Wednesday, February 28, 2018

finished watching the meeting of February 27, 2018 - elementary school building committee.

Invoices were approved in about 5 minutes.

One from Strategic Building Services for the month of January, 2018 - $    45,324.00

One from SMMA for the month of February, 2018 -
Contract Administration                                                                             $  49,508.69

One for payment application Fontaine Brothers - construction                  $824,628.50

It was sstated that Holly, administrative assistant in the board of selectmen office is stil handling the invoices rather than the Town Treasurer/Collector.

The foundation is still there because of unexpected finding of more asbestos and price discussion for removal.
To all who are concerned. What do you suggest is done if the Taxpayers vote NO to the override?
How about if the voters don't approve the meals tax? If neither of those pass we are talking $375K plus $42K or $416K

First off, in the book you received Monday evening Bob, there is a description of free cash on page 8.

It shows $199,692.00 to be rolled to fiscal year 2018 free cash, which if all goes right, would be available at a fall special Town Meeting where it could be allocated to pay for a new police cruiser and truck for highway department. It would be similar to what happened this past fall.

As for the $375 thousand, which is to pay for full time ambulance workers and is being used to make the point about having full time fire department as well.  If Templeton does not man the ambulance service 24/7, it has been stated the Town would lose it's ambulance service license. In which case, the Town could either regionalize ambulance service or contract it out, either way, residents would still have access to ambulance service. As for fire coverage, it could remain on call, I mean I thought Templeton had or has a good dedicated group of volunteers who step up for the good of the Town, right? I believe the only way cuts would come into play is if the selectmen insisted on keeping or going for a full time ambulance service, which has already been stated that the Towns people were sold a bad deal, again.

Those two issues will be decided by Town Meeting with statements/ questions etc., the same as you posted. 
Oh, property tax abatement is  there, along with other things, but they too have to be paid for. There is an item in the budget/spending plan book that shows that dollar figure to cover those costs. When there are discounts, does that equal less property tax collections and therefore even less money available for spending?

So, let us say we close the senior center, sell it and then what? What will we cut next year to come up with 200, 300 or 400 thousand dollars? When we get down to a treasurer/collector, assessor, town clerk, police, fire and DPW, what do we cut then?  

Looking at the end of the year revenue and expenditure report from the Town Accountant for fiscal year 2017, the as time it was in detail line item format.

Under revenue, it shows the council on aging / MART revolving fund as having taken in $85,408.63 and another $2,160.60 in COA donations.

When looking at the expenses of running the senior center / council on aging, one might wish to investigate the reimbursements from MART as well as the Massachusetts council on Aging (MCOA) and one would be well informed if you visited that website and see what they deal with and help with.

I also think if one checks, when it was discussed about inviting Phillipston residents to use the Templeton Senior center, it was put out there would be a Phillipston Town Meeting warrant article concerning that matter. To the best of my knowledge, that warrant article never happened.

I am still wondering what happened with that bond rating by June 2016, which many of the now serving selectmen stood behind.

On the bright side, fiscal 2019 which begins July 1, 2018 is the last year of the over 400 hundred thousand dollar Templeton town payment for the high school. I think it is around .52 cents per thousand. Oh wait, that is gonna stay on for another 28 years to pay for the new school. Them selectmen are cagey. I think they are craptastic!

Do not lose faith - remember there was talk from the selectmen about debt smoothing.

This is not about the school per say but it is about the handling and spending of your tax dollars. I believe there was enough financial evidence to show the mistakes over the years, of which I was part of making some of them. However, I was not part of telling taxpayers that all is well, the fiscal year 2017 budget is all balanced, we have a good financial team in place. Then an auditor tells the Town, after looking at records, that there are like 17 shortcoming involving the Town Treasurer/Collector.

The Town voted at Town Meeting to combine the positions of Treasurer and Collector and to hire experienced and certified Treasurer/Collector. That has not been done.

On a document dated October 30, 2015 and made available to all who attended the special town meeting of November 9, 2015, page 9 at the top left, is a illustration that shows Costs to Templeton and it has the cost per year at 3.5% equaling a yearly payment of $1,406.800.00.

It goes on to show Less NRSD debt end of $438,073.
so, Net new debt will only be $968,792.00 for a net new tax increase of $1.74.

My thought is if you are going to use the debt payment amount in effect right now as a means of paying for the new school, it is not really going to go away. I believe you could ask Diane Haley Brooks about this, since she was one person who tried hard to stop any discussion on this matter after that special Town Meeting. It was a sales pitch, in my opinion, to get something passed. See, you are already paying that .52 so you are not going to notice it on your tax bill as an increase, which you have been paying for over 20 years, so another 28 should not matter.

It will be, using the presented information, $1.74 pus the .52 which according to my 4th grade math, is a cost of $2.26 per thousand. No one really knows what it will be until it goes on the books. I believe the plan is to schedule the opening of the school in the fall of 2019, so we will find out soon, I hope. My contention is, the information should have been $2.26 per thousand based on what is available now, at the time, 2015.

If people wanted a school and I mean really supported it (I voted for it) then the $2.26 would not have mattered. In my opinion, it is called truth in lending, the selectmen asked for your money, $47 million dollars, so a school could be built. You should have been given the larger number and let you decide.

On the 47 million, you were asked for that amount because no one can say exactly how much MSBA will pay for. If you read what was presented to you to vote on,  The Town acknowledges that MSBA's grant program is a non-entitlement, discretionary program based on need, as determined by the MSBA, and any project costs the Town incurs in excess of any grant approved by and received from the MSBA, through the Narragansett Regional School District, shall be the sole responsibility of the Town. It was voted on but I still feel it was not presented in a good way.

These are the same selectmen who now wish to try and limit what Advisory Committee can report to Town Meeting. If you publicly disagree or criticize this board of selectmen, they seem to try anything to shut you up and shut you down. That is my opinion.

It was put out at Monday's selectmen meeting that the proposed meals tax dollar number is an estimate from the Department of Revenue (state DOR) A tid bit of info on the state level, MA DOT is not currently paying it's snow & ice contractors because of budget problems. Back to Templeton, the $42,000.00 estimate that has not even been approved yet, is the basis for a spending plan to pay for a $42,225.00 3 year lease on a new police cruiser and a $85,000.00 3 year lease on a new 1 ton dump truck with a plow and wing. What happens if the meals tax does not pass? Is there a plan B for these items above? According to the spending plan book, there is $199,000.00 of left over taxpayer money that will be allowed to roll over into end of the fiscal year so called "free cash" - which is not really free as it all originates out of your pocket books. On top of that, this spending pan is built around asking you taxpayers for a tax override, which is a permanent increase in your taxes, whatever the amount, it is there forever, unless you all put forth and pass an underride. If an override passes, it must go to pay for a specific item for the first year, after that, it is just absorbed into the tax collections and can be used for anything. That is why selectmen meetings should be packed on days when this spending plan will be discussed.

Budget/spending plan discussion dates as of now are:
Monday, March 5, 2018 at Town Hall. Proposed is an override for a full time fire/EMS department - (ALS service that was over sold to you)
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at Town Hall
Monday, March 19, 2018 at Town HAll
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at Town Hall
Monday, March 26, 2018 at Town HAll

It is your money - pack the house and let them know you care and are watching.
Sitting at the district reorganization meeting on Monday, selectmen from both towns and a Town Administrator were finally at the meeting. This was the third meeting of this group. Strange thing was, the selectmen from Templeton was Master Fortes rather than the voted/appointed selectmen Richards. I found out at the selectmen meeting later that evening that at the beginning of the meeting, selectmen announced Master Fortes would be the BOS representative going forward.

Next meeting for the district reorganization group is Monday, March 12, 2018, at 5:00 PM at the central office.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Mass Cultural Council's Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences annually. Each year, LCCs award more than $3 million in grants to more than 6,000 cultural programs statewide. The program promotes the availability of rich cultural experiences for every Massachusetts residents.
Interested in applying?
The next deadline is October 16, 2017. Applications will be available September 1.
Mass Cultural Council funds and manages a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils across the state, representing every city and town in the Commonwealth. Each council awards money based on individual community cultural needs, assessed and set by council members.
Applicants should apply directly to LCCs. Start by entering the name of the council into the yellow "Find Your Local Cultural Council" box in the top left corner of this screen.
  1. Read more about the LCC Program.
  2. Review state application guidelines and application process.
  3. Check out the Council's Priorities (type the council's name into the yellow "Find Your Local Cultural Council" box in the top left corner of this screen) and complete the online application.
Under the state website, it has Templeton cultural council having funding of $4,800.00.

On the local front, the FY 2019 has the local council receiving a total of $1,000.00 from the selectmen's spending plan.

It lists the Templeton cultural council getting $650.00 for concert - band performance.
It also shows another $100.00 for brochures with a required survey.
It has listed materials & craft supplies at  $25.00
postage, envelopes & small banners at   $75.00
advertising for TCC events at . . . . . . .  .$150.00

It appears the cultural council is a conduit for state grant money and is probably something residents should pay more attention to. You can find more local information on the Town website.

Property Tax overrides - prop 2 1/2 override.

Contingent Appropriations Towns only can approve a contingent appropriation (Ch. 59 Sec. 21C(m)) which is usually a single additional expenditure, or multiple appropriations made subject to subsequent voter approval of a funding source. Most often, that funding source is additional tax revenue raised through an override, debt exclusion or capital expenditure exclusion. While town meeting must approve the contingent appropriation, only the selectmen can actually place the referendum on the ballot for voter approval. When a contingent appropriation is approved at an annual town meeting, the related referendum must be placed before the voters prior to September 15. When a special town meeting approves contingent spending, the override or exclusion vote must occur within 90 days. In any case, a failed referendum may be returned to the voters on subsequent ballots, but if not approved by the applicable deadline, the appropriation is null and void.

When presented to the voters, an override, underride and capital exclusion question must specify a dollar amount and a statement of purpose. Statutory language must be used.

For more information, see DOR on-line publications and Informational Guideline Releases (IGR): Proposition 2½ Ballot Questions: Requirements and Procedures, IGR 2002-101 Proposition 2 1/2 Debt Exclusions and IGR 2004-201 Creation of Multiple Stabilization Funds and Proposition 2 ½ Overrides.

 VOTER INFORMATION Local officials may not publish and provide voter information materials at public expense in the absence of specific legislative authority. See Chapter 274 of the Acts of 1987, Chapter 630 of the Acts of 1989 and Chapter 180 of the Acts of 1996, which authorize the preparation and distribution of voter information on municipal referenda questions by the Newton Election Commission, Cambridge Election Commission and Sudbury Board of Selectmen respectively. In addition, a community may not include any explanatory information on the ballot, such as a summary of the impact a "yes" and "no" vote will have on local services.

The form of each type of Proposition 2½ referendum question is prescribed by G.L. Ch. 59 §21C. To properly present a question to the voters, the following statutory language must be used:
Levy Limit Override (G.L. Ch. 59 §21C(g)): Shall the (city/town) of _________________ be allowed to assess an additional $____________ in real estate and personal property taxes for the purposes of (state the purposes(s) for which the monies from this assessment will be used) for the fiscal year beginning July first nineteen hundred and ______? Yes ____ No ____

Other spending notations:

$40,000.00 to fund merit and equity adjustments (pay increases - raises)
for non-union personnel and police collective bargaining agreement (union/labor contract)

As previously posted, all labor contracts are expenses of taxpayers/town residents and should always be considered when moving to say a full time EMS - fire fighter arrangement, as in include in the total cost of that service.

Another interesting proposal (one I agree with) is put catch basin cleaning out to private contract, which is listed at $13,000.00 per year. It was mentioned a new truck to do this job would cost the Town in the $200,000.00 range, so anyone is free to do the math. A point made when talking of this is the move would free up to 960 man hours, which is time that could be spent on say repairing pot holes and maintenance on equipment. Since the size of the highway crew is often mentioned as being to small for the size of the Town, cutting down on the number of tasks seems to make sense.

Making the door (s) to Town Hall ADA compliant and probably finally getting back to what was originally talked about when the building was made into a Town Hall. A new and different door would be able to be opened by hitting a button or device so the door (s) would open automatically for handicap accessibility, which is an important item.
Some takeaways from last nights selectmen meeting;

It was stated there may need to be a plan B for the police station because of the 1.5 milion increase in bids.

There could be a Town Meeting warrant article to "clarify the advisory committee roe in commenting on the warrant" My thought on this is the selectmen wish to control the report of the Advisory Committee to Town Meeting. The way in which Advisory Committee is suppose to report to Town Meeting is already in Town by-laws, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The selectmen wish to be able to stay on al the committees they are on because it seems like there is going to be a warrant article to alow selectmen to continue to serve on all ad-hoc committees.

There was also mention of a tax override to support ALS ambulance service. If you want a full time fire department and EMS service, you have to pay for it with more taxes.

In part, the ALS service has cost far more to put forth than what was presented to you. Even with the rate increases, there are simply not enough calls to raise the money needed to pay for it.

Seems there are an increase in calls paid for by medicaid and medicare.

The Templeton Municipal Light department is apparently going back to charging Templeton Municipal buildings for lights, as in , electricity. As I stated in a previous post, Templeton needs new light commissioners.

It also looks like selectmen will again try to combine library, veterans service, recreation/culture, cable and council on aging with one person to oversee all of those now separate departments.
The one police cruiser paid for by meals TAX, is now apparently moved to being used to pay for multiple vehicle leases; police cruiser, one-ton truck for DPW,

On the flip side, one time revenue from logging will not be used to support the spending plan, which was stated as a loss of $10,000.00 available to support an approximate 15 million dollar spending plan.

So, back to Advisory Committee, how do the selectmen think they can prevent residents from commenting or questioning Advisory Committee reports, recommendations etc.? Remember, there are seven residents on Advisory and last I checked, selectmen cannot tell residents what to ask, nor can the moderator. So, as a resident, my question (s) could be along these lines; Mr. Moderator, why are you limiting the comments on Advisory Committee? Is it because of the fact you are a Town employee, dependent on the selectmen for the department budget/spending plan that you work for? Has the moderator been told to toe the line? Could there be political collusion at work here? Nah, not in Templeton!

Everyone should pay attention to this spending plan presentation.

Monday, February 26, 2018

The intangibles that some bring to the table:

We are very pleased to let you know that Paul DeRensis was reappointed by Governor Charlie Baker on February 13, 2018 to a tenth term as a member of the Massachusetts Local Government Advisory Commission.  Former Governor Deval Patrick had initially appointed Mr. DeRensis to this Commission.  Mr. Baker first reappointed Mr. DeRensis in February, 2015, this is the fourth reappointment by Governor Baker.  Lt. Governor Karyn Polito administered the oath of office on February 13, 2018.

Mr. DeRensis is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School and is admitted to practice in New York and Massachusetts and in various federal courts including the United States Supreme Court.

State law provides that responsibilities of Commissioners include the following

“1. to review and analyze proposed legislation and regulatory changes from the point of view of municipal government and present such point of view to the governor, his executive secretaries and to the general court;
2. to act as an independent advocate for the interests of local governments in their relations with state and federal governments;
3. to advise officials of the commonwealth and the federal government on the needs of local governments, assist in mobilizing state and federal resources to deal with problems of local governments, provide coordinating support to agencies responsible for administering federal, state and local programs, and promote legislative and administrative proposals reflecting the interests of local governments;
4. to establish, from time to time, study committees or task forces to consider issues pertaining to local government in detail and to
present the results of those considerations to the governor, the secretaries of his executive offices and to the general court;
5. to meet monthly with the governor and at such other times…;
6. to meet quarterly with the legislative leadership, and at such other times as may be necessary…”
And it goes round and round - an ironic post?

Current Town Counsel/lead attorney - Paul DeRensis

8 term selectmen from Sherborn, MA - Paul DeRensis

A law firm - Miyares and Harrington list the Town of Sherborn, MA multiple times, one attorney lists being a member of Sherborn conservation commission from 1990 - 1996.

Also listed are municipal clients, with one being Sherborn, MA (2005 - 2010) with a present town administrator of Blackstone and formerly of Sherborn as a contact person, presumably as a reference.

8 terms could mean service back in the 1990's which means Mr. DeRensis would have been a selectmen when both of the above mentioned parties were employed by Sherborn, MA and selectmen are the appointing authority.

Sometimes, RFPs make for interesting reading.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

I wonder how many tee shirts have been sold to support the scout hall project?

How many trees will be cut in back of the highway department?

Is there wet land back there? If so, was the conservation commission in on that project?

Looking at schedule A information on the DLS website for Templeton - fiscal year 2017, Templeton is one of many communities that is blank. Fiscal Year 2017 ended June 30, 2017.

Under expenses for FY 2016 showed total $13,165,009.00. Of that, $6,440,267.00 went to education.

General government- $     857,614.00
Police                      -  $     767,052.00
Fire                         -   $     255,848.00
Other pubic safety   -  $     342,999.00
Public works            -  $     836,835.00
Human services       -   $    295,013.00
Culture & Recreation   $      77,998.00
Fixed Costs                -  $1,910,260.00
Inter government
assessments              -  $              0.00
Other expenditures     -  $   104,514.00
Debt service               -   $1,276,609.00

Saturday, February 24, 2018

So, the Town needs to change it's election date so there is no dissension on the stage with regards to the budget. Why then, does this board of selectmen think it has to change Town Counsel before the election? Why not discuss any changes after the election? After all, anyone elected to the select board will have to work with the Town Counsel and would it not make sense for all five to have a say in this most important subject?  If Town Counsel is to be called upon to defend your position (s), shouldn't you have a say in who Town Counsel is to be? If it needs to be that way for the budget, why not legal counsel as well?

Perhaps Towns people should be aware that no one from the board of selectmen's office talked to present Town Counsel about a change. No one from the board of selectmen's office told present Town Counsel about the issuance of a RFP, they never received an acknowledgement that they responded to the RFP, no one from the board of selectmen's office asked any questions about their response, no references were ever checked, no screening committee ever contacted them (was there a screening committee?), present Town Counsel is unsure if the BOS even knows that they re applied. It is even possible the application from present Town Counsel was tossed into the trash. (my opinion)

Just another reason, in my opinion, why it is hard to trust the current board of selectmen on anything.

So, does Templeton have a full time Town Administrator, a part time Town Administrator or an interim Town Administrator?

I seem to recall the Templeton board of selectmen voting to make Carter Terenzini the Town Administrator. I seem to recall an article in the Gardner News of that item. So here is the point of this post; do the Templeton selectmen know what they vote on? Do they read and understand it/ Do they remember what they vote and act on?

In a written, posted and published request for proposals for legal services (Town Counsel), the selectmen include in that posting; any questions concerning this invitation should be directed to Carter Terenzini, interim Town Administrator. However, in the first paragraph of the RFP, it had submit responses to Mr. Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator. Perhaps it is a lack of proof reading, but what ever the reason, this is a reflection on the selectmen and the continuation of a lack of consistency with regards to policies, procedures and every day business of the selectmen. (in my opinion) Perhaps that is one of the reasons for a lack of participation of the citizens of Templeton when it comes to the board of selectmen and their meetings?

This RFP was, according to the document, advertised in the Gardner News on December 19, 2017, on COMMBUYS on December 14, 2017 and Goods & Services bulletin on December 25, 2017.

Meeting packet information for the Monday, February 26, 2018 selectmen meeting is now on the Town website under the meeting calendar, simply find the selectmen meeting for Monday and scroll down until you see the link.

It states it was added or created on February 23, 2018. Strange how town business is done on days when Town Hall is not open.

Friday, February 23, 2018

TO:           Board of Selectmen
FROM:     Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE:            Administrator's weekly report
DATE:       February 22, 2018
CC:            All Departments

Important Notices

Now accepting applications for one full-time police officer position.

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.

5. a. We had four submissions and the top two rated firms were invited to interview with you. They provide an interesting contrast of the sole practitioner and a team of two larger firms. Pricing is discussed after you determine which firm you like better

5. b. We are seeking your approval to proceed to negotiate a contract with the top ranked firm.

The entire administrator weekly report can be read on the Town's website.

Hello all,

Thank you to those that were able to participate in the survey. The date of Wednesday, February 28th at 5:30pm was determined to be the date that worked best for the majority of the group. The meeting will be held in the Narragansett Regional High School, and the agenda will be posted on the District website. 

Thank you.
Would any provision or new by-law to prevent hemp Agriculture or farming be considered a conflicting by-law? Does the Attorney General look at all of the other Town by-laws when considering any new by-laws sent to the attorney general for legal consideration?

I believe if you check, the answer is no, which probably, in part, is the reason for the many conflicting by-law issues in Templeton already. I also believe that anyone making statements such as "I can't believe the state was stupid enough to legalize pot" is basically calling voters stupid, which is most likely not a smart thing to do, especially if you are elected. Since some in Templeton once thought it was a good idea financially to have the Town be a dumping ground for trash, material, some of which was sure to be hazardous material, and the like, perhaps farming or growing pot rather than dispensing it by way of retail establishments should be something the Town considers in a logical fashion rather than on an emotional level? Would that be a good re-use of say the old Temple Stuart property. Keep in mind, before we get all hysterical one way or another, there has been a reported shortage of ending entities to provide start up money for any pot facilities. Apparently there is concern within the banking industry about possible federal interference concerning the conflict with passed state laws and the continued federal opinion/law about pot being illegal at the federal level. Apparently, the federal government has a hard time accepting the will of the people.
Since there have been some comments about pot, the effects of and possible sales tax revenue on this issue, I found some information that may be of interest to those who posted said comments.

I found this on the Massachusetts Municipal Association web site;

Look under Resource Library - Annual Labor Law update/ Mirick O'Connell 2018.

3. Marijuana Law -
On November 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question legalizing marijuana for recreational and commercial use, Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016 (the "Marijuana Law"). This past July, however, the Marijuana Law underwent a fairly significant re-write via Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017, known as "An Act to Ensure Safe Access to Marijuana." As revised, the Marijuana Law includes several key points relative to municipalities:

(a) Prohibiting/ Regulating Marijuana Establishments:
• Communities that voted 'Yes' on Question 4 in November of2016 may prohibit one or all types of recreational marijuana establishments by local referendum.
• Communities that voted 'No' on Question 4 may prohibit one or all types of recreational marijuana establishments by town meeting or city council vote only, up until December 31, 2019.
• In lieu of a full or partial ban, communities may still adopt bylaws or ordinances imposing reasonable regulations on the time, place and manner of marijuana establishment operations.
• The new Marijuana Act clarifies that zoning provisions may not prevent a medical marijuana establishment licensed as of July 1, 2017 from converting to a recreational facility.
(b) Local Referenda:
• The Marijuana Law now provides a form of ballot question for the local referendum seeking to prohibit recreational marijuana establishments, and provides authorization to place such a question on a regular or special election ballot.
• Municipal acts regulating or prohibiting recreational or medical marijuana establishments prior to July 1, 2017 are not affected by the new Marijuana Law.

(c) Host Agreements:
• Recreational and medical marijuana establishments must enter a Host Community Agreement with the municipality.
• Impact fees under a Host Community Agreement are capped at 3% of the facility's gross sales and are effective for no longer than 5 years. (d) Local Sales Tax:
• Municipalities may, by local option, adopt a local sales tax on recreational marijuana establishments of up to 3 % of sales (increased from 2%)

(e) Cannabis Control Commission:
• The Cannabis Control Commission expands to a 5-member body, with consolidated regulatory powers over both recreational and medical marijuana establishments.

On December 28, 2017, the state's Cannabis Control Commission released draft regulations. Once finalized, the regulations will govern the Ii censure of recreational marijuana established in Massachusetts, a process intended to start this spring. The draft regulations do not provide much in the way of additional guidance on the local regulation of recreational marijuana, beyond the limitations set forth in the statute approved by voters in November of2016 and amended by the Legislature in July of 2017.

Under the draft regulations, marijuana operators would need to hold "community outreach hearings" before submitting a license application to the Cannabis Control Commission. In addition, the draft regulations provide that upon written request from the Cannabis Control Commission, municipalities have 60 days to certify that a proposed marijuana establishment complies with local zoning provisions. The draft regulations also provide that if a municipality has no local siting requirements, recreational marijuana establishments may not be sited within 500 feet of a public or private school, daycare center, or any facility in which children commonly congregate.

The final regulations are due by March 15, 2018. The Cannabis Control Commission will hold public hearings on the draft regulations in February
On Feb. 16, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a supplemental budget bill for fiscal 2018 that includes $15 million for school districts hosting students displaced by hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands last October.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is charged with developing guidelines and application procedures for the education grants. Grant amounts will be allocated consistent with the method for calculating Chapter 70 education aid.
According to DESE, about 85 percent of the roughly 2,400 displaced students now enrolled in Massachusetts public schools are in 12 districts: Boston, Chicopee, Fall River, Fitchburg, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, New Bedford, Southbridge, Springfield and Worcester.
The supplemental budget act (Chapter 24) includes $1.1 million to defray local costs of implementing the early voting law for the 2016 state election. State Auditor Suzanne Bump determined that the law, enacted in 2014, constitutes an unfunded mandate, and the state is obligated to reimburse cities and towns. The amounts to be reimbursed to individual cities and towns are the certified amounts prepared by the state auditor.
The governor filed an additional supplemental budget bill last month totaling $160 million to cover expected funding shortfalls this year in a range of state budget accounts, including $45 million for human service programs and $42 million in funding for sheriffs. The bill includes a number of technical corrections to the so-called Municipal Modernization Act that became law in 2016 and new ways that the state can finance Chapter 40R housing production incentive payments.
A number of legislators raised the issue of the shortfall this year in the special education “circuit breaker” program, and the MMA is supporting a supplemental appropriation for this important account for school districts across the Commonwealth.
The two supplemental budget bills come at a welcome moment of relative fiscal stability for state government. The forecast for state tax collections this year was revised upward in January by $157 million to $26.7 billion. Collections through the end of January were $810 million above the target for the seven-month mark.
Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding warned, however, that the above-benchmark numbers in December and January resulted mainly from estimated personal income tax payments and that actual collections by the end of the year will likely settle back toward the January estimate.
Federal tax law changes have had an impact on taxpayer behavior, making it more difficult to forecast state tax collections this year.
A federal item that could have effects on Templeton.
from the Massachusetts Municipal Association website:

On Jan. 22, President Donald Trump signed a short-term federal spending bill that included another two-year delay of the “Cadillac tax” on employer-sponsored health plans.
The excise tax, created as part of the Affordable Care Act, was originally due to take effect in 2018, but has been delayed twice, now until 2022.
Despite a further delay of its implementation and talk of possibly repealing the tax, municipal employers are advised to continue to factor the tax into health plan design decisions.
The tax was intended as a health cost-control mechanism that would discourage employers from offering high-cost health plans. The Cadillac tax will assess a 40 percent annual excise on individual health plans that cost more than $10,200 per year and family plans that cost more than $27,500.
Massachusetts municipal employers are likely to reach these thresholds in greater numbers than employers in other regions of the country, due to the higher cost of health care here, the use of benefit plans to attract and retain top-notch employees, and the plans that municipal labor unions have negotiated through collective bargaining. The tax thresholds will rise more slowly than health care inflation, meaning that more plans will be subject to the tax over time.
In an effort to manage health insurance costs and avoid the Cadillac tax, municipal employers may pursue higher copays and deductibles, the initiation of co-insurance, the elimination of high-cost plans, a phase-out of flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts, and the adoption of lower-cost limited network plans.
There is bipartisan support in Congress for repealing the Cadillac tax, but there is no consensus yet on how to replace the revenue that would be lost from a repeal.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

TO:           Board of Selectmen
FROM:     Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE:            Administrator's weekly report
DATE:       February 15, 2018
CC:            All Departments

Weekly Report: in part, states as of 12/11 we have roughly $10k left in snow & ice accounts so I have authorized deficit spending of $30k. So far this season the equipment has been out of service for a little over 300 collective hours during storms.

This can be read in entirety on Templeton Town website under Town administrator weekly reports.

An allocated summary - expenditure ledger document provided to advisory committee on July 30, 2018 shows an allocation of $132,500.00 with $37,059.07 spent with an ending balance of $95,440.93. These dates and dollar figures do not seem to match up.

Is that a typo that should read 2/11? Is there that big of a disconnect in Town Hall? Is that a keying error? Is this where we should hold people in government to a higher standard and accountable?

Are our financial reports to be trusted?

Hi Attached is the budget VS Actual as of Dec 2017.   Please let me know if you have any questions.

Kelli Pontbriand
Town of Templeton
from Town Meeting vote in Ashburnham, MA - May, 2016 for fiscal year 2017 appropriations.

Notice this article is requested by the municipal light department of Ashburnham and is covered under MGL chapter 164! If only Templeton had some light commissioners like those in Ashburnham. FY2017 Town budget for Ashburnham was in 15 million dollar range.

$66,000.00 with no new tax, no tax rate impact, what a concept, no demands from the light commissioners either. Templeton needs new light commissioners.


To see if the Town will vote to authorize a PILOT payment based on the annual kilowatt sales of the Light Department multiplied by a per kilowatt value. from the Municipal Light Plant Funds, to the town treasury, as authorized by its Light Board in accordance with Chapter 164 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth, or act in relation thereto.
(Requested by the Municipal Light Department)

Brief Explanation:
The PILOT agreement is tied to the Pilot payment in the annual kilowatt sales of the light department multiplied by a per kilowatt value. This was put in place for FY13 to ease the calculation and establish a standard process for future years. In FY17 it is estimated we will receive $66,000.

Hubbardston, MA fiscal year 2018 budget requests;

Accountant Services -      $35,000.00
Accountant expense -      $     200.00
Municipal finance Clerk - $ 6,000.00

Audit expense -                $18,500.00

Total:                                $59,700.00       
Place your bets on new town counsel - LK/P anyone?

 Templeton Board of Selectmen
 Town Hall, 160 Patriots Road, East Templeton
Monday, February 26, 2018, 6:30 p.m.

1. Call the Meeting to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance

3. Public Comment

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

5. New Business: 
a. Action RE: Appointments & Introductions
b. Action RE: Law Firm Interviews~ Firm A & Firm B
c. Action RE: OPM RE: Police Station Project
d. Presentation RE: Capital Planning Report FY’19 and beyond
e. Presentation RE: FY’19 Budget
f. Referral to Workshop: none

6. Old Business:

7. Board & Staff Member Comments & Reports 

8. Request for Executive Session per M.G.L. Ch.30, Sec. 21.3-Union Negotiations & Litigation
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 why would the agricultural commission meet at JK Crossroads? A restaurant rather than at Town Hall. On the Templeton Town website, Christof Chartier is listed as chairman. Mr. Chartier is also listed as a member of the Templeton Planning Board. One can either go to those respective places on the Templeton Town web site and email them or go to one of those meetings ( I think Planning Board may be the easiest one to attend and ask on camera) ask why the agricultural commission meets in a restaurant rather than Town Hall. Perhaps go to a selectmen meeting and ask them as well.

I also believe if you attend or watch a meeting (s) of the Templeton Advisory Committee, you will not see nor hear of any discussion on government conspiracy theories relating to 911, sandy hook or any other event. Advisory does discuss financial reporting, actions or lack there of by the board of selectmen and we have also pointed out from time to time that the agricultural commission meets at JK Crossroads. Perhaps more people should show for a selectmen meeting or the all committee meetings and ask why so many committees meet at places other than Town Hall.

Remember, selectmen have no real say so over other elected boards such as cemetery, sewer, planning, assessors, health etc.

Town:Templeton, MA 
Board:Agricultural Commission
Time:Monday January 29, 2018 6:30 PM EST
Location:Agricultural Commission
119 Patriots Rd., JK Crossroads, East Templeton, MA
1. Review minutes
2. Old Business
3. Discuss Sign project
4. Upcoming meetings
5. Discuss recent Farm Bureau agenda
6. New Business
7. Miscellaneous
8. Schedule next meeting
Again, I try to keep this bog on local Templeton issues as well as state and federal things that may have a direct effect on Templeton. I am not naive enough to know there are many possibilities and situations to be created and to happen. There are many examples out there and it is not required for the "government" as a whole to be involved. Can any one say water gate? 

That being said, the main focus of this bog is to provide information that is relevant to Templeton. Watching the Templeton board of selectmen state they cannot put forth a budget as early as say February because all of the numbers are not available and that is one reason why we need to change our election date and the date of our town meeting, when there has been one town (as reported in the Worcester Telegram) that has managed to put together and present a Town budget in February. If other towns can do that, why is it not possible for Templeton to do the same thing?

Since Templeton has created (or is trying to put together) an economic development entity, perhaps our representatives could follow the wishes of town voters (check vote results of the state election ballot question concerning pot) and this economic development could pursue or at least inquire if there are outside interests in Templeton being a location for a growing facility.

So we do not put the cart before the horse, let us watch and see if the selectmen put forth any Town Meeting warrant article (s) before the voters on this subject. Or will Templeton once again cry that we need business to help the tax base, then turn away all comers when the business interest show up?
from the Genera by-laws of Templeton:

Article VIII – Records and Reports

Section 1. All officers, boards, and committees of the town, shall cause records of their doings and accounts to be kept in suitable books. Said books shall be kept in their respective places in the town offices, and shall not be removed therefrom. Said books shall, unless otherwise provided by law, be open to public inspection at any reasonable time, but shall remain during such inspection under supervision of the officer, board, or committee having custody thereof.

Section 2. All officers, boards, standing committees, and special committees of the town having charge of the expenditure of town money shall annually report thereon in writing in such manner as to give the citizens a fair and full understanding of the objects and methods of such expenditures, referring, however, to the report of the Town Accountant for statements in detail of receipts and payments, and may make therein such recommendations as they deem proper. Such reports shall be submitted to the Selectmen for inclusion in the Annual Town Report on or before the thirty-first (31) day of January of each year.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Templeton Committee openings;

Capital Planning Committee1 Vacancy1 year Appointment
Conservation Commission2 Vacancies3 year Appointment
Open Space Committee5 Vacancies1 year Appointment
Zoning Board of Appeals2 Vacancies5 year (Associate Member) Appointment
Veterans Oversight Board1 Vacancy1 year Appointment
Economic Development & Industrial Corporation6 Vacancies1 year Appointment
Baldwinville Elementary School Disposal Advisory Committee7 Vacancies1 year Appointment
With a tax rate on the higher side in the state, Ashburnham is on the move to possibly cut expenses of the Town:

The Town of Ashburnham invites bids for Accounting Services. Documents are available starting at 11AM on TUE, FEB 20, 2018. Bids will be received until 4:00 P.M., THU, MAR 8, 2018 by mail or delivered to the Town of Ashburnham, Town Administrator, 32 Main Street, Ashburnham, MA 01430, with the designation “BID #FY18-04 Accounting Services” on the envelope. The Town of Ashburnham reserves the right to reject any and all bids. For questions, information, or bid documents contact the Town Administrator/CPO, (978) 827-4100 x 0,
From: OpenMeeting (AGO) <>
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 12:24:40 PM
To: jeff bennett
Subject: RE: posting a meeting

Mr. Bennett,

A district school committee must post notice of its meetings either (1) in each city or town within the district in the manner in which each city/town posts notice; or (2) to the district website.  If it chooses the website as the official method, a description of the posting location, including the website, should be posted by each city/town clerk office.


Hanne Rush
Assistant Attorney General
Division of Open Government
Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
One Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108
Tel. (617) 963-2820

From: jeff bennett []
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2018 8:01 AM
To: OpenMeeting (AGO) <OpenMeeting@MassMail.State.MA.US>
Subject: posting a meeting

Good day;

Here is my question/confusion; How is a school district suppose to post a meeting of the school committee or other entity involving the school district?

Is the school district suppose to post the meeting (s) with the Towns within the district. I wish to know and have clarification involving the school district concerning the Town I live in. District is made up of two towns, so when there is to be a meeting of the school committee, is that committee (school district) suppose to post that meeting with the two towns as well as on the district's website, for example. Templeton has voted by Town Meeting to post all public meetings on Town web site, so when there is to be a public meeting of the school committee or any other district entity, such as budget sub-committee or reorganization advisory committee, do those meetings need (required) to be posted on the Templeton Town website as well? Does a link on the Town website directing one to the district web site cover any such requirement. I am looking for clarification on the October 2017 open meeting law updates regarding to how open public meetings must be posted. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Jeffrey Bennett
Templeton, MA