not as bad a problem as it was through to be
  • Melanson and Heath coming to Town Council meeting May 5 to report on the FY 20 audit (interesting to see what if anything would be mentioned of the spear phishing incident as it was an FY 2021 item, not FY 2020 item - hence may not be 'in scope') 
  • Passports processing left the Town Clerks office due to potential conflict of interest/span of control problem. A Town clerk controls birth and death notices, hence could create a person and grant a passport for someone 
  • Passport processing resumes one day a week, after July a new part time position will be filled and add photos as part of this service
  • MA general law requires a paper bill to be physically be mailed; you can receive a PDF electronically but Town would need State legislation to take action to go full paperless
  • Senior Center runs on less than $250k per year, they can do so due to the grants and gifts from various organizations
  • Debt financing currently below the target of 3.5%, slightly growing the space to be used in the next couple of years   

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As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.
 
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #fincom0427
 
Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album  https://photos.app.goo.gl/gxyCEPR6zYMoYEGj9

The agenda for this meeting can be found
 
The Town budget documents for FY 2022


  • Finance committee meeting opens #fincom0427 minutes for 2 prior meetings approved, 7-0 vote not roll call as those are in Chambers. Who is missing remains TBD? Should have 9 so 2 missing.
Capital Budget
  • First up, second pass on the capital budget. 611 wireless access points across town/school buildings. #fincom0427 1.3m sq ft and the bulk are school buildings, by using capital, saves money overall, and 2 saves ops budget in Schools
  • The details on the 2nd pass for capital along with the remainder of tonight's agenda can be found https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/4.27.21_fin_com_agenda.pdf  #fincom0427 Police building only one D'Angelo hasn't built or renovated
  • Q on wireless access? Licensing for the wireless to work. Q on how much of the free cash is committed? Long answer but will need to tally to get total, some of it is fixed amount, some a percent of what is available. #fincom0427 $765,547 in addition to capital budget
  • Passes by 7-0 vote; question on the policy of setting aside amounts for rainy day, fields, trucks, OPEB and ? Missing one, will update later #fincom0427
FY 2022 discussion
  • Page 10 of the meeting packet shows the policy that was discussed and then tables until the May 19 session for further discussion, pros, cons, etc. #fincom0427
  • CPC budget a separate budget item with nuances of the CPA funding as the process gets underway here in Franklin. Can use the $66k for some assessment estimates before getting the full funding in Oct 2022. Motion to approve, interrupted by question, then to vote passes 7-0
  • Note: holding off on vote until all the budgets have been heard (will not be voting as they go dept by dept). #fincom0427 check the budget narrative for the highlights https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/2021-04-16_fy_2022_budget_message_narrative_working_document_1.pdf
  • New growth calculated at the 10 year average (as opposed to an increase, this is really more conservative). #fincom0427 and friendly reminder on those who want to see the SchComm change channel per info in image
  • While pension reqs will increase over the next several years, after 2028 (i think) those funds will have covered the pension reqs and can then be diverted to cover the OPEB reqs #fincom0427 this was covered in prior Council and FinComm meetings
  • Note, the website has current and accurate info, prior versions did contain some errors per TA go to appendix A1 to follow along #fincom0427 moving along literally line by line. https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/2021-04-16_fy_2022_budget_message_narrative_working_document_1.pdf
  • Melanson and Heath coming to council meeting May 5 to report on the FY 20 audit. #fincom0427 legal expanse item tends to go up when collective bargaining is in, cable, solar and other special needs do bring in legal consulting
  • Proposing $25k for a complete nonunion market study for staff salaries/benefits, needs to be done to be competitive. #fincom0427 HR reviewing and adjusting with concurrence the collective bargaining agreements, almost done
  • Adding a resource, split between town and school budgets, other IT staff all in school side of budget although Town does pay it's share. #fincom0427 similar to facilities which resides on town side but supports both town/school.
  • Additional resource for Town Clerk office as mail ballot and early voting are likely here to stay, Legislation pending to set the process. #fincom0427 passport processing one day a week, after July a new part time position will be filled and add photos as part of this
  • Passports processing left the town clerks office due to potential conflict of interest. A clerk controls birth and death notices, hence could create a person and grant a passport for someone. #fincom0427 was in TA office and then moved again
  • Anticipating buildings fully operational as of July 1, also includes minimum maintain of Davis Thayer building #fincom0427 Central services mostly postage for the mailings on town business
  • MA general law requires paper bill you can receive a PDF electronically but would need legislation to take action to go full paperless #fincom0427 Health Dept increasing nursing service (by statue req'd) examine other scenarios (including a grant for regional approach)
  • Senior center runs on less than $250k per year, can do so due to the grants and gifts from various orgs. #fincom0427 trying to invest in center org due to use of funds for people previously tied to revolving funds Page 102 outlines budget details  https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/2021-04-16_fy_2022_budget_message_narrative_working_document_1.pdf
  • P 104 Veterans services, mostly reimbursement from state and federal funding. #fincom0427 Library some folks repurposed to help with elections during closure. Do not need to seek waiver with this funding. Recreation coming back with restoration of budget, will be busy
  • With the gradual reopening in progress during summer and fall. #fincom0427 reference to the historical museum Instagram account - https://www.instagram.com/franklinhistoricalmuseum/
  • Debt financing currently below the target of 3.5%, slightly growing the space to be used in the next couple of years #fincom0427 benefits only up $800k, could be worse. Some new hires are still on parent's health coverage (until 26).
  • Q where is the OPEB expense? we are paying for the total liability, the current requirements are covered by today's contributions #fincom0427 68/32 spilt town and employee for benefits. Q would the study cover benefits? Salary or total compensation? Remote work, etc.
  • Family leave, will likely be items of discussion for employee recruiting. #fincom0427 future agenda item for more discussion on the HR nuances of salary, benefits etc. Liability insurance for both property and casualty, not for workers comp, reward checks come later
  • Motion to adjourn, second, passes 7-0 See you for part 2 of the 4 meeting series on Weds. #fincom0427 
 
Finance Committee - Budget Hearing #1 of 4 -> 2nd pass at Capital approved, General Government budgets heard
Finance Committee - Budget Hearing #1 of 4 -> 2nd pass at Capital approved, General Government budgets heard