Showing posts with label annual report. Show all posts
Showing posts with label annual report. Show all posts

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Annual Report Of The Municipal Affordable Housing Trust - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

The Franklin Municipal Affordable Housing Trust fund was established on May 18, 2005 by Bylaw Amendment 05-567. The Trust Fund can receive, hold, invest or expend funds for the rehabilitation, renovation, construction, financing or refinancing of property within the Town of Franklin making these residential properties available to low and moderate income families looking for an affordable home.

The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) establishes the Median Income for the area annually (currently $120,800). Income limits are set at 80% of the Median Income based on household size. The “Affordable” sales price for a home is set assuming a household earning 80% of the median income can obtain a mortgage.

“Affordable” homes must have a “deed rider” attached to the deed of the home. The deed rider will preserve the resale value of the home so that it will remain as affordable in perpetuity. “Affordable“ homes must be purchased by income and asset qualified households.

Having the deed rider ensures that all the affordable units will be included on the “Subsidized Housing Inventory” (SHI). The goal is to have an affordable housing inventory of at least 10%. Franklin’s SHI is at 12%. This number allows the Town leeway to support only those developments that it feels benefit the community.

In FY2020, interest rates continued to be at historic lows and the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust processed 5 refinances and re-sold 1 home.

Progress is continuing on the Franklin Ridge senior housing project to be located off of Veterans Memorial Drive and behind Eaton Place. The project will include 60 new senior apartments that will be affordable to income and asset qualified seniors. The Trust has earmarked up to $550,000 in support of this project.

This year, as always, we look forward to pursuing innovative ways to produce affordable housing in the Town of Franklin. It is our pleasure to submit this annual report for your review.

Respectfully submitted,

Chris Vericker, Chairman 
Mary Anne Bertone 
Christopher Feeley
Jamie Hellen 
Maxine Kinhart 
Judith Pond Pfeffer

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Annual Report Of The Franklin Senior Center - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

The Franklin Senior Center is located at 10 Daniel McCahill Street and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Center provides programs, services and activities along with outreach, information and referral to serve the needs of older adults, people with disabilities and their families. Social services assistance is available to all adult residents in Franklin.

The Senior Center offers health and wellness, nutrition, social service coordination, socialization, recreation, transportation, educational and cultural programs, a supportive day program, respite care and volunteer and intergenerational opportunities.

The Center’s mission is to enhance the independence and quality of life for Franklin’s older adults by:
Identifying the needs of this population and creating programs that meet those needs.
Offering the knowledge, tools and opportunities to promote mental, social and physical well-being.
Advocating for relevant programs and services in our community.
Serving as a community focal point for aging issues and as liaison to local, state and Federal resources for older adults.

This year, despite our building being physically closed, we were able to keep seniors engaged by continuing many of our regularly scheduled activities virtually using the Zoom platform. These activities included Discussion Group, Senior Scribblers’ Writers Group, TOPS weight-loss, Book Club, Caregiver Support Group, and our Memory Cafe. The Supportive Day Program, which remained suspended, met online for a weekly social hour. Several new programs were created exclusively for Zoom including a weekly Quarantini Social Hour, a monthly game of Name that Tune, and Franklin Matters Q&A. We also offered a variety of fitness classes including Chair Exercise, Cardio, Strength & Balance, Mindful Meditation and Zumba Gold. These programs have been described by seniors as a lifeline during a time of isolation.

We received a grant from the Metrowest Health Foundation to start our, “Alexa Program.” In an effort to reduce social isolation among older adults, Alexa devices can be given to lonely, isolated seniors to use in their homes. Alexa is a voice-activated virtual assistant that can help connect seniors with the world and act as a companion. Staff assists with device set-up, training and ongoing support.

Health & Wellness Programs
Our Wellness Program promotes Healthy Aging through programs and services provided by our Health & Wellness Nurse including the following:
Health Clinics: Our Wellness Nurse was able to resume in-person Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, and Pulse Ox readings with safety precautions in place, and a drive-thru flu clinic was held. Podiatry and Vision Screenings remained suspended.
Fall Prevention: Our Wellness Nurse offered a Safety & Balance video to address balance and muscle strength and offer techniques to enhance safety. In May, we resumed our Home Safety Assessments to evaluate elders’ homes to determine if their risk for dangerous falls can be reduced. If needed, our volunteer installed grab bars and or adaptive devices free of charge.
Fitness: We offer several classes tailored to older adults on Zoom including Cardio, Strength and Balance, Zumba Gold, and Chair Exercise. These classes along with Chair Yoga, Tai Chi and Line Dancing resumed in- person when the building reopened in June. The Center’s Fitness Room which offers free use of equipment, including a treadmill, stepper and several stationary bikes, remained closed this year.
Support: Support Groups offered include Low Vision, Hearing Loss, Weight Loss, Fibromyalgia and Caregivers Support. The Health & Wellness Nurse also offers one-on-one consultations. These consults were continued via remote or teleconference meetings as the building remained closed.
Mental Health Counseling: The Center is part of a consortium of local Senior Centers, which provides access to timely, flexible mental health services with a licensed clinician. This enables elders who experience mental health challenges to get effective, appropriate treatment. Counseling was offered online or by telephone during the closure.
Health Education: Monthly presentations were offered by our Health & Wellness Nurse, such as Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke, Five Wishes, Positive Psychology, Skin Changes, and Healthy Sleep.

Caregiver Support
The Senior Center provided the following programs to support caregivers and their loved ones:
Supportive Day Program provides a structured, stimulating day program for frail elders, and respite for their caregivers. Participants enjoy fun activities, socialization, gentle exercise and they share a meal in our Cafe. During the closure, our Coordinator remained in contact with clients and caregivers through Zoom gatherings, reassurance calls and email blasts.
Companion Caregivers is an affordable, in-home service that provides a trained, vetted companion for frail elders and respite to their caregivers. This program remained suspended this year.
Caregivers Support Group meets biweekly and is led by two facilitators who have completed a training program with the Alzheimer’s Association. This group was offered remotely during the closure via Zoom.
Memory Café - a monthly gathering where those living with dementia and their care partners can enjoy a social event without stress and anxiety. We were able to convert this meeting into a Zoom session during the closure, which is of great benefit to caregivers whose loved ones have been homebound due to the pandemic.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers, and The Savvy Caregiver training, both 6-week, evidence-based workshops were presented via Zoom by Tri-Valley Elder Services.
Lectures on Caregiving included Assistive Technology & Apps for Family Caregivers presented by the Alzheimer’s Association via Zoom.

Outreach/Social Service Coordination
The Senior Center provides assistance in obtaining housing, employment, home care services, tax abatements, long- term care placement, prescription drug programs, as well as food stamps, fuel assistance, Mass Health, and Supplemental Security Insurance. Our Social Service Coordinators can assist Franklin’s adult residents regardless of age, and can provide home visits to homebound residents. While our building was closed, our Social Service Coordinator continued to provide assistance with food resources, mental health referrals, caregiver assistance and reassurance via telephone.

Staff was also essential in providing outreach, information and assistance to seniors in the community regarding the Covid-19 vaccine. Staff assisted in making vaccine appointments, appointment pre-registration, scheduling transportation to appointments, and referrals to the state homebound vaccination program.

The Social Services Department supports older adults through our Low Vision and Hearing Loss Support Programs which provides support, information and referral and training in new technologies. During the closure, staff used a teleconference call for the Low Vision Support Group and an Audio Book Club that meets biweekly.

The Senior Center made referrals to SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) program, which continued to provide assistance with health insurance issues over the telephone. AARP provided free income tax preparation at the Center for 70 individuals with strict safety protocols in place.

The Common Grounds Cafe, which is located inside the Center and offers breakfast and lunch daily, remained closed until the building reopened in June. Thanks to a grant from the CHNA 6 (Greater Milford Community Health Network), we were able to continue our Curbside Meal program. The Curbside Cafe, created in response to the pandemic, served a total of 4,390 freshly prepared meals curbside at the Senior Center to elders 60 years of age and older, as well as disabled residents.

Transportation is a vital element to reduce social isolation and improve the quality of life for older adults. Franklin offers accessible transit services for elders and those with disabilities through GATRA, the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority. This year, GATRA announced the start of their new on-demand service, GATRA Go United, which can be booked the same day by using an app, or by calling 1-800-698-7676.. This curb to curb service is available to all residents, regardless of age. GATRA provides out-of-town transportation for medical appointments in Boston, Providence, Framingham, Worcester and several other cities.

Cultural, Educational & Social Programs
Dr. Andrew Budson discussed his award-winning book, Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory via Zoom.
The Franklin Cultural Council sponsored 4 free outdoor concerts, featuring longtime Berklee College of Music Professors.
The Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office presented information on Scams, as well as their Yellow Dot program which provides EMTs with quick access to your medical and emergency contact information in the event of an accident.
Nantucket Ranger Allen Reinhard provided several video presentations about Nantucket followed by a live Q&A session via Zoom.
Soprano Singer Monica Spencer provided a Christmas sing-along outside in the parking lot.
Jim Johnston guided seniors virtually through a tour of the Franklin Historical Museum.
The Senior Center hosted several talks by Alan Earls, accompanied by a slideshow via zoom.
The Franklin Firefighters Association hosted a drive-thru luncheon for St. Patrick’s Day.
The Senior Center hosted A Night at the Wang, a virtual tour of the Wang Theater’s building.
Dean College offered opportunities for elders to audit several classes remotely and Dr. Jessica Pisani provided an Earth Day Lecture.

Recreational activities include: cards, board games, arts & crafts, bingo, pokeno, pool/billiards, movies, educational programs, a chorale group, and day trips. The Center also provided instruction and educational programs in the following:
Computer, Tablet & Smartphone Instruction
Italian & Spanish Conversation Group
Current Events Discussion Group
Wood Carving Instruction
Knitting & Quilting Instruction
Arts & Crafts Instruction
Writers Group – Senior Scribblers
Staged Readings/Senior Players
Book Discussion Group – The Page Turners
Cribbage Instruction
MahJong Instruction
Chess Instruction

Friends of Franklin Elders
The Friends of Franklin Elders, Inc. (FOFE) is a private, non-profit organization, which was founded to assist the Franklin Senior Center with supplemental funding for programs, services, and equipment. FOFE generously provided funding for entertainment for our social events, newsletter printing, grab bars, activity support and coffee expenses.

The Friends publish our monthly newsletter, The Franklin Connection, which is mailed directly to over 1,500 residents who request it and read online by 600 more. In partnership with the Benjamin Franklin Charter School, FOFE provided gift cards to 40 homebound elderly residents during the holiday season.

Tax Work-Off Program
Franklin offers a Tax Work-Off Program, which provides senior homeowners aged 60 and over with a credit of up to $1,200.00 off their real estate taxes for working in various town departments. The earnings are deducted from their real estate taxes, providing tax relief to elders, while supplying the town with skilled workers.

Volunteers are the backbone of the Senior Center and we are profoundly grateful for all their efforts. Volunteers offer assistance in our gift shop, café, as instructors, and in many other capacities. Unfortunately, as our building remained closed, many volunteer opportunities were lost and our annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon was again canceled. We are looking forward to welcoming back our volunteers next year and resuming our fun tradition of the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon.

Intergenerational Activities
The Franklin High School Honor Society hosted the annual Spring Fling as a drive-thru at the Senior Center this year. The students provided a delicious dinner to-go, as well as a gift bag.

The Knights of Columbus at St. Mary’s Church offered its third Pie Lottery to benefit older adults by requesting parishioners donate a pie to an elder. The parish donated 103 pies to elders at the Center who were very happy to receive them.

Some further conveniences offered at the Senior Center include:
Ben’s Bounty Gift Shop
Computer Lab
Free Medical Equipment Loans
Free Franklin Connection Newsletter
Free Use of Fitness Equipment
Low Vision devices, equipment, technology and training
Free Movies
Pool Table

In Appreciation
The Franklin Council on Aging and Senior Center staff would like to recognize the dedication of Karen Alves who retired from the position of Senior Center Director after 19 years of service. Karen was an integral part of the growth and success of the center and worked tirelessly to enrich the lives of Franklin’s elder population. We wish her all the best in her retirement.

Respectfully Submitted, 

Erin Rogers
Senior Center Director

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

Financial Audit Report for FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s Annual Report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

Melanson and Heath presented the recent Audit Report for their review of Town of Franklin financial operations. The presentation and discussion occurred at the May 4, 2022 Town Council meeting. It was a clean report.

FY21 Annual Financial Audit - Melanson and Heath  

Audio of the Town Council meeting

Audio of my Town Council Quarterbacking session with Council Chair Tom Mercer

Congressman Auchincloss poses with Town Council, Town Administrator, and Town Clerk
Congressman Auchincloss poses with Town Council, Town Administrator, and Town Clerk at the May 4, 2022 meeting

Prior year audit report are found on the Town of Franklin page:

Friday, August 19, 2022

Annual Report Of The Department Of Planning And Community Development - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) maintains a professional staff that provides the Town of Franklin with a wide array of planning services. DPCD’s mission is to plan and implement comprehensive policies and initiatives that work to fulfill the land use-related goals of the people of Franklin. We make every effort to maintain the character of the community while enhancing its economic, cultural and social vitality.

The DPCD’s staffing reflects the diverse skills needed to complete the many activities and roles the Department participates. DPCD’s activities and services include, but are not limited to comprehensive planning, economic development, subdivision plan, site plan and conservation plan review, open space and wetlands preservation, historic preservation, zoning by-law and subdivision regulation development, downtown revitalization, brownfields redevelopment, affordable housing, public transportation, transit oriented development, natural hazard mitigation and municipal vulnerability planning, and sustainable development including use of smart growth and low impact development concepts. The Department regularly identifies and sources funding for various community development projects and activities. DPCD balances its approach to these initiatives through long-term planning and public participation. For the last two fiscal years DPCD staff has also had responsibility of operating the Town’s Passport office.

Support of Town Boards and Committees DPCD personnel provide staff support to several boards, commissions and committees, including the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Design Review Commission, Technical Review Committee, the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, and the Cultural District Committee. Approximately 60 to 65 percent of the Department’s total staff hours are utilized on Planning Board and Conservation Commission related issues. Since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic DPCD staff has needed to spend much more of available staff time on running public meetings; in efforts to ensure citizen engagement and comply with open meeting law regulations, meetings have been conducted remotely using the Zoom platform. In addition, DPCD staff provides professional technical assistance to other public entities on an as needed basis, including Town Council, Zoning Board of Appeals, Town Council’s Economic Development Sub-committee, and various ad hoc committees.
Site Permitting and Guidance
DPCD is not a permit granting authority; its function during the permitting process is to integrate laws, regulations and plans with the Town’s goals to ensure that the best interests of the Town and its residents are served. DPCD personnel organize and attend meetings, provide technical assistance, offer professional opinions, and guide developers, businesses and residents through the Town’s various permitting processes.

Conservation and Resource Protection 
DPCD provides support to the Conservation Commission, as provided by MGL Chapter 131, Section 40. Conservation Staff, specifically the Town’s Conservation Agent, is responsible for speaking for the Conservation Commission when they are not present (see separate Conservation Commission Report). Although not a permit authority, the Conservation Agent does have limited police powers to regulate activities previously approved by the Conservation Commission, stop unauthorized activities, and promote and protect Franklin’s natural resources, including its wetlands, streams, brooks, ponds, lakes and watersheds. In addition, Conservation staff provides administrative support and reviews applications being presented to the Conservation Commission, as well as provides professional support to other Town Boards and Departments.

During FY21 DPCD Conservation staff worked on various conservation and land use related projects, including continued implementation of the DelCarte Conservation Property Master Plan; this year work included coordination of the fifth year of pond treatment. Another project overseen by the Conservation Agent because of wetlands protection issues is the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT) tunnel at Prospect Street; the tunnel project was completed in FY21.

Comprehensive Planning and Zoning DPCD is responsible for traditional land-use related activities including updating the Town’s plans, and amending and creating zoning bylaws. A description of zoning and land use issues worked on by DPCD during the 2021 fiscal year is summarized below.

Zoning Bylaw Amendments. DPCD worked on several amendments to Franklin’s Zoning Bylaw during the 2021 fiscal year. Starting in FY18 DPCD began a project to better define the Town's zoning districts by following parcel lines. Where parcels are within two or more zoning districts DPCD developed zoning map amendments to move the Zoning District line so each parcel is only in one zoning district, in most cases based on the current land use. During FY21 DPCD developed and Town Council approved three Zoning Map Amendments related to this project: 20-858, 20-861and 20-862.

DPCD developed Zoning Bylaw Amendment 21-872, which if approved would make it easier for a farmers series brewery, distillery, or winery tasting room to be approved, by eliminating the specific percentage restriction on the tasting room’s size. The tasting room would still be an accessory use to the primary brewery, distillery, or winery use. The zoning bylaw amendment is expected to be approved by Town Council early in FY22.

Franklin Center Project, Rezoning for Economic Growth & Diverse Housing Opportunities. DPCD is working on a planning/zoning study with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). The Franklin Center Project includes an extensive audit of the Town’s Zoning Bylaw as it relates to land uses and dimensional regulations in the Downtown area and adjacent neighborhoods. As part of the Project MAPC will perform substantial community outreach and engagement, which is expected to begin during the first half of FY22.

Hazard Mitigation and Climate Change Vulnerability Planning 
The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires communities to develop, adopt, and regularly update a Hazard Mitigation Plan to be eligible for FEMA hazard mitigation grants. Franklin’s first HMP was prepared in 2010; an update was needed. During FY20 and FY21 the Town worked to update its HMP. Led by the DPCD Director, the Town’s Hazard Mitigation Working Group worked with its contractor, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, to assess and update data within the Town’s outdated 2010 HMP, including infrastructure and risk assessments, potential hazards, and Franklin’s current and potential mitigation strategies. During the first quarter of FY21 a public input process was completed, including a public hearing on July 28, 2020. The Draft HMP was then updated representing public comments received, and the Draft HMP was submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for review. FEMA completed a review of the Town’s 2020 HMP and found it met all Federal requirements, pending Town adoption. On January 6, 2021 Franklin Town Council formally adopted Franklin’s Hazard Mitigation Plan 2020 Update with passage of Resolution 21-01. Soon after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved the Town of Franklin Hazard Mitigation Plan 2020 Update effective January 22, 2021, allowing the Town to apply for FEMA mitigation grant funding through January 21, 2026. The goals and strategies within the updated HMP will be implemented over a five year period, and will be integrated into other Town plans and policies.
Housing Production Plan Update 
Over the last two years DPCD has utilized substantial staff resources to develop an update to the Town’s Chapter 40B Housing Production Plan (HPP). The HPP is a proactive strategy for planning and developing affordable housing, and includes strategies that a community uses to enable it to meet its affordable housing needs in a manner consistent with MGL Chapter 40B and related Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development regulations. A HPP provides a Comprehensive Housing Needs Assessment, a summary of Affordable Housing Goals, and a description of Implementation Strategies the Town will utilize to meet its goals.

During FY21 a Draft HPP was developed by DPCD with input and assistance from the Town Council Economic Development Committee, Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, Franklin Housing Authority, the Town’s Administration and staff, and the Town of Franklin’s residents. Public input on the Draft HPP, and housing issues in general, were accepted from anyone interested in providing comments during a formal Public Comment Period, which ran from May 12, 2021 to June 25, 2021. During that time DPCD attended various public meetings to present the highlights of the Draft HPP, and provide time for residents and officials to ask questions and provide input. One of the meetings, a Formal Public Hearing on the Draft HPP, was held during a Franklin Municipal Affordable Housing Trust meeting on June 2, 2021.

DPCD will use the input received to create a Final version of the Plan, and expect the Final HPP update will be adopted by the Franklin Planning Board and Town Council in the first quarter of FY22. Once adopted by the Town the HPP will be submitted to Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development for approval.

Planning and Implementation of Community Development and Economic Development Projects Each year the DPCD works on many community and economic development initiatives. The Department develops strategies, proposes policies, bylaw changes and Town Council resolutions, manages projects, and seeks grants in efforts to balance Franklin’s community livability and its economic viability.

DPCD encourages responsible community development that meets the goals and objectives of the Town’s various planning documents, and the State’s Sustainable Development and Smart Growth Principles. Some of DPCD’s more important recently completed or ongoing projects and initiatives are summarized below.

Support of Affordable Senior Housing. DPCD worked with Franklin DWP’s Water and Sewer Superintendent to successfully apply to the Housing
Choice  Initiative  Capital  Grant  Program  for  a $201,000 grant. The funds are being used to design a new Water Booster Pumping Station and related water mains that will provide water and fire protection service for the proposed 60-Unit Franklin Ridge Senior Housing project on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Regional Planning. DPCD regularly attends meetings and works on various regional planning issues with a variety of regional organizations, including Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the Southwest Advisory Planning Committee (SWAP Committee), and the I-495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership. Franklin’s Town Planner Amy Love is currently very involved with regional planning issue as the Town’s representative to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and Co-chair of the SWAP Committee. In addition, the DPCD occasionally supports the initiatives of other regional organizations including the Franklin Bellingham Rail Trail Committee, Friends of the SNETT, the MetroWest Tourism and Visitors Bureau, and the Charles River Meadowlands Working Group.

Downtown Revitalization
For close to twenty years the Town has made revitalization of Downtown Franklin a major focus and has worked to improve the Downtown in a variety of ways. During the 2021 fiscal year DPCD continued to work on projects related to implementation of the Franklin Center Plan, which was developed in 2002 and 2003 to provide Town officials with a vision and basic strategy for revitalization of Downtown Franklin. One important component of the Franklin Center Plan is Cultural Uses. The issue of Cultural Economic Development has been a focus for DPCD for more than six years, including working with the MetroWest Tourism and Visitors Bureau on a variety of cultural economic development marketing activities, preparing and distributing Cultural District marketing materials, performing outreach and educational activities, and coordinating efforts with local stakeholders. DPCD provides assistance to the Town’s Cultural District Committee in a variety of ways on a range of projects.

REVIVE Local Arts Indicators Project. DPCD and the Cultural District Committee participated in the regional REVIVE Local Arts Indicators Project implemented by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The project focused on four Massachusetts communities with a high density of arts and culture assets, Franklin, Arlington, Beverly and Boston. REVIVE documented impacts from COVID-19 to the local creative economy, and developed strategies that municipalities can utilize to chart a path to response and recovery for local artists and arts and cultural organizations. A recent webinar, REVIVE
Local Arts Indicators Discussion, provides a project summary:

DPCD works regularly on a wide range of economic development projects and programs, and is one of DPCD’s top priorities, second only to providing excellent administrative and technical assistance to the Town’s boards, commissions and committees. Potential benefits to the Town from successful implementation of DPCD’s business retainage and attraction initiatives are significant. Efforts focus on increasing the value of Franklin’s commercial and industrial tax base, filling the Town’s empty and underutilized industrially zoned buildings, and attracting the right mix of companies to the community. DPCD regularly communicates with realtors, property owners and businesses to make them aware of State and Federal technical assistance programs and financial resources that can be made available to further their development, and to raise awareness of DPCD as a resource for local businesses. DPCD works regularly Massachusetts Office of Business Development, MassDevelopment and other agencies in efforts to attract the right mix of companies to the Town of Franklin’s industrial and commercial areas.

DPCD will continue to undertake a wide range of community and economic development projects, programs, and planning initiatives that will keep the Town of Franklin’s goals and objectives current and representative of residents’ needs and desires. DPCD is proud of its accomplishments and welcomes public input on all of its efforts to improve the quality of life for the residents of Franklin.

Respectfully submitted,

Department of Planning & Community Development Staff

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Annual Report Of The Finance Committee - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

I hereby submit the Annual Report of the Finance Committee for FY2021 commencing July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2021.

Hail and Farewell: The fiscal year began with the departure of former Chairman Mike Dufour and the appointment of Natalie Riley. Susan Dewsnap and David Wiech were reappointed to three-year terms.

We organized early in the fiscal year and elected Bill Dowd, George Conley and Nicole Corbosiero as Chair, Vice Chair and Clerk respectively.

The Committee met thirteen times during the fiscal year. In addition to the annual budget hearings, policy reviews, budget updates and review of capital requests, we initiated a series of information sessions or “deep dives” on multiple aspects of municipal operations. The intent of these sessions was to gain a better understanding of various department operations and policies so we would be better informed when it came time to recommend an annual operating budget to the Town Council. I believe these sessions were quite successful and plan to continue them in FY2022.

Due to prudent fiscal management and better than projected revenue the Town was able to transfer close to $1M into the Budget Stabilization Fund. This reversed the trend of depleting the fund in recent years to balance the operating budgets.
The Committee requested a survey of comparable communities and the policies they have regarding Budget Stabilization or “rainy day” funds. After presenting the Committee the results of this survey the Administration drafted a policy for Franklin to use in establishing guidance, or ‘guard rails ’for the funding and use of our own Budget Stabilization fund. The Committee discussed this extensively and approved a revised policy that awaits Town Council action.

I would like to thank all department heads and employees who appeared before the Committee. I want to especially thank Town Administrator Jamie Hellen and Finance Director Chris Sandini and their respective staffs for the tremendous work they did in preparing us for the various hearings we conducted. I particularly want to thank my fellow Committee members for their service and dedication.

Budget Highlights:

$138,564,865 FY2022 Operating Budget
$ 25,000,000 Beaver St. Sewer Interceptor
$ 4,527,274 FY2021 Capital Needs
$  4,559,000         Maple Hill land Purchase

Respectfully Submitted, 

William C. Dowd
Chairman, Franklin Finance Committee

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

Annual Report Of The Design Review Commission - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

The Design Review Commission (DRC) was established in 1998 when the Town Council adopted a new Zoning Bylaw that established a sitting Design Review Commission. The 1997 Master Plan recommended that Franklin should adopt design standards to re-establish a sense of traditional New England villages. The design standards would assist in shaping the community as a whole, as well as establish a commercial appeal of individual establishments and businesses.

The Commission is responsible to interpret the design guidelines to establish a sense of character in commercial and industrial areas and in sign installations so as to enhance the appearance of the Town while ensuring compliance with Town codes and bylaws. The DRC has approval authority on signage and recommendation input to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals on Site Plans for landscaping and lighting, and Building Plans for exterior design, colors and materials.

The DRC is composed of 5 regular members and 2 alternate members. All members are residents and volunteers who are appointed by the Town Administrator and ratified by the Town Council. The Commission is currently composed of James Bartro, Chairman; Samuel Williams, Vice Chair; Mark Fitzgerald, Venkata KP Sompally, Gerald Wood, and Chris Baryluk, Associate.

During FY 2021, the commission processed a total of 45 DRC Applications. There were 39 Sign approval applications and 6 Site Plan approval applications. Reviews included projects such as the condominiums in the greater downtown area and the new commercial re- development of sites formerly used for manufacturing.

Due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus over the past year, Design Review meetings are being conducted remotely via the Zoom platform. In an effort to ensure citizen engagement and comply with open meeting law regulations, citizens are able to dial into the meeting using the provided phone number (Cell phone or landline required) or participate by a link embedded in the Agenda for Meetings.

Meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays each month, with the exception of December when it normally holds one meeting. Meeting times, dates and agendas are posted on the DRC page:

Respectfully submitted, 

James Bartro, Chairman

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Annual Report of Franklin Public Schools - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

Message from School Committee Chair
It has been a year of challenge as the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world an extraordinary curveball. Our staff, students and family members came together in a spirit of cooperation, kindness and fortitude. It is an honor for us to serve such a caring, vibrant community, that is Franklin.

A Message from the Superintendent
The 2020-2021 school year was a historic one as schools all across the world navigated school in ways never imagined. Following school closures in the spring of 2020, Franklin Public Schools approached the 2020-2021 school year planning for three instructional models: in-person, remote, and a combination of the two (hybrid). We did so with great uncertainty – we did not know where the pandemic would lead over the course of the year.

FPS began the year in a remote setting while educators became more comfortable with the core mitigating health and safety practices: mask wearing, physical distancing, and hand hygiene. In the fall, successive grade levels of students returned to school in a hybrid fashion with classes split between in school and home learners who alternated. It was truly amazing
to watch educators attend to the learning needs of students in their classroom and at home. This type of instruction does not compare to the value of in-person learning, however our dedicated teachers approached the challenge with the utmost dedication out of concern
for their students. As the peak of the virus waned in the spring and with the advent of vaccines, the district shifted to in-person learning in April, which was a relief to all. Over the course of the year, approximately 15% of FPS students chose to remain fully remote while
learning from FPS educators.

These new labels for instruction don’t fully reflect just how transformed teaching and learning was during the past year and how difficult it was for faculty, staff, administrators, students and families alike. Educators incorporated instructional technology in meaningful and  impactful ways to a degree we have never seen. Our educators did a fantastic job teaching our remote only students, adapting curriculum and instruction to a fully remote environment. Even the in-person experience required adaptation due to the health and safety practices in place throughout the year. The adaptation of instruction was notable in a few subject specific ways. Music and performance-based classes learned remotely at first, then moved instruction
outside, eventually implementing safe practices indoors. Materials intensive courses such as early childhood/elementary, science, art, and physical education had to be significantly adapted to reduce shared use of materials. Our athletics program fielded teams using a modified sports schedule and altered rules for play and spectators in order to keep students
playing but safely.

Through it all, our educators prioritized relationships with students and families as a way to support the social-emotional and academic growth of each child. The pandemic affected every system we have in place and administrators had to adapt policies and practices from arrival and dismissal of students, to lunch and recess, to bus riding, to communication channels, and
more. Our cafeteria staff worked diligently to make and modify the serving of breakfast and lunch for students, which was free for all. The district added numerous additional health measures including medical waiting areas, contact tracing and quarantine requirements, and COVID-19 testing. The stress of keeping everyone healthy and safe weighed heavily on the minds and hearts of our administrators and school nursing staff.

Families experienced great pressures, particularly with students learning remotely at home while parents/guardians juggled their work and parental responsibilities. Families simultaneously feared for the safety of children and family members while also experiencing frustration with restrictions in place.

We also acknowledge that there are members of our community, both families in the community and some of our own FPS staff members, who struggled with job insecurity during this difficult time. FPS is here to support you; we thank the many community group partners who we work with in doing so.

With the close of the 2020-2021 school year, we say goodbye to the Davis Thayer Elementary School. The School Committee engaged in an 18-month study that included an understanding of the enrollment forecast for the district and a study on the educational adequacy of the
building. The enrollment forecast demonstrated a decrease in enrollment over the past decade and an enrollment forecast showing that the elementary population is likely to be relatively stable over the next decade. The Facilities Analysis report noted how the school is not accessible for those with mobility impairments, lacks modern security and safety features, and other structural challenges like small classrooms and instructional space on the second floor.
After much discussion, the School Committee approved the school for retirement at the end of the school year. We spent the spring planning for and implementing a transition of students to the Keller Elementary School, a process currently underway. Despite some excitement about
attending a new school, we also acknowledge the sadness and loss that comes with the closure of a beloved school that has served generations of Franklin school children since 1924.

Our educators also mobilized with greater urgency to expand our work in the area of cultural proficiency. The concept of being a culturally proficient school system is not new. We have incorporated objectives within our District Improvement Plan for several years towards this goal. We have, however, increased our efforts to support each child by affirming diversity, fostering of inclusion, and pursuing equity. Some examples include a revision of our discipline
practices to focus on Restorative Justice, expansion of literature that includes diverse characters, professional development for educators on interrupting microaggressions, and lessons to teach students about the history and meaning behind the new State and Federal Juneteenth holiday. The district’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee will continue this work in the 2021-2022 school year.

I must thank our Town Administrator and the Town Department Heads for their collaboration and cooperation this year. Notably, the Facilities Department stepped up tremendously supporting us with extensive cleaning practices, Personalized Protective Equipment (PPE), the extensive moving and storing of furniture and the installation of UVGI systems in the HVAC, which is unparalleled in other towns and schools. The Technology Department mobilized like never before, supporting the expansion of 1:1 Chromebooks for all students, expanded software, and increased Internet bandwidth. The Board of Health served as an excellent
partner and resource as we navigated the pandemic together.

The collective efforts of the Franklin school community is in service to our students and our vision of their success and achievement of the skills as outlined in our Portrait of a Graduate. This portrait outlines the five essential skills students practice from PreK through graduation and beyond. Developed by community consensus, it was adopted in the fall of 2020 by the School Committee. We noted that these skills will be all the more important as our students
navigate the world following the pandemic. Among these skills are self- and social awareness, cultural competency, perspective taking, relationship building, applying historical knowledge to current situations, multiple literacies including digital and financial, consensus building, and innovative problem-solving. I believe that we will return in the fall and proceed 
forward stronger together. We will take time to reflect both individually and collectively. We will focus on relationships. We will assess our students’ needs and respond in order to continue to promote their growth socially and emotionally as well as accelerate their
learning on grade level standards.

As we return, there will be some things about school that will be changed forever. I do not pretend to know what all of these are but I do know two. The use of instructional technology is here to stay and we must support that with the right hardware, software, professional development, and coaching. The second is the relationship a student has with an adult in their
school building. We have long held a belief on the importance of relationships within the school setting. The pandemic has shown us the deep meaning behind the teachers, the counselors, the administrators, the staff getting to know each child, affirming their identity, and helping them to grow. While Chromebooks can do a lot, they do not replace the relationships that are foundational to it all.

Sara E. Ahern, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

There is more to the Franklin Public Schools section of the Annual Report, please visit the full report and find the remainder of the section on page 182

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

Annual Report Of The Veterans’ Service Officer - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

The Veterans’ Service Officer (VSO) serves veterans and their dependents in recognition of their service to our nation. Responsibilities of the VSO include educating veterans and their dependents about the benefits available to them, dispensing state sponsored veterans’ benefits under M.G.L. Chapter 115 and assisting veterans and their dependents or survivors in obtaining state and federal benefits or entitlements which they have earned.

In addition to my responsibilities to the veterans of Franklin, I serve as the Veterans’ Services Advocate for Norfolk County and as the VSO for the Town of Avon. Norfolk County is the only county in the Commonwealth to have an individual dedicated to Veterans’ Services. Through an agreement between the Town and the County, I am able to continue to support the VSO’s in the 28 cities and towns of Norfolk County while primarily servicing the Franklin veterans’ community.

As our veterans and their dependents/survivors age, there are more demands for benefits provided by the Commonwealth’s Department of Veterans’ Services and the U. S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. During the past year, there has been an increase in the number of Franklin veterans who have recently completed their military service.

It is very important that veterans and widows identify themselves on the town census. This information enables the VSO to identify services available to them. I encourage all veterans and widows/widowers of veterans to contact the Veterans’ Services Office.

The VSO attends as many civic events as possible during the year at schools and civic groups. The VSO is always willing to attend an event to speak about veterans, veterans’ benefits, the military experience or to support a patriotic event. I invite other veterans to attend such events. If you are interested in attending any event, please contact our office. I also work with Boy Scouts and other students who are interested in community service projects when they are available.

Franklin Veterans’ Council
The Franklin Veterans’ Council meets on the third Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm, at the Franklin Senior Center. The Council stopped meeting during the closing of the Senior Center, but resumed meetings either in person or via video meetings. Dates, times and meeting locations are posted on the Veterans’ Services web page. All veterans and any interested individual or organization are welcome to attend. This group serves as a communications outlet for veteran and military-related events and activities in the community as well as an opportunity for veterans to obtain information about state and federal benefits and changes. The Council is chaired by the VSO.

Franklin Veterans Memorial Walkway
Families may continue to honor their veterans and active duty family members by purchasing an engraved brick for the Memorial Walkway on the Town common. Bricks are installed on the Walkway prior to Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day each year. In May, a Franklin High School fundraising group (BALT) made a donation to the Walkway fund which was used to purchase bricks for those Franklin fallen heroes who did not have an engraved brick on the Walkway. The administrative processing of the brick orders and installation is handled by the Veterans’ Services Office. Brick order forms are available in the Town Hall and Senior Center lobbies and on the Veterans’ Services page on the Town website.

Veterans’ Coffee Socials
The Veterans’ Coffee Socials continued to grow as an opportunity for veterans to have a cup of coffee, tea or water together and to talk with other veterans. The socials are held the first Wednesday of the month at 10 the Senior Center. The VSO joined in to provide updates on benefits when needed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coffee Socials were held virtually via Zoom at the regularly scheduled days and times. We must recognize the wonderful team at Starbucks which attends all of our socials and provides coffee and pastry when we are able to meet together. Starbucks team members continued to join our socials via video when the Senior Center was closed.

Veterans’ Day Program
Due to the pandemic, we were unable to host the annual Veterans’ Day Luncheon. In lieu of an event, we videotaped a Veterans’ Day program which aired on Franklin’s All Access Community TV. Several Franklin veterans volunteered to speak about what Veterans’ Day means to them and what it means to be a veteran. Many thanks to Chris Flynn of Franklin TV for videotaping and producing this program.

Memorial Day
The annual Memorial Day Breakfast and parade were cancelled due to the pandemic. Local veterans and boys and girls scout groups placed memorial wreaths at Dean College, St. Mary’s and Union Street cemeteries and at the war memorials on the Town Common.

Thank you to Rabbi Thomas Alpert, Rev. Kathy McAdams, Father Brian Manning, American Legion Commander John Milot, VFW Commander Larry Bederian, State Representative Jeffrey Roy, writer Angela Baker, CSM (Ret) Herman Anderson, the American Legion Rifle Squad, members of VFW Post 3402, Franklin Facilities and the Franklin Police Department for their participation in the Memorial Day observance on the Common which was held in remembrance of our deceased veterans. Thank you also to Franklin veteran Steve Pezzella who sang the National Anthem at the ceremony which was videotaped by Chris Flynn and aired on Franklin’s All Access Community TV. The names of Franklin veterans who had passed since last Memorial Day were read during the ceremony. I also made remarks about Veterans’ Services including: VA benefits, the Chair of Honor, the Veterans’ Council, our Coffee Socials, Purple Heart Day and our Monuments Restoration project.

Purple Heart Community
Franklin is a Purple Heart Community. This designation demonstrates that our town recognizes and honors Franklin service members who received the Purple Heart award for being wounded or killed in enemy combat. Our office has created a registry of Franklin residents who are Purple Heart recipients. We will recognize those recipients on August 7, National Purple Heart Day, each year. Signs have been installed at the town’s entry points, designating Franklin as a Purple Heart Community. If you or a family member from Franklin is a Purple Heart recipient, please contact our office.

Veterans Call
“Veterans Call” is a TV program for and about veterans hosted by the VSO and airs on Franklin’s All Access Community TV station. Program topics have included Social Security and Mass Health. Taping of programs was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but have resumed. If you have program suggestions, please contact the VSO.

Chair of Honor
The Chair of Honor resided at the Franklin Senior Center most of this year. We look forward to rotating the chair through other Town buildings and schools soon.

Display Case at the Town Hall
Our office maintains the veterans’ display case in the Town Hall lobby. We update the display several times a year. The displays focus on Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day and other veteran-centric historical events as well as feature veterans in our community. If you have ideas for our display case, please contact our office.

Other Events and Activities
There is now a designated VETERAN parking space in front of the Franklin Municipal building.

I am happy to report that our office applied for and received an $18,338 Massachusetts SHRAB (State Historic Records Advisory Board) Grant in April 2021. Funds from this grant will be used towards the Military Monument Restoration Project on the Town Common which is scheduled to begin in the fall.

Our office has started a learn-to-play-guitar program for veterans which meets on Tuesday evenings at the Senior Center. The program, called Tune It Out, is loosely based on the Guitar4Vets program. Research suggests that active music engagement reduces anxiety, increases relaxation levels and improves overall well-being. Franklin Music instructor Jamie Barrett is giving introductory lessons along with several other volunteers. We are very grateful for
Jamie’s commitment to this program as well as the generous donations of guitars and funds we have received from members of the community. Veterans may call the VSO to sign up for classes.

COVID-19 Response Activities
The COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for our veterans and our office. We coordinated the delivery of over 100 boxes of food to needy veterans and families as everyone settled into our new and hopefully temporary routines. We are most thankful to our veterans and other volunteers who assisted with our food pick-ups and deliveries.

Community Support
Veterans’ Services thanks these faithful supporters:
The Franklin Garden Club for the care and maintenance of the Veterans’ Memorial on the Town Common.
Elks Lodge #2136, BPOE, for their continued support of Franklin’s veterans including the sponsorship of the Veterans’ Day Luncheon, and the veterans’ fuel assistance program. Elks Lodge #2136 conducts numerous events during the year in support of our veterans in local VA facilities.
VFW Post 3402 for their assistance with the placement of flags on the graves of our deceased veterans for Memorial Day, their donation of poppies and their ongoing support and attention to Franklin’s veterans.
American Legion, Edward L. Grant, Post 75 for their support of our veterans and their participation in our Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day events. Post 75 visits local private medical and VA facilities to support and recognize our veterans. Members of Post 75, led by John Hefele, are also volunteering their time to spruce up veterans’ gravesites at St. Mary’s cemetery.
The Friends of Franklin Elders for their support of activities for our veterans.
The staff of the Franklin Senior Center for their daily support of the Veterans’ Services Office.
Franklin High School music department for the support of our events.
The many departments in the Town of Franklin that support our veterans’ programs. It is a total town team effort to accomplish all that we do.
The citizens of Franklin for your support of our veterans and active duty service members.
Although, federal and state definitions of veterans are very specific as to time and component served for qualification for benefits, I hold to this definition of a veteran:
A veteran is someone – whether active duty, retired, National Guard or Reserve, served one day or twenty years – who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to the Government of the United States of America for an amount of “up to and including my life.”
If you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran and have a question or need any assistance, please contact our office. If you know of a veteran who may need a little support or just someone to talk with, contact our office.

Thank you for your service.

I am honored to serve Franklin’s veterans and their families. 

Respectfully submitted,

Dale L. Kurtz
Veterans’ Service Officer

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Report Of The Veterans’ Service Officer - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Veterans’ Service Officer - FY 2021