Monday, May 10, 2010

Live reporting - Finance Committee (Fire)

Present: Messere, Cataldo, Cameron, Roche, Quinn, Goldsmith, Feldman, Rivera
Absent: Maire, Huempfner, Teixeira,

Fire Dept
Chief McCarraher, Paul Sharpe

Recognizing the hard work and service of the member of the department
They are truly the source of all the success of the organization

Mission statement
(see document attached)

second year not meeting on time response
experiencing more requests for service in the north area of the town where they can not reach in time

monthly response time audit to identify barriers on a call-by-call basis, about 6% of the overall call basis

from a public safety stand point, busy is not good, ready is better for prompt response
1600 man hours of training last year, down 50% from 2008 due to budget constraints

GIS Data charts, 2007, 2008, 2009

Items not funded in FY 2010 are also currently not funded in FY 2011
Goals adjusted due to decreased staffing levels

Honor Guard not reconstituted
Hazardous response plan updated
Software upgrades completed to provide improve building and facility data

The FY 2010 budget plan document can be found here:

The document being used tonight is an updated version of the one above

Leaves 3 firefighter paramedic positions unfulfilled
reduces minimum daily staffing of firefighters and paramedics

reduction in overall responses from 84% to about 75%
response systems at 70% are deemed to be "in crisis"

a decrease in quality of service is not the fault of the men and women who are attempting to provide the services

2 in an ambulance, 3 in a truck
with on four on staff, there can't be four vehicles staffed

with people sent out of Town (i.e. carrying a patient to a hospital)
we loose the response
if we use the mutual aid transport, we loose the revenue associated with the ambulance run, est. at about $200,000-300,000 in revenue.

training was stopped in January to keep the overall budget whole and dept operating
going much longer will really hurt the training as it will be longer and more expensive to recover

discussion underway with surrounding towns to try and cover the northern area, they are anxious about the issue as their budgets are hurting and may not be able to provide service

the downtown 2-way plan could achieve about a minute improvement in response time to the northern area

this is the last year of the data plan, the largest building in the industrial park is vacant
the loss in volume from the empty building is taken up by an increase in civilian calls
our system should be 70-80 percent resting, in order to get a better response rate
to improve response, you either stop going to some calls or add additional resources

medical emergencies are the highest hitter in volume
bench mark on 8 minutes for medical emergencies due to standards, each minute after that, the response declines
for fires, once a room hits flash-point, no one survives in the room
in fire emergencies, there are usually more people involved

fire and other - covers alarm activations but none flame/medical related
the greatest risk is in the nest major emergency, I have staffed for one but when the second comes in right way, that we are at risk for

As long as our mutual aid partners don't increase their calls, then we can handle those.
If we have a very quiet year, it will be okay
If we all expect to have someone else cover for us, we'll be tight

national data shows fires decreasing, yet our own numbers are slightly increasing

Monthly response time audit, prompted by?
the inquisitive in us, want to know; our folks take it to heart
we are in the opportunity business, we need to get their quickly, not recklessly but quickly

difficult to estimate
coverage widely varied, one building fire, a piece of equipment was a $10 M loss
when do you measure the patient outcome, there is no clear consensus in the industry

regionalization, dispatch?
it is an easy buzz word, you can polarize the room quickly
shared services makes more sense, how can we, what makes sense to share
you have to have a partner, candidly we don't have partners, there is resistance to that

we are 13 of 16 in communities we benchmark against so we don't have a whole lot to loss

meetings, etc.
mostly training, contractors to do the training, not a great line for that

motion to approve, passed 7-1

we are back to 2007 level

Franklin, MA

State education mandates - the collection

From time to time, in particular around the budget period, reference is generally made to Franklin Public Schools having to support "unfunded mandates." I managed to find a listing of such compiled by the Massachusetts Association of School CommitteesThe series of posts on State Education Mandates can be found here:

Franklin, MA

FM #67 - Week Ending 5/9/10

Let's take about ten minutes to review what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends May 9, 2010.

Time: 10 minutes, 30 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:

This internet radio show or podcast
Number 67 in the series for Franklin Matters.

Let's take about 10 minutes to review what matters in Franklin, MA as this week comes to a close on Sunday May 9th.

In this session I'll cover the Planning Board meeting on Monday and the Finance Committee meetings on Tuesday and Thursday as they conducted their budget hearings. I missed reporting live from the  Town Council meeting on Wednesday. I did catch up to the meeting via the video on demand archive and will cover the highlights from that.  To close, I'll do a brief outlook at the week ahead

The Planning Board continued the hearing on Van Roon Chiropratic. Citizens presented a petition with 175 signatures objecting to the special permit. If approved, the special permit would increase traffic at least by 64 trips to handle the patient in/outs to the office on a road too narrow for such volume and already under pressure from the existing traffic near  intersection (RT 140).

They also continued the hearing on the Big Y although this seems closer to approval, the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting should be interesting.

The Crossways Church application for 282 Summer St was approved.

The posts with the details of the Planning Board meeting can be found here:

The Finance Committee held two budget hearings this week to get into the details of each departments requests.

The details for the Tuesday meeting can be found here

The details for the Thursday meeting can be found here:

I chimed in on the Milford Daily News website to provide details in answer to some commenters questions:

One said the Police department was overstaffed due to the presence of four officers on the i495/King St construction site. I responded:
The police working in the construction zone at the i495/King St intersection are working detail duty. They are off-police hours. They are paid by the contractor for their hours of duty. The money goes to the Town, the Town pays the police, and Franklin actually makes some money on the deal. About $16,000/per year as a net income from all the police detail per the discussion at the Finance Committee budget hearing on Thursday evening, May 6th.

Another asked about the time line for the override this year and the high school renovation project. I responded:
The override vote on June 8th will provide funds for the operating budget, the annual expenses of the daily operations for Franklin beginning July 1. The high school renovation project will generate a debt exclusion for a specific period. The dollar amount and the period remain to be determined by the State. According to Jeff Nutting's update at Town Council meeting on April 28th, the debt exclusion vote would come around Nov 2011. The construction could begin in 2013 and the actual increase in our taxes would not hit until 2015. 
According to the Financial Planning Committee or long term planning report, Franklin faces a shortage of $3m for 2011 (hence the override) a shortage of $5.5 M for 2012, a shortage of 7.0 M for 2013, a shortage of 8.3 M for 2014. So even if this override passes, yes, there could very well be more overrides in our future. 
We have spent too many years cutting. We need to increase revenues period. Some of that will be generated by the empty and underutilized industrial/commercial space. Some of that should come from the pockets of Franklin taxpayers. 

As I did catch up to completely view the Town Council meeting from Weds 5/5, I was heartened to hear the last seven minutes, especially during the Council Comments.

Chair Scott Mason addressed Council McGann's (who was absent Wednesday's meeting) comment during the prior  meeting (Apr 28th) that he (McGann) would bringing forth a presentation on Town waste. Scott requested  Jeff Nutting  to allocate time on the agenda to have this covered; “this presentation, if there is anything to it, needs to be addressed before the override.”

Councilor Vallee said "there is no waste in this town"

The meeting adjourned and as the meeting video ends Councilor Vallee  is heard to say, "If they do find anything, they won't find much I'll tell you."

I suggest that you spend a few minutes to hear the last seven minutes of the Town Council meeting yourself.  This should help to address some of the negative comments .

follow this link to the on demand video

This week will be a busy one.

Momday, the Finance Committee closes their budget hearings
Tuesday, the School Committee meets

Wednesday, provides a real opportunity to make a choice with three events running at the same time.
In the Council Chambers, Downtown Revitalization Project  (corrected, should be Third Floor, Training Room) (The next EPA meeting on the 24th is scheduled for the Council Chambers, I got them mixed up)
In Room 205 Financial Planning Committee
At Tri-County, EPA will hold a public hearing on storm water mitigation changes that could require the communities of Franklin, Bellingham and Milford to spend up to $70 million to reduce phosphorus in storm water before it reaches the Charles River.

I'll go with the EPA hearing at Tri-County. The Downtown project should be on cable and I can catch the replay. The Financial Planning meeting will be 'lost' but such is life and tough choices. Even with the correction for the Downtown Project to be held in the Training Room on the 3rd Floor, I'll still go with the EPA meeting. Bigger amount of money involved!

What will you do this week?

As I close this session this week, let me remind you that
If you like what I am doing here, please tell your friends and neighbors
If you don’t like something, please tell me

Thank you for listening!

For additional information, please visit

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!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to listen to the audio recording

"you can take that step with more confidence"

It's a difficult time for anyone, but with a Job Search Jam Session this Friday, the quest for employment will become a little less lonely.

"By the end of the session, you should have more knowledge, more confidence and more contacts, so when you go make the next step in your job search, you can take that step with more confidence, more skill and maybe that additional network connection to take you where you want to be," said event organizer Steve Sherlock.

From 1 to 4:30 Friday afternoon, Sherlock invites "the laid-off, employed but looking to do something different and underemployed looking to get a full-time spot" to the Job Search Jam Session - a networking event that provides tools and contacts to those on the job hunt.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here:

You can register here:

Note: You can pay via PayPal or credit card in advance or select "show other payment options" to reserve your ticket and pay at the door. Either way, your reservation will help us plan for the amount of people to expect that day.

Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee Meeting - Agenda

Proposed Agenda for May 11, 2010
Location: Franklin YMCA 45 Forge Hill Road
Start Time: 7:30PM

I. Call to Order / Introductions of New Attendees
A. Introduction of new attendees
B. Review of minutes of previous meeting
C. Approve previous meeting minutes

II. Report from our representative from DCR
A. Eagle Scout Kiosk Project

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

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

V. Report of Fund Raising Committee (Sawyer)
A. Report on fund raising activities
a. Report on Raffle Ticket Sales by Carl Svendsen
b. Report Road Race Committee prep by Dave Labonte

VI. Report from Grant Writing Committee (if any)
A. Extend committee with more members & participation

VII. Unfinished Business

VIII. New Business
A. Need volunteers to work on the 2nd edition brochure

IX. Set Date & place for Next Meeting and Adjourn

The Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee website can be found here

Franklin, MA

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Town Council - 05/05/10

The collection of posts on the Town Council meeting held Wednesday, May 5th and reported on by viewing the on demand video archive can be found here:

Town Council: Franklin Recreational Advisory Board...

Town Council: Spilka, Vallee update

Town Council: road repair funding

Town Council - hazard mitigation

Town Council: Legislation

Town Council: Closing items

Franklin, MA

Town Council: Closing items

Old business
Powderly - update requested to families where elderly have deferred taxes, the rate is small and following what Franklin pays, but jumps up after a brief period to 16%. The incentive for the family is to pay it off quickly.

New business
Vallee - street opening bylaw, working very well, it is well enforced
if a company opens a street so far, then they should pave curb-to-curb
The MMA has sponsored some legislation that has been pending for 30 years (per Cerel)
Can we get a letter for the Council to sign to send to our legislators to request action on this?

Councilor Comments
Mason - addressing Council McGann's (who is absent tonight) mention at last meeting (Apr 28th) about bringing forth a presentation on Town waste, requesting Jeff to allocate time on the agenda to have this covered, this presentation if there is anything to it, needs to be addressed before the override.

Vallee - "there is no waste in this town"
as the meeting breaks, Vallee is heard to say, "if they find anything, they won't find much I'll tell you."

To hear the last seven minutes of the Town Council meeting as summarized above, follow this link to the on demand video

Franklin, MA

Town Council: Legislation

1. Resolution 10-20: Authorization to Transfer A Portion of Franklin’s Excess Sewer Capacity At Charles River Treatment Plant to Towns of Millis and Bellingham

A good way to increase funds in the Sewer/Water enterprise account and reduce the annual expense as well as our share of the capital renovations being planned
We have excess capacity of 1.2M gallons per day and would still have excess after this to over future growth

motion to approve - passed 7-0

2. Resolution 10-21: Appropriation – Snow and Ice Deficit
went over the budget as expected, slowly building the budget up to the working average

motion to approve - passed 7-0

3. Resolution 10-22: Appropriation – Election Expenses
$10,000 requested to cover the special override election on June 8th. This election is totally funded by Franklin as opposed to other state and special senate elections where we get some reimbursement from the State.

motion to approve - passed 7-0

Note - Items 3 and 4 went before the Finance Committee on Tuesday 5/4/10 and were approved by a 9-0 vote. According to the video, Jeff Nutting remembered the vote as 8-0.

Franklin, MA

Town Council - hazard mitigation

4. Resolution 10-23: Adoption of Hazard Mitigation Plan
work has been completed, FEMA has approved, a formality for the Council to approve

motion to approve, passed 7-0

Franklin, MA

Town Council: road repair funding

Jeff Nutting in a follow up question from the prior meeting asked how the $3 M override would be allocated. Currently for the amount before the voters, 1.8 would go to the schools; 300,000 would go to the Town; where would the other $900,000 go?

Scott Mason proposes that the $900,000 go to a separate fund at least for the next two years for road repair.

Repair of Wachusett St cost = $1 M
Proposal for Pleasant St would cost = $9 M

Roads are a huge unmet need. Currently other than Chap 90, there is no local funding for road repair.
15 M could cover 10 miles of roads but we have 200 miles of roads.

This would at least be a start to address the need.

Franklin, MA

Town Council: Spilka, Vallee update

Senator Karen Spilka,  Rep Jim Vallee provide an update on the Senate and House efforts to provide local aid.

Spilka - working on new legislation for the local hotel and motel taxes to be kept under a new regional group rather than going into Boston. This will help to advertise the local cultural assets and businesses that make this area special.

Vallee - Absent the economy rebounding quickly, we are not getting out of this quickly. We will need to continue to look at structural changes. A town the size of Franklin with a school system the size of Lowell, is a big challenge. I have fought very hard for full day kindergarten, it is so critical to provide education at the earliest level for kids.

You can view the video on demand from the Town website here

Note: I am continuing to catch up the Town Council meeting of 5/5/10 video the video on demand link provided above.

Franklin, MA

Finance Committee - 05/10/10 - Agenda

The Finance Committee continues it annual budget hearing Monday evening at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers.

On Tuesday (5/4), they reviewed the budgets of the Town Clerk, Board of Health, Board of Assessors, Information Technology, Facilities, and School Department.

You can find a detail summary of the discussion here:

On Thursday (5/6), they reviewed the budgets of the Veterans, Senior Center, Police and parking meters, Library, and Recreation. They completed these items early and covered the following Animal control and Tri-County. These two topics had been scheduled for Monday the 10th.

You can find a detail summary of the discussion here:

On Monday evening (5/10), the following departments are scheduled for review:
Street lights 
Enterprise funds 

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: School Committee Agenda - 5/11/10

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 Open Session minutes from the April 27, 2010 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn
Payroll Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives

1. Budget to Actual & Transfers
2. Corrected NEASC letter

2. Guests/Presentations
a. DESE Coordinated Program Review Report
Sally Winslow, Beth Fitzmaurice and Michele Kingsland-Smith,

3. Discussion Only Items
School Choice
First Reading - Policy JJFG Disposition of Student Activity Account
Further FY11 Budget Discussion

4. Action Items
a. I recommend approval of the request of Anne Bergen for the field trip to Roger Williams Zoo on June 10, 2010 as detailed.
b. I recommend acceptance of the donation of $500.00 from the Keller PCC for field trips for Keller students.
c. I recommend not participating in the school choice program for the 2010-2011 school year.

5. Information Matters

Superintendent’s Report
a. Enrollment Comparison for April 2009-2010
b. Bullying Law
c. School Choice

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
Contractual Negotiations

8. Adjourn

In the News - downtown feedback sought

Franklin looking for comments on downtown changes

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

"The project is expected to be completed by 2012, and is being funded through state and federal grants. The town is now working to submit its 25-percent plan stage to the state for approval." 

Franklin, MA

Beaver Pond - concession stand under construction

Inquiring minds could speculate that Franklin is spending big bucks to build a new concession stand with rest rooms at Beaver Pond. But they would be incorrect.

Folks may recall that when Beaver Pond was re-done, the old building came down. There were several tries to put it out to bid but the bids were too expensive.

Franklin has gotten creative in the solution to this desire of getting a building for nominal cost. The answer?
Tri-County Regional Vocational High School.

The labor will be provided by the students under the guidance of their teachers (all qualified and certified). The students will get practical school experience.

Franklin will obtain a building for the cost of the materials required.

It will take some time to complete. The foundation has been laid but school gets out soon, so the work likely will resume in the fall.

It will be good quality work, reasonably done with an educational benefit! A real win-win.

This information was brought to light during the budget hearing on Thursday, May 6 and my notes can be found here:

The on demand video link to this portion of the budget hearing can be found here:

Franklin, MA