Monday, September 13, 2010

Lincoln Street Construction - Closed Weds 9/15

RE: Lincoln Street Construction

Lincoln Street from Maple Street to Sherman Avenue in Franklin, MA, will be closed to through Traffic on Wednesday, September 15, 2010, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

This section of Lincoln Street will be open for local traffic and emergency vehicles during this period.

From the Franklin, MA website

Sunday, September 12, 2010

FM #72 - Week Ending 9/12/10

Let's take less than 10 minutes to find out what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends Sep 12, 2010.

Time: 7 minutes, 10 seconds

MP3 File

Show Notes

Let's take less than 10 minutes to review the week ending Sep 12 here in Franklin, MA. Hurricane Earl has already faded into memory, Labor Day and 9/11 have come and gone. Importantly, the first full week of school begins this Monday.

So what should you know from the past week?

The Finance Committee met on Tuesday providing a preview of some of the topics for the Town Council meeting on Wed.

The major action item for discussion was the proposal for $140,000 to move from the debt stabilization account for the Del Carte final design and permits.

The overall presentation to the FINCOM and on Weds to the Town Council was lacking. The presentation attempted to keep it short and sweet. It was short but left too many questions to be asked. It was passed by the FINCOM but postponed by the Town Council until their meeting on 9/29.

The short story is there are seven dams and ponds on the DelCarte property that was donated to Franklin several years ago. There was originally a stream running through the property. It was dammed to create several ponds initially to try as cranberry bogs, then for a fish hatchery. The dams have breached and no longer hold back the water as they should Two of the dams are of size and concern to be registered with the State. Analysis of the work required to repair some of the dams has been reduced from over $3 million to just over $1 million. This takes care of the immediate work required. It does not include the creation of hiking trails to enable further recreational use of this splendid opportunity.

I met with Franklin's Conservation Agent Nick Alfieri and Conservation Commissioner Jeff Livingstone to walk some of the property to help my understanding of the problems and opportunities.

Prior post on the DelCarte property

The Conservation Commission heard the proposals for securing the dams on the DelCarte property along Pleasant St. I need to do more to understand the proposals and implications but be aware that something with dollars associated is being discussed. You can view the meeting and proposal options here

and here

My notes from the FINCOM meeting can be found here

The Town Council met on Wednesday. Amongst the action items were some clean up of bond authorizations no longer needed. The major discussion took place on the DelCarte proposal which was reported on here:

The Sep 29th meeting will be a good one. The public hearing for the Downtown Improvement Project is scheduled as well as a presentation and further discussion on the DelCarte proposal.

The full set of notes from the Town Council meeting can be found here

Worthy of note for further discussion, the proposed charter changes were approved by the Legislature and Governor in time to make the ballot for this November.

The text of the changes can be viewed here:

What's coming up this week?

The Planning Board meets on Monday, their agenda is available.
The School Committee meets on Tuesday, I have not seen their agenda. It is not available on their website as this gets prepared.

The Franklin Downtown Partnership general meeting is Thursday morning. The new website will be reviewed with the group. To help advertise the new site and to gather input on the Downtown Improvement Project, stay tuned for the release of a survey question on the one-way versus two-way traffic option. You'll have a chance to have your say in that matter.

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 and Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!

Schools sharing $250m

Franklin is one of those communities that choose NOT to participate in the Race to the Top program (although it is not listed here).

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Boston Globe -- Globe West by Christine Legere, Globe Correspondent on 9/11/10

School districts that agreed to a list of educational initiatives contained in the state's application for federal Race to the Top funds will be sharing in $250 million awarded to Massachusetts.

Add to Facebook Add to Twitter Add to digg Add to StumbleUpon Add to Reddit Add to Email this Article

Massachusetts - United States - Education - Race to the Top - New Hampshire

Things you can do from here:

Prior post on the Race to the Top decision

EPA to help towns meet run-off rules

The Globe is catching up on 'old news":

via Boston Globe -- Globe West by Rachel Lebeaux, Globe Correspondent on 9/11/10

Three area communities will get expert help as they struggle to comply with a US Environmental Protection Agency directive to reduce phosphorous runoff into the Charles River.

Prior posts on the proposed new EPA regulation

Museum open for Harvest Festival

The Franklin Historic Museum will be a part of the Downtown Harvest Festival on Sunday, September 26th from 11:00am to 4:00pm

We will offer free apple cider on the front porch along with a bake sale sponsored by the Friends of the Franklin Historical Museum. If you would like to make a donation of bake good for our event, it would be very much appreciated. You may drop it off at the museum on Sunday the 26th in the morning. This will be our first fundraiser and funds will be used to offer programs during the year at the museum.

We are also planning to show films from the early 50s during the day. Stop by and see if you can recognize yourself or someone that you may know. Outside the museum, in our parking lot, we will have some antique cars for you to view.

All in all, it will be a very pleasant day to visit the new Franklin Historical Museum.

See you there!

Franklin Historical Commission

Prior posts on the Museum:

Franklin, MA

Reflection: Half staff

Weekend time is always a good for reflection. Saturday, Sep 11 provided an opportunity to be a poignant one. The reflection on the Franklin Municipal building entrance of the flag flying half mast staff was one of the scenes I caught on camera.

Updated 9/12/10 8:00 PM

Most common usage incorrectly refers to 'half mast' when it should be 'half staff'. Half staff should be used when the flag pole is on land. Half mast should be used when the flag pole in on a ship. Thanks to the reader who raised this question and got me to learn something more about the flag today.

The full set of rules and regulations around display and handling of the US flag can be found here.

Franklin, MA

The sign is gone

It didn't take long to remove the sign for which that complaint was lodged at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday. Walking about for Franklin Photo Saturday, I checked on the Town Common and the sign previously found there was no longer around.

It was a glorious day for being out and about. I hope you all enjoyed your day.

Franklin, MA

Q&A - Glenn Jones on Haiti

I (FM) followed up with Glenn Jones (GJ) to find out more about his trip to Haiti. We exchanged email to complete the question and answers to share here:

FM - What memory from your first trip to Haiti lingered/lingers the most?
GJ - It was the third day of the Mission trip. I was working with my crew installing conduits for a new electrical generator, when ‘Sue’, one of the medical crew comes up to me asking to use my cell phone. She appeared rather distraught and I asked what was bothering her. She cried while explaining to me that a baby that came into the medical clinic just died. She talked about how she had assured the mother that all should be well, the baby had an elevated temperature and short of breath. The Baby had a chest infection. Not long after the mother left to wait outside the baby went into cardiac arrest. Sue mentioned how this should never have happened. If this were America so much more could have been done to save the baby, but it was not. The Medical clinics have extremely limited resources and the Hospitals are so far away and understaffed them selves. We said a prayer for the baby that night at dinner.

FM - Why go back to Haiti?
GJ - I am heading back to Haiti on October 16th to continue the work I started during my March trip. No matter how much I may be able to contribute to the rebuilding of Haiti, it is just a mere scratch on the surface. An estimated 230,000 people were killed during the January 2010 earthquake. Most of those deaths were caused by falling buildings and houses. Donating my experience and skills as an electrician to the devastated people of Haiti is the least I can do.

FM - Why go now?
GJ - Things have not really improved much since the January Earthquake. The Haitian people are just as much in need of our help today as they were the days following the quake. The Media has grown bored covering Haiti’s destruction and despair and has moved on to other international problems, like Iran building a nuclear power plant. However, we can not allow ourselves to forget those who are very much in dire need of International attention. So, why now? Because there is no better time than the present to help.

FM - How can someone help you in this effort?
GJ - A small donation goes a long way in helping me help Haiti. All donations have an immediate and direct impact. Unlike larger National Relief Organizations that have to jump through hoops to get things done, my Mission Trip this October will bring help as soon as I step off the plane. I simply need to raise the funds necessary to pay for a round trip flight and accommodations while in Haiti. Also, additional funding will go to support Mission E4’s continued efforts in Haiti. Please visit Mission E4 at . Donations can be made directly to me. Glenn Jones – 172 School St. – Franklin, MA, 02038 – 508-439-7011

FM - Is there anything you'd like to add to this?
GJ - I would like to thank everyone that helped me in March and those that are helping now. I know for certain that the Haitian people are much appreciative of Mission E4’s continued support. It is never to late to help. Take a look around someday and see who may need you. Help is needed everywhere you look. There is no need to go as far as Haiti to help people. Find a local organization and start participating today in your Community; Senior Center, Franklin Food Pantry, and many others. Doing God’s work is what it is all about.

Related posts on Glenn Jones can be found here:

Franklin, MA

Understanding Our Tax System: A Primer for Active Citizens

The 'primer' referenced here is some serious but highly informative reading. 87 pages worth. Get a fresh cup of your favorite beverage, sit down and cruise through this.

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Contact Info

  Noah Berger

  (617) 426-1228 x102

  Tom Benner
  Communications Director
  (617) 426-1228 x100

Understanding Our Tax System:
A Primer for Active Citizens

September 9, 2010

A newly updated resource offering a comprehensive overview of the Massachusetts tax system is now available at

Understanding Our Tax System: A Primer for Active Citizens provides tools for everyone who wants a solid understanding of how the Massachusetts tax system works.

The primer explains the five principal criteria used to assess a tax system.  It provides an overview of the Commonwealth's current tax system, describing how much revenue is collected from the most important categories of state and local taxes.  Placing the Massachusetts tax system in a broader context, the primer shows how Massachusetts compares to other states and to the U.S. as a whole, and how the Commonwealth's system has changed over time.

Finally, the primer provides a closer look at each of the six major kinds of taxes which together compose the Massachusetts tax system, trying to answer a number of basic questions: How does each of these taxes work and how much revenue does it raise?  How has each of these taxes changed over time?  How does each of these taxes affect different income groups?

The tax primer is available at or by clicking here.

In addition, individual fact sheets are available on the income tax, the sales tax, the alcohol tax, tax fairness, and the "Taxachusetts" label.

See MassBudget's Budget Browser to explore Massachusetts state budgets from Fiscal Year 2001 to the present, as well as budget proposals offered by the Governor and the Legislature.

MassBudget provides independent research and analysis of state budget and tax policies, as well as economic issues, with particular attention to the effects on low- and moderate-income people.

Well, what did you think?

Does this help paint the big picture on taxes in MA?

Franklin, MA

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Municipal Calendar

The MA Dept of Revenue (DOR) publishes the Municipal Calendar so that each community government can plan accordingly. I have shared this here previously and will new readers joining us, think that this quarterly update is appropriate. While we see little of the work that all of the folks in the Municipal Bldg do for us in Franklin, this should give a good indication of some things that go on behind the scenes.

Municipal Calendar

September 15: Accountant/Assessors Jointly Submit Community Preservation Surcharge Report This report (CP-1) is a statement of the prior year’s net Community Preservation Surcharge levy, and is used to distribute state matching funds on October 15.

September 30: Taxpayer Last Filing Day for Classified Forest Land, M.G.L. Ch. 61

September 30: Municipal and District Treasurer/Collector Compensating Balance Report If compensating balance accounts were maintained during the prior fiscal year, a report and account analysis schedules are required.

September 30: Accountant/Superintendent/School Committee Jointly Submit End of Year Report to the ESE Schedule 1 — determines compliance with prior year Net School Spending requirement. Schedule 19 — determines compliance with current year Net School Spending requirement.

September 30 Accountant Submit Snow and Ice Report This report is a statement of snow and ice expenditures and financing sources.

September 30: Treasurer 4th Quarter Reconciliation of Cash for the Previous Fiscal Year (due 45 days after end of quarter or upon submission of a balance sheet for free cash/excess and deficiency certification, whichever is earlier) A reconciliation is the process of comparing the Treasurer’s accounts to the Accountant’s/ Auditor’s or Schools Business Manager’s ledger balance to determine if they are consistent, and for the officials to make any necessary corrections. When the reconciliation is complete, the Accountant/Auditor/School Business Manager should indicate agreement with the Treasurer’s balances. Reconciliations are required every quarter by DOR, but communities and school districts should reconcile monthly for their own purposes. The fourth quarterly report as of June 30 must be completed and returned to DOR. The first three quarterly reports of the fiscal year should be completed timely and filed in both the Treasurer’s and Accountant’s/Auditor’s or School Business Manager’s offices for possible BOA inspection or audit. Municipalities and school districts may also use these reports to monitor cash practices of the Treasurer’s office. If the Accountant/Auditor/School Business Manager and Treasurer are not consistently reconciling cash accounts, or if the reconciliations indicate variances, the Mayor, Selectmen or School Committee should inquire as to the reasons.

September 30: Treasurer Statement of Indebtedness Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 44, Sec. 28 requires the Director of Accounts to maintain complete and accurate records of indebtedness by cities, towns and districts. This statute also requires Treasurers to furnish any other information requested by the Director in respect to the authorization and issuance of loans. This Statement is the annual report required from Treasurers to accomplish this purpose. Treasurers should reconcile their debt records with the Accountant/Auditor before filing the Statement of Indebtedness to ensure that the Statement and balance sheet are in agreement.

September 30 State Treasurer Notification of Quarterly Local Aid Payments on or Before September 30 When local aid payments are transmitted to communities, the cover letter indicates what funds (e.g., Ch. 70, Lottery) will be made available, less quarterly assessments (see Cherry Sheet attachment for details).

October 1: Collector Mail Semi-Annual Tax Bills For communities using the regular semi-annual payment system, actual tax bills or optional preliminary bills should be mailed by this date.

October 1: Taxpayer Semi-Annual Preliminary Tax Bill — Deadline for Paying Without Interest According to M.G.L. Ch. 59, Sec. 57C, this is the deadline for receipt of the preliminary tax payment without interest in communities using the annual preliminary tax billing system, unless the bills were mailed after August 1. If mailed after August 1, the payment is due November 1, or 30 days after the bills were mailed, whichever is later.

October 1: Taxpayer Deadline for Applying to Have Land Classified as Agricultural/Horticultural Land or Recreational Land, M.G.L. Ch. 61A and Ch. 61B. According to M.G.L. Ch. 61A, Sections 6 and 8, and Ch. 61B, Sections 3 and 5, this is the deadline to apply to assessors to have land valued, taxed and classified as agricultural/horticultural or recreational land in the next fiscal year, unless a revaluation program is being conducted for that fiscal year. Under M.G.L. Ch. 59, Section 38 and DOR guidelines, assessor must review all property valuations and make adjustments to ensure current fair cash valuations every year. Because a revaluation program is being conducted every year, taxpayers who do not submit their applications by October 1 have until 30 days after the actual tax bills for the fiscal year are mailed to apply.

October 15: Superintendent Submit School Foundation Enrollment Report to DESE

October 31: Accountant Submit Schedule A for Prior Fiscal Year This report is a statement of the revenues received, expenditures made and all other transactions related to the town’s finances during the previous fiscal year. The Schedule A classifies revenues and expenditures into detailed categories that will provide information essential for an analysis of revenues and expenditures generated by various departments. This data, like other financial information reported to DOR, is entered into DOR’s Municipal Data Bank; as such, the Department may provide time series, comparative and other types of analyses at the request of a city or town. This information is also sent to the US Census Bureau and eliminates a prior federal reporting requirement. Failure to file by October 31 may result in withholding major distributions of state aid until the Schedule A is accepted by BOA.

October 31: Selectmen Begin Establishing Next Fiscal Year Budget Guidelines and Request Department Budgets

October 31: Assessors Begin Work on Tax Rate Recapitulation Sheet (to set tax rate for annual preliminary tax bill communities) A community that uses the annual preliminary tax bill system (on a quarterly or semiannual basis) should begin gathering tax recap information in order to have enough time for the tax rate to be set and tax bills mailed by December 31. See August’s Complete Tax Rate Recapitulation Sheet.
November 1: Taxpayer Semi-Annual Tax Bill — Deadline for First Payment According to M.G.L. Ch. 59, Sec. 57, this is the deadline for receipt of the first half semi-annual tax bills or the optional preliminary tax bills without interest, unless bills were mailed after October 1, in which case they are due 30 days after mailing.

November 1: Taxpayer Semi-Annual Tax Bills — Application Deadline for Property Tax Abatement According to M.G.L. Ch. 59, Sec. 59, applications for abatements are due on the same date as the first actual tax installment for the year.

November 1: Taxpayer Quarterly Tax Bills — Deadline for Paying 2nd Quarterly Tax Bill Without Interest

November 1: Treasurer Deadline for Payment of First Half of County Tax

November 15: Treasurer First Quarter Reconciliation of Cash

November 15: DESE Notify Communities/Districts of Any Prior Year School Spending Deficiencies By this date, or within 30 days of a complete End of Year Report (see September 30), ESE notifies communities/districts in writing of any additional school spending requirements.

November 30: Selectmen Review Budgets Submitted by Department Heads This date will vary depending on dates of town meeting.

This calendar was provided by the Division of Local Services

Franklin, MA

Friday, September 10, 2010

Franklin Photo Day - Sat, Sep 11

  1. Take your camera
  2. Walk Main St
  3. Take some photos
  4. Share them on

Unlike last weekend, Labor Day weekend complicated by the remains of Earl, the weather this weekend looks to be much better.

Spend sometime with your camera walking along Main St (or your street) and take some photos of the environment around you.

What do you see?
How long has it been there?
Will it, could it change?

Share them on the Mapping Main St link. There are currently no entries for Franklin, MA.

Will you be the first?

And while you are walking around, if you see someone else with a camera, stop and introduce yourself.

Franklin, MA

Charter Changes - ballot question text

Jeff Nutting sent this along to share with you. This should be the text for the two ballot questions that Franklin voters will get to cast their ballot on in November:


Question #1 Summary:

The proposed changes to the Franklin Charter contained in Sections 1-7, 10-13, and 15-25 of the Home Rule legislation include updates to various provisions to comply with existing law or to reflect current municipal practice; they also include several technical corrections.
The major changes are summarized as follows: redefining duties of Town Council Clerk to comply with Open Meeting and Public Records laws, providing the Town Council with the ability to reorganize itself and flexibility in scheduling meetings, clarifying the Town Administrator's authority and duties including his appointing authority, updating the listing of standing committees and appointed positions to eliminate obsolete ones, provision for both a temporary and acting town administrator if the town administrator is absent or the position is vacant, reduction of the finance committee from eleven to nine members and updating of the process for their appointment, updating of annual budget and financial planning processes, elimination of obsolete section governing personnel suspension and removals, and elimination of obsolete transitional provisions in connection with charter's original adoption and prior amendment.

Question #2 Summary:

The proposed changes contained in Sections 8, 9, 14 and 26 of the Home Rule legislation eliminate Treasurer-Collector as an elected position and make it an appointed one; the appointment will be made by the Town Administrator and ratified by the Town Council as is presently the case for all other town officers except the Town Clerk. A transitional provision allows the incumbent Treasurer-Collector to continue in office until the end of his elected term.

Franklin, MA

Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee Meeting - Agenda - 9/14/10

Proposed Agenda for Sept. 14, 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 & approve minutes of previous meeting
C. Ask for volunteer to keep minutes of meeting

II. Report from our representative from DCR
A. Gates & Grading
B. Sheet of Acrylic Glass & Painting of Kiosk. What information can we place under the Glass?

III. Membership Committee Report
Committee to report on membership activity
Corporate Membership questions & policy decisions

IV. Report from Finance Committee
Report from Treasurer

V. Report of Fund Raising Committee
Report on fund raising activities
Report Road Race Committee

VI. Report from Grant Writing Committee
A. Chris & Dave to Grant Writing Workshop on Sept 17th

VII. Report on addition of Network Solutions as our new web site hosp provider
Remote monitoring
Navigation & Links

VII. Unfinished Business:
Discuss proposed meeting with Scott Brown
Build business plan
Who to attend & when

VIII. New Business:
SWAP Legislative Breakfast slated for Sept 24th. Invitation from Beth Dahlstrom to Comm Chair and one other.

IX. Set Date & place for Next Meeting and Adjourn

Franklin, MA

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Franklin on Chronicle - Monday, Sep 13 at 7:30 PM

You may recall that Chronicle came to record in Franklin during August. The word is out now that the Franklin town segment on Chronicle will air Monday, September 13th 7:30 PM on Channel 5 TV

Franklin, MA

Charter Changes - Approved by Governor

The changes to Franklin's charter were approved by Governor Patrick and are confirmed to be on the November ballot. The November election will give Franklin voters the chance to approve or reject the changes as proposed.

The actual PDF (Chapter 331 Acts of 2010) as signed by the House, Senate and Governor can be viewed here:

This will result in two ballot questions to appear on the November ballot. The text of those questions will be published here as well.


My reporting from Town Council meetings earlier this year on the Charter changes can be found here

1 - Charter revisions reviewed by subcommittee 

2 - Charter revisions got a formal hearing 

3 - Charter changes approved by a 6-2 vote (Jones, Zollo, voted no – Vallee was absent) 

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the document.

Franklin, MA