Episode 1000

FM #1000 - Town Council - FY 24 Budget Hearing #2 - 05/25/23

Published on: 30th May, 2023

This session of the radio show shares the Town Council meeting held in Council Chambers on Thursday, May 25, 2023. All 9 members of the Council were present in the Council Chambers.

Quick recap

  • Police to add to their staff to alleviate a scheduling issue that should help reduce the overtime cost and help moral by reducing the amount of forced overtime
  • Fire to add to their staff to help provide a third ambulance for coverage during four days of peak call volume. The staff increase is partially offset by additional ambulance revenues
  • Senior Center gets approval for a van driver for half the year as a step towards full time 
  • Town administration gets approval for a shift from an assistant town administrator to a Deputy Administrator along with a half year funding for an Arts & Culture Director
  • The Franklin school budget gets an increase of approximately $700K over the $1.1m initially allocated. These funds will be part of a two resolution vote being scheduled for the June 7 Council meeting. 24 school personnel positions were cut this week by the School District to meet their expected budget shortfall of over $2M. Some of those are due to the continued declining enrollment, some of those can be restored with the additional funds being allocated. As was made clear a few times during the hearings, the Town Council only provides a line item of funding to the Schools. The School district and School Committee have the full responsibility for choices on how that money is spent
  • The Joint Budget Subcommittee will begin meeting (schedule TBD) to work on a strategic plan to address the systemic issues across both the Town and Schools budget requirements. There was consensus on increasing the revenue. Some of the increase can come from a variety of measures (storm water fee, sewer rate increase, zoning changes to increase density, etc.) as well as consideration of a possible override ballot question. In order to get to the override question, the amount of increased revenue (i.e. property taxes revenue) needs to be explored and agreed to put before the taxpayers for their approval. There are already a number of increases planned (or expected) and that needs to be part of the consideration.

Planned

  • storm water begins July 1, 2023
  • sewer rate increase for next three years beginning July 1, 2023 to pay for the Beaver St interceptor replacement. Construction along RT 140 begins later this year
  • possible debt exclusion for Tri-County RVTHS building replacement (amount expected in Aug 2023, vote anticipated in Oct 2023)

Expected

  • water rate increase to pay for PFAS mitigations
  • potential debt exclusion for renovation of Davis Thayer (DT) for town use (to make it ADA accessible). Decision on potential use anticipated by Dec 2023 from subcommittee appointed to determine recommendations
  • potential debt exclusion for new Police station or renovation of existing, committee appointed and soon to begin work on this; their work will include the DT decision as applicable
  • potential operational override to address systemic revenue issues

The recording runs about 3 hours and 42 minutes. Let’s listen to the Town Council meeting on May 25, 2023. 

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The full agenda and documents associated with it can be found online ->    https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif10036/f/agendas/may_25_2023_town_council_agenda_1.pdf

The FY 2024 budget document folder ->

https://www.franklinma.gov/town-budget/webforms/fy-24-budget-materials 

The Franklin TV video replay for both sessions is available

My Twitter notes captured during the meetings can be found here

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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!

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About the Podcast

Franklin Matters Radio
Information for the community because Franklin matters
What matters in Franklin MA - we follow the money sharing Town business meetings and interviews to enable an informed resident and voter

About your host

Profile picture for Stephen Sherlock

Stephen Sherlock

I volunteer as the Community Information Director for Franklin, MA (USA)*. I have been provide accurate and timely information about what matters in Franklin since 2007. Currently working in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Radio (wfpr.fm) since October 2019.

*They don't have one and couldn't afford me.