Showing posts with label MMA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MMA. Show all posts

Monday, December 27, 2021

"all heavily qualified with discussions of uncertainty"

"Despite a persistent public health emergency, the Commonwealth’s fiscal outlook for the remainder of fiscal 2022 and looking ahead to fiscal 2023 remains strong, but not without some uncertainty. 
Tax collections far exceeded benchmarks in fiscal 2021, leading to a substantial state surplus, and they are on track to do the same in fiscal 2022. 
Still, during the annual Consensus Revenue Hearing convened today by the House and Senate Ways and Means committees and the governor’s budget office, the Department of Revenue and other fiscal experts and economists offered cautious outlooks for the economy and state revenues over the second half of fiscal 2022 and for fiscal 2023."

We enter the FY 2023 budget season. The Town of Franklin departments are working on their department level operational and capital requests. The capital budget will be first reviewed via the Finance Committee before going to the Town Council capital budget subcommittee and eventually to the full Council for approval. As with prior years, the capital budget is likely to be addressed in two phases: the first utilizes the available free cash less some amount held to cover additional snow/ice expenses this winter; after the winter expenses are finalized, then the second portion of free cash is utilized for the capital budget.

The Town budget process and documents can be found 

The School budget follows a similar timeline

"all heavily qualified with discussions of uncertainty"
"all heavily qualified with discussions of uncertainty"

Friday, November 19, 2021

Franklin awarded Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grant of $25K

Mass. Municipal Assn (@massmunicipal) tweeted  Thu, Nov 18, 2021:
Administration awards $3.1M through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program to 268 municipalities to help them maximize recycling, composting & waste reduction programs. @MassGovernor @MassLtGov @MassEEA @MassDEP 


"To mark America Recycles Day, the Baker-Polito administration on Monday announced $3.1 million in grant funding to 268 municipalities and regional solid waste districts to help them maximize recycling, composting and waste reduction programs.

The grants are made available through the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program, which was created by the Green Communities Act of 2008 and has provided more than $46 million to recycling programs since 2010.

At the announcement, Gov. Charlie Baker said the new round of grant funding will aid municipal efforts “to implement innovative programs and policies” to maximize the reuse of materials, boost recycling, and reduce waste. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said the program helps municipalities and solid waste districts expand recycling and composting, while targeting new materials to remove from the waste stream."

Franklin is on the list as the recipient of $25,200.

Shared from Twitter:

Franklin awarded Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grant of $25K
Franklin awarded Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grant of $25K

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Webinar Nov. 22 on MA DEP Solid Waste Master Plan

Via the Mass Municipal Association:

"The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is inviting local officials to a webinar on Nov. 22 on the newly published Solid Waste Master Plan.

The 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan: Working Together Toward Zero Waste guides how Massachusetts will strive to manage our trash between now and 2030 — and beyond. The plan sets a waste reduction target of 30% by 2030 and 90% by 2050."

Read the remainder of the announcement by MMA and register for the webinar


Webinar Nov. 22 on MA DEP Solid Waste Master Plan
Webinar Nov. 22 on MA DEP Solid Waste Master Plan

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Citizen Planner Training Collaborative's schedule announced

The Citizen Planner Training Collaborative’s Webinar Series 2021, designed for citizen and professional planners in Massachusetts, will run from Nov. 10 through Dec. 16.

Registration is open for the 10 workshops, which range from “Roles and Responsibilities of Planning Boards and Boards of Appeals” to more specialized information such as fair housing laws. Each workshop is sponsored by a regional planning agency, and anyone may attend.
The workshop schedule is as follows:
• Fair Housing Laws: Nov. 10
• Fair, Defensible Land Use Decisions: Nov. 15
• Adopting and Revising Rules and Regulations: Nov. 17
• Drafting Zoning Amendments: Nov. 18
• Adopting and Revising Rules and Regulations: Nov. 23
• Introduction to Subdivision Control Law/ANR: Nov. 29
• Fair, Defensible Land Use Decisions: Dec. 2
• Roles and Responsibilities of Planning and Zoning Boards: Dec. 7
• Special Permits and Variances: Dec. 15
• Use of Design Review: Dec. 16
Via MMA - for more info including how to register,  or go directly to the CPTC page to register ->

Thursday, September 23, 2021

MA Public Health reminds us to practice self-care and support your mental health; Boston announces pilot program

"It's more important than ever to practice self-care and support your mental health. Relax, stay socially connected at a safe distance, and take a deep breath. 
If you're in a crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. #StopSuicide"

Shared from Twitter:

Mass. Public Health reminds us to practice self-care and support your mental health
Mass. Public Health reminds us to practice self-care and support your mental health

Franklin participates in a grant program with Medway to implement this support for 911 calls and now Boston is starting a pilot program.
"Amid a nationwide push to rethink policing strategies and reduce the use of force when possible, a new Boston program seeks to scale back police involvement in 911 mental-health calls.

Last month, Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced a pilot program encouraging greater use of mental-health workers, EMTs and trained community members during 911 mental health calls. In a city that received 10,000 such calls last year, officials are seeking to de-escalate fragile mental-health interactions while easing the strain on police resources.

“This mental-health response will help us evaluate how to deliver the best possible response for our residents when they are in crisis,” Janey said during an Aug. 5 press conference. “These investments will help connect residents and their families with the care they need. They will also help us send officers to where they are needed most.”

Franklin Police in its Annual Report section for 2020 touted the program

Sunday, September 5, 2021

"united in their commitment to preserve and protect the natural water resources"


The MassDEP’s proposed changes to the Water Resources Management Program regulations (310 CMR 36.00) are promulgated under the Water Management Act (M.G.L. Ch. 21G), which regulates water withdrawals through registrations and permits to ensure an appropriate balance among competing water needs and the preservation of natural resources.

The proposed regulatory changes would add a new condition to registrations that would restrict nonessential outdoor water use during times of drought declared by the secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Nonessential outdoor water use includes lawn watering, filling swimming pools, washing cars by means of a hose, and washing down buildings, parking lots, driveways and sidewalks.

Continue reading the article online

Direct link to the MassDEP proposed changes

The permit process was part of the three part podcast series with the Franklin Water Dept. You can find and listen to all three episodes here: 


three part podcast series with the Franklin Water Dept
three part podcast series with the Franklin Water Dept

Thursday, September 2, 2021

MMA: "MassDOT releases new Chapter 90 informational resources"

"The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has updated its Chapter 90 program web portal and released several informational resources related to the program for municipalities.

A new Municipal Guidance Document reviews eligible expenses under the program and details project planning and implementation processes that are considered best practices. "

MA DOT Chapter 90 portal ->

MA DOT Chapter 90 portal
MA DOT Chapter 90 portal

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Mass. Municipal Assn: "Select board group discusses the future of public meetings"

Mass. Municipal Assn (@massmunicipal) tweeted on Fri, Jul 30, 2021:
Mass. Select Board Assn concluded its annual Leadership Conference series with a webinar on the future of public meetings w/ @TOFranklinMA Town Administrator Jamie Hellen & #Stow Town Administrator Denise Dembkoski. 

"The future of public meetings was the topic of the fourth and final webinar in the Massachusetts Select Board Association’s Leadership Conference series today.

Franklin Town Administrator Jamie Hellen kicked off the meeting with a discussion about how the town has transitioned from all-virtual to hybrid board and committee meetings that allow for a combination of virtual and in-person participation. Hellen showed how Franklin’s Town Council chambers have been set up to allow the council, staff, presenters and meeting participants to attend meetings in-person while the public joins remotely.

Hellen covered important aspects of the set up, such as room layout and the necessary technology, as well as the town’s partnership with its local access TV provider, Franklin TV. He also emphasized the importance of trial and error in order to develop a system that works best for the community."

Mass. Municipal Assn: "Select board group discusses the future of public meetings"
Mass. Municipal Assn: "Select board group discusses the future of public meetings"

Saturday, July 31, 2021

MMA: "Gov. signs law extending voting provisions through Dec. 15"

From the Mass Municipal Association (MMA) we share: 

"Gov. Charlie Baker today signed a $261.6 million supplemental budget for fiscal 2021 that includes provisions to extend early voting through Dec. 15, 2021.

With regard to elections, the new law:

• Extends no-excuse absentee voting for all elections through Dec. 15, 2021
• Authorizes in-person early voting for any regular or special municipal preliminary, primary or general election on or before Dec. 15, 2021
• Authorizes early voting by mail for any regular or special or state preliminary primary or general election on or before Dec. 15, 2021
• Extends the right of voters ordered to quarantine to select an alternative location for delivery of ballots for annual or special municipal or state primary or election held on or before Dec. 15, 2021
• Allows a select board, board of selectmen, town council or city council — after a public hearing and by recorded and public vote at least 45 days prior to the date of an election — to opt-out of allowing early voting by mail for any annual or special municipal preliminary or municipal election"

Direct ink to the legislative bill ->

MMA: "Gov. signs law extending voting provisions through Dec. 15"
MMA: "Gov. signs law extending voting provisions through Dec. 15"

Monday, May 17, 2021

Franklin (1) in the news for the UVGA lamps, (2) could we consider Amherst's example to help with engagement?

From the Mass Municipal Association (MMA) we find to share:

1 - "Franklin installs ultraviolet lamps to destroy coronaviruses"

"Using technology both visible and hidden, the town of Franklin has improved the air quality in its municipal and school buildings and reduced the chances of people catching COVID-19."

2 - "Amherst launches online engagement platform"

"The town of Amherst has developed a new prong in its online engagement strategy with the launch of a new interactive platform, Engage Amherst.

The March launch comes a year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced cities and towns across the state to pivot from in-person meetings and hearings to remote, online engagement with residents."

Thursday, March 18, 2021

MA State News: Law signed to extend vote by mail to June; vaccine schedule for all released

"Gov. Baker signs law to extend pandemic-related voting changes"

"A law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker today provides a three-month extension for a number of changes to voting procedures that were enacted last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including early voting by mail."

Continue reading the article online

"All Mass. adults eligible for vaccines April 19"
"ALL ADULTS LIVING in Massachusetts will become eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine beginning on April 19, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday. That does not mean, however, that everyone will be able to immediately get a shot, since getting a dose will depend on how much supply becomes available from the federal government.

“It will take time obviously for the vaccine to arrive here in Massachusetts and for everyone in these groups to get appointments and get vaccinated,” Baker said at a press conference Wednesday, after touring a vaccination site at the Shaw’s Center in Brockton."
Continue reading the article online
Gov Baker's press Conference:

Monday, January 25, 2021

MMA: Gov Baker, Lt Gov Polito provide updates on forthcoming MA budget

Gov Baker spoke to the MMA meeting on Friday, Lt Gov Polito spoke on Thursday. Highlights of their remarks including insights on the State budget to be released on Wednesday as shared here:

"During the MMA Annual Business Meeting this afternoon, Gov. Charlie Baker thanked hundreds of local officials for their “invaluable” partnership during the COVID-19 pandemic and announced that he would be filing legislation next week to authorize $200 million for the Chapter 90 local road and bridge program.

The governor highlighted a number of programs and recently signed laws intended to help give an economic boost to main streets and downtowns that have suffered during the pandemic, particularly a $626 million economic development bond, $16.5 billion transportation bond and a new small business relief initiative that has distributed $232 million thus far to more than 4,000 small businesses. The multi-year transportation bond law includes funding for the popular Complete Streets and Municipal Small Bridge grant programs, as well as new Municipal Pavement Partnership and Local Bottleneck Reduction grant programs. "

Continue reading the article online 
"Speaking to more than 800 local leaders from across the state during the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show this morning, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced that the administration’s state budget plan for fiscal 2022, set to be released next Wednesday, will increase general municipal aid by 3.5%.

This meets the administration’s commitment to increase the Unrestricted General Government Aid account at the same rate as the projected growth in state revenues. The consensus projection of 3.5% was announced by legislative and administration budget writers late last week."
Continue reading the article online 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Can you identify signs of labor trafficking?

Mass. Municipal Assn (@massmunicipal) tweeted on Tue, Jan 19, 2021:
.@MassAGO @maura_healey's office launches new training video & digital toolkit to help people identify signs of labor trafficking & generate referrals to her office for potential investigation & prosecution.

MMA article to provide context for the new awareness campaign

Thursday, December 17, 2020

MMA: "New video highlights link between taxes and essential services"

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA)

"The leaders of Lawrence and Arlington share their views on the property tax and local services in a new video from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy that highlights the connection between taxes and the ability of communities to control their own destinies.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera and Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine are interviewed in the nine-minute video, “Property Tax 101: Why the Property Tax,” which explains the importance of the property tax and the value of local government.

“I think about local government as the most important form of government,” Rivera says in the video. “It’s the closest to people. Let me tell you something: if one mayor falls down on the job, if one city council falls down on the job, you feel it immediately. And so local government and the way we fund local government is very, very important.”
Continue reading the article online
Visit the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy online

Direct link to video "Property Tax 101: Why the Property Tax" on YouTube =>

MMA: "MBLC releases new space planning guide for libraries"

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA)

"The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners in mid-November released a free, 160-page guide to planning new or reconfigured public library spaces.

“This space planning guide will not only help plan flexible and efficient library buildings that meet a community’s unique needs,” said Library Building Specialist Lauren Stara, “it will also save communities time and money as they begin exploring options for a new or reconfigured library.”

“Library Space: A Planning Resource for Librarians” creates a formal set of best practices for designing library space that may be applied to libraries across the nation, according to the Board of Library Commissioners. The guide empowers librarians, administrators, space planners and architects with tools for the planning and design of public library buildings. It takes the user through the step-by-step process of determining what to consider when designing a new library for their community, and includes illustrations of different room types, adjacencies, shelving and seating that can be considered for a building project."

Continue reading the article online
Visit the MA Board of Library Commissioners at
MMA: "MBLC releases new space planning guide for libraries"
Franklin's Library in the sun after a snow storm

Sunday, December 6, 2020

"This is the third consecutive year that the CPA match has increased"

 From the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA)

On Nov. 12, the Department of Revenue released the fiscal 2021 distribution from the Community Preservation Act Trust Fund for each participating community, with a minimum match rate of 28.6% for all municipalities.

Municipalities that adopted the CPA with a full 3% local property tax surcharge received a higher percentage.

The Division of Local Services has posted a full list of CPA distribution amounts by municipality.

The fiscal 2020 budget increased the recording fees at registries of deeds in order to provide additional revenue for the statewide CPA Trust Fund. The increase went into effect on Dec. 31, 2019, and was projected to double the amount of matching funds available to participating CPA communities. Advocates said the change would halt the trend of dropping match rates, which were headed toward a single-digit percentage.

Continue reading the article online

Franklin is in the process of setting up the Community Preservation Committee. The first reading of the bylaw to create the group came to the Council it is being revised and will return for approval. Assuming the timeline continues, Franklin should receive its first funds in the distribution in Nov 2022.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

"The expectation is that the Legislature will enact a final budget bill by Thanksgiving"

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) 

"Late yesterday (Friday, Nov 13), the House approved a $46 billion state budget plan for fiscal 2021 that is slightly higher than the revised recommendation filed by Gov. Charlie Baker last month.

Over two days of debate, the House approved four consolidated amendments that added less than $30 million to the recommendation released by the House Ways and Means Committee last week (H. 5150). House members added $250,000 for reimbursements for the cost of student transportation to out-of-district vocational education programs, but did not add to the major municipal and school aid programs.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday released a $46 billion state revenue and spending plan (S. 4) that is scheduled to be taken up next week, beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The Senate bill would fund the main municipal and school aid accounts largely in line with the House-approved bill and the governor’s revised recommendation, but with some differences in funding for special education circuit breaker reimbursements and charter school mitigation payments, which would have to be reconciled before a final bill can be sent to the governor."

Sunday, November 1, 2020

“The common thread is the energy and innovation we see in these public ‘palaces’ of knowledge"

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) 

"The Library Land Project announced on Oct. 22 that it has received its 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS and formed a board of directors.

These two developments will help further the project’s mission to explore, document and promote public libraries in order to educate people about the important role these institutions play in our communities.

Founders Adam Zand and Greg Peverill-Conti met at the Newton Free Library and launched the first Library Legislative Day in March 2019.

“We came to appreciate what incredible ‘opportunity engines’ libraries are in our communities,” said Peverill-Conti, the project’s executive director. “Sadly, many people have wildly outdated perceptions of these institutions. We want to update and expand the way people think of public libraries.”

For more about the Library Land Project, visit their webpage

“The common thread is the energy and innovation we see in these public ‘palaces’ of knowledge"
“The common thread is the energy and innovation we see in these public ‘palaces’ of knowledge"

Monday, October 26, 2020

"The project was not always easy"

From the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA)

"Twelve towns in Franklin County and one in Hampshire County have come together to form a municipal electricity aggregation program with the goal of combating climate change and providing residents with more renewable energy options.

The 13 towns – Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, Huntington, New Salem, Northfield, Shelburne, Sunderland, Warwick and Whately – recently entered into a 41-month contract with municipal energy consultant Colonial Power Group to develop and manage the Community Choice Power Supply Program, with Dynegy Energy Services to supply electricity.

The aggregation program allows the towns to purchase electricity as a group, giving them greater bargaining power when selecting their supplier. The towns were able to select a range of different renewable energy products to offer their residents, with each town deciding its own default option from the portfolio assembled through the bidding process.

“It’s something that would be very difficult for a tiny town to do, but because we could get multiple towns together, we could make it work,” said Conway Selectboard Member Bob Armstrong, who leads the project. “We were able to get a bid that was lower cost than Eversource, and which offered more green options – something that we had promised the towns.”

Continue reading the article online
From the Archives:
February 12, 2020 in this audio segment of the Town Council meeting, Town Administrator Jamie Hellen talked of the contract and bid price reached (finally)
Aggregation Plan released for Town Council meeting review and discussion

Link to Municipal Aggregation docs on Town of Franklin page
municipal aggregation program
municipal aggregation program

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The rainy day fund, pandemic spending, deceptive framing all in one MA FY 21 budget

Pulling together multiple sources today.

"Despite the pandemic-related recession and high unemployment rates, and an expected drop in state tax revenues, Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday released a budget proposal for the current fiscal year that is actually higher than the budget he proposed in January.

Baker, a Republican, is recommending a fiscal 2021 budget of $45.5 billion, or 3.8 percent more than was spent in fiscal 2020. The budget he released in January would have spent $44.6 billion, or 2.3 percent more than in the prior fiscal year.

The high budget is largely driven by excessive spending in MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program. It would be paid for with an influx of federal money as well as a $1.3 billion draw from the state’s $3.5 billion rainy day fund.

“The rainy day fund is there to support services when it’s raining, and I think most people would agree it’s raining,” Baker said at a State House press conference."

"The revised budget is built on a projection that state tax revenues will be $3.6 billion lower than originally estimated, due to the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. Overall, the updated budget would be balanced through a blend of increased federal assistance, a drawdown of $1.35 billion from the state’s $3.5 billion stabilization fund (preserving $2.1 billion for future needs), and changes to a range of appropriation recommendations.

The Division of Local Services released revised Cherry Sheet amounts for each city and town today based on the new budget recommendation. The DLS update includes receipt and assessment items for municipalities and regional school districts. (Link to updated Cherry Sheets for regional school districts.)

The governor said that he hoped the Legislature would return a final budget to him by Thanksgiving."

"Today, Governor Baker filed his FY21 budget with you. While I had hoped for better than the inflation-only increase that was passed in July, I to some degree was also resigned to it. However, to hear the Governor repeat the deceptive framing posed by Secretary Peyser yesterday, that the funding to schools this year surpasses that laid out by the Student Opportunity Act, is infuriating. I have had reason to wonder if the Governor has any understanding of the school funding formula before this, but this statement has confirmed that he either does not or chooses willfully to ignore the principle upon which it is based.
Pandemic funding is precisely that: it is funding for an EMERGENCY. To have that funding then touted as filling the gaping hole in our basic needs is simply wrong; having to spend money to repair my car does not take away my need for gas money.
Moreover, the funding for the pandemic has been flat: it is distributed regardless of student need, regardless of community need. Every student in every district, whatever its wealth, received that emergency funding. The state's funding formula, on quite the other hand, is progressive: it recognizes that greater need requires greater resources to meet.  "