In case you are not on Tina's distribution and would like to be, she has information on how to do so in this email.
You are receiving this email either because you signed up for periodic updates on my web page or because I have corresponded with you individually on a particular issue. In this email, I will touch on:
1. Proposed charter reviews
2. Proposals under Planning Board consideration for new businesses in Franklin
3. Waste management
4. FY11 budget forecast
5. Misc items
Proposed Charter Reviews-This is a very complicated process covering years of work, but I will try to briefly summarize what has happened and where we are now. There are two methods available to municipalities to change a charter. One method is with an elected Charter Commission (done in 1995) and one is with a citizens committee appointed by the Town Council. (done now). The current citizens group made a series of recommendations after significant research and discussion spanning over a year. A Town Council subcommittee was convened because the Citizens Committee made recommendations to the previous Town Council, who did not act on them. Given that 3 new members needed to be brought up to speed, the subcommittee was formed not only to pass along the citizen recommendations but to review said recommendations, as the citizens committee had no binding authority. At this point, there was much discussion about the process as well as each individual recommendation. Frankly, my personal feeling is that the discussion was not always productive and communication could have been better, but we are moving forward. The recommendations on which the Town Council has reached consensus almost exactly mirror the citizens group recommendations. Specifically, change the Treasure/Collector position from elected to appointed and make a number of technical updates to the charter to reflect changes that have occurred in the past 15 years. The Town Council has to formally approve the proposed changes and then send it to the Legislature for approval. The most important point here is that no proposed charter revisions are final until it is approved by voters. The hope is to get these changes on the November ballot. The bottom line: although the process may seem convoluted, many people with many different perspectives have weighed in on this discussion and you and me, as voters, have the absolute final say on whether to approve the proposed revisions.
Proposals under consideration by the Planning Board for new businesses in Franklin-I know there is a concern about the Big Y’s application to the Planning Board for a new store on the abandoned lot on 140. I have seen flyers circulated with some misinformation and would like to correct a few items. First, the Big Y has merely come before the Planning Board. Nothing is approved and the Planning Board has many concerns that need to be addressed. Second, there currently are no other applications before the Planning Board despite the rumors of a Price Chopper, Bertucci’s etc. These applications may eventually surface, but nothing is before the Board currently. Please voice any concerns, or simply learn about the process by attending or watching on cable the Planning Board meeting on March 22nd at 7pm in the Municipal Office Building.
Waste management-I have attached a link to an article in the Globe about recycling rates in MA. I spoke with some residents who had hoped that we could improve recycling (and both control/decrease costs and improve our environmental impact) within the current system. I think this article objectively articulates why the Recycling Committee, DPW, and the Town Council all agreed that this new system was the best way to meet our goals.
FY11 budget forecast –State aid figures are not finalized, but the Governor’s proposed budget and the Senate’s proposed budget are out. Franklin is estimated to be down $3.7M in state aid from FY09 to FY11. In my opinion, this will have a serious impact on the level of services that Franklin can continue to provide.
- Town Council just voted to ease restrictions that make it difficult for biotechnology companies to locate here. We hope to attract biotech companies to vacant Industrial Park space and bring in additional revenue to the Town.
- Roads are in tough shape and this is a priority. Historically, road repair is funded by the state through Chapter 90. As you can imagine, these funds have decreased. Franklin will have to begin directing its own funds towards road upkeep, but it is exorbitantly expensive. Please continue to give feedback while we work to address this crisis.
- And just an FYI… Dean College’s graduation in Saturday, May 8th at noon. Please expect high traffic and temporary road closures downtown around this time.
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