Thursday, January 6, 2011

We need to talk, with respectful voices

... there are some very serious long-term economic trends that are absolutely ripping apart the U.S. middle class. For example, did you know that even though our population has been growing at a brisk pace we have lost about ten percent of our middle class jobs over the past decade? The vast majority of jobs that have been created have been low paying service jobs.
We now have hordes of highly educated young people that are waiting tables and that are welcoming customers to Wal-Mart. Without good paying jobs there is no middle class, but today American corporations are actually creating more jobs overseas than they are inside the United States. This has helped pad the profits of the big corporate fatcats, but it has been devastating for middle class communities across the United States.
Sounds of doom and gloom resonate through this piece. I do think it is important to look at the big picture. I do think there are structural changes underway in our economy that will become real obvious AFTER they have fully taken effect. We'll look back and say, "Wow, so that is what was happening!"
Times are hard and they are going to get harder, but that doesn't mean that you can't thrive in the middle of all this. Hopefully we can all take this as a wake up call. We all need to work harder, become less wasteful, become more independent and stop living as if the good times are going to last forever.
We can rant and rave against the facts. WE CAN RAISE OUR VOICES AGAINST EACH OTHER! Or we can talk, calmly and thoughtfully about what is happening.

This is where our choice really will make a positive change for the good. Let's recognize that we are in this together. Let's recognize that we can work together to make sense of this. Let's recognize that perhaps you do have a good idea. Perhaps there is a better way through collaboration, cooperation, coordination and civil discussion!

What do you think are our chances are?

You can continue reading the full article here

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Live reporting - Long Range Financial Planning Committee

Present: Doug Hardesty, Deb Bartlett, Orrin Bean, John Hogan, Ken Harvey, Craig DiMarzio, Graydon Smith, Tina Powderly (ex officio), Jeff Nutting (ex officio)
Absent: none

meeting opened after the committee was sworn in by Town Clerk Deb Pellegri

the group made a round of introductions

draft charter presented for discussion and revision, 'strawman'

focus on the facts and details of the financial issues

when decisions are made that will affect a multi-year outlook, the committee should be able to weigh in on those in a timely manner; would not be focusing on the day-to-day operational items, the Town Council has the oversight of the Administrator, who in turn directs the activities of the town departments.

what are the cost drivers?
They vary. Collective bargaining is a challenge. to adjust the co-pay requires talking with each of the 13 unions. The State also has a myriad of rules and regulations around purchasing, bottom line it doesn't always guarantee the best price.

Most of the expense side is statutorily driven. We do need a clerk, a health inspector, etc. However, this is no law that says we have to have a police and fire department.

We are paying for the inefficiencies of a long term parochial system which is very, very difficult to change at the local level.

"We know what we want to do it if we could do it" The more attention that is brought to it, the better chance we'll have of actually getting something done.

Charter is not finalized as we wanted to get time for people to think about it and have an opportunity to suggest changes before the Town Council does finalize it.

"come up with a document to tell the story to the town in a way that is credible"

group assignments to draw on individual preferences and strengths

review of the final report of the prior committee from last year (PDF)

review of the Chap 70 story, growth from $4M to $28M over about 15 years
due to census data from 1990's on community wealth and the rapid growth of the school population from 3,000 to 6,000

There are things that are not in the school budget that the Town provides; facilities being the major one, debt service is another.

Charter school - how is that funded? The State sends a portion of our Chap 70 directly to the Charter School. The funding formula has been debated forever.

The Governor's budget due is Jan 26th followed in the next several weeks by the House and the Senate versions with an overall conference committee agreement before getting finalized by July 1

discussion on timeline for deliverables, a brief update (similar to the mid-year report) in an April time frame with updates to sections as needed. Look at when the data will be available and include that in the timelines (i.e. the tax rates are set in Dec so would be available from the State after that).

"It is great in telling what we paid for it, can you tell me what I actually got for it?" Can we benchmark ourselves on what we are achieving?

What new analysis do we want to do and add to this document?

Next meeting Jan 26th

Franklin, MA

MassBudget Briefs: Fiscal Year 2012 Budget, Chapter 70 Previews

Explore our online
budget database
Budget Browser

Is our research helpful to you? Support our work
Donate to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

Find us on facebook


Forward to a Friend

Contact Info

  Noah Berger

  (617) 426-1228 x102

  Tom Benner
  Communications Director
  (617) 426-1228 x100

Two new briefs: Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Preview and Chapter 70 Education Aid Preview

January 4, 2011

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center is releasing two new budget briefs previewing the Fiscal Year 2012 budget.

MassBudget Brief: Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Preview examines the condition of state finances as the budget process begins for the fiscal year that starts on July 1, 2011. Walking readers through the steps involved in calculating a state budget gap, the brief projects a $1.78 billion preliminary budget gap facing the Commonwealth in FY 2012.

MassBudget Brief: Fiscal Year 2012 Chapter 70 Education Aid Preview outlines three scenarios for calculating Chapter 70 education funding for FY 2012, each based on a different set of assumptions.

The briefs, Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Preview and Fiscal Year 2012 Chapter 70 Education Aid Preview, are available at
- - - - -
See MassBudget's Budget Browser to explore Massachusetts state budgets from Fiscal Year 2001 to the present.

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.
Safe Unsubscribe
This email was sent to by

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center | 15 Court Square | Suite 700 | Boston | MA | 02108

Downtown Partnership - Meeting Info

Public Meeting

Monday, January 10 at 7 pm

Dean College's Alden Center (S11)

located in the Arthur W. Pierce Center for Science and Technology

The public is invited to provide feedback to the PWED grant-funded portion of the Downtown Franklin Roadway and Streetscape Improvement Project. 

Networking Luncheon

Friday, January 14 at 1:00 pm

Dean College Campus Center Cafeteria

Cost:  $5

Please note:  We will be meeting in the new cafeteria, NOT the Golder Room.

For more details please email Joel Carrara at

General Meeting

Thursday, January 20 at 8:30 am

Dean College Campus Center, Golder Room, 2nd Floor

We welcome all new members!

We encourage downtown business owners to attend!

Networking Luncheon

Friday, February 11 at 1:00 pm

Dean College Campus Center Cafeteria

Cost:  $5

For more details contact Joel Carrara at

"it doesn't fit the script"

Here is one listing that I am glad MA did not make. The list also helps to put our budget crisis into perspective. As bad as it is, there are others far worse.
But there's one state, which is fairly high up on the list of troubled states that nobody is talking about, and there's a reason for it.
The state is Texas.
This month the state's part-time legislature goes back into session, and the state is starting at potentially a $25 billion deficit on a two-year budget of around $95 billion. That's enormous. And there's not much fat to cut. The whole budget is basically education and healthcare spending. Cutting everything else wouldn't do the trick. And though raising this kind of money would be easy on an economy of $1.2 trillion, the new GOP mega-majority in Congress is firmly against raising any revenue.
You can read the full post here

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tree Pickup - Alternatives

Thanks to Paula Lombardi, Office Manager for the DPW, for providing the following info:

  • If you have missed your day of pick up this week maybe you can contact a friend or relative in Franklin who may have a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday pickup and ask if you can put the tree at their curbside.
  • The Beaver Street Recycle Center is open Friday and Saturday throughout the year from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  • All trees must be free of ornaments and tinsel. Do not place in a plastic bag.

Food security: waste not, want not

A good friend of mine pointed this movie out to me over the holidays. Hunger and food security are big issues world wide. The Franklin Food Pantry is working to provide food for those who need it amongst us.

I hope that this doesn't spoil your appetite.

I do hope that you'll consider portions when eating.

To learn more about food security, consider reading from these sources:

Franklin, MA

Christmas trees will be picked up on your trash day this week

I went digging for my copy of the Curbside Chronicle to find out the Christmas Tree pick up schedule. Good thing I did. The trees will be picked up on the day of your regular trash schedule this week. Yes, this week from Jan 3 - Jan 7.

Last year, the tree pickup was scheduled for Saturday of this week. I guess I will be taking down the tree tonight to make our Wednesday trash schedule day.


Franklin, MA

In the News - back taxes, quiet car, tight budgets

Franklin to go after back taxes


Riders like new quiet train car

Tight budgets seen for this year

Franklin, MA

Monday, January 3, 2011

"I think it's good to have fresh eyes look"

Areas to be discussed include Emmons Street between Main Street and Hillside Road, Dean Avenue between Main and Ray streets, Ray Street, Depot Street and the town's Depot Street parking lot.
Town officials hope the work, which will be paid for through a $1 million state public works grant, will fix deteriorated roads and sidewalks, improve drainage and stormwater systems and stimulate private investment downtown, Taberner said.
"This is a section we wouldn't have been able to afford if we didn't get that (grant)," Taberner said.
The construction is part of a $7.25 million downtown revitalization project to eliminate one-way traffic, install decorative streetlights, improve sidewalks and curbs and resurface streets. Work on main streets will be covered by a $5 million federal grant, which will be matched by about $1.25 million in state and local funds.

Public urged to talk on plans for Franklin streets


Related posts:

Franklin, MA

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fiscal year 2012 - budget information

This page collects all the writing and information on the FY 2012 budget

Long Range Financial Planning Committee meetings

School Budget Workshop
Preliminary School Budget document
Handout for the Workshop
Workshop notes - part 1
Workshop notes - part 2

School Space needs report

Kindergarten: full vs. half-day
My analysis from 2010 can be found here

School budget hearing (held 2/15/11)

Center for American Progress report touts Franklin as a high performing district

Mass Budget's analysis of the Gov Budget (1/26/11)

Gov Patrick's full budget for FY 2012 (1/26/11)

Gov Patrick's local aid and Chap 70 (1/26/11)

Gov Patrick proposes local aid cuts (1/21/11)

Chapter 70 info from MASSBudget (1/5/11)

Capital expenditures from 'free cash' FY 2010 (12/8/10)

Jeff Nutting's outlook from November 2010 (11/03/10)

Town Budget workshop from Jan 2010
This three hour meeting was recorded and the documents used are all available here
The numbers will change for this year but the story behind the numbers won't differ much.

Citizens against waste - question collection

Franklin, MA

"the national economic crisis has caused real pain"

Reconfirming a strong link between education and economic success, the report notes that Bay State hourly wages and household incomes leapt from near the national average 30 years ago to among the top in the nation today.
Yet those with less education are struggling to find jobs at higher rates than past downturns. People with only high school degrees are unemployed at nearly twice the rate of those with a bachelor's degrees or higher, the report says.
While the report points to Massachusetts' strengths, it also highlights the need for better training for less educated workers to gain middle-level skills, said Robert Tannenwald, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities.
Such skills are important to the state's economy in growing sectors such as niche manufacturing and the medical technician field, he said.
"The high school diploma doesn't cut it anymore, but you don't quite need the college degree either," said Tannenwald, whose organization is affiliated with the report's authors. "You need specialized skill."
You can read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

You can read the full report at its source here

Franklin, MA

In the News - senior tax abatements

For seniors, town jobs can reduce property tax bills


While not specifically referenced in this article, Franklin is one of the communities that offers this. In fact, early in 2010, the Town Council increased the amounts available for seniors to take advantage of.

The first discussion was February 10 when Tina Powderly provided the update on the Senior Outreach initiatives.

On March 3, the Town Council voted unanimously to accept the four proposals (Zollo absent):

Franklin, MA