Saturday, May 2, 2009

Message to FEA membership


Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:


via Franklin School Committee by Jeffrey Roy on 5/2/09

Several weeks ago, the School Committee requested an opportunity to speak directly with the Franklin Education Association (FEA) membership at its meeting on April 28. We did not get that opportunity. Through the two video segments below, the Franklin School Committee reaches out directly to the rank and file membership of the education union in [...]


Things you can do from here:


Parmenter PCC seeking volunteers, sponsors for 5K event

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Wicked Local Franklin News RSS by GateHouse Media, Inc. on 5/2/09

The Parmenter Run for All Ages 5K Run/Walk and Kids Panda Dash will be held on Sunday, May 31.

The 5K looped course will begin and end at Parmenter Elementary School, 235 Wachusett St. Franklin. Race start time is 10 a.m.; registration begins at 8 a.m.

A free Kids Panda Dash is set for 9 a.m.

The road race will be professionally timed by Spitler Race Systems. This event includes tee-shirts to the first 150 registered participants, awards to the top three to finish in each male/female age division, time splits and water stops. All proceeds will benefit the Parmenter PCC, which funds school-based student activities.

Organizers are seeking volunteers and local businesses/sponsors to support this community family fitness event.

For additional information go to:; contact Karen Mahon @; call 508-528-1286.

Things you can do from here:

Cafe Dolce - Kai Olsson

Enjoy some music at Cafe Dolce with Kai Olsson

Saturday 5/2/09 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Click through to listen to some samples on Kai's MySpace page

Friday, May 1, 2009

"a community treasure"


The Franklin public school system is one of the best in the nation. It has always stood high in national and state testing. All of this has not been an accident. It is the solid result of some damned good teaching over the last five decades.

I joined the Franklin school system as a teacher some 43 years ago when I graduated from college. For the next 34 years, I observed some truly dynamic growth both intellectually and in the physical school environment.

The students of Franklin have always been special. They have always had a wonderful sense of community and have always, in my experience, responded to any problem with kindness and understanding. As time passed, I saw each new generation growing in toleration and understanding. It is my considered opinion that the young people of Franklin are very special.

I have seen hundreds of gifted and dedicated people serving as faculty over the past five decades giving of themselves and to their students unselfishly.

Read the remainder of James Johnston's essay here

Monument Mosaic

In addition to the World War I monument on the Town Common, the other war monuments also have a place.

Monument Mosaic

A new monument to honor the veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict will be unveiled on Memorial Day, 2009.

Monument: World War I

The WW I "doughboy" has been cleaned up. The bronze looks brand new.

Monuments: World War I

Actually since this photo was taken, the small trees directly behind the monument have already been removed as the preparation for the new monument to be unveiled on Memorial Day continue.

If you haven't visited the monuments on the Town Common, please consider doing so.

"car crash in Bellingham"

Jenna L. Pasquino, 20, of Franklin died early this morning when the car she was driving crashed into a telephone pole, police said.

Pasquino was traveling south on North Main Street at about 2:19 a.m. when her 1998 Toyota Avalon crossed the double line, hit a telephone pole on the opposite side of the road, and flipped over, police said.

Read the remainder of the article in the Franklin Gazette here

Thursday, April 30, 2009

"it is the library's slowest day"

Posted Apr 30, 2009 @ 12:23 AM


This year's budget crunch will mean the public library will be closed on Fridays beginning the first week of July, but no staff members will lose their jobs, Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting told the Finance Committee last night.

Following the hearing, Library Director Felicia Oti left with a big smile - most likely, Nutting said, due to the fact that the library got a better deal than anyone had expected.

Initially, he and Oti feared the library would have to lay off staff and reduce hours even further - possibly leaving the library open only three or four days a week.

Friday was chosen because it is the library's slowest day, Oti said. Monday, then Saturday, are the busiest days, she said.

The library avoided layoffs because the union volunteered to defer salary increases, one employee asked to reduce her hours from 35 to 18 per week, the assistant director's hours were cut from 35 to 15, and because two people retired, Nutting said. Those positions will not be filled.

Read the full article on the Library budget in the Milford Daily News here

Slidecast: Strategic Plan Overview (audio)

The Strategic Planning Overview is now available as a slide cast. The slide show has been synchronized with audio to create a complete listening and viewing experience.

This was the presentation to the Town Council on Wednesday, April 15th.

The slidecast without audio is available here

If you have any questions, you can contact me via email (see link on right column) or via a comment.

Updated the survey is available here

FY 2010 Budget schedule

The Town website has not been updated with agendas or meeting minutes for the current series of the Finance Committee FY 2010 budget hearings. During the meeting Wednesday 4/29/09, I was able to confirm that:

There was a budget hearing on Tuesday 4/28/09 that covered the Police, Fire, Planning and Recreation budgets.

The meeting currently scheduled for next Tuesday 5/5/09 will review the School Dept, Tri-County, and IT budgets to complete the FY 2010 hearings.

The committee has their regular meeting scheduled for the first Tuesday in June at which, depending upon the State revenue numbers, they may be able to vote on the final FY 2010 budget.

If that happens, the Town Council is scheduled to do their budget hearings on June 10th and 11th. Worse case, the Town Council may need to meet on June 24th to finalize a balanced budget before June 30th.

This schedule is subject to change. The State revenue numbers are still very fluid.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Finance Committee 04/29/09

The collection of live reports for the Finance Committee meeting of Wednesday 4/29/09 are located here:

Live reporting - Enterprise Funds


157 miles of water pipe
the business is heavily regulated, EPA, etc.

Water rate had not increased in years. It did increase due to our conservation success, we are selling less but the infrastructure has not decreased and still needs to be maintained.

Chemical cost have been increasing, part of the treatment we do is pH.

$155,000 to 500,000 in the last year, due to the cost of the fluoride chemical

Roche - storm water regulations, how may that bite us?
Cantorregi - storm water monitoring for the whole system and what you can do with it. The Charles River basin catches the run off, into the Charles, then into the ocean. Ideally the water should go into the ground to replenish our aquifer. we have to do a lot more mapping, a lot more testing. Franklin, Bellingham, Milford are targeted for special planning for commercial buildings where they would be required for anything at two acres. The rest of the state is at five acres.

motion for solid waste - approved
motion for sewer - approved
motion for water - approved

Live reporting - DPW Street lights

DPW Street Lights - Acct 424

Nutting have made great savings to own and maintain our street lights, it used to be about 200,000 and this year we are only 140,000.

Roche - this is electricity?
Nutting - this is all, electricity, repair, and maintenance. We added the school parking lot and wall unit lights. We anticipate additional savings there.

Nutting - this budget should stay relatively stable. The only unknown is in some subdivisions, the street lights were not put in underground with the proper conduit, so a backhoe is sometimes needed.

Nutting - we have a committee that reviews street light criteria so we have a lot less than some other places. Not having to turn off the lights would require paying the electric company. If we wanted to shut them off, we can do so. We have about 1600 street lights.

Cantoreggi - We have a contract with the Police to survey the lights and report which ones are out. They are already out and about around the town.

Live reporting - DPW Highway

DPW Highway - Acct 440

Robert A. Cantoreggi

The DPW budget does reflect a personnel wage freeze for FY 2010.
We did not replace a person from last year.
We do supplement our force with part timers as needed
Storm water is big, we are working on that constantly.

We have been working on increasing the Snow and Ice budget to get it more realistic. This year is still low (600,000) and less than what we actually spent (1.2 million).

Road overlays come from Chapter 90 and not from the town
Stimulus money has not come down to us yet, we do have shovel ready projects.

Roche - what does it cost to pave a mile of road?
Cantoreggi - It is hard to say, it depends upon what we do with the road, to rebuild it up, or to just repave it.

Union St - mile estimated (fill in amount later)
Nutting - we have no drainage money, no sidewalk money, we want to put in 2 million and we would still be short. This is our highest need to maintain the roads. we don't have any money in the budget to maintain our roads.

Cantoreggi - There will be a huge bubble of roads over the next 15 years as they roads age and fall apart. We are doing band-aid patching and that is not going to help us.

Cantoreggi - Chapter 90 put some money in that, that is shovel ready, none of the money has come through.
Nutting - 2 Billion came to the State and there were 29 Billion requests for that money. The State has a huge list of projects and I don't know how they are going to decide.

Roche - Down $233,000 from last year
Nutting - we are going to centralize the inventory of the school furniture. Right now it is each building. A principal may be asking for something that is down the road at another school.

Motion to approve - passed

Live reporting - Facilities

Continuing the FY 2010 budget hearing

Public Facilities Acct 192

Mike D'Angelo

Jeff provides background on the Facilities arrangement since Mike started doing it on behalf of the schools.

6,300 students, all the public buildings, added hundreds of thousands of square feet to maintain, we are always looking for ways to do it better and cheaper.

Custodians did have 42 now have 32, but the buildings haven't shrunk, they have done a very good job.

You may hear people complain about the condition of the high school, the state came out and was impressed with the shape that it is in. Yes, it needs some fixing but it is working.

Consumables and parts, all prices went up, gas has come down but the prices have not
Hopefully some of the costs will maintain and not increase further
It has been a long time since I have been able to say that energy has gone down

Goldsmith -
D'Angelo - we clean FHS with 6 people, if someone is out we need to backfill

Goldsmith -
D'Angelo - I have been doing that with energy for 9 years. We bid that separately. We went to them in January and extended contracts at reduced rates. Next year electricity will be 10% less.

Cataldo - The building and rental lease is that the modulars?
D'Angelo - Yes, there is need for them in some of the buildings. These are really rental payments not lease. We should have these for a few more years.

Nutting - we are applying for a new grant to do an energy audit. If we get it, we'll do the analysis and see what we get.

Nutting - we are replacing fixtures with low water use facilities to cut down on water use. We'll relocate the facilities department to the DPW to free space for the schools and put the groups together for efficiencies. We are always looking to do things better, faster, cheaper.

Feldman - where is the grant from?
D'Angelo - From the state. NationalGrid has stepped up their programs.

Nutting - we are looking at the requirements in becoming a green community. There are zoning issues, building issues, it will be a team effort.
Feldman - there is also some Federal stimulus money there.

Roche - What was the increase at the high school?
Nutting - 30% water rate increase was part of it.
D'Angelo - in a lot of the water increase, we actually spend on irrigation of school and town fields, not on the use of the buildings itself.

Roche - HVAC contracts went up significantly
D'Angelo - we were significantly under budgeted going into this year. Remington/Jefferson is now 12 years old and that is driving my costs. The high school is driving cost due to the parts that are required.

Powderly - The HVAC increase at Horace Mann, Oak, ECDC
D'Angelo - when the budget came over from the Schools, it was broken out by school per DOE. It really is better to look at the complex rather than the schools individually. For example; Oak, Horace Mann, ECDC. I can look at 166 monitor points at the Horace Mann complex. That is good but it also means that you have 166 parts to potentially repare/replace as they go.

D'Angelo - a lot of our budget is routine maintenance. Right now we are going to make the jump into cooling, so a lot of the money is routine maintenance that pays off in the long run.

Nutting - we have purchased a work order system that will go online in JUly or thereabouts. We'll have better data to come back with an analysis on what is breaking where, and get to inventory control to keep track of what is being used

1,200,000 square feet of this one million is the schools

D'Angelo - cameras in all the new buildings, we do video recording. The town side didn't do much of that. We just implemented a buzz at the substation so if someone is not there, they get directly to the main station so a dispatcher there can view them and help them.

Roche - increases are significant, I need to take a hard look at. If we can't put food on the table, why paint the door?

D'Angelo - we take better care of our buildings by watching who goes into our buildings. we have a capital list to add a school that didn't have anything at the time it came on line. Some camera change outs have driven costs. The high school is heavily used, checking on locker access, etc. I don't see the costs sky rocketing, I do see replacements but generally what I replace cost less than what it was originally.

When I did my budget a year and a half ago, items cost far less than what they do now. We are just trying to keep up with the trash bags, toilet paper, etc.

Powderly - I am struggling with this being the only budget that was not level funded.
D'Angelo - it is actually much simpler. I pay for anything in all the buildings. No one else has that item in their budget. I don't get the choice to make a decision to tell the Library you are not getting air conditioning until July. We are doing what everbody else is doing, taking the car to the repair shops to keep it running.

Motion to approve budget (in excess of $6 million) passed