Showing posts with label level service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label level service. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Commonwealth Magazine: “We can’t afford to run the system we ran before COVID-19.”

From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin:

"THE MBTA OVERSIGHT BOARD on Monday began formulating principles to follow as it prepares to cut the transit authority’s operating budget by $300 million to $600 million, with T officials recommending the preservation or enhancement of services that cater to minority and low-income customers without cars and a reduction in low-ridership services such as commuter rail and ferry that tend to serve wealthier people who can more easily find alternative ways to move about.

The discussion at the Fiscal and Management Control Board was fairly vague and lacked specifics – those are coming soon and will be honed over the next few months – but it appears the pre-pandemic discussion about expanding service is giving way to a debate about how best to cut service amid diminished demand.

Steve Poftak, the general manager of the T, said he and his staff want to focus available resources on customers who need the T the most and have either continued to ride the system or are likely to come back soon. “We have to be realistic,” he said. “We’re facing significant deficits.”

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack warned that the cutting process won’t be easy. “This is going to be painful because any conversation about not having enough resources is painful,” she said. “We can’t afford to run the system we ran before COVID-19.”

Continue reading the article online

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Live reporting: Recommended budget FY 2021

B. FY21 Superintendent’s Recommended Budget

Sara and Miriam Goodman making the presentation
(copy to be added later when made available by the District)

Also available on the Town of Franklin page

Town allocation not yet available (that is the amount the Town of Franklin will provide)

budget drivers focusing on "critical needs"
as identified by the planning process and district improvement plan details (covered in other meetings) 

Assume Town of Franklin gets $3m in expected revenue, with schools proposing an increase of $3.9m over last year we have a math problem
Assume Town of Franklin gets $3m in expected revenue, with schools proposing an increase of $3.9m over last year we have a math problem
Another $1.2M in unmet needs NOT included in the budget as shown

Additional budget documents can be found on the Town of Franklin page

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Prop 2 1/2 Limits Growth

This posting was originally made on June 26, 2008. Since that time, there has been an extended conversation going on in the comments. In order to bring those comments more to the light, I am updating this to bring it forward from the June archives.


HIDDEN CONSEQUENCES: LESSONS FROM MASSACHUSETTS FOR STATES CONSIDERING A PROPERTY TAX CAP, is a report issued by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in May. In part, it summarizes:

“Across Massachusetts, a number of communities have been forced to lay off teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public employees; close fire stations; shut libraries, senior centers, and recreation centers or sharply reduce their hours; and scale back public school programs. One town even turned off its street lights to save money,” said Iris Lav, the Center’s deputy director and co-author of the report.

According to the report, Proposition 2 ½, which limits the growth in communities’ property tax revenue for all services including education to 2.5 percent a year, has:

  • Arbitrarily constrained local revenues without considering the actual cost of providing services. “The fundamental problem with property tax caps is that they don’t make public services any less expensive,” said Lav. ”Costs like employee health insurance and special education are largely beyond localities’ control, and they’re rising much faster than the cap allows. Nor does the cap hold down the cost of heating buildings and operating school buses when oil prices are skyrocketing.” When these things occur, as they have in Massachusetts, other services have to be cut to fit total expenditures under the cap.

Read the full posting on the Franklin School Committee blog

Read the full report as referenced here.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Simple choice - maintain or cut

As demand for services rise our staff levels continue to fall. There are two unpleasant solutions to this problem. Continue to reduce services or increase taxes.

An override will be requested for the FY 06 Budget. I estimate it will require approximately $4 million to maintain the level of services that currently exist. A successful override will allow us to balance the budget in the short term but in the long run the fundamental gap between revenues and expenses will arise creating the same problem in the future. The only long-term solution will depend upon changing the the tax laws to curtail the over reliance on the property tax as the primary source of funding local government.

The override is intended to address the current financial problems. It does not address the need to upgrade the high school, reconstruct roads and sidewalks, or fund a hugh unfunded health insurance obligation. These issues will have to be addressed over the next three years.
From the FY 2005 Budget Statement (PDF) published by Jeff Nutting in April 2004. This quote can be found on the bottom of page 11. The override mentioned was held in November 2004 and it failed by a 1,148 votes.

The future fiscal years beyond FY 07 will be difficult to deal without additional revenues. Please carefully review pages 4-6 titled FY 08 Budget Projections. You will note that with a very modest 2.5% increase in general costs along with increases in energy, health insurance, etc. the town will face a multi-million dollar shortfall. The 2.5% increase is not adequate to provide the same level of services that are currently provided and will lead to reductions in school/municipal services. realistically, the increase would need to be closer to 5% to maintain services. There is no way to avoid the eventual reality that our reserves are dwindling while our costs continue to rise faster than our revenues. I believe that FY 08 will be the year that difficult choices will have to be made in order to balance the budget.
From the FISCAL 2007 Annual Report published April 20, 2006 (PDF) by Jeff Nutting. The quote can be found on the bottom of page 2. The difficult choices mentioned did occur in FY 08 and resulted in the first operational override to pass in Franklin by a margin of 1,306 votes.

Final Comment - What do you get for your property taxes?
Franklin's property taxes are very reasonable. Unlike other taxes we pay, all of your property tax dollars remain in Franklin. The average tax bill in Franklin is $3,872. That amount provides high quality education, saves property and lives, plows your streets, provides library and recreational opportunities, and assists our senior citizens and veterans. When you need a paramedic, police officer, or other public service, they are a phone call away. Your tax dollars are used to improve your quality of life, and in the case of property owners, maintain and increase the value of your investment. In good times or bad, we strive to be prudent with your tax dollars and be responsive to your needs.
This is from the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Statement (PDF) as published by Jeff Nutting in March 2008. This quote can be found on the top of the last page, page 11.

As these quotes from the budget information provided during the past several years indicate, an override this year is not a surprise. We have a systemic issue that is not being addressed. We have avoided the painful choices by drawing down the stabilization fund. It is no longer a smart fiscal choice to make. The choice remaining is to cut services (in this case educational services for our children) or raise taxes.

Put all the other arguments aside: Do you want to maintain our quality educational services or do we start cutting deeper than we have before?


Learn all you can by visiting here frequently.

Visit the School Committee override page for the schedule of information sessions

You can find override related information here

Be informed to cast your vote on June 10th

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Supt. Ogden previews FY 09 budget (audio)

Superintendent Wayne Ogden previews the FY 09 budget. A level service budget would be an increase of $4.1 million to continue the programs being provided this year adjusted for the new year and for population. The Town has requested an increase of about $800,000. To take $3.3 million out of this level service budget will require some painful decisions. Stay tuned for what that will look like at the 2/26/08 meeting.

Time: 2 minutes, 35 seconds

MP3 File