Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The statement from the Town Administrator that beyond this fiscal year 2018, the amount for veterans services will not be sustainable shows the questions the Advisory Committee has had about revenue since last year's spending plan disaster were and are still very valid. Answers and information seems to be harder and harder to get from town hall, especially from the selectmen's office. The apparent new mouth piece of at least one member of the select board does not really under stand this, it would seem, based on this town employee's published comments. It should also be noted it took about 9 months to get some debt numbers out of town hall, while word from there was that the financial team had everything all set.

Right now and really right along, the Advisory Committee's position seems to be that Town finances, including revenue, should be stated on the conservative side and that stated revenue should not be overstated. At least one member of the Advisory Committee had questions concerning new growth and those concerns turned out to be true and accurate.

Hard questions could not really be formed until a spending plan was made available so anyone could see the base being used to cover planned or stated expenses and that plan was not made available until some time in March, March 13, 2017 is the date on the memo from the Town Administrator concerning this plan. The more important question should be why was the town by-laws concerning the budget/spending plan and the town meeting warrant not followed again, by this board of selectmen. This is a question for this year, this time and for the current board of selectmen. Perhaps the town employee who is the mouth piece for at least one of the selectmen (in my opinion) should be asking that question at an open meeting.

posted by Jeff Bennett
Well, it strikes again, taking from the veteran's fund to fund something else does not seem like it will work past this year, so there will probably have to be more "adjustments" next year, which in my opinion, shows there is still not a good handle on the spending plan. Also brought out was some more interesting math on the part of one selectmen, John Caplis, which is how will a so called savings of $20,000.00 this year equate to a police officer salary for one more officer for a year? First off, 20 thousand will most likely get used up next year by health insurance costs for employees, school assessment and on and on. More importantly, a so called savings is already being spent before you even have any realized savings in hand. Reminds me of the other genius Johnny Columbus who suggested at one meeting to use some supposed free cash for some expense before there was any actual so called free cash. Oh yeah, don't forget about more full time fire fighters/EMT/P next year!

So, it seems there will be more questions, few answers that add up and another fun year.

email received today:
Good Day:

The attached scan is an iteration of what was discussed last Wednesday.  It will be page numbered, copied, and distributed to you tomorrow evening.  Please note some important things:

  1. For those who have concerns the cut to Veteran’s is not sustainable in the near term; the fastest easiest fix at this point is to revers any of the restores in Snow & Ice, Police or Fire;
  2. The adds to the Library assume each person can/will accept the added hours.  It is possible Library Assistant II may not be able to do so but there is no harm at this point in leaving those dollars in an extraordinaryly tight Library budget.

The SS shows the Overly history;  This is a DRAFT

The next DRAFT of the warrant will be out tomorrow.

We have reached out to MRPC to present to the BoS on 04/24 on the EDIC articles.

Many Thanks

Carter Terenzini
Interim Town Administrator
Town of Templeton

posted by Jeff Bennett

From the Massachusetts municipal Association:
The House Ways and Means Committee this afternoon released a $40.3 billion fiscal 2018 state budget plan that would increase overall state expenditures by 3.8 percent.
The House Ways and Means budget (H. 3600) is $180 million smaller than the budget filed by the governor in January, but it would make progress on a number of local aid priorities, including the full $40 million increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid that the governor proposed and communities are counting on.
The House bill’s Chapter 70 education aid proposal is $15 million above the governor’s recommendation. Under the House plan, school districts would, at a minimum, receive an aid increase of $30 per student.
The bill would also add $4 million to the Special Education Circuit Breaker account and $1 million to regional school transportation.
The full House will debate the budget plan during the week of April 24.
• Link to DLS website for proposed Chapter 70 and Unrestricted General Government Aid amounts for each community
Unrestricted municipal aid
H. 3600 would provide $1.06 billion for UGGA, a $40 million increase over the current fiscal year. The 3.9 percent increase, which matches the projected growth in state tax collections next year, would be the second-largest increase in discretionary municipal aid in nearly a decade. Every city and town would see a 3.9 percent increase in their UGGA funding.
Chapter 70
The House budget committee is proposing a $106.4 million increase in Chapter 70 education aid, with a provision that every city, town and school district receive an increase of at least $30 per student (compared to the $20-per-student amount in the governor’s budget).
The House budget bill would continue to implement the target share provisions enacted in 2007 and would build on the governor’s initial proposal to start addressing shortfalls in the foundation budget framework, by increasing the cost factors for employee health insurance.
In the context of a tight budget year, the House budget committee’s increase in Chapter 70 funding is welcome news for cities and towns. Over the long-term, the MMA will work to build on this increase and prioritize full funding for the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission.
Special education circuit breaker
House leaders have announced that they support increased funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker program. The House budget plan would provide $281 million in total, although this is still short of full funding for a program that every city, town and school district relies on to fund state-mandated services. The MMA will work to continue building on this increase.
Regional school transportation
The House Ways and Means budget would add $1 million to bring regional transportation reimbursements up to $62 million. The MMA will work to continue building on this increase.
Charter school reimbursements
The budgets filed by the governor and the House Ways and Means Committee would both level-fund charter school reimbursements at $80.5 million, far below the amount necessary to fully fund the statutory formula that was originally established to offset a portion of the funding that communities are required to transfer to charter schools.
The fiscal 2017 funding level is $54 million below what is necessary to fund the reimbursement formula that is written into state law.
If this program is level-funded, the shortfall will grow to an estimated $67.1 million in fiscal 2018. The MMA maintains that this would lead to the continued and growing diversion of Chapter 70 funds away from municipally operated school districts, and place greater strain on the districts that serve 96 percent of public schoolchildren. The MMA argues that solving the charter school funding problem must be a major priority during the budget debate.
PILOT, library aid, METCO, McKinney-Vento, Shannon grants
The House budget committee’s proposal would level-fund payments-in-lieu-of-taxes at $26.77 million, add $600,000 to library grant programs, add $500,000 to METCO, and level-fund McKinney-Vento reimbursements at $8.35 million.
The budget bill would reduce Shannon Anti-Gang Grants to $5 million, however, a $1 million reduction.
posted by Jeff Bennet