Showing posts with label outlook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outlook. Show all posts

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Town of Franklin (MA): Five Year Fiscal Forecast - FY 2023 (part 2 of 5)

This continues to share the Five Year Fiscal Outlook for the Town of Franklin as published by the Town Administrator, Jamie Hellen:

FY23 Financial Outlook


As the Town enters FY23, revenues look to be stable in all areas: local receipts, state aid, and new growth. Up until FY23, state aid has remained at less than a 1% annual increase due to the dynamics of the Chapter 70 formula, town demographics and the Town’s growing affluence. Local receipts have remained on a steady increase due to the incredible work of our municipal staff due to an increased demand in services, such as ambulance, EMS services and permitting. FY22 saw a decrease in New Growth from FY19, FY20 and FY21. I expect a modest, stable year again. It is important to reemphasize that our permitting boards continue to see a lukewarm construction market relative to the pre-pandemic years with a notable leveling off of applications before the permitting boards. With supply chain problems continuing globally, I expect property improvement investments will maintain a plateau until there is greater confidence in those goods being provided and/or cost increases subside.

Property values, which are the foundation of the entire town budget through the property tax levy, remain strong due to supply and demand dynamics in the real estate and housing markets. Property taxes are the baseline, as well as largest source of revenue, for the town's services. As long as property values maintain a high value, the town will see decent stability in the budget.

As usual, once the state legislature is done with the legislative session and the various legislative packages being considered are complete, including the state budget, staff will see where all the numbers fall later this summer and propose any adjustments to the Town budget prior to the tax rate hearing in December. I anticipate an increase in state aid, but as discussed for years, not by enough to make a significant new investment impact in the local budget. Any additional revenues will be used to cover shortfalls in other areas due to rising costs of goods and services and labor/personnel.


As of this publication, the main fiscal concerns and challenges for the Town in FY23 are the issues we are all seeing in the news: rising interest rates; inflation; gas/diesel and electricity/gas costs; rising costs of goods and services; health care costs; labor and personnel costs; and the overall uncertainty of the economy. FY23 appears to be a “settle into a new normal” year of actually feeling the impacts of inflation within the local budget.

There will be stress on the FY23 budget due to inflation and increased costs. For example, the Town is looking at a doubling of the cost of fuel/diesel over FY22. Additionally, we are looking at escalating electricity rates of possibly two-plus cents a KW higher. As basic operating costs, such as utilities rise, this will have an impact on other areas of the budget.

We are also seeing bids for construction projects coming in much higher than anticipated. For example, the recent SNETT trail project we are working on with the state DCR was estimated at $200,000 a year ago when the work was designed and approved by the Conservation Commission. The bids came in between $400,000 to $800,000 - double to four times the estimated cost from one year ago! We are seeing similar issues on smaller projects. The Red Brick Schoolhouse bids came in $50,000 to $250,000 over the estimated cost, which was just designed four months ago! These examples depict an environment everyone will need to get used to: money will not be going “as far” as it did a year ago. The Town is only one month into the fiscal year and inflation is going to settle into the budget.

To weather this storm, the Town must use nimble strategies throughout the fiscal year to make sure there are no significant cost overruns by next spring. The community should be prepared
that costs for basic services, such as snow and ice removal, parts, supplies, personnel, goods, services, etc., will all place a strain on the FY23 budget throughout the year and therefore may require services to be reduced in areas of the budget. FY23 has all the markings of an adjustment year in terms of what levels of service the tax levy can support and how consistent the economy can be for revenues.

FY23 should also see all major collective bargaining agreements being resolved, which is good for labor relations and recruitment, staff morale, as well as financial predictability. The downside is that to complete these contracts, the use of one-time revenues for the school and town unions sets up an inflationary situation within the Town’s operating budget come the expiration of those funds in the next couple of years.

FY23 capital projects

To ensure the Town is ready for the altering dynamics in FY23, any new capital improvement projects (facilities, roads, infrastructure, borrowing) that come to our attention after August 1st, 2022 will be postponed and put on hold for discussion to ensure the Town has the accurate resources to fund current projects. All capital projects currently authorized by the Town Council or in the Town Council’s goals for 2022-2023 will continue to move forward. However, as we move through the phases of a project (design, procurement, borrowing, awarding contracts, beginning work), I will not commit to any new projects until the town has greater certainty around the cost effects of that project. In other words, unless there is a significant public emergency, do not expect new projects entering the pipeline. As described above, inflation is caused by the high demand in spending with not enough supply to accommodate the demand. Franklin will need to consider doing our part to decrease the demand in the marketplace.

I will have to evaluate and view the FY22 capital program in a new light when free cash is certified later this fall. I cannot make any commitments for new projects due to rising interest rates and the fact that many of the projects currently in the pipeline are seeing cost increases that may need to be augmented from capital funding later this fall and winter.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal stimulus money is proving to be a bridge for the town on many fiscal obligations that could have had a negative effect on the town’s budget and delivery of services. ARPA money allowed the town to push the implementation date of the new stormwater utility fee out one year to FY24 (July 1, 2023), which has provided financial relief to all citizens for this upcoming FY23. Other financial obligations such as water main infrastructure, sewer infrastructure, personnel and labor costs, and the mental health crisis are all areas that the Town would not have been able to subsidize or invest in without these funds.

Speaking of sewer, an issue to watch in FY23 is the Beaver Street Interceptor project: the 109-year old pipe that hauls ⅔ of all town sewerage to the Charles River Pollution Control District. This will be one of the most expensive and complicated public works projects in town history. Sewer rates are expected to rise in late FY23/FY24 to pay off the borrowing with this project. While some may say to put a project like this on hold, the truth is the cost of inaction will be far more expensive and damaging to the community than the cost of the rate increases. Nonetheless, a project of this size and importance will be taken step by step to ensure the best return on investment for the ratepayers and may require nimble decision making based on market conditions as the project moves forward. These rate increases will only affect sewer system customers, not private septic residents.

In closing, FY23 appears to be a transitional year toward a new, inflated normal with inflation, interest rates and rising costs. I remind all readers, what happens in the news on a daily basis around the economy can take months or years to actually settle in at the local level. That relates to both the good and bad news. Also, reversal of these trends also can take months or years (even decades) to recover from. As everyone knows, every day has both positive and negative signs for future economic fortunes. I have provided a few economy related reference points as the fiscal year starts to offer context as to how international and national affairs have an impact on the state and local budgets:

On July 27, 2022, WBUR provided a great summary on the national economics and the Federal Reserve. Many of the trends in this story ring true in Franklin.
Massbenchmarks’ latest “Current and Leading Index” report shows what we all know: inflation, labor supply, labor and personnel costs, and uncertainty weigh on consumers in Massachusetts.
The message coming from Fortune 500 CEOs shows a recession is inevitable.

One thing is for certain: economic volatility and mixed signals will continue for the foreseeable future, as the country struggles to get into a pre-pandemic economic rhythm. ALL departments need to be cautious about overspending. The effects of inflation could be significant as the fiscal year evolves.

Part 1 (FY 2022 closing) was shared previously

Town of Franklin Earns AAA Bond Rating
Town of Franklin Earns AAA Bond Rating

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Town of Franklin (MA): Five Year Fiscal Forecast (FY 2023-2027) Now Available

The Office of the Town Administrator has released the Five Year Fiscal Forecast for FY23-27. This memorandum provides a synopsis of the financial outlook for each year as well as a "snapshot" of the town today. 


August 15, 2022

To: Town of Franklin

From: Jamie Hellen, Town Administrator

Re: Town Administrator Five-Year Fiscal Forecast FY23-FY27

Welcome to the first “Five-Year Fiscal Forecast” from my office in almost three years. Due to the immense time pressures put on the office during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, as well as the consistent economic shifts, it was difficult to depict an accurate picture of future town fiscal affairs. As mentioned in this year's budget narrative, I’m committed to getting back on a regular routine with this traditional update now that the country is moving past the regulatory structure of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the global and national economy in the center of everyone’s minds and the start of the new fiscal year (FY23) upon us, summer is a perfect time to hit a quick reset on town fiscal matters and get the view from 30,000 feet. I am hopeful to publish a more comprehensive version later this fall/winter as the Town approaches its annual tax rate hearing in December. By then, staff will have revenue trends through the first quarter of the fiscal year, finalized state aid numbers, and expected new growth figures. The forecast is also a requirement of bond rating agencies.

Quality of life and organization stability in Franklin

Before I dive into the forecast details, I believe it is worth taking a step back for a moment to pause and reflect. Over the past few years, our community, like the rest of the world, has gone through a tremendous disruption. Everyone has dealt with unforeseen adversity, challenge, and loss. Yet despite these professionally and personally challenging times for everyone, the overall quality of life in Franklin, as well as Massachusetts as a whole, could be considered some of the best in the United States.

The Town has exceptional, diverse schools and education opportunities, unprecedented achievement in public education, one of the most prepared local public safety operations in the state, a dedicated and well-trained public works department and countless exceptional

amenities for families and citizens of all ages and backgrounds. The Town is an attractive area for major corporate businesses and has a strong local economy with many diverse economic sectors. The Town continues to make historic investments in open space and recreation to add to the great quality of life in town.

The Town has developed a proven financial management strategy. We have had strong financial audits for many consecutive years. For the first time in the Town’s history, a AAA Bond rating was awarded due to prudent financial management, a diverse economy and well executed financial policies. For details, please visit the S&P Global Rating from May 2022 for the facts surrounding the AAA Bond rating. It is one of the most important documents to read for any member of the community.

From a bird’s eye view, everyone should feel an incredible sense of achievement for being a model community that is supportive, innovative and full of continued promise. We owe an immense amount of gratitude to our municipal and school employees for their incredible dedication over the last three years, by not only weathering a global pandemic, but improving the organization and continuing to succeed at an elite level. The social fabric of the community and citizens remains very good with a positive outlook given the countless events, festivals, community organizations and opportunities for all. As we move into a fiscal year without any COVID-19 restrictions or regulations for the first time in three years, I believe Franklin is more resilient and prepared for the future than we were three years ago. The organization remains very stable.

FY22 Closeout

Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) closed out on June 30th. July is one of the busiest times for the Finance staff closing out the past fiscal year, entering the new one, working on state required reporting and closing out budgets. I am pleased to report that all departments did a phenomenal job managing their budgets in FY22. As a result, very few year end transfers were required and another sterling financial audit was presented in May for FY21.

The revenue source with the greatest fluctuation to economic conditions, “Local Receipts”, ended up coming in at pre-pandemic levels, which is very good news. This dynamic was predicted and reflected in the FY23 budget revenue assumptions.

This trend is bolstered by a slowly returning local economy. Hotel revenues are now about 60% back to pre-pandemic numbers. The new cannabis excise (sales) tax provided an additional $104,000 in new revenue for less than a half a year of collections. Motor vehicle excise taxes were higher than budgeted due to the valuation of cars increasing. Ambulance receipts have increased due to higher demand for EMS services. As the Town enters FY23, revenues remain steady in this category, but FY24 may need some expenditure adjustments in order to deliver the services that we see trending in demand.

That said, Local Receipts are revenues mostly generated based on consumer behavior (hotels, meals, cannabis, licenses) and public demand (such as ambulance runs or building permits). Thus, they can stabilize or decrease with the changes in consumer patterns and the broader economy. They can also increase, which the Town must consider that staffing or equipment may be needed to adjust to meet those demands. The fees in this category need to mirror the capacity at the staff level to deliver the services.

Indications from the Federal Reserve and leading local economists acknowledge that to quell inflation, policy will be focused on reducing demand for goods, services and products to help ease cost increases. I tend to believe any policy action at the federal or state levels will take a while to settle into the local consumer patterns that drive revenues in local receipts.

Nonetheless, this is an area of revenue that the Town will need to monitor in FY23 heading into FY24 to ensure we have the capacities to meet the demand for services. We'll also need to monitor any major declines in revenues from attempts to quell inflation.

A couple of final statistics to close out FY22: only ten (10) single family homes were built in Franklin during Fiscal Year 2022. By comparison, in 1994, at the Town’s peak, the Town built 172 single family homes. Population in 2021 decreased for the 1st time in over four decades.

Population in 2021 decreased for the 1st time in over four decades
Population in 2021 decreased for the 1st time in over four decades

Town of Franklin Earns AAA Bond Rating
Town of Franklin Earns AAA Bond Rating

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Franklin Cultural District: #artshappenhere outlook for the weekend

Farmers Market and Concerts on the Common roll around again for this weekend.

Thursday, August 18

8:30am - Town Council Office Hours (Franklin Senior Center) 

6:00pm - Charlie Rock (live music) (La Cantina Winery)

7:00pm - 350 Mass Greater Franklin Node (virtual meeting)

Friday, August 19

Town Common
Town Common
2:00pm - Farmers Market (Town Common)

3:00pm - Concerts on the Common: Box Groove (Town Common)

3:30pm - Farmers Mkt Fun: Make your own compass (Town Common)

4:00pm - Food truck: Gotta Q Smokehouse BBQ (Town Common)

5:30pm - Concerts on the Common: Jesse Liam Band (Town Common)

6:00pm - Mike & Missy Music (live music)  (67 Degrees Brewery)

67 Degrees Brewing
67 Degrees Brewing
6:00pm - Steve Doglio (live music)  (La Cantina Winery)

7:50pm - Movie Night: "Spider-Man" (Town Common)

Saturday, August 20

10:00am - Franklin Historical Museum (always free)

La Cantina Winery
La Cantina Winery

4:00pm - David Rak (live music)  (La Cantina Winery)

6:00pm - Kendo Music  (live music)  (67 Degrees Brewery)

8:00pm - John Logan - Magic with The Beatles

Sunday, August 21

1:00pm - Franklin Historical Museum (always free)


The Franklin Art Association Art Gallery remains open during business hours at Escape into Fiction (Main St, Franklin)

Find the full calendar

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:

The Town meeting calendar is found

The School district calendar is found


Franklin Cultural District: Arts are happening here!
Franklin Cultural District: #Artshappenhere

Friday, July 8, 2022

Franklin's Event Outlook: July 8, 2022 to July 14, 2022

Summertime is upon us. The Farmers Market features live music performed by Moxie (sponsored by Franklin Cultural Council and Mass Cultural Council). The Library will also have activities around a pirate theme. Musical choices also provided by a concert at THE BLACK BOX and within each of the 67 Degrees and La Cantina establishments.

Friday, July 8
2:00pm - Farmers Market (Town Common)
3:00pm - Moxie (live music) (Town Common)
3:30pm - Farmers Mkt Fun: Pirate ships & Pet parrots (Town Common)
5:00pm - Laura May Duo & Caribbean Press food truck (La Cantina Winery)
6:00pm - Matt Zajac (live music) (67 Degrees Brewery)
6:30pm - Peacheaters & Bearly Dead (ticketed event) (THE BLACK BOX)

Saturday, July 9
10:00am - Franklin Historical Museum (always free)
3:00pm - Freak Flag (live music) (La Cantina Winery)

Sunday, July 10
12:00pm - Caribbean Press Food Truck (67 Degrees Brewery)
1:00pm - Franklin Historical Museum (always free)
4:00pm - Art works by Amy Adams (67 Degrees Brewery)


Find the full calendar

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:

The Town meeting calendar is found

The School district calendar is found

Community Calendar
Community Calendar

Friday, June 10, 2022

Franklin's Event Outlook: June 10, 2022 to June 16, 2022

June is a busy month for Franklin with so many choices of indoor and outdoor activities. This weekend in particular kicks off the action with the Strawberry Stroll and ArtWALK. Something for everyone as #artshappenhere!

Friday, June 10 
Downtown StoryWalk!
2:00pm - Farmers Market (Town Common)

4:00pm - ArtWALK: Franklin Art Association Gallery (Escape Into Fiction)

4:00pm - Franklin Historical Museum (Always free)

4:00pm - ArtWALK: Franklin Library StoryWalk, "Show the World!" (Main Street store windows)

4:00pm - Strawberry Stroll presented by Franklin Downtown Partnership (downtown Franklin)

4:00pm - Dom DeBaggis performs (Birchwood Bakery patio)

4:00pm - Smokey the Bear & 1949 ladder truck (downtown fire station)

4:30pm - 'Dancing on Dean' featuring Scott Brown and the Diplomats (corner Dean/Main Sts)

6:00pm - ArtWALK: FDP Ladybug Trail unveiled (dancing stage)

6:15pm - Heath Nesbitt performs (Birchwood Bakery patio)

7:00pm - The One Act Play That Goes Wrong (Franklin High School - ticketed event)

7:30pm - ArtWALK: FPAC presents "Sweeney Todd"  (THE BLACK BOX - ticketed event)

Saturday, June 11 

Downtown StoryWalk!

9:30am - St Mary's Women's Faith Formation (St. Mary Church, lower level)

10:00am - Franklin Historical Museum (always free)

10:30am - ArtWALK: Josh Funk and Kelly Light, story time and art (Escape Into Fiction)

10:30am - ArtWALK: LiveARTS performs (Historical Museum)

1:00pm - ArtWALK: Ammaya Dance and Drum (Town Common)

1:00pm - ArtWALK: Kids Painting Class (Expressions Enrichment - registration required)

2:00pm - The One Act Play That Goes Wrong (Franklin High School - ticketed event)

3:00pm - BANG BOOM BURN: Explosive True Crime Gun, Bombing, and Arson Cases from a Federal Agent’s Career with Author Wayne Miller (Franklin Library)

7:30pm - ArtWALK: FPAC presents "Sweeney Todd"  (THE BLACK BOX  ticketed event)

Sunday, June 12 
Downtown StoryWalk!

10:00am - HMEA's incredABLE Day 2022 (King St Memorial Field)

12:00pm - Disc Golf Tournament (Dacey Field)

1:00pm - Franklin Historical Museum (always free)

1:15pm - ArtWALK: 150 Year History of the Franklin Fire Department (Historical Museum)

2:00pm - ArtWALK: FPAC presents "Sweeney Todd" (THE BLACK BOX  ticketed event)

2:00pm - ArtWALK: local authors books for sale  (Escape Into Fiction)

3:00pm - LiveARTS String Quartet Concert (FUSF, 262 Chestnut St - ticketed event)

5:00pm - Care for Ukraine (Town Common)

Tuesday, June 14
Downtown StoryWalk!
7:00pm - Herb Gardening with Blackstone Valley Veggie Gardens (Franklin Library)

Wednesday, June 15
Downtown StoryWalk!
11:00am - Franklin Matters Q&A (hybrid)

Thursday, June 16
Downtown StoryWalk!
8:30am - Town Council Office Hours (Senior Center cafeteria)
7:00pm - 350 Mass Greater Franklin Node (virtual meeting)

Find the full calendar

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:

The Town meeting calendar is found

The School district calendar is found

Community Calendar
Community Calendar

Friday, June 3, 2022

Franklin's Event Outlook: June 3, 2022 to June 9, 2022

The Class of 2022 graduates today, celebrates with their All Night Party and begins their post high school life tomorrow. Graduation will be broadcast via Franklin TV to cable and to YouTube ( at 7 PM.

The Farmers Market opens their season today on the Town Common. A full list of vendors some rotate through, some make a regular appearance. Stay tuned to the calendar for Concerts on the Common and Movie Nights in conjunction with some of the Farmers Markets.

The Lions Club hosts the Dog Project on the Town Common on Saturday. And a hint of the big weekend coming June 10-11-12 is seen with Thursday's ArtWALK event at Expressions Enrichment. 

Friday, June 3
2:00pm - Farmers Market
7:00pm - FHS Graduation
10:00pm - All Night Party

Saturday, June 4
10:00am - Historical Museum (always free)
12:00pm - The Dog Project

Sunday, June 5
1:00pm - Historical Museum (always free)

Thursday, June 9
7:00pm - ArtWALK: Adult Paint Night 

Find the full calendar

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:

The Town meeting calendar is found
The School district calendar is found

Community Calendar
Community Calendar

Friday, May 27, 2022

Franklin's Event Outlook: May 27, 2022 to June 2, 2022

Ah, the traditional start of summer has arrived. Concert opportunity this evening, stretch out with yoga choice on Saturday, car show photo opportunity on Saturday and the Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies on Monday. Be safe this weekend!

Friday, May 27
6:00pm - Hit the Bus with Laura May

Saturday, May 28
10:00am - Fuel’d Up Franklin - charity car show
10:00am - Historical Museum (always free)
11:00am - Goat Yoga is back! 
11:00am - Yoga in the Taproom

Sunday, May 29
1:00pm - Historical Museum (always free)

Monday, May 30 = Memorial Day
10:30am - Memorial Day Parade & Ceremonies

Wednesday, June 1 = First Day of LGBTQ+ Pride Month
7:00pm - Franklin Art Association

Thursday, June 2
7:00pm - 350 Mass Greater Franklin Node

Find the full calendar

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:

The Town meeting calendar is found
The School district calendar is found

Community Calendar
Community Calendar

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Friday, May 20, 2022

Franklin's Event Outlook: May 20, 2022 to May 26, 2022

A busy weekend with concerts, recycling, cleanup, and art show events then it is quiet for the remainder of the week rolling into Memorial Day weekend and the traditional start to summer. Of course, New England weather is reported to give us a taste of summer heat this weekend so stay cool!

Friday, May 20
7:30pm - Fair, Yates, Betschart & McCrossan

Saturday, May 21
9:00am - Earth Day DelCarte Celebration 2022
10:00am - Historical Museum (always free)
10:00am - Recycling & Energy Event (and clothing!)
4:00pm - FAA Art Show Reception
4:00pm - FSPA Spring Concert 2022
7:00pm - FSPA Spring Concert 2022

Sunday, May 22
1:00pm - Historical Museum (always free)
1:00pm - FSPA Spring Concert 2022
4:00pm - FSPA Spring Concert 2022 

Find the full calendar

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:

The Town meeting calendar is found
The School district calendar is found

Community Calendar
Community Calendar