Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What is in a name?

State law says it is the Finance Committee or Advisory Committee or in some communities, a Warrant Committee. Somehow, somewhere, this name morphed into Advisory Board in Templeton and in some other communities. Templeton by-laws state: Advisory Committee. This is something I raised a while ago and at least one member noted "it has been Advisory Board in all the annual town reports dated back to the seventies." The email address for the Advisory Committee has Advisory Board rather than Advisory Committee. As I have previously stated, the correct name has meaning and importance because it goes to credibility and confusion. State law says Committee, Town by-law says Committee, it is the association of finance committees not board. It needs to be addressed, fixed and corrected once and for all. It does matter and if anyone is going to comment on rules, procedures, laws and other things, lets begin with the correct name and stick to it because it matters!

The name does not really affect the function but it does sometimes create confusion especially when the board of selectmen and the Advisory Committee are discussed in the same line. Is a board more "powerful" than a committee? The is one state committee that is very powerful and influential - it is the state House Ways and Means Committee. Then there is the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and we have the Municipal Finance Oversight Board. I believe if you check, you will find that financial wise, pretty much all things live and die in the House Ways and Means Committee.

That is my opinion.

posted by Jeff Bennett

How the Collector's Manual states to handle them.

In a manual for Treasurers/Tax Collectors paid for by you through taxes (nothing is free), there is a process for dealing with "bad checks" Why spend grant money, which is taxpayer money (as in income taxes, sales taxes excise taxes and on and on) on something that is already provided for. Perhaps it is another example of the government creating something so they can say they are doing something and we are solving issues! just my opinion there.

Seems pretty simple - get the collectors manual, make some copies and post in town offices and there you have it - a policy which is posted and already in existence and no need to stretch it out for thirty minutes or several weeks. Again, this is my opinion.

This is from the Collectors manual. Bad check add the fees back to the real estate or excise bill. If its for a permit/license - revoke the permit/license Not rocket science, all the rules are in the collectors' manual!

Processing Bad Checks
1. All too frequently, collectors receive dishonored checks back from banks.
In most instances, the taxpayer had tendered the check believing it would
be honored. However, the bank did not pay it because (a) the taxpayer's
balance was insufficient when the check was presented, or (b) the
taxpayer, had closed the old account before all checks had cleared.
a. In some instances, a taxpayer tenders a check in bad faith, with
an intent to defraud.
b. Whoever, with intent to defraud, makes, draws, utters, or
delivers any check, draft, or order for the payment of money,
with the knowledge that the maker or drawer does not have
sufficient funds at the bank, must be guilty of attempted
larceny; and if the money, property, or services are obtained
thereby, the person must be guilty of larceny. [266:37]
2. When notice is received from a bank that a check cannot be processed,
the bank notifies both the issuer and the town.
3. The collector may attempt to redeposit the check simply by calling the
bank to verify the presence of sufficient funds.
4. If the collector cannot successfully redeposit the check, he may pursue
one of the following alternatives:
a. The collector can reverse the payment and reestablish the
receivable as an unpaid balance.
b. The collector can pursue collection using the district court.
5. The collector may impose upon any person tendering an insufficient
funds check a penalty of 1% of the amount of the check, or $25 for a
check for less than $2,500. [60:57A] Any person so assessed may
appeal to the Commissioner of Revenue if aggrieved, and the
Commissioner may abate the penalty if he determines that the person
tendered the check in good faith, and with reasonable expectation that it
would be paid.

posted by Jeff Bennett
Squeaky Wheel gets the grease as the saying goes.

Before reading the following, consider this:
Special town meeting, October 20, 2016 - article 2: FY2017 operating budget supplement

"On a motion duly made & seconded the town voted to amend the 2017 annual town budget as voted in article 4 at the annual town meeting to add the sum of eighty seven thousand five hundred one dollars and no cents to the long term debt service line of that budget (account # 100-710-700-59-5910-0000) and further to transfer said sum from the stabilization fund to pay for the foregoing.

defeated at 7:56 by hand count requested by seven or more voters Yes 237 / No 226??

That is what the report states on the Templeton Town web site via town clerk.

A case against that transfer was made by the Advisory Committee, I spoke specifically against it, there being such a small amount of funds in those three funds (approximately $142,000.00, as presented by the town accountant) I am glad the transfer was defeated especially now after the audits which seems to show a totally different and lower amount in the funds???

Anyone else wish the selectmen had stuck with the slower more detailed audit in process before the switch to the faster audits? But then when your agenda is get a school project online regardless of the costs or consequences, what else would you expect. Perhaps that is why the accountant did not wish to release the information on the stabilization funds, just my thought.

I know, ask the selectmen, as they now provide answers when asked, according to their spokesperson.

Good Day:

Per your request; the balances we now show, as a result of the audit(s) for the several stabilization funds are:

General Stabilization        $95,334.28
Pajari Stabilization              $9,263.90
Capital Stabilization            $1,958.95

Total                                  $106,557.13

Many Thanks

Carter Terenzini
Interim Town Administrator
Town of Templeton
160 Patriots Road
East Templeton, MA 01438
(978) 894-2753

posted by Jeff Bennett