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
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.

TO:             Board of Selectmen
FROM:       Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE:             Administrator’s Weekly Report
DATE:        March 29, 2018
CC:             All Departments

Conservation Commission:
Adm. Asst. filed a “determination of applicability” for Lot 66, Rainbow Drive; assisted resident with information with regard to a “cease and desist” notice received from ConCom. Adm. Asst. tasked with researching the role of ConCom Chair in the absence of a Conservation Agent. Adm. Asst. continues to prepare documentation for a ConCom “manual”. Prepared agenda and paperwork for ConCom meeting of 04/16/18

from the Massachusetts conservation commission web site;

Commissions' Legislative Authority
In Massachusetts, conservation commissions' authority comes from several sources: the Conservation Commission Act (MGL Chapter 40 section 8C) for open space protection; the Wetlands Protection Act (MGL Chapter 131 section 40) for protecting wetlands and waterways (commissions have real power - they issue the permits); and the home rule provisions of the state constitution for non-zoning wetlands bylaws.
All state statutes can be found in the Massachusetts General Laws at

State law sets no age, citizenship, residency, knowledge, or experience requirements for conservation commission members, although there may be local requirements. The tasks of a commission require a great deal of study, learning, and thought by its members, who become expert by patience and work. Appointments to a conservation commission should not be made or taken lightly.
The overriding factors governing appointments should be a candidate's interest in doing the conservation job needed by the town: open space and wetlands protection. Since this goal requires a continual, firm commitment to conservation, persons who have no conflict of interest and who relate well to others should be selected. The commission should represent a variety of interests, skills, and backgrounds.
An engineer, a biologist, a naturalist and a lawyer may prove especially helpful. Knowledge of soils is useful. For purposes of coordination of efforts, well-qualified individuals who are members of other boards may be appointed to serve a term.
More than 100 conservation commissions have permanent full-time employees, many of whom are conservation professionals providing invaluable support to volunteer Commissioners. More than half of the commissions have some level of staffing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill yesterday that will enable nearly 1,000 retired school teachers to avoid a health insurance premium increase next year that was estimated at between 30 and 80 percent.
The retired teachers are members of the Group Insurance Commission’s Retired Municipal Teachers and Elderly Governmental Employees risk pool, known as Pool 2. (Municipalities and school districts may opt into Pool 2 for health insurance for retired teachers, though none has done so since 1996.)
By statute, Pool 2, with roughly 10,000 members, was separate from Pool 1, which includes both active state and municipal employees and retirees and has about 440,000 members. As a result of the small size of Pool 2, however, only one carrier, UniCare, bid on the risk pool. This meant that 955 of its members would have had to change plans, at an exorbitant increase.
With the GIC’s support, the governor filed a bill on March 16 to merge the two pools in order to avoid the price spike for retired teachers – and for municipalities that pay a portion of their premiums.
The MMA testified in support of the legislation at a hearing before the Joint Committee on Public Service on March 20.
The Legislature had to act quickly on the bill in order to have the changes in place for the beginning of open enrollment on April 4.

Monday, March 26, 2018

A one-year, $200 million bond bill for the Chapter 90 local road and bridge program, filed by Gov. Charlie Baker on Feb. 13, is moving through the legislative process.
The Joint Committee on Transportation reported out the legislation in mid-March, after hearings on the bill (H. 4237) had to be cancelled due to weather.
In a letter to the Transportation Committee, the MMA urged legislators to pass a multi-year, $300 million Chapter 90 bond bill, and to do so “as soon as possible, so that the measure can be signed into law by the April 1 deadline, and cities and towns can begin the construction season on time.”
The MMA presented similar testimony at a March 22 hearing before the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets.
The Bonding Committee gave the $200 million bill a favorable report, and the full House was expected to take up the bill in the first week of April. The bill will then be sent to the Senate, which will have to pass it before it goes to the governor’s desk.
The MMA has long supported and advocated for a substantial increase in the Chapter 90 program, which helps cities and towns fund qualifying road and bridge maintenance projects that are key to economic development and quality of life.
Local officials argue that a multi-year Chapter 90 bill would allow communities to plan more effectively at the local level by bringing predictability and certainty regarding funding authorizations and timing. Communities are able to design multi-year projects and implement pavement management plans more effectively when they know what their Chapter 90 authorizations will be in future years.
A statewide survey conducted by the MMA in 2014 shows that cities and towns need at least $639 million per year in order to maintain roads in a state of good repair. Cities and towns are responsible for maintaining 30,000 miles of local roads.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito discussed the filing of the legislation at the Feb. 14 meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission, saying that the request would bring the total amount of Chapter 90 funds released by the administration since January 2015 to $900 million.

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.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The following was prepared by a Templeton Town resident, took much time and effort to complete. His report as well as a letter to the editor was accomplished by looking at town reports, town meeting results and financial paperwork from the school district as well as information from DESE (department of elementary and secondary education)

Perhaps M. Hughes was not aware of this information as she spoke of Templeton being under effort in it's support of schools. Remember, it is Templeton who stood alone and put up the 47 million dollars so the district can have a new building for some elementary kids.
There are two towns in the school district, one said no and the other said yes, that again, would be Templeton.

Perhaps this posting will make for an awkward moment or two at a school committee meeting, I do not know, nor do I care. I care about the residents of Templeton being told they do not support something or they have been under effort, when that is simply not true.
Perhaps that under effort statement can be corrected at the next meeting of the school committee?


On April 2nd The Gardner News published an article titled “Assessment Challenge Withdrawn” which contained a number of statements by Superintendent Miller regarding Templeton’s Local Contributions to school expenses.

She was quoted as saying that Templeton was “under effort” for education funding last year by nearly $ 800,000, when in fact we were nearly $ 800,000 over the “effort” level.  She was also quoted as saying, “The reason that Templeton’s increase is higher … is that they’ve  been under effort for a few years,” when, in fact, the last five years the town of Templeton has funded education not only above the Minimum Required Local Contribution level but, above the Target (effort) level by an average of 10 percent.

Each year the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) calculates a number of values for towns to follow while supporting their school systems.  These calculations can be very complicated and confusing to the general public.  When discussing these numbers it is important that you understand which value you are talking about.   Each year DESE calculates a town’s - Maximum Local Contribution (MLC), Target LC, Preliminary LC, and Required LC.   Two of these values are important; these are the Target LC and Required LC.   To simplify this issue you need to know that the Target LC is sometimes referred to as the Effort Level and the Required LC is often called the Minimum Required Contribution.   A more complete and technical definition of these terms may be found under: 


The Minimum Required LC is that number that a town should never fund below.  It is the absolute minimum local contribution that can be budgeted by a town for its school system.  In this case, the Required LC includes two numbers, Templeton’s share of Narragansett Regional School District (NRSD) costs and our share of Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School (MRVTS) costs.

The much higher, Target LC is that number that DESE encourages towns to contribute.

The first comment made in the April 2nd article was that Templeton’s required contributions increased recently because “… the town has been chronically ‘under effort” according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education…”   This statement is not true.  The TGN article went on to quote Ms. Miller as saying, “the town was under effort by about $800,000 in the last fiscal year.”   The last fiscal year was FY14.


                                                                                                                        page 1 of 2

April 5, 2015                                                                                                   page 2 of 2

Templeton’s Education Contributions,  Rev 2   (continued)


Revision 2 changes are bolded in red.

I believe Ms. Miller may have been misquoted, because this is not true.  Actually, the 800,000 difference had nothing to do with the town actually being “under effort” or below Target.  It was simply the difference between DESE’s Target figure and Required Contribution figure on a calculation sheet for FY14 that was “about $800,000”.   

( FY14’s Target [effort] 4,963,418 minus FY14’s Required 4,170,850 = 792,568 )


Again, the above “$800,000” difference had nothing to do with Templeton’s actual contribution for FY14.  In fact, the town was not only well above the Minimum Required LC but,  was significantly higher  than the Target LC.   Templeton’s  actual contribution (as related to the DESE requirements) was $5,582,130.    (ATM Art 27, voted $4,430,615 plus an override Oct STM Art 1 of $550,459 plus ATM Art 20 for Monty Tech of $601,056 = $5,582,130).   


With a Target LC of 4,963,418 and actual payments of 5,582,130 Templeton was actually over the Target (effort) Local Contribution amount by 618,712.   (12.5%)

Also, for this year (FY15) we will be $ 720,880 over Target Local Contribution.   (14.4%)

All of the data supporting these conclusions are a matter of public record and may be found on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website and on the Town of Templeton’s website.


I have spoken with DESE’s and Narragansett school officials and been assured that my “numbers are all good.”  However, because the preceding figures can be confusing to some, I have been asked to emphasis, in this letter, the following:  Although Templeton has contributed a five year average of 10.0 percent over Target and 34percent over Minimum Required LC, a good part of this support is due to three overrides during FY 12, 13 & 14.    If you take override support out of the picture, then these percentages drop to an average of 3.8 percent over Target and 26.7 percent over Minimum Required Contributions. 

 It is understood that this letter was submitted to The Gardner News in early April and
so far, the letter has not been published
from the meals tax propaganda / information on Town Website.

Would this be enough to cover our equipment needs? No but it’s a start. Meals tax revenues would be used to pay for three-year leases on a one-ton and cruiser. One-Ton Dump Truck With Plow & Wing.

Is leasing smart when you have money on the table - certified free cash, that could be used to pay for these items outright, as in no future worry about having the sum of taxpayer money available to cover the lease, whether or not you have a bow out clause or not in the lease arrangement.

With a three year ease (or any length) you have to have those funds available each year, what if something comes up, shortfall for fire department, or for school funding and every dollar counts.

When you have $160,000.00 of "cash" on hand, is it smarter to use 40 thousand to buy outright a new police cruiser or accept a three year promissory note that now has to be funded for three years and what if there is a year of low revenue from meals tax? More scramble, more crisis management.

Why create more future revenue problems when you have the means to avoid that. More bad management policies and decisions? The Templeton light and water commissioners do not wish to "give" the town money, rather they wish to fund a specific project, because they do not trust the town (selectmen) to spend the money wisely. Why should taxpayers be different. You have the cash, spend some on a new cruiser and put the rest in savings, where Town meeting can decide whether to spend it or not. Why let that cash roll over until next year? Plans for it to cover shortfalls in fiscal year 2019 spending plan?
Please be there:

Big meeting to discuss use of town common
TEMPLETON  There will be what could be a contentious meeting on Monday, March 26, as residents plan to fight for the right to use the town common for the Mac N Cheese Festival and other large events, an option that selectmen ruled against at the last meeting.

Suddenly, there is a big liability for the Town, in case something happens with any event held on Town owned land, such as the Mac N Cheese festival in support of the Friends of Templeton elders. This could get interesting and it is a meeting residents should attend. 
New day - same problem; Using one time revenue to balance a spending plan.
As the current chairman of the board of selectmen continues to state;
"Past bad management decisions, poor leadership . . ."

Current leadership has a financial policy in place, not being followed by current management.
One time funds being used to fund ongoing expenses.
Proposing things where there is not enough existing funds to cover those expenses.
It appears the pea under one of the three cups practice is still in effect.
It appears another circle has been completed - back to the starting point;
More "crisis management" so to speak.

ARTICLE 18. FY 2018 OPERATING BUDGET To see if the Town will vote to appropriate the sum of Eight Million Two Hundred Seventy Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Eighteen Dollars and no cents ($8,277,318.00) for the operations of General Government for Fiscal Year 2018, and to meet said appropriation with a transfer of Forty Nine Thousand and Three Hundred Fourteen Dollars and no cents ($49,314.00) of unissued bond proceeds originally borrowed for 252 Baldwinville Road, a transfer of Two Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand Dollars and no cents ($225,000.00) from the Ambulance receipts reserved for appropriation, and the balance from taxation, or take any other action relative thereto.

 Submitted by the Board of Selectmen

On a motion duly made and seconded the town voted that the Town appropriate the sum of Eight Million Two Hundred Seventy Seven Thousand Three Hundred Eighteen Dollars and no cents ($8,277,318.00) for the operations of General Government for Fiscal Year 2018 and to meet said appropriation with a transfer of Forty Nine Thousand Three Hundred Fourteen Dollars and no cents ($49,314.00) of unissued bond proceeds originally borrowed for 252 Baldwinville Road, a transfer of Two Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Dollars and no cents ($225,000.00) from the Ambulance Receipts Reserved for Appropriation, and the balance from the FY 18 tax levy and other general revenues of the Town.

Article 4: Completing the FY 2018 Planned Revenue Transfer To see if the Town will vote to transfer the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars and No Cents ($100,000.00) from the Ambulance Receipts Reserved for Appropriation, as planned in presenting the FY 2018 general fund budget to the Annual Town Meeting, to support the FY 2018 General Fund Operating Budget, or take any other action related thereto.
Submitted by the Board of Selectmen
Majority Vote Required

On a motion duly made and seconded the town voted to transfer the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars and No Cents ($100,000.00) from the Ambulance Receipts Reserved for Appropriation account, to support the FY 2018 General Fund Operating Budget,
Passed Unanimously/November 14th @ 7:28 pm

Article 5: FY 2018 Operating Budget Back fill.  To see if the Town will vote to appropriate the sum of Thirty Thousand Dollars and No Cents ($30,000.00) to supplement the amounts appropriated in the FY 2018 Operating Budget as follows: Dept. Amount DPW - B & G $2,500 DPW - Highway $5,000 Fire & EMS $15,000 Treasurer/Collector $7,500 And to meet said appropriation by a transfer of said sum from free cash, or take any other action related thereto.

Submitted by the Board of Selectmen Majority Vote Required

BOSTON - Lawmakers’ decision to award themselves pay raises earlier this year was an unpopular move with around three quarters of the electorate, according to a poll sponsored by a conservative group that argues the pay hike could imperil progressives’ push for a tax hike next year.
The pay raise law, approved over Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto, increased the compensation of the speaker and the Senate president from about $97,000 to $142,000 while other lawmakers’ pay increased by lesser but still substantial amounts depending on their leadership positions or committee chairmanships.
Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a group that has rankled Democrats since its founding five years ago, calculated that the average pay raise was 40 percent. Except for top leadership positions, lawmakers holding only one stipend-eligible position saw their pay rise by less than 40 percent, and backbenchers received only an increase in their expense accounts.
Thirty percent of voters said they would be “much less likely” to support someone at the polls who voted for his or her own 40 percent pay raise, and another 43.6 percent said they would be “less likely,” according to the survey conducted by Virginia-based Advantage, Inc.
The poll that was publicized Wednesday found 8.8 percent of voters would be more likely to support a politician who voted for their own 40 percent raise. The increase in lawmakers’ expense accounts, another provision of the pay raise law, was even less popular, according to the poll.
Jim Eltringham, vice president at Advantage, Inc., said the poll of 500 registered voters conducted in mid-June was modeled to resemble the electorate in 2018. The margin of error was 4.4 percent.
According to the survey, two thirds of voters were very or somewhat aware of the pay raise vote, which was lawmakers’ first major agenda item this year.
No Republicans supported the pay raise bill and nine House Democrats and three Senate Democrats opposed the measure, which passed overwhelmingly in both branches.
Paul Craney, spokesman for Mass Fiscal, said the poll also showed that Democrats who voted for the pay raise bill created some challenges for the Democrat-led push to add a 4 percent surtax onto incomes over $1 million. Mass Fiscal opposes that tax.
In back-to-back sessions about 70 percent of the House and Senate voted to advance the ballot question to amend the constitution with a surtax that proponents say could generate $2 billion for transportation and education. Unless it is blocked by the courts, the question will appear on the 2018 ballot.
Good afternoon Mr.Bennett,

Thank you for contacting Representative Whipps with your concerns. First I would like to address the voting age bill. This was a town meeting vote that once passed, it required the Representative to file it as a Home Rule Petition.  The purpose of the Home Rule is to “grant and confirm to the people of every city and town the right of self-governance in local matters." 

Representative Whipps has asked me to share with you a letter she recently signed, along with the other members of the Regional Schools Caucus. It requests that the Committee on Ways and Means increase the funding for Regional School Transportation reimbursement in the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget. 

Please do not hesitate to contact this office with any questions or if you would like to discuss it further.

Missi Eaton
Office of State Representative Susannah Whipps 
State House Rm.540
2nd Franklin District
352 Main St.
Athol Ma. 01331

From: jeff bennett []
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 10:30 AM
To: Eaton, Melissa (HOU)
Subject: transportation funding

My name is Jeffrey Bennett, from Templeton, Ma. I am a member of the Templeton Advisory Committee. I am writing as a resident with a concern of broken promise from the state government. The promise to fully fund transportation costs of regional school districts, which has not happened in a long time, if ever. While looking at fiscal year 2019 state budget proposals, state representatives and senators web sites, face book, etc to try and get a feel on where things may be going, I noticed Ms. Lee has sponsored a bill, that was most likely a local community request, to allow sixteen year olds to vote locally. That is how it is worded at least on the website of Whipps Lee. I am perplexed by that, however, I am more concerned with the funding issue of regional school districts. I would like to see a bill or change/increase to regional school transportation. I mean before get 16 year old citizens into politics and voting, even before they can smoke, drink, enlist in the military, we should get them to school. You may not have been around when the original promise was made, but you are there now and this needs to be corrected, by way of fully funding, by way of appropriation from state government. When that does not happen, it is a failure of state elected representatives (house and senate). Failure to do this puts districts against towns and sometimes, towns against towns. All those involved seem to know and agree that the state is falling short on it's promise, so why is it not being funded at 100 percent level?

Jeff Bennett
Thank you, we do understand the issue and hear about it often. We do our best to fund RSD transportation at as high a level as possible.

Tyler L. Wolanin
District Director, Office of Senator Anne M. Gobi

From: jeff bennett []
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 10:07 AM
To: Wolanin, Tyler (SEN)
Subject: Re: funding
Thank you for the quick reply, however, the promise made in years gone by, 1949 or so, still need to be met, by the correct appropriation. I look forward to the senate budget proposals, specifically, the transportation dollar figure.  That appropriation or lack there of, has meaning that is far reaching, such as taking money from other municipal projects such as road repair, fire and police coverage that affects not only the immediate residents, but those who may be in the process of looking for a community to move to. That can lead to new growth, or not, which has even more impact on the driver; property taxes. Anything less than 100 percent transportation funding by the state is unacceptable and should be viewed by taxpayers/voters as a failure by elected state representation.

Jeff Bennett

Again, thank you for your timely response.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Did the voters of the Town of Templeton vote for a Senior Center?

Yes they did.

Have the voters approved a yearly budget for the Council on the Aging?

Yes they have.

Did the voters of Templeton vote for $100,000.00 for siding for the Senior Center building?

Yes they did.

Did the voters of Templeton vote for an Ambulance Receipts fund?

Yes they did.

Did the voters of Templeton vote for 2 full time equivalent fire fighters for daytime coverage?

Yes they did. (they were asked at Town Meeting)

Article 11 To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds, or otherwise provide a sum of money to hire two (2) full-time equivalent firefighter/EMTs to work daytime coverage 48 hours per week (Monday-Friday), or to take any other action relative thereto. Submitted by the Board of Selectmen
Chief Laporte was allowed to speak.
On a motion duly made and seconded the town voted that One Hundred Twenty Eight Thousand Eight Hundred Twelve Dollars ($128,812.00) be hereby appropriated from the FY 14 tax levy and other general revenues of the town to be expended by the Fire Chief to add two daytime full time equivalent firefighter/EMTs to the staffing of the Templeton Fire Department.
 Passed/May 14th @ 8:26 

Did the voters of Templeton vote to move to a full time fire department/EMS?
I cannot find any Town Meeting article asking the voters that question.

Did the voters of Templeton approve a spending plan that included salary money for two full time EMS/fire fighters (career)?

Yes they did - remember the fiscal year 2018 spending plan with a $100,000.00 shortfall built into it?
The shortfall was filled at a special town meeting in 2017.

Article 4: Completing the FY 2018 Planned Revenue Transfer To see if the Town will vote to transfer the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars and No Cents ($100,000.00) from the Ambulance Receipts Reserved for Appropriation, as planned in presenting the FY 2018 general fund budget to the Annual Town Meeting, to support the FY 2018 General Fund Operating Budget, or take any other action related thereto.
Submitted by the Board of Selectmen
Majority Vote Required

A substitute motion was duly made and seconded to transfer the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars and No cents from the Ambulance Receipts Reserved for Appropriation account, as planned in presenting the FY 2018 general fund budget to the Annual Town Meeting, to Fire & EMS Fund 1000 Account Number 220 5100 Account Name Personnel.
Defeated/ November 14th @ 7:28 pm

On a motion duly made and seconded the town voted to transfer the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars and No Cents ($100,000.00) from the Ambulance Receipts Reserved for Appropriation account, to support the FY 2018 General Fund Operating Budget,
Passed Unanimously/November 14th @ 7:28 pm