Friday, April 20, 2018

TO: Board of Selectmen
FROM: Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE: Administrator’s Weekly Report
DATE: April 19, 2018
CC: All Departments


Town Clerk:

Absentee ballots are now available to those who qualify. All of the requested absentee ballots have mailed out. In reserving the auditorium for the Annual Town Meeting, the school has informed me that the auditorium is booked for May 19th and that it cannot be changed. The TA and myself will be looking at the Middle School & High School gyms to see which one will best fit our needs
from an earlier post:

With recent discussion and newspaper articles talking of Templeton, MA being under effort in support of the school district, I find it interesting that the Narragansett Regional school district shows the highest average teacher salaries in the immediate area; if you look at the report on the web site of DESE (department of secondary elementary education, you find NRHS at $76,742.00, Gardner at $69,195.00, Winchendon at $71,029.00, Athol-Royalston at $65,972.00 and Ashburnham-Westminster at $70,190.00. Templeton voters/taxpayers also voted to appropriate (make available) 47 million dollars towards the building of a new elementary school. The other town in the two town school district opted to not support this effort. Templeton residents, you are not under effort in supporting your school (s), in fact, you are providing more funding than even the DESE mandates and have been doing so for a number of years.
Time for that myth to be put to rest.


Seems there are two different places to look for comparison on Teacher Salaries:



Link #1  divides by 91 teachers and is for FY17.
Link #2  divides by 102 teachers for FY16;
yielding two different averages, $ 76,742.00 and $ 67,147.00.

So depending on which one you look at or use, you can present a different dollar figure, one high and one lower. The question becomes which one to use in presentation, are the figures correct, with regards to the number of teachers? I try very hard to present correct information, so if you read this and go check, you will be aware of the variation.

Article 31 of the Annual Town Meeting warrant to be held May 19, 2018 requires a 2/3 vote rather than the posted on Town website as only a majority vote required. This was questioned at recent Advisory Committee meeting. Town Administrator acknowledged it did require a 2/3 vote to pass. The original draft copy had it as a 2/3 vote. The final, for posting Town Meeting Warrant has it as majority vote required.
Watch for this at Town Meeting.

Vote Jeff Bennett for Selectmen
It is time for a change!

By attending all 8 district reorganization meetings, I have first hand knowledge of how things went. It was not a formal committee, there was no chair, vice chair or clerk. Someone did keep a record of sorts of what was discussed. For instance, nothing was really voted on. If you watch (ed) the meeting with the presentation, those items were a result of general discussion. The dollar figure presented as a possible savings comes from the school and needs to be checked further.
Again, Templeton voters were told, when they voted the $47 million dollars, that their students ( pre -K, kindergarten and grades 1 thru 5 would attend the new elementary school with Phillipston grades 1 thru 5 attending the Phillipston elementary school. I think it is time to follow through on what was told / promised to the voters.
Again, the insight of how, what and why with regards to the district reorganization committee was gained by actually attending the meetings I said I would attend. That is a difference between myself and Julie Richards. I recall when she first ran 3 years ago, one of her talking points was "she gets things done." So, when Julie Richards volunteers to be a selectmen representative on a committee but never shows up, is that getting things done? Two people volunteer for something, one person attends all of the meetings, the other never shows up. Who would you want representing you?


Please vote Jeff Bennett for Selectmen

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Candidates night is in the books for 2018, few people take the time to attend any more.
Jeff Bennett - for selectmen. 
Served previously as selectmen and currently serve on Advisory Committee since 2015.

As one political sign out there states; it is time for a change and I agree with that. 

Past service gives me experience, lessons learned by some good decisions and some mistakes, which in my opinion gives me guidance to be a better selectmen. 

The current selectmen policies & procedures in place were brought forward by me while serving as a selectmen.
Attendance at selectmen meetings; 
There are five elected selectmen, therefore there should be 5 selectmen at most if not all meetings. There were 8 district reorganization committee meetings and as a representative for Advisory Committee, I made all of them. Selectmen representative made 2. I attended all of the joint budget meetings with selectmen. 
I miss few meetings when I serve. 
For the office of the board of selectmen, I am ready. 

Please vote on May 7, 2018 - 11:00 A.M. til 7:00 P.M

Accountability - All Town employee salaries should be listed in the Annual Town report

All end of year financial transfers / non-town meeting should be in the Town Report

Audits are done, we are told we have a good financial team in place, we have good numbers.

There is no reason that information should not be in the Annual Town Report - 
Unless selectmen do not wish it in there.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

With recent discussion and newspaper articles talking of Templeton, MA being under effort in support of the school district, I find it interesting that the Narragansett Regional school district shows the highest average teacher salaries in the immediate area; if you look at the report on the web site of DESE (department of secondary elementary education, you find NRHS at $76,742.00, Gardner at $69,195.00, Winchendon at $71,029.00, Athol-Royalston at $65,972.00 and Ashburnham-Westminster at $70,190.00. Templeton voters/taxpayers also voted to appropriate (make available) 47 million dollars towards the building of a new elementary school. The other town in the two town school district opted to not support this effort. Templeton residents, you are not under effort in supporting your school (s), in fact, you are providing more funding than even the DESE mandates and have been doing so for a number of years.
Time for that myth to be put to rest.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Yes, we manage our finances well over here in Phillipston??
from the Athol Daily News:
PHILLIPSTON — The town is not putting the cart before the horse — as it has at times concerning town issues — when it comes to a “smelly” situation in the Town Hall Annex.
Instead, Phillipston has decided to draft an article for the annual Town Meeting warrant to address the situation at the annex, and then pursue quotes for the work.
The annex sits between the Phillipston Library and the Phillipston Congregational Church on Templeton Road. The offices housed in the annex include the town accountant, town treasurer, Board of Health, Cemetery Commission and building inspectors. The annex is a pre-1900 post-and-beam construction building, which housed the Highway Department before the new highway barn was constructed.
It was reported that Huhtala Oil & Propane has been called three times over the last year for various repairs to the aging furnace.
Administrative Assistant Kevin Flynn said the chimney is deteriorating, the furnace has melted parts. The blower to the furnace is tied into the light switch for the meeting area, and an electrician has been called to resolve that.
“The furnace is an antique, ready to go to the Historical Society,” said Flynn.
The town is exploring its options: replace the furnace with a new one, which will require extensive repairs to the chimney; switch to a propane-fueled furnace, which will require new venting to the roof; or switch to heating pumps, a multi-zone system. Officials say a switch to heating pumps would allow them to get rid of the oil tank.
Selectman John Telepciak said the voters should decide which way they want to go.
“It smells so bad over there,” said Town Clerk Karen Foley, shaking her head. “It’s bad.”
Others agreed. There are five town employees who work in the building.
Highway superintendent Richard Tenney said “it’s a rusty-oily smell,” and suggested obtaining quotes from several vendors for propane system, heat pumps or oil system.
Telepciak said, “Yes. We need better air, better heat over there.”
Other business
Addressing a concern raised that there might not be enough money in the budget to hold office hours through April, it was determined that there is enough in the payroll account for the Board of Health to work 21 and a half hours per month through the end of the fiscal year.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

PHILLIPSTON — Narragansett Regional School Superintendent Dr. Christopher Casavant recently attempted to dispel rumors, including that teachers will be fired and the Phillipston Memorial School shuttered.
“It’s not so,” he said this week during the Selectboard meeting.
Vague information circulating about plans of the Narragansett Regional School District’s District Reorganization Advisory Committee to move Phillipston elementary students to the Templeton Center Elementary School has parents and teachers up in arms. Phillipston is a member of the NRS school district.
Christine Bennett, a member of the Phillipston Parent Teachers Group, read a letter to selectmen voicing concerns. She said a proposal to appropriate the PMS to the entire district for use as the only Pre-K through Kindergarten building would mean all Templeton Kindergarten students (80 percent) would be bussed to Phillipston. And, likewise, all Phillipston students in grades one, two, three, four and five would be bussed to the new Templeton elementary building when it is completed.
“We find this proposal to be completely unacceptable for many reasons,” she said. “Templeton parents were promised their kids would go to school in Templeton” and so were Phillipston parents.
Casavant said the committee put out a call for volunteers in November to serve on an advisory committee to discuss the district’s reorganization, and open meetings have been held for months. At the present time, he said, “We are looking for information — no recommendations will be made. There is no proposal to do what Ms. Bennett just said. The committee will probably vote to do a public forum to hear the public’s concerns.”
Templeton’s application to build a new elementary school was accepted by the Massachusetts School Building Authority in 2007. In 2009, the town voted to approve funds for a feasibility study. The Brooks Property offered to the town in 2010 as a donation was found to be unsuitable.
The Crow Hill site, owned by the state and to be given to the town, was rejected in 2014 due to excessive development costs of $5 to $10 million. Two responses for a third request for proposals for land were rejected due to pricing and suitability for a school in 2014. In 2015, the MSBA approved the plan for a new building at the Templeton Center site, 460 Baldwinville Road, which is currently under construction.
Bennett said Phillipston voted several times not to enter into a regional elementary school agreement.
She said, “The townspeople have invested in the Phillipston Memorial School property every year, and this is why many families choose to live here. Many parents oppose regionalizing the younger students.”
Bennett argued that the young students would spend an “inordinate amount of time being bussed to Templeton. There are already some students riding over half an hour just to get to PMS, it would be much longer going to Templeton.”
She said parents and staff in Phillipston support the PTG, which has been operating for more than 40 years. It provides special programs and opportunities for the Phillipston students, and is supported well by parents and staff.
“We have traditional activities, which would have to be greatly altered or simply become impossible in two buildings so far apart,” said Bennett.
She said the group believes it would lose much of its own support and not gain much from the other town’s parents.
“Our kids will get lost in the shuffle,” she said.
Applause erupted when former Phillipston Finance Committee member Ruth French said, “I want to let Christine know we stand with the PTG and want to keep our children in town.”
Selectman John Telepciak, a member of the advisory committee, said, “The people in Phillipston do not want to enter into an elementary regional agreement.”
In the original plan, Phillipston voted in 2005 not to support a regional elementary school, and all elementary students would be educated in the town that they live in.
The new school is designed to support Pre-K students from both towns (bathrooms in the classrooms; age/developmentally appropriate playground; and with a one-stop drop off/pick up area.
The Alternate Plan proposes all preschool and kindergarten students (regardless of where they live) would attend Phillipston Memorial School; and every first- through fifth-grader (regardless of where they live) would attend the Templeton Center Elementary School. All students in grades 6 through 12, from both towns, will attend Narragansett Middle/High School.
Challenges to the alternate plan include: it is a politically charged issue; repurposing of grade-specific space at the new school; potential dual location drop-off and pick-up issues; and two building transitions for students.
Casavant said that while the advisory committee doesn’t have decision-making abilities, the school committee does.
“They can vote to combine by state statute,” he said.
Casavant said, “People are jumping the gun. They have come up with outlandish things. These are committee meetings held to discuss and gather information. There are nine people from Phillipston and nine people from Templeton on the committee. It is normal to talk about bussing and other options.”
French asked, “The school committee can make the decision, not the town, even though the town agreement is in place?”
Casavant answered in the affirmative.
“I’m trying to quell the craziness in the central office,” said Casavant. “There’s going to be a financial cost to keep the elementary students in Phillipston. It will require more teachers in Phillipston. We need to hire more teachers, more specialists. We wanted to make sure we vetted that out.”
Telepciak said, “I don’t think Phillipston is going to argue there’s going to be a cost.”
Finance Committee member Tom Specht agreed, saying, “Cost isn’t an issue. Phillipston has always stepped forward, passed overrides and been supportive. Even if there’s a cost — leave the kids in Phillipston.”
He noted there is word of a survey, but no vehicle has been decided, whether it be put up on Facebook or on the town website, he said, “not everyone has a computer at home.”
Selectman Terry Dymek said the survey is not binding.
Casavant said, “We’re just trying to get the word out. People are trying to get information. Last year people said there was no trust. This is to get information. We will put hard copies in locations.
Draft survey questions include two options:
Original plan — all Templeton students K-5 are educated in the new elementary school;
Alternate Plan — Templeton and Phillipston students grades 1-5 are educated in the new elementary school in Templeton. All Templeton and Phillipston students PreK to kindergarten are educated in Phillipston.
Other questions will ask where people live and if they use School Choice; and if they support whatever decision the School Committee will make, or whether they have no preference.
Other topics to be considered are: middle school schedule, middle school administration configuration, special education services (case load), busing and change of school start times.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Okay boys and girls, please pay attention and mark this on your calendar: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 6:00 P.M. in the KIVA. A public forum, information, discussion, questions, ideas. You will have an opportunity to say how you feel about the new Templeton elementary school. Should it be Templeton students only in grades 1 thru 5 or should it be Templeton and Phillipston students grade 1 thru 5? Remember, only Templeton voters/taxpayers are paying for this school. This is your time to let the school committee know how you feel. This is important. This involves your money and your vote. Do not let your voice go unheard.

This is suppose to be a question/concern time. This is the time to speak.
Apr 10, 2018 - 5:30 P.M. at the KIVA
NRSD School Committee 
 PUBLIC INPUT 
NEW BUSINESS
Subject: Presentation of recommendations of the District Reorganization Advisory Committee
Discussion, Information
There is suppose to be a more formal public hearing at a later date as well as a planned survey. This is important, so please attend that hearing, take part in the survey. Have your voice heard!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Make your day: 
Transportation costs for school district listed at $1,176,464.00. The state, by way of legislature appropriation, is suppose to pay all of that. Once again, it looks like they will fail to do so. So, on the backs of Templeton taxpayers, $675,463.00 is to be used to cover those costs. The state has said it will kick in $363,000.00. If the state would honor it's promise, that $675,463.00 could be used for other things and a proposed override could be much lower. Just for clarity,, on the draft budget document for the school district, the Town (s) share of transportation is listed at $811,464.00, split $675,464.00 for Templeton and $136,001.00 for Phillipston. When the regional district agreement is updated, one thing that needs to be change is the number of representatives for the school committee from each Town. Since Templeton pays about 85% of costs, Templeton should have more representation on the school committee. That is something residents really need to watch. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

It was stated at last evenings Advisory Committee meeting "we should follow the law"

My question is; which one?

Templeton taxpayers are spending good money on the "codification" of their Town general by-laws. Perhaps before we go changing any more of our Town by-laws, we let that process play out and see where we stand. I do not feel it makes good sense to make more changes before we get the original mess straightened out first.

Seems like the Advisory Committee fully supported a change to the budget process; then it happened. Careful for what you wish for!


Annual Town Meeting of May 17, 2014 - Advisory Committee recommends:

ARTICLE 20 CHANGE TO THE TOWN BUDGET PROCESS
To see if the Town will vote to change Article IV “Advisory Committee,”
Section 4 of the Town By-Laws to read:
“It shall be duty of the Town Administrator in conjunction with the BOS to consider expenditures and develop a budget for the ensuing fiscal year of the several boards, officers and committees of the town, as prepared by them in such form and detail as prescribed by the Town Administrator.”; or take any other action relative thereto.
Submitted by the Board of Selectmen 

Advisory Board Recommendation: No Vote: 5-0 

AB Comments: 
The Advisory Board fully supports a change to the town budget process, however, the wording and placement of this suggested by-law change ( replacing an article that deals with the Advisory Board with text that relates strictly to the BOS and Town Administrator) does not seem to make sense and therefore the Advisory Board cannot support the article.


Templeton General Town by-laws:

Article IV - Section 4. It shall be the duty of the Advisory Committee annually to consider the expenditures in previous years and the estimated requirements for the ensuing year of the several boards, officers and committees of the town, as prepared by them in such form and detail as may be prescribed by said committee. The said committee shall add to such statement of expenditures and estimates another column, giving the amounts which in its opinion should be appropriated for the ensuing year, and shall further add thereto such explanations and suggestions relating to the proposed appropriations as it may deem expedient, and report thereon as provided in section five of Article II.



Article II - Section 5. Warrants for Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meetings shall be open for a minimum of 14 days before closing and posting the warrants. Passed 5-12-04

section five of article II might be a typo, as section six of article II seems to make better sense; it does not change what is in town bylaws now on the Town website.

Section 6. All articles in any warrant for a town meeting shall be referred to the Advisory Committee for its consideration. The Selectmen after drawing any such warrant shall transmit immediately a copy thereof to the chairman of said committee. A public hearing shall be held, upon all such articles, unless a public hearing by some other tribunal is required by law, and a notice of such hearing shall be given by inserting in the local newspaper. Said committee shall, after due consideration of the subject matter of such articles, report thereon to the town meeting, in writing, such recommendations as it deems best for the interests of the town and its citizens. Copies of the report of the Advisory Committee shall be made available to the voters at least two days before town meetings and at all town meetings.


Article III -Section 4. “It shall be duty of the Town Administrator in conjunction with the BOS to consider expenditures and develop a budget for the ensuing fiscal year of the several boards, officers and committees of the town, as prepared by them in such form and detail as prescribed by the Town Administrator.”
Passed 5-16-13, Approved by A/G 8-22-13. Amended 5-19-14, Approved by A/G 7-2-14


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Just finished talking with another representative from the state department of health; there is no contract between the Town of Templeton and the state with regards to ambulance service. In fact, one thing explained in the phone call was there is no law requiring a municipality to provide ambulance service. I believe it best to see or have that in writing, that said, it appears there was some bad/incorrect information put forward by a Town resident whom I believe has or had been a "volunteer" for Templeton fire department for approximately 30 years and that resident even applied to be the full time fire chief of Templeton at one point in time. The time taken to clarify this subject was to try and ensure residents have correct information before being asked to vote on a tax increase to fund a certain Town service. I believe the question at an informational meeting was "where is that money going to come from?" with regards to the purported idea that if Templeton abandoned Town ambulance service, the Town was under a requirement to pay for and house a private ambulance service in Town. That seems to be untrue and those are two things residents do not have to worry about when considering to vote yes or no on additional funding for ambulance service.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Welcome to Deutsch Williams


Effective March 31, 2018, Deutsch Williams closed. We are grateful for the loyal support of our clients, attorneys and staff during 34 years of service to the Boston area.
All of our attorneys continue  to practice law in new locations. Below you will find the new location for each:  
Steve Brooks
Brooks & DeRensis, P.C.
111 Devonshire Street, Suite 800
Boston, Ma 02109
857-259-5200
Email: SBrooks@bdboston.com
James T. Hargrove
Brooks & DeRensis, P.C.
111 Devonshire Street, Suite 800
Boston, Ma 02109
857-259-5200
Email: JHargrove@bdboston.com
Matthew Buckley
Valerio Dominello & Hillman, LLC
One University Avenue, Suite 300B
Westwood, MA 02090
617-862-2005
Email:Matthew.Buckley@VDHBoston.com
Robert Hillman
Valerio Dominello & Hillman, LLC
One University Avenue, Suite 300B
Westwood, MA 02090
617-862-2005
Email:Robert.Hillman@VDHBoston.com    
Wendy Chu
Valerio Dominello & Hillman, LLC
One University Avenue, Suite 300B
Westwood, MA 02090
617-862-2005
Email:Wendy.Chu@VDHBoston.com    
Margaret Holland SparagesImmigration Attorney
Brooks & DeRensis, P.C.
111 Devonshire Street, Suite 800
Boston, Massachusetts 02019
P: 857-259-5200
F: 857-259-5212
C: 617-633-9476
Email: mhsparages@bdboston.com
Erica Crystal
Valerio Dominello & Hillman, LLC
One University Avenue, Suite 300B
Westwood, MA 02090
617-862-2005
Email:Erica.Crystal@VDHBoston.com    
Jennifer King
Valerio Dominello & Hillman, LLC
One University Avenue, Suite 300B
Westwood, MA 02090
617-862-2005
Email:Jennifer.King@VDHBoston.com   
Paul R. DeRensis
Brooks & DeRensis, P.C.
111 Devonshire Street, Suite 800
Boston, Ma 02109
857-259-5200
Email: PDeRensis@bdboston.com
Louis Ross
Brooks & DeRensis, P.C.
111 Devonshire Street, Suite 800
Boston, Ma 02109
857-259-5200
Email: LRoss@bdboston.com
Daniel R. Deutsch
Brooks & DeRensis, P.C.
111 Devonshire Street, Suite 800
Boston, Ma 02109
857-259-5200
Email: DDeutsch@bdboston.com
Kimberly M. Saillant
Brooks & DeRensis, P.C.
111 Devonshire Street, Suite 800
Boston, Ma 02109
857-259-5200
Email: KSaillant@bdboston.com
Nicholas Dominello
Valerio Dominello & Hillman, LLC
One University Avenue, Suite 300B
Westwood, MA 02090
617-862-2005
Email:Nicholas.Dominello@VDHBoston.com
Valerie Swett
Rackemann Sawyer & Brewster, P.C.
160 Federal Street 15th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
617-951-1101
Email: vswett@rackemann.com
John Foskett
Valerio Dominello & Hillman, LLC
One University Avenue, Suite 300B
Westwood, MA 02090
617-862-2005
Email:John.Foskett@VDHBoston.com    
Caroline Thibeault
Valerio Dominello & Hillman, LLC
One University Avenue, Suite 300B
Westwood, MA 02090
617-862-2005
Email:Caroline.Thibeault@VDHBoston.com    
Preston Franzen
Weston Patrick
84 State Street, Suite 11
Boston, Ma 02109
617-742-9310
Email: franzen.preston@gmail.com 
Elizabeth Valerio
Valerio Dominello & Hillman, LLC
One University Avenue, Suite 300B
Westwood, MA 02090
617-862-2005
Email:Elizabeth.Valerio@VDHBoston.com   
 Administrative Assistance
P.O. Box 51480
Boston, MA 02205  


 
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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Once again, Templeton board of selectmen / chairman John Caplis puts out an erroneous statement and the Gardner News reporter Chance Vies fails to check it. Page one story, continued to page 4 from Saturday, March 31, 2018, Caplis states "while other communities such as Winchendon pay upwards of $20.00" The tax recap sheet for Winchendon, dated 12/11/2017 for fiscal year 2018 and signed by director of accounts Mary Jane Handy, shows a tax rate of $17.35 per thousand. Selectmen need to stop blowing smoke up peoples backside and check the facts before making those kind of statements. I would expect a competent reporter to do the same. 

There is the possibility Caplis was misquoted, but this would be an ongoing issue, because this is not the first time a similar statement or quote concerning the wrong tax rate (s) have been printed in the Gardner News. 
Friday, March 30, 2018 - Athol Daily News:

PHILLIPSTON — The results of a townwide survey show the majority of residents would not use a van or other vehicle of transportation provided by the Council on Aging for doctor, dentist, eye care appointments or other necessities.
Carla Charter presented the results to the Selectboard this week; 45 residents answered “Yes,” and 241 said “No,” although, she said, a number of people who said they would not personally use the service said “they felt that we need it.”
Charter urged the selectmen to put a question on the warrant to switch the current service with FRTA (Franklin Regional Transit Authority) to MART (Montachusett Regional Transit Authority). She talked about regionalization with Templeton, which uses MART.
“If we hook up with MART we can join Templeton,” Charter said.
MART uses a dispatch center to send out its vans, which could be used for transport to grocery stores and appointments, social visits and activities including those hosted by the Templeton Council on Aging.
“Boston and Worcester transportation is also available,” Charter said. She noted, “Our town relies on volunteers. I feel without transportation we have a whole group of people who might otherwise be able to volunteers and benefit the town in some way.”
Currently, FRTA provides pickup at one bus stop — King Phillip Restaurant.
Chairman Thomas Brouillet was in favor of putting it on the town meeting warrant.
“Let the people vote on it,” he said.
According to the most recent census, there are 1,162 people under and 614 over the age of 55.
Finance Committee member Thomas Specht said the matter came before the committee the year before, and they would not support it without a cost.
“That’s the big issue — how much is it going to cost?” Specht said.
Charter said the cost is based per ride.
“Based on a population of 1,700 people and the number who will use it, there’s gotta be someone who can figure the cost,” Charter said.
Finance Committee member Kim Pratt suggested putting a question on the warrant to ask voters if they want to transfer from FRTA to MART, and then, take it from there. Charter said, “If we get an earmark, it will give us one year to figure out what it will cost.”
People who use the service give a donation. Selectmen were in favor of putting the question to voters, but, said Brouillet, “We need a little more research.”

Advisory Committee member (Jeff Bennett) suggested a compromise by both sides, school committee and Templeton selectmen. With NRHS school committee originally looking for an additional $485,000.00 in assessment money from Templeton. With Templeton selectmen stating, by way of the Town Administrator, that increase would be too much for the Town to absorb. With an amount of $150,000.00 already set aside and an estimated of $45,000.00 that could be moved from the overlay fund, selectmen were looking for a reduction of about $290,000.00. Attending a meeting of the district budget sub committee and listening to the discussion, I thought it was too much to ask and feeling it could backfire with the school committee certifying the entire increase of $485,000.00, I raised my hand and suggested a compromise, where the school committee would give a little and the Town would give a little. While it was not a sure thing, it seemed a possibility at the end of the budget sub committee meeting. I am gad I took time to attend that meeting. In the end, the school committee graciously took the idea of a compromise of sorts and voted to certify the compromise dollar figure. Both the school district and the Town are in the same boat, with a good part of the blame laying at the feet of the state; the legislature failing to appropriate the required monies needed for regional school district busing needs (transportation costs) and that puts the burden on Towns which takes away from the town and real education needs. If you wish to complain, begin with your local state representatives, they have failed to deliver on the promise the state would pay 100 percent of the regional schools transportation costs; 72% is not enough, appropriate what you owe, or you need to go.

Friday, March 30, 2018

At an informational public meeting, held on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, a Templeton resident  made reference to a possible contract with the state concerning Templeton ambulance service. I decided to try to find if such a document exists and what it may say.

Following is my inquiry and response from a state agency.

 
Today, 2:17 PM
Inbox
You replied on 3/30/2018 2:55 PM.
from the Athol Daily news:

PHILLIPSTON — State 911 Department Executive Director Frank Pozniak has urged Phillipston and Templeton to work together to update their agreement for dispatch services.
At a meeting held earlier this week in the fire safety complex, Pozniak also tried to get at the crux of the matter of a letter signed by the Phillipston Selectmen March 26 and sent to the Templeton Selectmen, giving notice that Phillipston would be exploring all of its options for dispatch services over the next year. The joint meeting to discuss dispatch was scheduled by Selectboard Chairman Thomas Brouillet before the letter was sent.
The letter stated in part, “The town is looking at its options of whether to continue its 20-plus-year relationship with Templeton, or relocate to another dispatch center over the next year.”
That got the attention of State 911, which is in charge of emergency services across the state.
Pozniak said, “There are 239 PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) departments and we run regionalization programs across the Commonwealth.”
He acknowledged there was some talk about Phillipston moving away from Templeton, and talking with Athol about dispatch services.
“We’re trying to close PSAPs,” said Pozniak. “This wouldn’t be doing that.”
Selectman John Telepciak said the letter stemmed from frustration in delay of the town’s multiple requests to get a complete breakdown of dispatch costs, which Templeton Police Chief Bennett said he worked on himself and sent to both town administrators.
Telepciak said, “We’re in regionalization with Templeton. The first step is to find out where we are, where the money’s going and what our share will be.”
The Fiscal Year 2019 assessment for dispatch services shows an increase of $2,500, bringing it to $62,500.
Phillipston Fire Chief Richard Stevens said he reached out to State 911 to get information on the assessments, grant programs and other options for the town.
Stevens said, “We’re a small town. We have a seasonal influx of population at the campground and during large functions at the Red Apple Farm. We’re always looking at costs in relation to the level of service. The pricing started to move up.”
The cost for the current year is $60,000. The assessment in 2017 was $54,000. The agreement automatically renews every four years. It spells out a dispute resolution, but no committee structure or oversight is in place.
Stevens said the last time Phillipston had a “voice” in dispatch matters was 1997.
“We’re trying to see what model will work,” he said. “Police talk police. Fire talk fire. They don’t get in the same box.”
Pozniak said small towns’ dispatch is typically run out of the police department, with oversight by the chief. He said that they could add a requirement to the updated agreement to include committee oversight, if agreed upon.
Stevens alluded to a “change in service,” but would not elaborate when pressed, saying it was something “I won’t discuss in this venue.”
Pozniak said the two towns should “look over the agreement and have meetings to hammer out what the assessment should look like. Then contact 911 and we’ll see what we can do to help.”
Templeton Police Chief Michael Bennett said there are two options in the FY19 agreement: $61,000 without Connect TY and $62,500 with Connect TY. Bennett said Templeton dispatch currently uses Code Red, which allows only six emergency messages per year at a cost of $6,200 a year. He found Connect TY, and for an additional $1,800 per year, will provide unlimited public service messages. Code Red and Connect TY are the Reverse 911 calls to residents.
Bennett said in 2016 that Templeton sent a notification to Phillipston there would be an increase.
He noted, “The cost of a single full-time dispatcher is $67,000 a year with benefits.”  
Pozniak referred to a copy of the 4-year agreement, dated 2010, that showed an assessment of $54,000. It stated Phillipston would assume the cost of a full-time dispatcher at $25,000. No one at the meeting could produce a more recent copy of a contract, which automatically renews every four years.