Sunday, April 16, 2017

Power generation costs go down, perhaps, debt payments toward nuclear power go down or go away, perhaps, so what should be done with those funds?

Someone says lower rates then on another day complains that Templeton kept the tax rate low for too long and now we should have an override where taxpayers have to give more of their money towards town costs "so I can keep more in my pocket, so I can get more freebies and the town can pay more of my health insurance costs, cause I'm little davey and I am entitled to that, cause I work for the town."

Maybe the light department is keeping any savings as reserve funds like the town of Templeton failed to do during the time all of that un-expended funds or free cash was used to fund the town spending plan rather than used as savings or for capital asset purchase. Maybe the savings will go towards other debt payments like some of those 40, 30 and 25 year loans on the books.

what I think should be asked is would davey smart spend two hundred fifty bucks or three hundred dollars on a pair of work boots if he had to pay for them out of his paycheck instead of taxpayers buying them.

Again, check the records of town meeting, all of those loans for the water department and light department went to town meeting and if you do not like the light & water situation, stop bitching online and get to work on grass roots petition and get the special acts rescinded or undone. Hint: you ain't gonna get it done coming off like a spoiled entitled brat who writes free boots so we don't have to buy them again and again and again.
Food for thought:

Templeton highway department came to the Advisory Committee via the Town Administrator to request a transfer from the Town reserve fund for the vehicle maintenance / supplies account. Transfer request was in the amount of $10,000.00. Reason for the request was that $20,000.00 plus was used from that fund to repair a pump for a fire department truck. The reserve fund transfer was granted on April 5, 2017, but now, according to the town administrator weekly report of April 6, 2017, highway department equipment  or vehicles are out of service because there is not enough money in the budget to repair them. Further investigation is needed on this issue, however, the T/A stated that H7 (10 wheeler) needs brakes & rear spring, H9 (6 wheeler) sander is down, needs a chain and welding, rear spring, H12 (10 wheeler) brakes, H35 (ford 1 ton) brakes, H13 (loader L90) wiring and fuel pump issue - in yard use only, H7, H9 & H12 are used for plowing & sanding, H9 is not available for sanding. H35 & H13 are used for plowing.

H13 listed as in yard use only so it must plow the highway barn area out???

Perhaps if the selectmen, through the Town Administrator would not try to manage the Town reserve fund and leave that to the Advisory Committee, there would be enough money in the machinery repair/supplies account to fix most of the above. Think about it, you spend $20,000.00 or more out of an account and say it was unexpected then ask for only $10,000.00 to replenish what was spent unexpectedly, I do not see how one expects good results. Seems like the smart move would or would have been was to allow the fire chief come to Advisory Committee and ask for a reserve fund transfer to cover the pump repair, as there was over $40,000.00 left in the reserve fund. But heck, what would rank amateurs know about that? Remember, Templeton has a fine financial team in place and they have it under control, the selectmen say so! You will see that with the financial transfers required to fix the fiscal year 2017 spending plan that the amateurs questioned. Good day.

posted by Jeff Bennett
Well, in the Town Administrator weekly report, he states "April 12 2017 has been devoted to working through a public records request, working with Town Counsel on litigation matters, preparing a revised annual town meeting warrant (after the warrant has closed) preparing/following up on various budget matters and preparing a response to the management letter in preparation for the informal presentation being made to DOR to receive their guidance as to how they would like to see us deal with the deficits - by appropriation or raise on the overlay.) Do not worry, Templeton has a great financial team in place, well, maybe the treasurer/collector is missing, but hey, ya'll can watch the rank amateurs talk about that team shortly!

posted by Jeff Bennett
Fire department spending plan put forward by the Town Administrator and selectmen.

page 121a in the fiscal year 2018 budget/spending plan, there is a line item under Fire & EMS that shows two (2) career / full time fire fighter / EMT-P with a dollar figure of $88,400.00 and taking into account the additional costs of benefits such as health insurance and retirement and with the stated plans for two more full time fire fighter / EMT-P for next year, one has to wonder how long will it be before Templeton has another labor contract to deal with.

One also has to wonder if these additional costs to the taxpayers will be able to be sustained with the numbers now being presented, as in will this FY 2018 spending plan work as a base for fiscal year 2019 and beyond. This is an example of the town government growing when it does seem to be able to afford what it already has. Begs the question why Templeton charges Phillipston so little for dispatch service.

posted by Jeff Bennett

MMWEC Created

In 1969, with the workload of developing an independent public power supply expanding, the municipal utilities decided to create MMWEC, which started out as a private company managed by a public trust. In 1973, municipal utilities became full members of NEPOOL and acquired legislative authority to issue tax-exempt bonds, individually, to purchase shares in NEPOOL power plants. MMWEC coordinated the power supply planning and acquisition activities of the municipals. At the time, the law required each utility to obtain approval for and carry out individual bond issues, a process resulting in duplicated efforts and costly delays.

MMWEC Powers Expanded

This changed with the enactment of Chapter 775 of the Acts of 1975. Under this law, in May 1976, MMWEC became a non-profit, public corporation and political subdivision of the Commonwealth with the authority to issue tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance electric power projects on behalf of its members.
Using its statutory financing authority, MMWEC has issued more than $4.4 billion in bonds to finance and refinance its 720-megawatt ownership interest in five major generating plants, creating an independent power supply for Massachusetts municipal utilities.

Member Utilities

MMWEC Member utilities believe in Joint Action to achieve common goals. They deliver the full benefits of MMWEC programs and services to their customers, who enjoy some of the most competitive electric rates in New England. Members also are entitled to serve on the MMWEC Board of Directors and vote in the annual election of directors. Together, we are Public Energy Partners, striving to advance the interests and rights of public power.
 Members of the cooperative in 2004 entered into agreements to purchase the entire output of the Berkshire Wind Project, but In 2007 decided to pursue outright ownership and to complete development of the project. MMWEC and the Princeton Municipal Light Department created a similar cooperative last year to develop a 3-MW wind project in Princeton, Mass. The municipal utility members of the cooperative are based in the communities of Ashburnham, Boylston, Groton, Holden, Hull, Ipswich, Marblehead, Paxton, Peabody, Shrewsbury, Sterling, Templeton, Wakefield and West Boylston.

MMWEC, Municipal Utilities Awarded Energy Efficient Street Lighting Grant LUDLOW, Mass. -- December 14, 2016 -- Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) has received a $2.9 million grant under the state Department of Energy Resources’ LED Street Lighting Accelerator Program on behalf of 16 member municipal light departments. The grant will help pay for the cost of new energy efficient LED street light fixtures, long-life photoelectric controllers and wireless controllers for the fixtures. The grant is part of $11.4 million in LED Street Lighting Accelerator Program funding awarded this week by the Baker-Polito Administration to more than 30 communities. The participating MMWEC member municipal light departments are located in Boylston, Chicopee, Holden, Holyoke, Hull, Ipswich, Mansfield, Marblehead, Paxton, Peabody, Princeton, Shrewsbury, South Hadley, Templeton, Wakefield and West Boylston.

posted by Jeff Bennett

Massachusetts General Law - chapter 40

Section 4: Towns; power to contract; purposes

Section 4. A city or town may make contracts for the exercise of its corporate powers, on such terms and conditions as are authorized by the town meeting in a town, the town council in a town without a town meeting, the city council in a city with the approval of the mayor or the city council in a Plan D or Plan E city with the approval of the manager, or as otherwise authorized in accordance with a duly adopted charter. A city or town may not contract for any purpose, on any terms, or under any conditions inconsistent with any applicable provision of any general or special law.

It seems the selectmen may have put the Templeton Town Treasurer / Collector on administrative leave. The Templeton police may have escorted her out of Town Hall. 

We shall see!
It seems the Town Administrator may have emailed all Town employees and asked them for their usernames and passwords. This may be for the proposed IT upgrade and under the guise of security, but the first question is what about the Deputy Assessor and Town Accountant and their username and password for VADAR. Advisory asked for electronic access to VADAR so as to be able to electronically look at Town finance picture and the committee were told an additional user involved fees. Now with the Town Administrator asking for usernames and passwords, he could conceivably go onto any sight as someone else (using their username and password) and make changes, look at information and other things. If this in fact happening and the T/A gathers usernames and passwords, I think VADAR needs to be contacted and informed of this. Perhaps this is another control thing.

So with the selectmen presenting a budget that is already proven to be flawed, a possible treasurer/collector missing in action so to speak, the T/A making more control moves, one has to admirer the smooth operation at town hall. 

posted by Jeff Bennett