FM #895 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 895 in the series.
This session of the radio show shares the Finance Committee meeting held on Wednesday, Dec 7, 2022.
Seven members of the Finance Committee participated (2 absent); 6 present in the Council Chambers, 1 remote. Town Administrator Jamie Hellen, Assistant Administrator Alecia Alleyne, Comptroller Chris Sandini and Treasurer/Collector Kerri Bertone.
Out to bid for the bond for the Schmidt’s Farm resulted in maintaining the Triple AAA rating, receiving 7 bids, and yielded a 3.44% rate (good)
Stabilization funds review shows the market impact as many of the totals declined vs. the prior year and there were no authorized withdrawals. These are called unrealized losses (not so good)
The electric rate contract for the Town results in an increase of $200K impact for this fiscal year. DPW snow and ice presentation scheduled for the 12/14/22 Town Council meeting. Some facility projects and repairs being held due to the increases being seen to avoid a significant financial impact. Do use a utility consultant on the electricity contract, spent about a month watching rates before settling on this deal. Storm water fee implementation in July 2023 will also have an effect on the Town budget (not so good)
School budget “deep dive” - Superintendent Lucas Giguere, Business administrator Miriam Goodman, School Committee Chair Denise Spencer and School Committee member and Budget subcommittee Chair David McNeill presented. Asst Superintendent Paula Marano and School Committee members Elise Stokes and Dave Callaghan were also in the audience for support.
Chair Conley opened with the major question with declining enrollment and rising budget how is that explained? The remainder of the presentation and discussion attempted to answer the question from multiple points of view. I can not do justice and simplify it. The discussion is too complex. The audio and video of the meeting is available for you to listen and follow along
I can say that the School Committee and Central office can do better in helping to explain the cost drivers. They do cover a bunch of the details in their main meetings and subcommittee meetings but have not been successful in articulating the story, hence the questions remain
The meeting recording runs 2 hours and 35 minutes, so let’s listen to the Finance Committee meeting Dec 7, 2022.
Meeting agenda document -> https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/12-07-2022_finance_committee_agenda.pdf
My notes -> https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gVLpYnd6sOfNA7Phl0p176OhHViQsL7e/view?usp=share_link
Link to Finance Committee => https://www.franklinma.gov/finance-committee
YouTube recording => https://youtu.be/o4vY1ekbk10
Photos captured during the meeting can be found in one album -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/q6YyoS5wPbe7m86j6
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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.
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