Thursday, April 16, 2009

Effort on W.A.S.T.E.D apparently wasted!

Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 16, 2009 @ 01:00 AM


After discovering an underage drinking party at 4 Beaver Court during a "party patrol" March 27, police arrested two Franklin High School students, and applied for summonses for 27 other Franklin High students, said Deputy Chief Stephan Semerjian.

Christopher N. Puopolo, 18, of 21 Thayer St., and Maxwell J. Taylor, 17, of 6 Cooper Drive, were charged with being minors in possession of alcohol and were given eight hours of community service, according to court records at Milford District Court.

The other students went before a court clerk, and their records will remain private unless the cases proceed to arraignments.

Police came across the party when they were on patrol and noticed an unusual amount of traffic coming in and out of Beaver Court, a dead-end road, Officer Jovan Bielski wrote in the police report.

Officers noticed Puopolo and Taylor taking a 30-pack of beer out of their trunk, which they tried to cover with a sweatshirt as police approached, Bielski said.

When police checked out the party, they found hard alcohol and more beer, and learned that the homeowners were not there, Bielski reported.

Read the full disturbing article in the Milford Daily News here

Review the W.A.S.T.E.D. presentation held at Franklin High School here

"come to an agreement"

Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 16, 2009 @ 01:30 AM


The School Committee has not yet made a decision about whether to accept the teachers union's three conditions for taking a wage freeze, said School Committee member Cora Armenio.

If accepted, the The union's proposal will save the district $1 million, which will preserve the jobs of 20 teachers, said Franklin Education Association President Chandler Creedon Jr., a psychologist at Horace Mann Middle School.

Following a three-hour meeting Monday night, the union voted to approve the a proposal put forward by the Franklin Education Association's executive board to accept a salary freeze and no course reimbursements next year in exchange for the permanent removal of five floating after-school meetings, permanent removal of the need to provide a reason for taking personal days, and the permanent requirement that no meetings be scheduled two weeks prior to the issuing of report cards.

School leaders are glad teachers agreed to freeze their pay, but they were not thrilled that the union brought those other issues into the discussion.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Read my analysis posted yesterday here

over-reliance on state aid "sounds like a ticking time bomb,"

Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 16, 2009 @ 01:34 AM


After 10 months of meeting, researching, and creating a five-year financial outlook, the long-range financial planning committee presented its report to Town Council last night, cautioning Franklin's finances will keep spiraling into the red if all remains status quo.

In his presentation, Vice Chairman Doug Hardesty, a resident and auditor by profession, also warned that Franklin is teetering on non-compliance status with the state in regard to net school spending. The town is on track to fall below the warning level - defined as 5 percent above the minimum - next year, which means the state will intervene and force Franklin to give more money to schools.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Read the live reporting from the Town Council meeting here

Mirage Poetry Night

Mirage Poetry Night to benefit the
Franklin High Literary Magazine

Competitive Youth Slam

Open Mic for All Ages

5:00 - 8:00 PM
APRIL 17, 2009

Barnes & Noble
270 Hartford Avenue
Bellingham, MA 02019
Exit 18 off 495 in the Stallbrook Plaza near Staples and Market Basket

Some proceeds from purchases made at the Barnes & Noble that day (by customers who mention Mirage during the transaction) may go towards the literary magazine.

Interested in signing up for the slam?
Contact Editor April Crehan:

Town Council Mtg Smry 04/15/09

The collection of posts from the Town Council meeting 4/15/09

Concerned about Franklin's Finances?

Concerned about Franklin's Finances?


Long-Range Financial Planning Committee

Monday, April 27th

7 PM

Mann School

(Mercer Auditorium)


"The community is making out very well in these times"

GateHouse News Service
Posted Apr 15, 2009 @ 05:11 PM
Last update Apr 15, 2009 @ 05:45 PM

Rep. James E. Vallee (D-Franklin), House Majority Leader, announced today Franklin and Medway will receive level funding for local public education, as the House Ways and Means budget was released today with Chapter 70 dollars for Franklin and Medway at heartening levels.

Franklin’s Chapter 70 allocation totals $28,726,70, consistent with its Fiscal Year 2009 apportionment. Medway was level funded, too; the town’s allocation totals $9,230,437.

Each town is also slated to receive additional funding through a federal economic stimulus package for public education under the House Ways and Means proposal, according to Vallee. Franklin’s local aid total, with the inclusion of this funding, would exceed $31 million; Medway’s total would be nearly $12 million.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Vallee office hours in Franklin - Friday 4/17/09

FRANKLIN - State Rep. James E. Vallee, D-Franklin, will hold monthly local walk-in office hours on Friday, April 17, at two locations in his legislative district.

Vallee, or a member of his staff, will be available at the Medway town administrator’s office, 155 Village St., 9 to 10 a.m., and his Franklin office, 4 West St., 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Vallee welcomes and encourages residents to visit him during these times to voice concerns or questions they may have regarding any state-related issue. He encourages constituents unable to attend the district hours to call his State House office to schedule a more convenient appointment.

Vallee and his staff may be reached at 617-722-2600 or
This was posted on the Franklin Gazette here

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Live reporting - Remainder items


Reminder - earth day this Saturday, the more hands the better
May 16th 8:00 - 10:00 for beautification day at the bridge downtown
June 19th - Strawberry Festival

Federal Census time, going door to door, will have identification, Police have been notified


Bartlett - question on the modular status, can we get that information
Feeley - yes, the Building Committee will bring that

Bartlett - I would like a vote from the Council on the endorsing the report


Zollo - thanks to the committee and others that participated, disagreements were resolved to the betterment of the report. Apr 27th meeting is critical, for as many citizens as possible to attend, If we could fill that auditorium, it doesn't matter if you come with preconceived notions or not. We need the discussion.

Doak - acknowledge that the committee did a good job with the report, we can acknowledge the problem, we have systemic structural problems, we may be able to pass an override, the regionalization, index prop 2.5%, there are no easy answers here, it will take a long time and some pain

Pfeffer - Senior Center complaining no openings in sessions in the morning, nor room to park, these are good problems

Whalen - fire station replaced building in 1902, senior center has seen an increase of 300% in utilization, those are reasons for doing the projects. One commented, "I don't remember the last time I learned so much in 90 minutes." Going forward, at least the decisions will be made in an informed basis.

Vallee - outside of regionalization I don't know what we can do.

Bartlett - for me what will come out of this, will tell our story, unbiased. As unbiased a report as could be produced. You could watch but if you have a question, it probably won't get answered unless you're there. We want your feedback. We function best when we are united.

Motion to adjourn

Live reporting - Fin'l Plng Comm - cont'd

Page 7

Peer comparison - towns listed in appendix
spent time validating the peer group, we feel as a group it is a very good peer comparison

Avg peer town - 18% State aid vs Franklin 31%
taxes 58% town contribution vs 45% in Franklin

We are #1 in receiving State Aid, we are #29 in percent of our taxes paying for what we need

6.2% of the household in the peer towns from tax support
5.3% for Franklin

We rank 27 out of 31 towns in term of per capita municipal spending

Franklin spends 22% less than the State Avg

Looking at the efficiency at the top down side, when we rank near the bottom on almost every category, we have to be. While other towns are reacting to the crisis by cutting fat, we are close to cutting to the bone.

Page 10 in the Executive Summary, key slide on school spending and state minimum

Red line - warning line, once below you could be in trouble

Once we hit the minimum, the town will bear the burden of the deficits

Capital budget addressed on Page 11
The debt service is low, Franklin amongst the 31 towns ranks 22
We are not taking on a lot of debt even in the perception of "lots of capital" spending

Forecasted Deficit in 2014 could be 7.7 M or 11.3 M depending upon the assumptions used

The numbers don't include the high school renovation. There is a placeholder for its inclusion and it will need to be once the numbers become more real.

Inflation currently at an avg of 3.3% is different from getting to a 7-8 percent rate of inflation. The deficits would grow dramatically

Recommendations are in full report, page 21

issues can be polarizing, we want to agree on the problem
solutions can be discussed

need to develop a comprehensive multi-year plan

regionalization may be a huge opportunity but in the Northeast it has not currently been successful

Influence the legislative process, whether prop 2.5, pension reform, etc. there are legal barriers to obtaining a solution

Services are people driven, the people account for 70-75 percent of the budget
they need to be paid at a market competitive rate and yet at a sustainable rate

increase tax revenue - it would be nice to find non-Franklin sources
recreation, schools offering courses over the internet
carefully and thoroughly consider property tax overrides

override is inevitable, it will have to happen
the amount and when remains to be determined
what would be the proper timing
complex issue but it needs to be considered

there can be a credibility gap, residents can make decisions upon impressions and not upon fact
can make decisions that perhaps they wouldn't have made if they were better informed

Ownership for improving the flow of information
make it more user friendly and accessible
community forum at Horace Mann
When we can just sit down and talk with folks, now that I have talked it through, I have a better understanding and trust

tried to just present the facts
deficits will continue, there is no flexibility to deal with them as we have before
we have additional risks, i.e with the level of state aid

let's focus on agreeing on the problem

we would like the Town Council to publicly endorse the report.
we would like to see a unanimous endorsement

Doak - thanks, this has been a great deal of work
It helps us get closer to addressing the problem
our reliance on State funding, is there anything that we can do?

the forumla is calculable but the discretionary part is hard to calculate

Ramsey Curdy - part of the focus group, reviewed and commented on the Executive Summary
formed an accurate picture of the issues, the document must be quickly and effectively distributed to the town residents, discussion with those who may have a different view
this is not an abstract comment, this is about where we live

Live reporting - Financial Planning Committee report

Note: Bartlett has arrived (so McGann no show, Mason left)

Jim Roche introduces the Financial Planning Committee report
Doug Hardesty will do the actual presentation

A copy of the presentation will be made available as soon as possible.

Pitch for Monday April 27th Town-wide forum at Horace Mann/Mercer Auditorium 7:30 PM

Doug had much experience within the town with coaching sports but had not much idea on the town finances or operations. Having gone through this process I am happy with what I have learned.

Doug is a professional auditor. It is fact based, not what is felt.
They have tried to keep bias out of this. Telling the pinata story.
This report can stand up to the toughest test.

The executive summary and the draft of the full report will released in the next couple of days for all to review.

The reason we call this a "draft", while we have been diligent in obtaining feedback, we want the town council and citizens to weigh in, and potentially incorporate into the document as we go forward.

We get a lot of aid from the state, have low property taxes relative to peer towns

In every measurable category, the town and schools are low

We go into a deficit and manage our way through it somehow

It is a structural deficit. It will continue unless we take action

The projected deficits are real and significant, they will continue to occur

There are a whole host of things to do so that it is most effective

There is a premise that most citizens will not allow continued cuts

Federal and state mandates are not funded but are costly and are required

Teacher compensation; a cost of living raise and commensurate with experience, masters required within first five years

It is just the way the market is for compensating teachers, we need to get to the inflection point, we need to calculate that

Cash reserves, 7.5 million used since 2005 has been a big help, we can't do that nay more

Since 2000 we have grown 1300 students and dropped over 100 personnel


Live reporting - Mike D’Angelo


Update – Mike D’Angelo

This is a follow up visit to the Council to explain the root cause and actions taken for Horace Mann/FHS damage from the Labor Day incident previously reported

Buildings are now being alarmed to ring through to the Fire Dept. The central dispatch will be able to monitor and make phone calls if there were another occurrence.

Tim Raposa working on getting all the buildings alarmed for power failures as well. If the power goes out, there is an email sent out to a listing for action.

Zollo - what is your level of confidence that once these are all in place?
D'Angelo - there is always a probability of something going but there is an increased confidence.

Zollo - would you still do the walk throughs?
D'Angelo - design in MA doesn't really handle temps in under 10 degrees, so the walk throughs are good for checking on those circumstances.

Pfeffer - Is all overtime reported here? Is Servicemaster included in this?
D'Angelo - They haven't provided that yet. I can update this as we continue to go.

Pfeffer - what caused the problem?
D'Angelo -

Pfeffer - How come it is taking so long for the High School gym floor?
D'Angelo - We worked with Norma to get a waiver and expedited process but we still had to do design work, etc. The contract should be signed soon.
Nutting - It was just signed tonight at 5:00 PM

Doak - With the monitoring we have, will it be tested so that we know it will work?
D'Angelo - During the winter, we test these monthly.

Vallee - There are devices that hook up to the phone line that alert me to the temp being low?
D'Angelo - Although the Senior Center temp did drop, the failures were not such that it would have tripped that device.

Vallee - So it was not preventable?
D'Angelo - At that point, it was not. We have five of the six items covered with monitoring now, we'll catch it sooner and prevent the serious damage. The trip required someone to push a button.

Vallee - A forty dollar device could have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage.

Whalen - has the process for the utility to tell us been set up?
D'Angelo - we have set up the system so when there is an interruption in power, we will be notified.

Nutting - your point is why don't we have monitoring? we have the schools for 50 years and it never happened. We had insurance and we'll pay.

Feeley - Are you comfortable that we are covered at 99%?
D'Angelo - yes

Feeley - Is it also true that we may never know the exact cause of the sequence of events?
D'Angelo - yes

break for two minutes

Live reporting - Legislation - continued

Note: Mason left meeting (resuming this piece of the agenda after the Financial Planning Committee report completed)
  1. Resolution 09-21: Request for Legislation –Simple Procedure to Accept Roads Motion to approve, passed 6-0
  2. Resolution 09-22: Establishment of Forge Park Priority Development Site Motion to approve, passed 7-0
  3. Resolution 09-23: Establishment of Franklin Industrial Park Priority Development Site Motion to approve, passed 7-0
  4. Resolution 09-24: Establishment of Pond Street Economic Opportunity Area Motion to approve, passed 7-0
  5. Resolution 09-25: Binding Offer to Provide Tax Increment Financing to “Certified Projects” Motion to approve, passed 7-0
  6. Bylaw Amendment 09-631: Chapter 82 Fees, Appendix A, List of Service Fee Rates – 2nd Reading Motion to approve, passed 6-1
Note - changed the order of events to accommodate the Rep Vallee visit and councilor schedules

Brutus - we are not putting ourselves at a relative disadvantage in the implementation of these storm water fees. Our fees are lower than engineering fees, the developers will be fairly treated. Based upon the size and scope of the project.

Vallee - in view of the conditions we are in, I will not support this project

Bylaw roll call - all for except Vallee as noted.

Live reporting - Rep Vallee

Rep Jim Vallee speaking about the legislature's budget released today. It differs from the Governor's budget in that there is less revenue to be expected now than what had been expected at the time the Governor announced.

Franklin effectively, level funded for what we received last year.
If the stimulus money does come through, there could be another $400,000 coming.

"Probably certain"

Additional revenue sources being looked at to provide tools to the local communities to help.

It has been a pleasure working with Jeff Nutting for Franklin and for all the communities that Jeff represents in his new role.

A lot of folks have stepped up to the plate to forgo pay increases this year. Thanks

Nutting - we took a hundred thousand dollar hit but on a hundred million dollar budget we can take that. The budget deficit should be under a million dollars with the teachers and the other union actions.

Live reporting - Legislation for action

Resolution 09-06: Appropriation – 2009 Capital Plan
Motion approved 7-0

Mason - apology for missing and delaying this vote, speaking for the capital approval.
Doak - seconding what Councilor Mason mentioned, if we don't do it this year, it will cost more to do this next year. Thanks to the Dept Heads for performing the due diligence on their submissions.

Nutting - purchase some used vehicles to help avoid keeping the police vehicles on the road as long as they have been.