Showing posts with label override. Show all posts
Showing posts with label override. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Abortion access policies become law in MA

The Boston Globe has the following on the override of Gov Baker:

"Abortion rights will be formally codified in state law, and access to the procedure will be expanded after the Senate on Tuesday joined the House in overriding Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of the legislation.

The Senate reaffirmed its support for the abortion access measures on a 32-8 vote, one day after the House’s 107-46 vote."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required) 

CommonWealth Magazine has the following

On Ma.gov, the actual legislative text  https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H5179


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

CommonWealth Magazine: Deleo stepping down, House overrides Gov Baker's abortion veto

From CommonWealth Magazine:

"DeLeo stepping down; Mariano facing no opposition"

"IN A MESSAGE read by a tearful House clerk, Speaker Robert DeLeo announced he is resigning his position on Beacon Hill at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, setting the stage for the ascension of Majority Leader Ronald Mariano of Quincy to the top position in the chamber on Wednesday.

Shortly after the announcement just before 2 p.m., the speaker’s office said DeLeo would give a farewell address Tuesday afternoon and a caucus to elect a new speaker will be held on Wednesday."

Continue reading the article online

"House overrides Baker’s abortion veto"

"THE HOUSE ON MONDAY voted 107-46 to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of legislation allowing women as young as 16 to obtain abortions without parental or judicial consent and expanding when pregnancies can be terminated after six months.

The Senate on Tuesday is expected to join the House in overriding the governor’s veto, giving the Legislature a victory on the issue of broader abortion access at a time when President Trump has added several justices perceived as anti-abortion to the US Supreme Court. It’s not clear if a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision protecting a woman’s right to have an abortion without excessive government intervention, would have any impact in Massachusetts."

Continue reading the article online
 

"The margin surpassed the two-thirds majority needed in both houses to force enactment of the bill"

The Boston Globe has the following:

"The Democratic-controlled House voted Monday to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a defense policy bill.

House members voted 322-87 to override the veto, well above the two-thirds needed to override. If approved by two-thirds of the Senate, the override would be the first of Trump’s presidency."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
 
The Washington Post also has this article
 
The New York Times also has this article
 
 


Saturday, December 26, 2020

"It is up to the Legislature to once again lead where Governor Baker has failed“

"GOV. CHARLIE BAKER vetoed the Legislature’s abortion bill on Thursday, forcing lawmakers to override his veto if they want to insist on lowering from 18 to 16 the age at which a woman can obtain an abortion without the approval of a parent or judge.

Baker previously offered an amendment to the Legislature’s abortion proposal doing away with the provisions he disliked, but both branches rejected the amendment and returned the legislation to the governor as originally crafted.

After days of hemming and hawing at State House press conferences about what he intended to do with the abortion language, Baker’s office issued a statement just before 2 p.m. saying he was returning the bill unsigned, which a spokeswoman said was the equivalent of a veto."
Continue reading the article online

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

In the News: "Franklin’s school district isn’t alone in its fiscal troubles"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"As the town struggles with pre-existing financial difficulties likely to be exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the word “override” has started to show up prominently in Franklin conversations.

The bleakness of the situation came into painfully clear focus last week when, in the face of potentially significant layoffs, dozens of teachers and their supporters turned out to demonstrate in the town center.

It was precipitated after the School Department found itself in the difficult position of having to advise 103 of its employees they may no longer have jobs for the 2020-21 school year - and all of this amid questions about how school will function in the fall and meet, with fewer resources, the kinds of socially-distanced guidelines that the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is suggesting.

“We reluctantly issued non-renew notices to our non-professional status educators in order to meet the statutory deadline of June 15,” Schools Superintendent Sara Ahern said via email. “We did so because of the uncertainty of budget cuts and projected reductions in state aid.”
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20200616/will-franklin-be-next-to-ask-override-question

Town Council budget hearing info for June 17-18
In the News: "Franklin’s school district isn’t alone in its fiscal troubles"
In the News: "Franklin’s school district isn’t alone in its fiscal troubles"

Monday, June 15, 2020

Town Council positions on the override - Nov 2019

During the run up to the Town of Franklin local election in November 2019, we shared the interviews with many of the candidates for the Town Council and School Committee.

One of the questions asked the Town Council candidates was:
“The Town Administrator has suggested that Franklin needs to consider an override measure. What actions will you take for this? “
Note these answers were provided by the candidates in the run up to the election. This is the historical record of their position at that time. The successful candidate positions are shared here. The full listing is provided in the link below.

*** Town Council answers

  • Eamon McCarthy Earls
EE - I think it's a great question. Certainly we've been faced with some very trying times. A lot of it ties back to escalating costs for health care and our overall pension and other post-employment benefit (OPEB) liabilities which continue to mount and which probably nobody back in 1980 was concerned with or fully cognizant of how much it would cost.

I think it's ultimately a decision that rests with the voters. I would support offering that as an option to the voters to decide. I think it's really important to have that participation in something so critical in our town. I'm sure it will be a hard fought issue. Franklin residents have had debates in the past about budgets and cuts. Questions of overrides came up particularly the late 2000s. So I think really letting each side make their case will be really important.

https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/10/franklin-candidate-interview-eamon.html

  • Melanie Hamblen
Audio interview https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/10/fm-173-this-internet-radio-show-or.html

  • Tom Mercer

TM = First, we’ll need to monitor the towns’ budget situation closely throughout the year as the Town Administrator and Superintendent build their budgets. I’d expect that we would have a reasonable number in late January. My guess is the next Town Council and School Committee will have to discuss an override, how much and for what and what the community strategy may be.

At this point, I support and hope a discussion will occur next year on discussing with taxpayers a revenue increase. As the Town Administrator has stated numerous times, the cost of doing business is far exceeding our ability to raise revenue. Construction costs, personnel costs and Heath care costs are increasing at a rate that has put stress on the system relative to service demand. It’s a partial symptom of a good economy for sure. And it’s something we need to really engage a wider audience in the community on. Everyone will need to be involved. As ultimately any override is a decision made by the Community as a whole not the Town Council. It is the Town Council’s job to provide the community with all the facts so they can make an informed decision.

https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/10/franklin-candidate-interview-tom-mercer.html


  • Andrew Bissanti

AB = I think ultimately what's going to happen is the council is going to push the override to a ballot and let the people decide. That seems to be rhetoric from the existing council right now. I think it's only fair that way. I want to make a rational decision. How it's going to affect dollars, and the people of Franklin. Whatever the greater good is for Franklin. I don't want to see services to the town and infrastructure suffer. Careful study and examination and reporting will and is being conducted and we will have more facts soon.

https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/10/franklin-candidate-interview-andrew.html

  • Robert Dellorco
Audio interview https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/10/fm-179-franklin-candidate-interview.html

  • Matt Kelly
MK = So I'm on the budget subcommittee and I'm probably one of the more vocal people on the budget subcommittee. I know I didn't make any friends with the School Committee when I told them that I didn't necessarily agree with their budget. Councilor Mercer and I are the only two that were on the School Committee prior to being on the Town Council. I wish there was a prerequisite so that everybody would have to do that because I think you learn a lot.

Looking at the budget, I don't think we're ready for an override yet and there's a number of factors for this. I don't see that the budget has all the fluff cut out of it and I don't see any clear projection of numbers. I agree, that our administration is telling the truth when they say that it's getting tight, but I also understand that a lot of people out there are getting tight on their budgets too. We need to look at what our plan is, is it a reduction in our budget, and an override? Who knows right now and now isn’t the time to ask our citizens either. We have to consider what this going to do to our senior population. That has increased tremendously for people in our town. People on fixed incomes, we need to look at what it will do to them as well. There needs to be a conversation with our town’s people before you start talking override.

That's the business side of it. The human aspect is that times are too good for people to believe that we need an override. We're adding firefighters, adding police officers and there's no visible pain. You might see that we need more DPW workers or your road isn't getting done fast enough, but people don't want to vote for things until there's pain, number one. Number two, when the people complain that they're going off to pay for high school parking, then town council comes running to their rescue and says, “oh, no, we're going to give you that money in the budget.” It's not the time for an override. We should be able to say to our citizens, we can't find any money before we say override.

The reality is, I am going to be very, very stingy when it comes to saying we need an override because I'm going to pay for it just like you are.

https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/10/franklin-candidate-interview-matt-kelly.html 


*** School Committee

The School Committee candidates did not get that question. The questions they answered as shown here.
  • There are and have been many opportunities to volunteer with community groups in Franklin. Have you taken advantage of any of these? Which ones, and why did you choose that/those?
  • Where do you get your news about Franklin?
  • The possibility of a change in school start times was a recent controversial topic taken up by the School Committee. Where do you stand on the issue of school start times in Franklin and what actions do you plan to take around this issue during the next term of the School Committee?
  • While the current School Committee has attempted to reach the community through various forms of communication including coffee chats, email newsletters, attending events such as the farmers market, etc., they have been generally unsuccessful at increasing the engagement with important issues related to the schools. What actions will you take to increase citizen engagement with the School Committee?
  • The Town Administrator has suggested that the School Committee investigate the possibility of closing Davis Thayer Elementary as a possible cost-saving mechanism for the town in these tight economic times. Where do you stand on this issue and what actions will you take to support your stance?
  • Why should I vote for you?

The Election Collection can be found here
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/07/franklin-election-collection-2019.html

Franklin Election Collection - 2019
All precincts vote on Nov 5, 2019 in one location, Franklin High School

 

Friday, February 28, 2020

In the News: Bellingham to decide on a $1.5 million override; Franklin schools budget gap expected to close

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Voters will decide in May on a $1.5 million override requested by the School Department for its fiscal 2021 budget. 
Selectmen last Saturday approved the override, meaning the proposal will appear as a ballot question at the annual town election on May 5. The measure requires approval from a simple majority of voters to pass. 
Superintendent of Schools Peter Marano said the school district is seeking the override to help compensate for a lower reimbursement expected from the state on charter school funding, as well as to add positions in areas of increased need. 
For the average homeowner, the $1.5 million override would result in property taxes being increased by about $160 in the next fiscal year, Marano said, based on a home value of about $325,000.
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20200226/bellingham-override-bid-heads-to-ballot-selectman-oked-15-million-school-budget-override-request


"The School Department anticipates “a budget gap to close” after reviewing its plans for fiscal 2021, requesting an increase of $3.9 million in funding from the town, according to Superintendent of Schools Sara Ahern. 
Reviewed on Tuesday night before the School Committee, the proposed school budget of $68,767,873 represents an increase of $3,909,373 (6%) over the current budget, said Ahern. Fiscal 2021 begins on July 1. 
The town’s total current budget is $129.6 million, with about half of it - $64.8 million - allocated to Franklin Public Schools. 
Even though the school district is requesting a $3.9 million increase for the coming year, Ahern said she doesn’t anticipate the town paying that entire amount."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20200227/franklin-superintendent-anticipates-budget-gap-to-close

The live reporting from the School Committee meeting on Tuesday on the budget for FY 2021
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2020/02/live-reporting-recommended-budget-fy.html

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

Thursday, February 6, 2020

“no different shape than any other community”

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"In an effort to reduce the number of staff cuts while adding new positions to areas of increased need, the School Committee voted Tuesday in favor of a $1.5 million override to its proposed fiscal 2021 budget.

A major factor, according to Superintendent Peter Marano, is a “staggering” decrease in the amount of money reimbursed by the state for what the district pays toward charter school education at the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School in Franklin.

“The reason why this year is different (than the last five years) is because we’ve basically taken a $2 million hit from the increase in the charter school, and that steep decrease in funding ... is basically just the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said committee member Mark Flannery.

As part of a $29.8 million proposed budget, the School Committee unanimously approved the $1.5 million override, which would cost the average homeowner about $160 a year, said Marano. That equals to $40 per quarter, said committee Chairman Michael J. Reed Jr., based on the average home value of about $325,000."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20200205/bellingham-school-committee-oks-15m-override-for-budget

 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

"officials in town have said the override request was unlikely to be the last"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"The town avoided a budget crisis Wednesday, after residents approved a $430,000 tax override in a town-wide election.

The proposal was put to residents in a ballot question during an election called solely for the override.

Turnout was nearly 25 percent of all Hopedale’s registered voters, with 569 voting for the proposal, and 419 voting against.

Officials said the money is needed to fund basic services for the town. Because the number was so large, employee jobs and hours were on the chopping block. Suggested cuts included a firefighter and closing Town Hall on Fridays."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20190828/hopedale-approves-tax-override

Related post before the override vote
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/08/in-news-hopedale-votes-on-override-weds.html

 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

In the News: Hopedale votes on an override Weds; DOR has Prop 2 1/2 video series

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Renee Polechronis walked away from her desk in the Assessor’s Office Friday morning with some paperwork.

When she returned moments later, fresh forms had been dropped off. Soon afterward, the phone rang. Before any of that, she had answered a resident’s question on senior citizen tax exemptions.

“I’m usually pretty busy on Fridays,” Polechronis, the office administrative clerk, said with a smile.

If Hopedale voters fail to pass the $430,000 tax override on Wednesday’s election ballot, residents might not have access to Polechronis’ cheerful attitude on Fridays.

Officials are asking for the money to bolster Hopedale’s operating budget, and have categorized the $430,000 as the amount needed just to keep basic services running. They aren’t yet sure where they’ll cut if voters don’t approve the override, but closing Town Hall the final day of the work week has made the list of possible partial solutions.
...
Residents overwhelmingly approved the override at Town Meeting this spring, but a majority vote in the townwide election is also required before the tax can be levied."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20190824/final-vote-on-hopedale-tax-override-is-wednesday

The MA Dept of Revenue has a video series on Proposition 2 1/2 explaining overrides, debt exclusions, and other accurate info on this matter

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfBnwDVE7DgFBJePuMrBUMjVLGv8xp34S







Monday, June 24, 2019

The projected budget deficits for Franklin FY 2021 and beyond

The one page spreadsheet depicts the projected budget deficits facing Franklin for fiscal year 2021 and beyond. This page was part of the handout for the Joint Budget Subcommittee meeting on June 19, 2019. 

Plans have started for an override to be put before the voters for the FY 2021 budget. The specific amount and details remain to be finalized. The timing of the override vote also remains to be determined.

Agenda doc
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/06/joint-budget-subcommittee-meeting-june.html 


As acknowledged in the meeting, these numbers are projections. The rationale and timing for 'finalizing' the numbers is outlined by Town Administrator Jamie Hellen is captured in the audio recording of the meeting:
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/06/fm-167-joint-budget-subcommittee.html

You can download a copy of the spreadsheet
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UMZFs6fJxSHB6gj_yKVCldt2oOjd8jPg/view?usp=sharing




Franklin FY 2021 and future projected budget deficits
Franklin FY 2021 and future projected budget deficits

Thursday, June 20, 2019

"We will need to consider an override on FY 21 to maintain level services"

In my rush to post the info for the Joint Budget Subcommittee meeting Wednesday evening, I had not noticed the document contained an updated 5 year fiscal outlook. Town Administrator Jamie Hellen lays out the numbers as they are and shows the budget vs. revenue forecast is red for the next several years. 

As the letter (below), explains this is not a new issue. To the Town's credit, the fiscal planning that has been in place for the last several years has avoided this inevitable choice. There is a 5 year plan. There was savings put aside in the debt stabilization account. This amount was then used in the past two years to avoid further cuts. The School Budget has used their revolving fund balances for the past three years.

Plans have started for an override to be put before the voters for the FY 2021 budget. The specific amount and details remain to be finalized. The timing of the override vote also remains to be determined.

"Please find attached the five year fiscal forecast. I would like to remind everyone this is a "forecast". It uses information from the past and present to predict the future. Similar to a weather forecast, there are many factors that will affect what will actually happen. The forecast shows deficits in each year, but the Town is required by law to have a balanced budget, so decisions will be made along the way to ensure we comply with the requirement. 
The takeaway message from all reports is that Franklin will continue to struggle to maintain high quality school and municipal services given the fiscal constraints that we operate under. In the long run, it will come down to a decision by the voters of Franklin to pay higher taxes or reduce the current level of services. The forecast shows that if the town wants to maintain the same service level it will need about a $4 million override for FY 21. This amount could change based on many unknowns and assumptions at this time, however I can't see any scenario that would not require additional tax dollars. 
In short, the cost of doing business is exceeding our ability to raise the necessary revenue to pay for the services we enjoy. I cannot put it more succinctly than that. 
This is not a new message. Over the past many years, we have both reduced services and increased taxes in order to arrive at the level of service the citizens enjoy today. Both the School Department and the Municipal departments have all made significant reforms to their operations to keep our tax rate low. We will never stop this effort and will continue to work within what the citizens give us to work with. 
We do know that: 

  • Our population has increased from about 30,000 in 2001 to over 35,000 in 2020 and it will continue to increase. Currently there are over 1,000 housing units recently constructed, under construction or in the "pipeline". 
  • Health/pension/insurance care costs continue to be a concern. 
  • Wage increases have been modest but they put a huge pressure on the budget. 
  • Our unfunded retiree health insurance obligation is $74,000,000 (2018). 
  • Our unfunded pension liability is $41,000,000 (2018). 
  • We do not have the funds to provide "level services for the FY 20 School budgets and the Town services.
  • We have no adequate funding source for roads/sidewalks. 
  • The Town's capital needs will continue to grow and in a couple years, the capital needs of our schools, facilities and fields will me in the millions. 
  • Water sewer rates will continue to rise due to long overdue infrastructure needs, mostly, for sewer and the Beaver Street Interceptor. 
  • Open space is at a critical state where with little land left, the Town will need to invest in open space, as well. 
Franklin is in generally good financial shape today but we will continue to struggle to maintain high quality school and municipal services given the operating fiscal constraints that we operate under. 
We are unable to maintain level service budget in FY 20 even with the use of reserves. We will need to consider an override on FY 21 to maintain level services for the citizens of Franklin. 
We will continue to do are very best on behalf of all the citizens of Franklin to maintain a high quality of life while trying to control costs to the taxpayers."

Continue reading the 5 year forecast
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Pw3aDNOdhuQPRZ3XUXYAYXu_F-p4ejdn/view?usp=sharing



"We will need to consider an override on FY 21 to maintain level services"
"We will need to consider an override on FY 21 to maintain level services"

Friday, May 24, 2019

"This capital issue is significant, and not going away"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"The weather is warming, flowers are blooming and municipalities across the state are hosting Town Meetings, a form of local government dating back more than 300 years, which historically has given residents the opportunity to help decide on various issues related to local governance and spending. 
More recently, however, the scope of Town Meeting decisions has narrowed for many communities, and a lot of time is spent debating whether to fund new municipal projects, such as schools, libraries and senior centers. 
Approval of such projects typically translate into higher taxes for property owners, which advocates say is necessary to ensure dilapidating municipal buildings and outdated schools are safe and adequate for residents and children. 
Opponents, meanwhile, say the process is increasingly becoming a popular way for local governments to pay for projects that should otherwise be affordable within existing municipal budgets, especially at a time when local coffers are growing with the recent surge of new development and rising property values realized across the state."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20190522/prop-2-12-overrides-disappearing-but-taxpayers-still-pay

Editor's Note: An override is always a sensitive topic but we need to change that perception and have a real conversation about how we want to live here in Franklin. What services do we need? How should we support our schools? Repair our roads? 

The School Committee held Legislative Forums in both February 2018 and 2019 to start the conversation on some of the systemic problems that the State needs to correct. The Town Council chose not to include us in the public conversation until the second budget hearing. 

Next year is predicted to be another budget challenge. We need to have the conversation regularly from now until the budget cycle starts again. When we get together for the Strawberry Festival, the 4th of July, and other public events, part of the conversation should be around how we support ourselves.

Kit Brady speaking for better funding for schools and our children
Kit Brady speaking for better funding for schools and our children






Wednesday, May 22, 2019

On this day: May 22, 2007 Franklin voted for the first operational override

On this day, twelve years ago, 8759 Franklin residents went to the old high school field house to cast their votes for an operational override. The vote was successful and historic. 

While Franklin has successful passed debt exclusions for several school buildings (including most recently for the new high school in 2012), this was the only operational override passed.
"The votes came in to pass the first operational budget override in Franklin's Prop 2 1/2 history.
The final tally was 5,028 for and 3,722 against with 9 blanks and 8,759 total votes cast."
https://steves2cents.blogspot.com/2007/05/vote-tally-override-52207.html

The override collection for the 2007 vote can be found here
https://steves2cents.blogspot.com/2007/04/franklin-override-collection.html

Yes, this was the beginning of Franklin Matters. The domain and new website came online in November 2007. Links to the prior posts on my personal blog are still valid in the archive where needed.

Franklin failed to pass operational overrides in 2008 and 2010 and has not had a vote scheduled since that time. However, next year maybe an opportunity.

Franklin override collection for 2010 (FY 2011)
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2010/05/budget-override-collection-fy-2011.html

Franklin override info for 2008 (FY 2009) (not a single collection; I learned as I went along to do so)  https://www.franklinmatters.org/search?q=override%2C+2008



On this day: May 22, 2007 Franklin votes for first operational override
On this day: May 22, 2007 Franklin votes for first operational override




Friday, May 10, 2019

"the declining enrollment helped us, as a community, be able to fund the services people expect”

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"A good economy should equal a sunny fiscal forecast. 
That’s what many residents believe, said Deputy Town Administrator Jamie Hellen, which is why a cloud of suspicion looms over the town budget’s structural deficit entering fiscal 2020. 
“A lot of people are frustrated. In such a good economy, and a great business climate, how are we in this pickle?” Hellen asked rhetorically. 
The answer includes many factors, some of which are not unique to Franklin, said Hellen. 
According to Hellen, the main culprits of the impending deficit include an increased demand for services, increased health insurance costs, charter school expansion costs, declining school enrollment, other post-employment benefits (OPEP) and the cost of doing business in town outpacing the town’s ability to raise revenue."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20190509/franklin-seeks-solution-to-structural-deficit


Other budget related info

Legislative update to Town Council on May 8
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/05/live-reporting-legislative-update.html

State level budget info
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/05/it-is-statement-of-senates-priorities.html

Charter School impact on budget
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/05/charter-school-clarifications-on.html

Inside the proposed FY 2020 budget
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/04/inside-proposed-fy-2020-town-of.html

March 18 Finance Committee FY 2020 budget preview info (audio)
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/03/live-reporting-finance-committee-march.html

Prop 2 1/2 override process
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/05/what-is-process-for-prop-2-12-ballot.html

Rising health care costs drive benefits
Rising health care costs drive benefits


How much is the School budget part of the whole Town budget
How much is the School budget part of the whole Town budget

Monday, May 6, 2019

What is the process for a Prop 2 1/2 ballot question?

Inquiring minds might ask "How do we avoid letting so many teachers go and raise school fees?" The town budget is balanced to meet expected revenue. The only way to increase the expected revenue is for the majority of the voters to agree to do so. 


"PLACING QUESTIONS BEFORE VOTERS
Proposition 2½ questions are placed on an election ballot by vote of the "local
appropriating body," which is defined in towns as the selectboard, not town meeting. In
towns without selectboards, a vote of the town council is required to present a question to
the electorate. In cities, a vote of the city council, with the mayor's approval where
required by law, is needed. G.L. c. 59, § 21C(a).

This is the only way an override or exclusion question may be placed on the ballot. They
may not be placed on the ballot by a town meeting vote or any local initiative procedure
authorized by law. A local initiative procedure, however, may be used as an alternative
method of placing an underride question on the ballot.

The board or council must vote the question exactly as it will appear on the ballot.


ELECTION PROCEDURE
Proposition 2½ questions may be placed on a regular or special municipal election ballot.

Questions may also be placed on the state biennial election ballot. However, those
questions must be submitted to the Secretary of State for certification by the first
Wednesday in August preceding the election. G.L. c. 59, § 21C(i).

The usual laws and procedures relating to municipal elections apply. The municipal clerk
must receive written notice of the question being placed on the ballot at least 35 days
before the date of the election. G.L. c. 54, § 42C. The vote to place a question on the
ballot must take place in sufficient time to meet this advance notice requirement.

A city or town may present Proposition 2½ questions to the voters as many times during
the year as it chooses. The only constraint on the interval between these elections is the
time needed to call and hold each election.

The Office of the Secretary of State is responsible for administering and enforcing
election laws. Specific questions about the application of these laws to Proposition 2½
elections should be directed to the Elections Division of that office at 617-727-2828."



Additional info on the process can be found in the Division of Local Services (DLS) bulletin which is part of the MA Dept of Revenue (DOR). 
https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/07/31/prop2.pdf?_ga=2.5588468.630711474.1557137379-1789922467.1514424883

DOR also has a series of short videos to explain the process
https://www.mass.gov/service-details/proposition-2-12-and-tax-rate-process

What is the process for a Prop 2 1/2 ballot question?
What is the process for a Prop 2 1/2 ballot question?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

FM #160 - FinCom Budget Hearing #1 - FY 2020 a must listen for Franklin residents!

FM #160

This internet radio show or podcast is number 160 in the series for Franklin Matters.

This recording shares the Finance Committee Budget Hearing for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020) held on Monday, March 18, 2019 in the Council Chambers.

Deputy Town Administrator Jamie Hellen leads the presentation along with Town Administrator Jeff Nutting, Finance Director Christopher Sandini, and Treasurer Kerri Bertone. Each department head has an opportunity to add to the overview provided by Jamie as well as answer any questions from the Finance Committee.

My notes from the session can be found here
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/03/live-reporting-finance-committee-march.html

This is the first of two budget hearings by the Finance Committee. Yes, for those paying close attention, at the Town Council meeting there was an announcement for 4 sessions spread over two weeks.

Since that time, however, the number of sessions was reduced to two. This session covers ALL the municipal departments. The School Department will be scheduled for a later date (sometime in April) and after their presentation, the FinCom will vote on the recommendation to send to the Town Council.

The Town Council has two budget hearings scheduled; currently scheduled for May 22 and May 23. Given the experience from recent years, the Council sessions will NOT be as informative as the FinCom sessions.

The Council has shown their tendency for a reading of the budget voting document, line by line, and as each department is announced, a Councilor can place a ‘hold’ on the item which then when the reading is complete, that Councilor will have an opportunity to ask a question for that department or line item.

This may be an expedient manner of getting through the budget but from an awareness point of view does very little to share the insights on what drives each budget. These insights currently are only available from the FinCom meetings. Maybe there will be a change (I hope so) but the past several years has shown otherwise.

With that much as the background, the budget process is formally underway. I heartily encourage my fellow residents to spend a couple of hours listening to the FinCom budget hearing recording. You will get more info in this one session than you could get over several meetings. It should be time well spent. If you find otherwise, please let me know.

The total meeting recording runs just about 2 and one half hours. Yes, this is a long one. Settle in comfortably, have my Franklin Matters live reported notes handy, and have the budget doc handy.

Budget Doc
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/news/proposed_fy20_operatingbudget.pdf

As the FinCom gets to each department/section the page numbers are announced so it should be easy to follow along.

And of course, if you have questions, feel free to ask me or any one of the FinCom members. And last but not least, let your Town Councilors know. They will go through this in May. What they will approve is how Franklin will operate beginning July 1, 2019.

Without further ado, here is the audio recording.





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This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but I can't do it alone. I can always use your help.

How can you help?

In particular, if you have an interest in real estate, zoning or construction, I would like someone to help us by following the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and or the Conservation Commission meetings. I’ll provide the guidance on note taking and sharing. You need to bring an inquisitive, open mind and willingness to learn and share.

Overall:
  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors.
  • If you don't like this, please let me know.

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements.
Thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/
If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

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.

I hope you enjoy!

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Town Council - Summary and notes - March 13, 2019 "need more than a bandaid"

The Town Council meeting Wednesday was a roller coaster ride. Opening with elation and joy on the new police officers sworn in, one promotion also recognized and the canine member introduced - Ben Franklin.

five new police officers introduced
five new police officers introduced

five new police officers sworn in by Town Clerk Teresa Burr
five new police officers sworn in by Town Clerk Teresa Burr

five new police officers pinned by family members
five new police officers pinned by family members

The newest canine member Ben Franklin is as cute in person as he is in photos
The newest canine member Ben Franklin is as cute in person as he is in photos

The meeting took its gloomy turn as the fiscal budget situation was reviewed with challenges all around and not enough funding to do what is needed. How it will be resolved remains to be seen. There was mention of the 'override' word but more in context of a necessity for FY 2021 than for this budget cycle. Which would mean that unless it becomes a reality, the school budget which was just approved by the School Committee on Tuesday, March 12 will need to be reduced by about $2.6M to meet the funding available. 

Oh in case you didn't catch it previously: the school budget is meant to be level funded and the additions were prioritized to meet 'critical' needs (not all of which we added to this budget). So while it was proposed to be a compromise on critical needs, those will need to be further compromised to meet the current funding.
L - R: Mark Cerel, Jamie Hellen, Jeff Nutting
L - R: Mark Cerel, Jamie Hellen, Jeff Nutting

As the meeting got into the Legislation for Action the discussion around a potential bylaw change to be referred to the Planning Board started tip toeing in legal waters. The Council was cautioned by Attorney Mark Cerel to be careful in their comments and replies to Joel D'Errico as he has a current suit against the Planning Board for a proposal that would potentially be affected by this measure.

There is more in this matter than was revealed in the meeting. The zoning bylaw had been before the Council a couple of years ago to change from R4 to R5. Now it is back again, to be changed back to R5. Why was not fully explained, or if it was, I missed it. I will need to go to the video replay for this as soon as it is available from Franklin TV.


The official "Actions Taken" as published by the Town can be found
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/uploads/town_council_actions_taken_for_march_13_2019.pdf