Sunday, June 24, 2018

Some more facts for justsmartenough; (if you trust information from town hall)

From paperwork dated April 2017, the Town lists the following;

Templeton's largest employers.

Templeton Developmental Center at. . . . . . .  409 employees
Narragansett school district at. . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
Baldwinville Nursing Home at. . . . . . . . . . . ..   165
Seaman Paper Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120
Wilson Bus Lines at. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..    40


The largest taxpayers in Templeton.

Templeton Fish & Game at . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$6,212,135.00 (fish & game)
Seaman Paper Company at. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$3,285,300.00 (manufacturing)
Frantz Bobbi Jo at . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                $2,197,700.00  (manufacturing)
WJ Graves Construction at. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   $2,086,400.00   (gravel)
Swift Water Associates at. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    $1,953,700.00   (apartments)
Hurtubise, Robert at. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .              $1,687,200.00   (storage units)
Heatherwood Housing Association. . . . . . . . .   $1,398,300.00    (apartments)
Cumberland Farms at. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,269,600.00     (retail)
Huhtala Oil at. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $1,161,800.00     (oil)

Debt of the Town;

Water (2) . . . . . . . . . .$3,785,588.00
Sewer (3). . . . . . . . . . $   223,520.00
MCWT (4). . . . . . . . . $4,243,446.00
General (5). . . . . . . . .$    740,000.00

Total long term debt. . .$8,992,554.00

Short term debt. . . . . . $5,000,000.00

Total direct debt. . . . . $13,992,554.00


(1) excludes lease and installment purchase obligations, over-lapping debt, unfunded pension liability and unfunded post-employment benefits liability - OPEB

(2) Outside the Town's debt limit

(3) Does not reflect subsidy from MCWT. $3,457,822.00 has been exempted from prop 2 1/2 and $1,316,111.00 is outside the Town's debt limit.

(4) $460,000.00 is outside the Town's debt limit.

(5) This issue payable November 17, 2017.

enjoy!    

Some more Templeton information that you may not know.

Well, perhaps our crack financial team might?

From Tony Roselli

To Mary Carney and Templeton treasurer, accountant, T/A,

subject: draft Preliminary Official Statement (POS)

1. page 21 - change $1,939,512.00 to $1,179,268.00 - the deficits need to be netted against the unrestricted to get a net unassigned balance.

2. page 35 - there is no 2013 balance sheet presented. This needs to be included.

3. page 31 - those unassigned fund balances listed needed to be netted down for deficits (see comment 1 above)

4. page 38-39 - Not sure where the OPEB #s come from, but I informed Carter they were in accurate IMO so I can't stand by their validity. Town has never recognized OPEB ever and nobody at Town truly knows how to use the APOBEC model; I tried lining up the numbers with similar communities we audit and they are not close; we qualified the financial statements saying there was no OPEB, only light & water have it done so including this will contradict what's in the financial statements.

Hope that gives everyone a nice warm fuzzy feeling. Remember the words of the accountant, now we have good numbers. (after the 2013 to 2016 audits were completed and presented.
April 5, 2017 at 3:54 P.M., Town Administrator write;

MSBA wants to come out for a "small" meeting. I do not have a time yet.
It is imperative that we keep them in the fold (their patience wears thinner) Also, Mary C. has to have a solid number to borrow. If we go for the $5 million and then MSBA pulls out, I'm sitting on a pile of cash and nothing I can do with it. (I think he means the Town is stuck with it)

Included in the loop is Chris Casavant, superintendent of schools (for Town borrowing) but not the Town's finance committee - so much for transparency, inclusion and good governance.

Senator Gobi, Town Auditor, school superintendent but not the Town finance committee. I wonder if the selectmen will pull out all the stops and use all of these contacts to help the taxpayers of Laurel View Road, you know, some of the people paying for that big project.

Forget spending some of those taxpayers money on town counsel and just use already paid for services or people, like senator Gobi and the DOR, find a solution and help those taxpayers out.

Come on selectmen, do not work against the residents/taxpayers, work for them and with them, get the road repaired and accepted and move on.  24 homeowners filing suit against the Town is not a glowing endorsement for economic investment or business to move to Templeton; is that how they treat taxpayers (that is what a business is in the end, a taxpayer).
Began reading some emails and some material received via the mail (thanks justsmartenough) and after the first few pages, it is a wow!

email from Templeton town administrator too Henry Kahn from April 2017.

"The senator and I played a bit of tag (I owed her the follow-up) concerning a possible pull out by MSBA. In addition to the wrinkle of getting our FY 2017 books settled, we stand a very real chance of losing the MSBA $$s if we can't get started. Over borrowing in the initial phase will present very real problems as well.

Over borrowing, wonder if that is like taking out a larger mortgage than you can really afford, which causes you financial issues down the road (like losing your home, maybe twice)

In many of these emails concerning financial moves mostly related to the school, there is the inclusion of the Town Auditor; seems to show our great financial team is perhaps just window dressing actually being backed up by the firm of Roselli, Clark and associates, CPAs (who just received a five year contract with the Town; payment for services rendered? Just a thought that should give you a warm fuzzy feeling.

Another email from Mary Carney of Southwest financial (division of Hilltop Securities):
All,
Attached you will find a tentative financing schedule for the school BAN's. Please review and let me know if there are any conflicts. The most important date is April 24, 2017 selectmen's meeting date. There must be a majority of selectmen, the treasurer, the Town Clerk and the Clerk of the BOS in attendance at the meeting to execute to closing documents. The posted agenda for the meeting should include an item titled "Approval of the award of the notes." We expect to issue $5,000,000.00 Bond Anticipation Notes - $500,000.00 against articles 6 & 2 of March 29, 2014 Town Meeting as amended at the March 21, 2016 Town Meeting (special town meeting) and $4,500,000.00 against article 1 od the November 9, 2015 special town meeting for the school feasibility study and elementary school construction. Let me know if you have questions.
Thanks;
Mary.

funny thing is Templeton town administrator, treasurer, town accountant Tony Roselli and Megan Hyland were CC but not the Town Clerk.

Templeton, Massachusetts tentative financing schedule;
General obligation Bond Anticipation Notes dated April 28, 2017

April 5, 2017 - Tentative financing schedule & draft of preliminary official statement (POS) sent to Town for review and minor updates (who did the review, as the finance team lacks experience/knowledge of municipal borrowing)

April 6, 2017 - First Southwest sends POS to bond counsel for review

April 7, 2017 - Last day for Town to provide POS updates and satisfy legal requirements.

April 13, 2017 - Distribute BAN POS.

April 20, 2017 - Competitive bids received on BANs.

April 24, 2017 - Board of Selectmen meeting to approve and sign BANs and closing documents (to be confirmed)

April 25, 2017 - Executed Bond paperwork must be returned to First Southwest.

April 28, 2017 - Dated and delivery date of BANs.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Having watched the private road meeting about Laurel View Road, I think these citizens have had enough. I hope they do look into a lawsuit.  The Town Administrator  stating the Town has no money to do much if anything with regards to any kind of repairs on that road. Well, I recall the selectmen via the T/A let $190,000.00 plus ride over to next fiscal year which should mean a roll over to free cash (when certified by the DOR) as well as the T/A stating at an Advisory Committee meeting that he estimates certified free cash for Templeton this fall at about $800 thousand dollars. I think there would be some money to repair some issues on Laurel View Road. If the town has been plowing, sweeping and cutting brush and / or trees on the road for a number of years (over ten) and the town even repaired/rebuilt part of the road, maybe that would work for those residents in a court of law.

Besides, if the town does not plow the road, how would another town department do their job, Templeton light? These people have received a tax increase for services they probably will not have access to, fire and ambulance service.  Again, the Town was responsible for the permits, inspections and signing off for the building of this subdivision, so why now hold the residents responsible for the elected officials mis-steps. This has the appearance of T/A management and policy making, with the backing of selectmen. Time will tell how the selectmen feel on this issue. I hope the residents stand tall and tough and demand what is right.

I think I just felt a tremor of sorts, could that be the house of cards falling?

The Supreme Court protects even the unruliest of government critics from retaliation

Recent Supreme Court ruling gives one hope; there is still a chance!

"Government officials who call cops at public meetings to silence their critics can be held accountable - even if an arrest might be justified on other grounds."

Seems a certain city council had suggested the council use city resources to intimidate someone or others who critique the council or who had filed a lawsuit against the council.

Thinking out loud, seems like master Fortes as well as other selectmen and the town administrator may have used Town resources (selectmen meetings, perhaps town council) to try and silence some outspoken citizens (who happen to also have served on the Town Advisory Committee) that were especially critical and asked many questions concerning the selectmen actions in running the Town.

I hope the message is clear and gets through; retaliation or planned intimidation resulting from citizen (s) questioning or writing criticisms of elected public officials is a violation of first amendment rights. Just because you volunteer, does not mean you give up or lose those rights.

 To encourage cities and towns to adopt zoning that supports sustainable housing production, the Department of Housing and Community Development created the Housing Choice Initiative. That program rewards communities that produce new housing and adopt best practices to promote smart growth with grants and technical assistance. Passage of H. 4290 will make it easier for communities to achieve Housing Choice designation.

How will Templeton do this and benefit from the above if the Town leaders, the selectmen, basically tell a neighborhood to screw off when it comes to their road, etc.? Is the Town Administrator's position supported by the selectmen? Was this their initiative and instructions to the Town Administrator, with regards to a Town policy or did this begin with the T/A? This does not appear to be a day to day item, rather a policy decision and I believe this is one of those items that will define these selectmen. Again, is it the position of the selectmen to "take" their money (residents of Laurel View Road) and give them nothing in return. Perhaps sheriff Fortes (check out pictures on his twitter account) wishes to govern like the sheriff of Nottingham.
Templeton Board of Selectmen
                                  Town Hall, 160 Patriots Road, East Templeton
                                                Monday, June 25, 2018, 6:30 p.m.

Agenda
1. Call the Meeting to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance

3. Public Comment

4. a. Meeting Minutes~ 6.11.18
b. Executive Session Minutes~ none

5. New Business: 
a. Action RE: Appointments & Introductions
b. Public Hearing RE: Transfer of Liquor License, Baldwinville Station
c. Action RE: Minuteman Club Bike Race/Town Common Use Permit
d. Action RE: Change of Owner on Class II License Transfer~The Car Works
e. Action RE: Preparation of FY ’19 MA CDBG Grant Funds
f. Action RE: Request for Release of Lien, 749 South Street
g. Action RE: Purchase of PD Cruiser & DPW One-Ton (ATM Article #20)

6. Old Business:
a. Action RE: Change of Manager on Liquor License, continued

7. Board & Staff Member Comments & Reports

8. Potential Request for Executive Session per MGL Ch. 30;
§21
9. Adjournment

The listing of Agenda items is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent it is permitted by law.
So, who approved the building project now known as Laurel View Road? Who gave the permits for building those homes? Who owns the poles that carry the electric wires, etc., on that road?
I think that would be the Town of Templeton. Who has been plowing that road for a number of years? Who do the people who live on that road, pay taxes to? Again, that would be the Town of Templeton. If they are not even going to get one service, the plowing of the road, why should they pay taxes at all? So they can drive down Hubbardston Road? The Town of Templeton, through it's planning board failed to ensure that road was constructed properly and now the Town wants to hold the people who live on that road responsible for the Town's failings. On top of that, the Town wants to continue to charge these people fees for that privilege.

How about we, the people, hold the Town Administrator responsible for the recent financial issues, such as using free cash to back up a prior years budget? Lets have a Town Meeting in the fall and by way of citizen petition, move to eliminate the Town Administrator position. 

Laugh if you will, but if you by chance see a few employees from the highway and building & grounds department leave town employment, go ask why?

Now, on a public safety issue, I want to know what is the time table to repair Partridgeville Road?
Part of the road is very unsafe for public travel, especially for a school bus. A certified letter will be sent to the selectmen and Administrator, informing them of this so they will be aware of the situation.

We have skunks in the Senior Center, apparently down in the food pantry area and I think we may have a weasel problem in Town Hall. It is time for the selectmen to look out for the people, you know, the ones who elected selectmen to look out for them.

Friday, June 22, 2018

If anyone remembers Town Meeting, article 30, which included $10,000.00 for an infield groomer to be used at Gilman Waite field. Now, apparently, it has been "discovered" that piece of equipment actually costs somewhere in the $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 range. So the appropriation made will not cover the cost. It seems more apparent every day that information out of the selectmen office cannot be trusted. I feel from here on in, when the selectmen say this will cost X or we need this much money for that, the question (s) will be; where did that figure come from? Where is the bid or the quote and who gave it to you? What is the contact information so it can be checked out?  Does anyone still wonder why advisory would not approve $2,000.00 to be used under miscellaneous?

Do not worry, we have good numbers and the books are all set, well, except for some reconciliations and some unaccounted for checks and another possible payroll miscue.

Plus or minus 10%, give or take, not to worry.
Templeton's Jail cell: If you get arrested on a Friday, you will probably spend your time in the Athol State Police lockup until Monday morning.

If you are a qualified para-medic looking for work, Temple seems to need one - see the latest Templeton Town Administrator's weekly report. I hope all the shifts are covered beginning on July 1, 2018, as Templeton did pass an override to pay for that.

from the Town Administrator:

Weekly Report: Met w/DPW team. Sweeping runs behind due to staffing vacancy and maintenance needed on equipment. Have authorized the use of two Saturdays of overtime to try to get it caught up

Perhaps it is time to do a couple of things; first, contract out the street sweeping so it can get done, and secondly, use some free cash and chapter 90 money and build a salt storage shed and switch to road salt and skip the sand. Templeton can talk with the Hubbardston highway department and see how to do that and get some information on savings and other important work getting done when the crew does not have to spend weeks or month on sweeping streets. Time for the selectmen to manage, you know, their job.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Laurel View Road and the law.
Massachusett General Law chapter 40

Section 6N: Private ways; temporary repairs, ordinances or by-laws

Section 6N. Cities and towns may by ordinance or by-law provide for making temporary repairs on private ways. Such ordinance or by-law shall determine (a) the type and extent of repairs; (b) if drainage shall be included; (c) if the repairs are required by public necessity; (d) the number of percentage of abutters who must petition for such repairs; (e) if betterment charges shall be assessed; (f) the liability limit of the city or town on account of damages caused by such repairs; (g) if the ways shall have been opened to public use for a term of years; and (h) if a cash deposit shall be required for said repairs.

I traveled down Laurel View Road today and saw town property on that so called private road. Town property would be the light poles and wires etc,, belonging to a Town department, Templeton Light & Water. The united state postal service also goes down that road. I wonder if the Templeton police or fire department / ambulance have ever traveled down that road? I did not see any signs stating it is private property and since it has been open to the public and plowed for a number of years, I think  the tax payers over there have a good case to be made, otherwise, why are they paying taxes if they will get nothing for it?

If all of those people suddenly stopped paying taxes, what then? Would Templeton take all of it by tax title and then what? How long would Templeton hold on to them? Who would buy it knowing the history? A planning board developer perhaps?

Time for the elected superior selectmen and elected planning board to step up and serve these taxpayers. Make the hard decision and make it happen, it is possible and it should be done.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Templeton, MA; The Town's financial team has one certified member, that would be the Deputy Assessor Luanne Royer. Having successfully completed the prescribed requirements, Luanne has earned the recognition from the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers and has been named a Massachusetts Accredited Assessor. This demonstrates a level of dedication and professionalism to the Assessors office.

Now when people enter the office shared by the Town Clerk and the Deputy Assessor, they will meet two town employees who have earned certification from their respective associations / professional groups. Hopefully, eventually, the other members of the financial team will earn certification and recognition from their respective associations.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Supreme Judicial Court on Monday rejected a ballot question that would have raised the state income tax on Massachusetts’ highest earners and put that money into transportation and education, delivering a crushing defeat for progressive activists and organized labor and removing a volatile issue from this fall’s election.
In a 5-2 decision, the court sided with business groups that argued the proposal was unconstitutional. The measure would have imposed a higher income tax rate for personal earnings above $1 million, a levy that would have brought in an estimated $2 billion in new revenue next year.

“We will need to be creative and take a hard look at potential revenues from new sources to address the very real challenges we face as a Commonwealth,” said outgoing Senate President Harriette L. Chandler. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh echoed those sentiments, saying, “Nobody ever wants to raise a tax but we have some serious infrastructure issues here in Boston and Massachusetts, whether it’s roads and bridges, whether it’s education.”
So, no new taxes for being successful and wealthy. Perhaps now, the powers at be and those intent on having class warfare can concentrate on how to repair and improve the infrastructure within the state west of 495. They could begin with fully funding transportation costs of regional school districts. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

from the Templeton Town website, as of Today, this is the same post on Thursday, the day of the meeting. (Training on the open meeting law and posting of agendas perhaps?)


Information for Meeting of Cemetery & Parks Commission
Thursday June 14, 2018 6:30 PM EDT

Town:Templeton, MA 
Board:Cemetery & Parks Commission
Time:Thursday June 14, 2018 6:30 PM EDT
Location:Council on Aging
16 Senior Dr., Baldwinville
Agenda:
Not Yet Available
Scheduled By:the automatic scheduling system
Posted At:May 11, 2018 6 AM EDT
Last Modified:May 11, 2018 6 AM EDT
Minutes:Minutes are not on record with the Town Clerk's office
Email conveying a message to the Selectmen.

Carter;
As promised, I am emailing the results of the financial transfer request from you, via the board of selectmen in the amount of $15,000.00 from Insurance and Benefits to highway department funds of supplies and purchase of service.
The transfer was approved in the amount of $13,000.00, per transfer policy. Reason (s) for the difference in what was requested ($15,000.00) and what was approved ($13,000.00) was a lack of clarity with regards of accounting of additional $2,000.00. Advisory could not find nor verify any fund named or listed as "miscellaneous" and this lack of specificity along with there still being funds available (from information provided) in the supplies and purchase of service accounts under highway department.
The completed paperwork will be dropped off to Town Hall first thing on Monday, June 18, 2018 as soon as the office is open. Be aware that Advisory has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, June 20, 2018 and intends to schedule meetings on Thursday, July 5, 2018 and Thursday, July 12, 2018 in case there is a need for additional transfer requests. In the future, Advisory suggests that a representative of the select board and or the department attend the Advisory Committee meeting in order to answer any questions or to clarify any issues. This would help in making the process efficient and more timely. Perhaps at a future date, select board and Advisory can meet jointly and discuss the process, perhaps discovering that our goals are more alike than different.


regards;
Jeff Bennett
Chairman, Advisory Committee

The above email was sent to the Town Administrator and also to all five selectmen, lets see if this makes it to Selectmen Fortes" face book page?

Five new members and so far, similar observations as with previous members. Same concerns and questions about the same subjects; so who should perhaps be looking in the mirror?

A financial transfer came before the Advisory Committee for $15,000.00, from Insurance and Benefits to highway department supplies and Purchase of Services. Accounting for what the funds were needed was 1 item: miscellaneous - $2,000.00. The committee could not find any fund listed as miscellaneous to put money in so the committee approved $13,000.00 instead.

It does not appear that "slush fund" building will be looked at favorably by this new Advisory Committee. The selectmen tried to get 4 members to resign previously, presumably to get new people on the committee: be careful what you wish for!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

An email to Town Hall (not from Jeff Bennett)
Appears like Templeton residents are losing access to their government, at least the Board of Selectmen.
This current Board of Selectmen would probably not even have a public meeting if they were not required by law to do so.


Wow...................



I sat and watched the BOS meeting of June 11, 2018 and was, well, flabbergasted. 


I watched as the BOS read " is anyone taping us". I watched as Julie read "no comments other than during the "public comment" section.
Then we get to the meeting.

Their was more discussion regarding "rules for the meeting" than took place regarding the signing of a 4 year contract with Roselli. The Town Administrator recommends an auditor ( who is auditing his and his finance teams work) and the BOS doesn't even ask one question. This type of response makes me question the entire relationship between the BOS and TA. How can you not ask one question. The TA recommends a party to review his work and you just quickly without question vote a unanimous "Yes". Just another example of the financial team being left to regulate themselves. Look for the last  report from the Treasurer or Accountant on the TA weekly report, I believe its in February and something like "taxes due". We have nothing but financial issues in Templeton but yet nobody seems to be paying attention

 Next I watched you deal with the request for Lord Rd and North Main. The agenda states a $100,000.00 transfer request. The TA comes with paperwork requesting $110,000.00. Then the TA talks about the request. He mentions a 10% contingency. 
Looking at the numbers it goes more like this............


$96,100 actual cost of services requested plus an additional 14.5% contingency or slush fund at that point. It may not seem like much, but the sloppy addition, math, statements could be taken as misrepresentation by the Administration but the BOS doesn't even notice. The TA asked for $4,300 of slop and no questions at all from the over site of the Town. Did anyone even notice?

I am really pleased you were able to wrap it all up in 28 minutes. It was a very efficient lack of over site. Maybe a review of this meeting will give Ms. Richard her answer as to why nobody notifies the BOS regarding department issues. It might be because they wonder.......WHY?

Friday, June 8, 2018

MEMORANDUM – OFFICE OF THE TOWN ADMINISTRATOR

TO: Board of Selectmen
FROM: Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE: Administrator’s Weekly Report
DATE: June 7, 2018
CC: All Departments


Important Notice to All Departments 

Job Openings:                         Laborer/Truck Driver (DPW)
                                                Fire Fighter/EMT-P R

Reports on surplus item due by June 14 to highway@templeton1.org

5. b. Given our decentralized structure, we found out we had an additional intern after the presentations of early May. This is to acknowledge their contribution to our organization. 

Weekly Report: 
I met with our Financial Advisor and our Finance Team to begin the compilation of our several bond offerings for the Police ($2.475M) and Schools ($12M+/-). We look to have these on your agenda for 07/11. You will see in August a renewal of the Sewer Pump Station Ban. The Finance team and I met with Counsel on our 130+/- Tax Title properties looking to move about 13 to Land Court (after we have an initial file search for any potential hazardous waste issues by Police, Fire, BoH, and DPW). We will begin our initial batch of 10+/- lands of low value for submission to DOR for certification which is a far speedier – and less costly – approach than going through Land Court. We had a conference call with the MRPC and environmental scientist relative to procuring funding for added research on the 20+ American Tissue properties. Our goal is to clear more lands than added each year by the time of the fall tax-title process to – slowly but manageably – reduce the list. We had a telcon with the Conway School of Design to secure their design services ($1k+/-) for the old Town Offices site in Baldwinville to try to move this project forward. We met with our tax mapping firm to look at various upgrades we want to make for better document management and making those documents available to the public. I had several conversations with Laurel View residents over the “Red List” letter they got about needed repairs before we can continue plowing this private rod. I’ve arranged a full neighborhood meeting for 06/18 here at Town Hall.


Since these residents already pay real estate taxes and since public money can be spent on private roads for improvement, why not, in the name of public safety, lay out a plan and make this road a public way. If this is not done, what happens if those so called needed repairs do not happen and there is a fire or a medical emergency; would that mean the town resources woulld not respond? A precedent has already been set; if the town now refuses to plow this road and there is a fire with medical emergencies, would this put the Town at legal risk? 

The people who live there will be paying for the recent tax increase for services but now the selectmen are going to deny them those services? Time for town management to accept that Laurel View residents were given a "bill of goods" and do right by them. Accept the road as is and put in for CDBG grant money and what ever other resources that can be gained and do the road, sidewalks, drainage, etc., over and be done with it. They are town residents, they pay taxes and they should receive something for their dollars. It is time for taxpayer money to go for something other than employee raises.  

Saturday, June 2, 2018

from the Association of Town Finance Committee handbook.


True zero-based budgeting, in which all programs are reviewed annually and budgets are built from the bottom up, often does not work very well in the municipal arena. Many programs are mandated by state or federal law or by the realities of everyday life. However, it does make sense to review each department’s mission and resources every few years. Finance committees, town managers, employees and citizens should work together and re-examine priorities, think about whether and how missions can be redefined and how resources can be reallocated to better meet a town’s changing needs. This kind of planning, while more difficult in the short term, pays off in the long run if only by keeping the budget process from devolving into a series of ad hoc reactions to year-by year changes in the town’s financial picture.

from the Town website, under Town Administrator: FY 2019 budget presentation:

My Premises –
Zero Based Budget: From the Ground Up; –

 Reflected on our review of work-flow & structure to date;


No payroll checks?  Vacation?  What about the assistants?

The assistant to the Town Administrator was in the office of the board of selectmen.
What about the assistant Town Accountant? I thought that was one reason for having assistants, so the work can be done when the lead person is out. Perhaps the policy that covers this situation should be looked at for the answers.

I hope all Town employees attend the next selectmen meeting and under public comments, these questions are asked and they get answers. From some conversations I have had from residents, things are not much better in the Treasurer / Collectors office. I hope the elected sewer commissioners stand their ground and keep control of those enterprise funds. It sometimes seems there is nothing more than a big ponzi scheme going on with regards to Templeton finance. Time for some management costing to be done? An outside payroll service does not seem like such a bad idea right now.

Maybe it is time for a tax underride? Since there is 20 million dollars being spent on a regional lockup facility, to include drug rehab and medical services, is there a need for any small town to have their own jail cells, that come with all those requirements such as additional personnel to watch the prisoners, transport to hospital for any medical problem, real or possible, feeding them, etc.

Of course, the people just voted for a tax increase, just re-elected a selectmen so they must be happy with the government they have. Maybe time to just sit back, smell the coffee and have a good laugh. Now, about them pot holes and beetles in all the trees out there?

On page 65 in the spending plan book for FY2018, (Treasurer/Collector) there is an item listed as Harpers payroll for $12,190.00. Presumably, that is to cover cost of processing Town payroll.

On page 47 in the spending plan book for FY 2019, (Town Accountant) there is an item listed as Harpers Payroll for $12,190.00. Again, presumably to cover cost of processing payroll.

Looking through the Town Administrators reports for the year (weekly) almost every one of them contain the same thing: Finance team - Town Accountant and Treasurer/Collector; nothing to report.


Probably won't hear much about this at a selectmen meeting because the Town Administrator will handle it and he is not covered by the open meeting law. Things like employee evaluations are not done at selectmen meetings, where people who pay the bills and salaries, can hear about qualifications and quality of work completed by the employees they pay for. Taxpayers should be able to hear this information.




Friday, June 1, 2018

No fluoride, no smart meter, no trump conspiracies, just some information:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018, selectmen held a meeting and financial transfer was on agenda.

So two transfer requests were signed and forwarded to Advisory Committee for action.
 
One transfer was from benefits to snow & ice deficit in the amount of $25,000.00.
That transfer was approved.

Second transfer request was for $15,000.00 from benefits to highway department:
That transfer was not approved.

purchase of services - $9,000.00

supplies -                    $6,000.00

problem / issue: memo showing the breakdown of what the funds were needed for;
MS-4 / storm water report @ $2,000.00
arborist / diseased trees      @ $2,150.00
Equipment services            @ $2,850.00  (cylinder rebuild & body repair)

So, those total $7,000.00 which leads to the question: did the requester mean to ask for $7,000.00?

Did the requester make an error in the summary and really need $9,000.00/

Since the Town Administrator and accountant are both out on vacation and no one in selectmen office answered the question and it seems as if the selectmen do not read what they vote or sign or discuss, the chairman signed it and forward it to Advisory and no one came to the meeting to answer the question (s)

Tin foil is in aisle 6

Monday, May 28, 2018

House-Senate budget differences headed to conference committee


The House and Senate have each approved budget bills for next year, with some important differences in local government accounts and on policy issues that will have to be resolved by a six-member conference committee.
 
With state finances more stable this budget season than over the past two years, some of the concern about funding levels for state and local government programs has diminished a bit, and in some cases there is an opportunity for growth. Last year at this time, state collections were falling almost half a billion dollars behind the forecast. This year, collections through the end of April are about $800 million ahead of the target.
 
Policy differences in the House and Senate fiscal 2019 budget bills include some controversial issues that affect cities and towns, including Senate-approved updates to the Community Preservation Act fee schedule, a provision to establish a new car rental fee to help fund the municipal police training program, and a measure that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The House is acting on a police training program funding plan in separate legislation
.

Apparently, the state Senators think there should be no rule of law in Massachusetts. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Do Templeton selectmen read and understand what is put in front of them? Do they understand everything that is asked of them?

On page 73 of the spending plan binders, an explanation in detail, of what is planned for purchase of service; Town Clerk, for the fiscal year 2019. One item listed is General Code - Codification @ $3,998.00. There is a notation showing this is year 3 of a 3 year contract with a further annual $1,195.00 fee for FY 2020 and thereafter.

So why would the selectmen tell people at annual town meeting that only $100.00 to no more than $1,000.00 was spent on codification?

So, did the selectmen lie to the Annual Town Meeting or did they really not  know how much they agreed to spend on a contract they signed? It was nice of the Town Administrator to take the blame, but he did not sign the warrant for town meeting.





Sunday, May 20, 2018

Okay, here is a math problem for you:

Templeton local required contribution . . . . . . . . . . . . $4,385,110.00
additional appropriation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,272,179.00
Templeton transportation difference . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $   675,463.00
debt service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $   417,911.00
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $6,750,663.00



Now, from Templeton Town Meeting:
 warrant article # 33  NRHS district . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $6,332,752.00

to pay NRHS district for educating, transporting students and capital and debt expenses.

Is the debt expense included in the motion dollar figure presented by the selectmen?

I guess the answer will be, no problem, we will do it over in the fall.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Not so fast . . . . . it just may be a Grand Illusion!

Looking at the Town web site to look at recently posted Moderator Rules for the up coming Templeton Annual Town Meeting. The rules in part state that materials placed on the table have been pre approved.

It further states If you would like to make such materials available to Town Meeting members, please submit them to me for approval at least 48 hours before the start of Town Meeting.

It states you can drop off these material to the Templeton Police department.????


After reading an email from the moderator to a couple of people with the same reply which contains the following:

"I absolutely have the authority to determine what is or is not allowed at the town meeting. For example you or anyone else is not allowed to smoke or bring any alcohol or firearms to the town meeting. Town Meeting Time page 136."

So I contacted the Moderators Association and purchased a copy of Town Meeting Times for $25.00.
Came in the mail on Saturday and I quickly turned to page 136 to see what it says.

I found that chapter 9, with a subject of Debate, begins on page 134 and goes to page 138. On page 136, the only reference to any rule or power of the moderator I found was at the bottom of the page;

"Carlyle not withstanding, ("the substitution of tobacco smoke for parliamentary eloquence is by some held to be a great improvement"), with a footnote 9. it is improper (footnote 10) and in Massachusetts, illegal to smoke or carry intoxicating liquor in a town meeting (footnote 11)

Looking at the footnotes, #11 states Mass. Gen. Laws, c. 54, section 73. Note that this empowers the moderator to cause the offender to be removed, but not confined.

This seems to state that rather than having the authority to determine what is or is not allowed at Town Meeting, it simply gives the moderator the authority to have one removed from the meeting for violating the law or a rule.

There may be a copy of Town Meeting Times available for reading at a library. You can always buy a copy or perhaps the moderator will allow you to read his copy and read page 136 for yourself.

I will have my copy at Town Meeting.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

TO: Board of Selectmen
FROM: Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE: Administrator’s Weekly Report
DATE: May 10, 2018
CC: All Departments ______________________________________________________________________________ ANNUAL TOWN MEETING, SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2018, 9:00 A.M. @ NRSD GYM

Important Notice to All Departments 
Job Openings: Seasonal Laborer (DPW) & Laborer/Truck Driver (DPW), 

Business Meeting or Workshop: The following is intended to supplement agenda items where a full memorandum may not have been required or updates are needed.

6. b. This is to recognize the very positive contribution to our organization of the four interns we have working with us this semester.

6. d. As you now know, the auditorium normally used for Town Meeting is not available to us. After lengthy discussions and on-site review, the recommendation is to move it to the Gymnasium of the High School. While it is in the same building complex it - unfortunately - has a separate street address (#464 versus the warned #462 Baldwinville). We are advised such a move requires a joint decision of the BoS and Town Moderator. This is to hear the formal recommendation of the Moderator and Clerk and hear the steps that will be taken to advise the public and ensure an orderly carrying out of the move.

6. e. This is to adopt a meeting calendar for FY 2019. It includes an expanded and pre-set number of meetings for the budget process. As discussed previously it is based upon the recommendation to move your meeting nights to Wednesday. This has several advantages. It avoids the need to reschedule around any of the Monday holiday conflicts. In fact, I am told that there are no holiday reschedules in this calendar. It means you are here on Wednesday nights to sign warrants avoiding the need for you to make extra trips and avoiding the likelihood we are lacking a needed signature as we face any timelines to release checks. Finally, by moving to a fiscal year calendar each board gets to set its own schedule at its annual organizational meeting.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

 Jeff,

On the $3.75 monthly customer charge, this increased from $3.00 to $3.75 on January 1, 2018.  The extra $0.75 per month per residential electric customer will cover the cost of our new AMI system over a 20-year depreciation schedule.  The customer charge covers the cost to read customer’s meter, produce an electric bill, mail the electric bill to the customer and process their electric payment 12 times per year.

The electrical work on Elm St going on is an aerial cable replacement of some wire put up in the early 1980s with gray covering.  Historically this gray-colored aerial cable has had problems with flashovers and has led to power outages.  The 1,200’ of gray cable left on Elm St will be the last of it in town.  A few years ago we replaced about 10,000’ of the same type of cable on Patriots Rd from JBM down to Lawrence Place over a 3-year period.  The new aerial cables are all colored black.



John M Driscoll
General Manager

Templeton Municipal Light & Water Plant
86 Bridge Street, P.O. Box 20
Baldwinville, MA 01436
Phone   (978) 939-5323 x11
Fax       (978) 939-4309

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Do you even listen to answers given to you by the person you ask ? That was asked and answered on TCTV by the Town Administor May 2 18 - he came in - sat down and listened to your committees redundant questions & pointless comments. 

I listen to the answers given by many people. If you think the questions are redundant or pointless, perhaps come to Advisory Committee meeting and explain yourself. Of course, it is hard to stay anonymous if you come and introduce yourself. 

I recall listening to people tell the select board that an article for Town Meeting had to be worded this way. So the article was presented that way and then behold, a few years later, the article had to be redone because it was done done correctly the first time. Perhaps more questions before things move forward and there would be fewer errors.

Take the question concerning the E911 grant (the fund that the audit report states is still being accounted for improperly. $106,000.00 in funds had to be re-classed from the general fund to the E911 S+I grant fund.

Perhaps more redundant questions and that situation could have been avoided. Again, if you are comfortable with changing things that may have already been addressed in a report that you paid around $10,000.00 for. Lastly, the Town was told by way of the Town Accountant that after the audits for FY 2013 through FY 2016, we now have good numbers. However, since that time, this committee that you feel asks redundant and pointless questions/comments, have found a number of errors. Through our redundant process, the Advisory Committee has gotten some explanations for these errors. Perhaps you are someone who does not care about those things, some people do care. 

Lastly, the question concerning E 911 grant accounting; a question was asked about the posted dollar figures in the monthly expenditure reports; 
March 22, 2018 shows an allocated balance of $157,606.04 with expenditure of $62,466.44 with an ending balance of $95,139.60.

April 23, 2018, expenditure report E 911 grant shows allocation of $197,874.96 with expended $62,466.44 with an ending balance of $135,408.52.

Answer provided:    Beginning fiscal year balance of $  78,270.58
                                revenue in FY 2018                     $119,604.38
                                expended in FY 2018                  $  62,466.44
                                Available balance                        $135,408.52 

No explanation concerning how the $157,606.04 came to be nor how it went from that to $197,874.96 on the report of April 23, 2018.   So the question will be asked again when an answer is hopefully obtained that explains that. 

There will be some openings on the Advisory Committee at the end of the up coming Annual Town Meeting.
Also, perhaps an interested party missed a board of selectmen meeting but watched the Advisory Committee meeting. Even the Town Administrator admitted he missed something when he commented about the FY 2019 spending plan book having been out there for 10 weeks. His answer was the same but with out the original clarification that was stated would happen. Better to ask the same question a few times in an attempt to get it right the first time rather than have to do it three times. You may not agree with that, oh well.
    
I went to Town Hall today and visited the Town Clerk's office. I asked if there were readily available Town Meeting records for 1951. There are, in old large books. There are also annual Town reports. The book I looked through went from 1940 something up to the 1960's. I found the Town Meeting warrant where many of the Town's by-laws came to be. It was voted as the Collector of taxes shall collect, under the title of Town Collector, all accounts due the Town, except interest on investments on trust funds. This means that not only sewer receipts, but light & water receipts should be collected in Town Hall by the Town Collector. (as recommended in the DOR financial review of the Town of Templeton.

I feel any confusion could be cleared up by referring to the tax collector as the Town Collector from here on out. Just as the Advisory Committee some how morphed into the Advisory Board, even though the Massachusetts General Law requiring it's creation refers to it as a committee and even the Templeton by-laws refer to it as the Advisory Committee. To this day, even a member of the Advisory Committee still calls it the Advisory Board.

Under Article V - financial affairs, section 5, refers to the Town Coordinator can sell obsolete town equipment to the highest bidder (s) with the approval of the board of selectmen.

With so many improper and conflicting by-laws, and with the codification book (s) and a CD/DVD in Town Hall, why are the selectmen so intent on messing with by-laws concerning Advisory Committee before going through the codification report which you paid around 10 thousand dollars for?

I hope the same number of people who showed up at the polls show up for Town Meeting.




Looking over the unofficial vote totals for the election in Templeton, there seems to be a good deal of voter apathy. Look at the blanks totals for all of the positions and questions. Additionally, there were three open positions with no candidates who took out papers for Cemetery, Board of Health and Housing Authority. One thing is for sure, Templeton is no longer the community with the low tax rate. I will be looking to the select board to inspire people to run and become involved. I think there will be a number of positions open on Advisory Committee this year.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Contrary to what the Town Administrator states in his weekly update of May 3, 2018, FY 2017 Annul Town Reports are being handed out at the election place, as usual.

Hope this clears up any confusion.
The largest expense Templeton taxpayers are facing - a 47 million dollar project called the Templeton elementary school.
So why does someone volunteer for a committee involving that project, but fails to show for even one meeting?
Ask current selectman Richards - it is time for a change.


Please elect Jeff Bennett for selectman
Jeff Bennett, no family working for the Town, no conflicts of interest. (No, I am not related to the Police Chief, Mike Bennett)
So I will never have to step away from the table for any votes. And I show up for meetings.
Thank You to the 13 people who took campaign signs, they are collectibles!
Please VOTE on Monday, May 7, 2018 

between 11:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. at NRHS middle school gym.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Policies, policies and policies:

Under M.G.L. c. 44, §33B, a board of selectmen (with the finance committee’s agreement) or a city council may approve the transfer of appropriations between line items during the last two months of the fiscal year or the first 15 days of the ensuing fiscal year, provided that the appropriations are not taken from the school department or municipal light plant.

So, reading this, before the finance (Advisory) Committee may consider an end of year financial transfer, the board of selectmen must vote to do so and sign off on the paper work. The law does not indicate substituting say a Town Administrator for the selectmen.
Jeff Bennett, no family working for the Town, no conflicts of interest. (No, I am not related to the Police Chief, Mike Bennett)
So I will never have to step away from the table for any votes. And I show up for meetings.
Thank You to the 13 people who took campaign signs, they are collectibles!

Please VOTE on Monday, May 7, 2018 between 11:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. at NRHS middle school gym.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Town Meeting Warrant; If you look over the warrant for the May 19, 2018 Templeton Town Meeting, you will find several articles involving Town By-laws. On May 2, 2018, at Advisory Committee meeting, the town administrator stated the codification study of Templeton by-laws are in, he has a book but he stated he has not reviewed it as of yet. There is also a CD/DVD in with the report as well. Apparently, this process has been complete for some time. So, why propose by-law changes now before reading a taxpayer paid for report? Why pay for something if you are not going to use it or ignore it and make changes that may have already been made by the company you spent money on? Makes me wonder about the competency of the entire board of selectmen. Unless the T/A is keeping this from selectmen or the selectmen are asleep at the wheel, so to speak, why would they vote those articles in? The T/A stated he planned to address this at a planned fall special Town Meeting. So, my question is, why not wait until the fall to propose the by-law changes, if needed?


VOTE Jeff Bennett for Selectman
Recently, a  source tells me long time Templeton employee Carol Lee Eaton has been given an option; resign or be fired. There may have been a mistake made by her. Considering the number of mistakes, some continue still, by the Town Accountant and current Town Treasurer/Collector, why does this employee receive this treatment?
If you read the FY 2017 audit report, you will find on page 10 that the Town continues to improperly account for the E911 grant funds. Whose responsibility is it to track Town funds, to check Town expenses and record them as legal, charged to the correct fund and ensure there is enough money in each fund to cover charges? Why the Town Accountant. Why do the managers of Templeton (selectmen) continue to overlook this employee while they seem to hold all others to a different standard? Perhaps less time spent meddling in politics and more time spent on the job for which you are paid to do.
There is much talk of low attendance at Town Meeting, hard to get volunteers for committees and even candidates to run for office. Perhaps part of the problem is a failure of management to treat all the same and to put things forward in a truly open and honest fashion. Perhaps what is needed is a selectman who will speak to this and who will point out such things as expenditure reports continually showing mistakes. Enough with the "keying errors."


It is truly time for a change, please VOTE Jeff Bennett for Selectmen
If you are paying attention, the FY 2017 Annual Town Report is now posted on Town web site. The following comes from the selectmen portion of the report:
Future Aspirations
As Templeton continues to progress towards financial stability the Board plans to change focus
from financial correction to financial efficiency & operational standardization. We intend to
explore both of these routes equally in order to promote a healthy work space and cost effective
savings for the tax payers. We are hoping to increase communication with surrounding towns to
discuss openly points of possible synergies and methods of strategies. Encouraging department
heads to reach out to other department heads from neighboring communities for ideas and
promoting training of our current staff to allow them to think about how their job can be done
more effectively while maintaining extraordinary service.
On page 78 of that report is an item from the special Town Meeting of October 20, 2016. It was about FY 2017 budget supplement.
On a motion duly made and 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 ($87,501) to the long term debt
service line of that budget (Account No. 100-710-700-59-5910-000), and further to
transfer said sum from the stabilization fund to pay for the foregoing
Defeated/October 20th @ 7:56 by hand count requested by 7 or more voters.
Prior to the vote, Advisory Committee member Jeff Bennett pointed out that according to the current balance number given to the Advisory Committee before the meeting, that $87K represented about half of the stabilization fund and that it did not seem prudent to make that move. Thank fully it did not happen, as Advisory found out later, the actual balance of the stabilization fund at the time of the meeting was around $90,000.00. After that vote and meeting, selectmen began a verbal assault on Advisory Committee, even going so far as to profess that people needed to get the permission of the Moderator regarding what material people can bring into Town Meeting with them. No, the moderator is not the paper police. If you check, Julie Richard was a member of the select board at that time and I was a member of the Advisory Committee. Now, I would like to represent you on the Board of Selectmen, where I will speak up for you.
It is time for a change, I ask that you VOTE Jeff Bennett for selectmen. Thank You.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Interesting item from last Advisory Committee meeting; The Town Administrator presented the committee with an end of year financial transfer request. Transfer from Insurance and Benefits fund to Veterans Fund. Amount of transfer request is $7,000.00. The amount shown to still be in the Veterans fund as of April 27, 2018 is $5,365.00. The amount shown to be in the Insurance & Benefits Fund as of April 27, 2018 is $519,538.00.
From the 3rd quarter financial report from Town Accountant dated April 23, 2018, Insurance & Benefits shows $745,860.27
A month earlier, expenditure report dated March 22, 2018 shows Insurance & Benefits as $747,776.49
Will be interesting to see what the end of year balance is for Insurance & Benefits, as in what is left over, if any.
I also have to question why a Town with a general fund spending plan of over 8 million dollars is going to use a meals tax, which does not even exist yet, as a basis to support 3 year leases on a car and a truck (police cruiser and highway one tone truck) while letting about $196,000.00 roll forward, untouched. I have to question why create 2 new 3 year bills when you do not have to. Spend the money you have and put the leftover into capital stabilization fund.
The warrant article states a three year lease for both vehicles at $42,000.00 per year with a limit of $126,000.00. If you just use the $126,000.00 as the case price for both items, there would still be $70,000 to put into capital stabilization without creating new bills that now have to be funded with future unknown money. What if the meals tax does not pass? Again,my view is it is a foolish move to let that $196 thousand roll on and bet on an unknown.

It is Time for a change - VOTE Jeff Bennett for Selectmen
SUMMARY:  Overlay and Overlay surplus

These guidelines explain recent amendments made by the Municipal Modernization Act that impact the Allowance for Abatements and Exemptions (overlay). St. 2016, c. 218, §§ 131, 133 and 152. They explain the statutory standard for maintaining an adequate overlay and the actions the Commissioner of Revenue (Commissioner) may take when approving a tax rate or determining available funds (free cash) to ensure compliance with that standard. Overlay is an account to fund anticipated abatements and exemptions of committed real and personal property taxes. The overlay amount is determined by the board of assessors (assessors) and may be raised in the tax rate without appropriation. Excess overlay is determined, certified and transferred by vote of the assessors to a Fund Balance Reserved for Overlay Released by the Assessors for Expenditures (overlay surplus). Overlay surplus may then be appropriated by the legislative body for any lawful purpose until the end of the fiscal year, i.e., June 30. Overlay surplus not appropriated by year-end is closed to the general fund undesignated fund balance. G.L. c. 59, §§ 23 and 25.

This is posted so as to try and inform people of what the item is and how it is used. If you hear or see overlay surplus at Town Meeting, now you will hopefully have an idea of what it is and how or why it comes to be.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

In case you are paying attention:

If you look on the Templeton Town web site under departments and click Town Administrator, then click on the FY2019 Town Meeting Warrant, look at article 21; fiscal year 2019 General Fund operating budget (OPEX) and you will see a dollar figure of $8,220,298.00.

If you stay at the same place and look through the budget book presentation, sections 1-3, move down until you come to the summary - General Fund Operating budget and look down at the total: $8,315,481.00 is what you will see.

In the hard copy (paper) book that was handed out to selectmen and Advisory Committee members, we go to the same page, General Fund Operating Budget and we see a total of $8,220,231.00.
That was an "update"passed on to Advisory on April 9, 2018. So, which one is correct? Which one did the select board vote on? Do they know?

What is voted on at Town Meeting will be, but why don't all the dollar figures match?
How is putting conflicting information on the Town's website for taxpayers helping anyone out?



Monday, April 30, 2018

Does anyone remember the MA DOT complete streets program? Templeton is a compact member. According to the website, Templeton does not have or it did not work on the complete streets best practice policy. The website does not show any projects for Templeton. I recall this grant program was going to be used to aid in the design / re do of Wellington Road and part of South Road with regards to the area around the new school. I wonder if this is going to be another good opportunity left untapped by the selectmen like the CDBG program. That is the program used to rebuild infrastructure in the Back Bay area of Baldwinville. Water lines, drainage, sidewalks and road beds. Perhaps they are too busy with writing policies. Of course if you do not show up for meetings, it is hard to bring these things up.

The key word or phrase is complete streets best practice policy and the DOT web site shows a no for Templeton. No projects approved for FY 2017, rounds 1 and 2. No projects approved FY 2018 round 1 and 2. No prioritization plan approved yet either according to the website.


 VOTE
for Jeff Bennett for Selectmen