Monday, February 8, 2010

Finance Committee 02/02/10

Jeff Nutting opens with comments on the process. The capital budget effectively uses 'free cash'. The amount has varied over the past several years from $600,000 to about $3 million. Six town departments have submitted requests. There won't be a vote tonight. Some of the free cash is also to be used for snow and ice. As the Town is about to overspend the snow and ice budget and the winter is not over, we will need to wait and see what happens.

Jim Roche, Finance Committee Chair, also noted that the meeting this evening is for discussion, question and answers. There is a capital subcommittee to meet with members of Town Council, Finance and School Committees to review and prioritize the capital items before any final votes for approval.

Tim Raposa, Technology Director
1 - Town Technology - Some money for upgrade to a fiber network, some money for upgrade of desktops and laptops. The systems are warrantied for three years, they tend to keep them for four to five years, after that the maintenance expense increases and it makes more sense to replace the systems than to continue to maintain them.

Some money also for server consolidation. Reduction of servers by 60-75%. This will reduce the number of servers, HVAC for maintaining the servers, and associate other server maintenance costs.

Question on data protection - The Schools and Town systems are already protected, most of the data resides on the server and not on the laptops themselves. Education may be required to help to reinforce good practices but from a technical perspective, they are

2 - School Technology -
JFK wireless access to be wired, teacher laptops. The school was chosen as it is the least cost elementary school to do this, Parmenter would be much more. Davis Thayer with its aging facilities doesn't make sense to put it in there at this time.
smart boards for a grade level, the exact grade remains to be determined by the principals.

3 - audio visual over fiber - AV systems in various school complexes, this would be a single server for the entire district to handle a video feed and storage across the district. Centralized, a single purchase, step one. Step two would be to get display devices, like smart boards or classroom monitors. Need to start with the foundation piece and then expand with the other items.

a good bit of the enhancements are dependent upon the fiber purchase which is in the Facilities budget. The smart boards are purchased with training. The training is key for the teachers to use them effectively in the classrooms.

There was also discussion on lease versus purchase. The purchase option currently is the better option. Lease actually is less flexible and more costly over time.

Mike d'Angelo - Director Facilities
The fiber would be single mode, $350,000 total cost. Actual outlay would be $150,000 as cable would grant us $200,000 for this conversion. The fiber would be laid in a ring for redundancy. If one section breaks, the others would be still be able to bypass and continue. There are 24 threads in the connections, 2 could be used in a pair, one for transmit, one for receive. Annual rental for existing T1 lines is over $50,000 per year. The fiber costs would be less. Support would be contracted out as Franklin would own the fiber itself. Support contracts would be similar to the contracts we have for the street lights.

Replace carpeting at the Library; meeting room and local history room. Library picking up some of the costs for this. The Trustees would be picking up this with some State Aid. $20,000 is the local Franklin portion.

Digital video security systems cover the access for school buildings; key fob entrance, video captures who comes in, date/time recorded, major rooms, and entire perimeter. When Keller Sullivan was built it was done with the technology at the time but it has fallen behind now. The system was added to the other schools in 2000/2001. Keller Sullivan does not have this system. $220,000 to add this system to Keller-Sullivan to bring it to the same level of security as all the other schools.

The security system is used extensively by the principals. The doors are locked all the time, everyone is buzzed in or they can enter via the key fob.

Pavement and parking lot at Parmenter proposed to be redone at the same time by the same contractor as Wachusetts Street when it gets done this year.

We have another $3 million in pent up demand. We'd like to consider a bond issue to use some bonding capacity to provide some additional money for facilities. This might come down in the future. The School Committee would know more about Davis Thayer, will it stay open, close? The portable classrooms would need to be addressed.

We have needs for more than we have money for.

We started a program to replace the vans that do in district transportation. We replaced two last year and would like to replace two more this year. $54,000 includes lifts and special equipment to outfit them as required. We got the set of ten several years ago with a grant. This is the second year of a multiyear replacement schedule.

School Committee - Agenda - 2/09/10

Vision Statement
The Franklin Public Schools will foster within its students the knowledge and skills to find and achieve satisfaction in life as productive global citizens.
Mission Statement
The Franklin Public Schools, in collaboration with the community, will cultivate each student's intellectual, social, emotional and physical potential through rigorous academic inquiry and informed problem solving skills within a safe, nurturing and respectful environment.

1. Routine Business
• Citizen’s Comments
• Review of Agenda
• Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the Open and Executive Sessions of the January 26, 2010 School Committee Meeting.
• Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn
• Payroll Mrs. Douglas
• FHS Student Representatives
• Correspondence:  Budget to Actual

2. Guests/Presentations
a. none

3. Discussion Only Items
• none

4. Action Items
a. I recommend acceptance of a check for $3,000.00 from the Davis Thayer PCC for field trips & in-house enrichment.
b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from Lueders Environment for the district gift account for scholarships.
c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $3732.50 from the Oak St. PCC for In house enrichment as detailed.
d. I recommend acceptance of the donation of labor to fix the Davis Thayer scoreboard from Mr. Glenn Jones as detailed in the attached pictures.

5. Information Matters
• Superintendent’s Report
a. Enrollment Comparisons
b. The Backpack Bulletin – February 2010

• School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
• School Committee Liaison Reports

6. New Business
• To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

7. Executive Session
• Personnel Issue

8. Adjourn

Town Council - Agenda - 2/10/10





 - Design Review Commission



  – Senior Outreach- Update


1. Resolution 10-06: Acceptance of Gift- Franklin Library
2. Bylaw Amendment 10-641: Chapter 82; Appendix A: List of Service Fee Rates, Solid Waste and Recycling Fees – 2nd Reading





O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


In the News - benefits for Vietnam veterans

Franklin Veterans Agent Bob Fahey said 709 Franklin residents served in Vietnam between 1965 and 1975, and recently several have approached him about whether their illnesses could be connected to their service.

``What I want to do as a veterans agent is make people aware of these circumstances war creates,'' Fahey said.

He said vets must file an application proving their service in Vietnam, and provide documentation of the disease to determine whether they qualify for benefits.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Vets now qualify for Agent Orange-related illness benefits

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Franklin High School plans winter carnival and silent auction

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Wicked Local Franklin News RSS by GateHouse Media, Inc. on 2/6/10

Franklin High School 2010 Winter Carnival and silent auction will be held on Sunday, Feb. 28, 12-4 p.m., at the Franklin High School Field House.

The event for all ages will include a silent auction, featuring floor seat Celtic tickets, Red Sox tickets and more.

For information visit

All proceeds to benefit Shriners Burn Hospital, in Boston.

Things you can do from here:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In the News - drum studio, solar costs

Definitely marching to his own drummer Kris Russell, has opened his own studio to share his passion for drumming:

Drumming to his own beat

The cost of going solar is manageable and Mike Kelly can help you figure out how it can work for you

Is the cost of going solar getting lighter?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Businesses opening

1 - As pictured here earlier, Cafe Dolce is expanding to the former Choo Choo shop at the downtown Franklin/Dean College station. Conversation with BJ and his father reveals they are looking to open next week. The place has been freshly painted, tables and chairs cleaned and painted. Additional works and final permits are required but with a little luck they intend to open next week.

A better outside photo than the one in the early morning light on Thursday:

The coffee will be brewing soon:

2 - And Maguro House, a Japanese restaurant, will opening this month at the corner of the building opposite from Cafe Dolce.

Updated 2/25/10
The Grand Opening Party is scheduled for Sunday, February 28th from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

These are good signs for downtown!

In the News - lawsuit

Alleging they were victims of what their lawyer called an outrageous display of excessive force by a police officer, one current and three former students at Dean College have filed suit in federal court.
The four are seeking $1 million in damages, and have named two Franklin officers and the town as defendants.
The plaintiffs claim their constitutional rights were violated when Officer Douglas Nix drew his gun and aimed at them after pulling over their SUV on Feb. 28, 2009.

Read the remainder of the article here:

Lawsuit claims police brutality

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Friday, February 5, 2010

really going to change how the DCR does business

“The DCR forest vision draft, if ever adopted, would represent a major improvement in the state’s practices and policies for cutting on forest lands, because it would much more emphasize stewardship, habitat, recreation, and scenic values, with less emphasis on timber cutting,’’ said Gregor McGregor, a member of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, which advises local boards in communities around the state.

The draft plan represents “a paradigm shift,’’ he said, in moving land use away from timbering and toward ecosystem values.
This caught my eye although the Franklin Forest is not specifically mentioned in the article. There is a wealth of additional reading available on the DCR website here:

Last night there was a forum in Westborough, the next closest forum will be on the 11th in Taunton:

Feedback can be provided by attending one of the forums, via email or an online survey. Of course,  there is no restriction against providing feedback in all three methods.

You can read the full article in the Boston Globe West edition from Thursday

Cafe Dolce expands to train station

I took the train into Boston on Thursday for a conference and was pleased to find this sign over the door at the former Choo-Choo shop.

Jane Curran had left me know they were going to expand. I haven't caught up with BJ or Dave yet but when I do, I'll provide additional info on when they open.

Hard to believe it is almost a year ago that they opened downtown (4/13/09)! You can view the photo slide show of the opening day here

Franklin, MA: Citizens Rail Trail Committee - meeting 2/9/10

The next meeting of the FCRTC will be held at the Franklin YMCA, Forge Hill Rd. Franklin. The meeting on February 9th will commence at 7:30 PM and conclude NLT 9:30 PM.

I. Call to Order / Introductions of New Attendees

A. Introduction of new attendees
B. Volunteer to write minutes of the meeting
C. Motion to accept previous meeting minutes

II. Report from our representative from DCR

A. Gates at Spring St
B. Leveling of the Trail
C. Walking Trails

III. Membership Committee Report (Denison, McKeown, Sawyer)
A. Committee to report on membership activity

IV. Report from Finance Committee (Rossetti)
A. Report from Treasurer

VII. Report of Fund Raising Committee (Sawyer)

A. Report on fund raising activities
a. Raffle Ticket Sales
b. Road Race Committee

VIII. Report on Meeting with Franklin PLUC 2/1/10 (Svendsen)

IX. Open Discussion on Restructuring FCRTC

X. Unfinished Business:
A. Questions from members / attendees

XI. New Business:

XII. Set Date for Next Meeting and Adjourn

Additional information on the Citizens Rail Trail Committee can be found on their website

You can find prior posts on their activities by searching on Franklin Matters for "rail trail"

"build confidence in a high-pressure situation"

"It's a way to compete on a team for kids who may or may not be athletic," said Franklin mock trial team coach Mike Walsh.
Walsh, a social studies teacher at Franklin High School, said the school has recognized mock trial as a true team sport, going so far as awarding varsity letters to those who make the team.

Read the full article about mock trial teams here

Teens try their hand at the law

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Waste Discussion Recap

For a short Town Council meeting, there was a bit of interesting discussion.

The discussion started right away with Citizen's Comments
Michael Galvin, Vice-President of American Waste Services, LLC (the current waste contractor and a bidder on the new contract), also a Franklin resident spoke.

He referenced an 11 page document that apparently the Town Council received (at least some of them) and tried to condense his remarks to keep within the guidelines for citizen's comments (5 minute limit)

He didn't make it; he got cut off at five, but then was allocated another five minutes from another resident.

This is what I walked away with:

 - The contract is still under negotiation, three bidders are involved, why is this discussion in public, shouldn't the other two have equal access?

 - There is some dispute about the numbers. If the current contractor has actual numbers, why wouldn't they be considered along with the research from other communities? Why weren't the actual numbers from Franklin's experience included earlier in the discussion. (If they were, it wasn't apparent from the discussion Weds.)

 - Mr Galvin's comment should have stood alone. However, when the second piece of legislation scheduled for the meeting agenda came up for discussion, the conversation deviated from the matter at hand to get into this.

 - The second piece of legislation was the authorization of the purchase of the totters/bins to implement the single stream contract. The totters would be used no matter which of the three bidders won.

The argument by Councilor Vallee that this is the wrong time to spend any money is interesting. This is actually the best time to buy the totters (assuming we go with this single stream process). 
  • The interest rate (for financing the purchase) is as low as it can be
  • The cost for the bins will be low
  • The waste rate will actually be a cost savings for Franklin residents (from $244 to $220, a $24 savings)
  • It will be a sort of 'stimulus purchase' for the vendor who actually sells us the bins/totters, hence a really good deal, especially at this time
Given that the waste fee second reading will come before the Council soon (likely next week), this discussion will possibly be continued and revisited with more time wasted (pun intended) by some folks trying to.micro-manage the situation.

Assuming the second reading does come forward, all it is supposed to do is set the rates for the Town to charge the residents. The contract will still be negotiated sometime before the current one expires on June 30th.

Stay tuned to see what happens next week!

Town Council Mtg Smry 02/03/10

The collection of live reported posts from the Town Council meeting on Weds 2/3/10 can be found here

Senator Spilka to Hold Office Hours in Franklin; Fri - Feb 19

Senator Karen Spilka to Hold Office Hours in Franklin

Join Senator Spilka and Puja Mehta, Senator Spilka's District and Constituent Services Director, for coffee and conversation.  They will update constituents on the latest news and events, and answer any questions you may have.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Franklin: Elizabeth's Bagels and More
10:00 a.m -11:00 a.m.
456 West Central Street, Franklin