Saturday, June 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agenda
1. Call the Meeting to Order

2. Pledge of Allegiance

3. Public Comment

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

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

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

7. Board & Staff Member Comments & Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 22, 2018

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

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

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

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

from the Town Administrator:

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

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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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

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

Saturday, June 16, 2018

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


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

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

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


regards;
Jeff Bennett
Chairman, Advisory Committee

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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


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



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


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

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

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


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

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

Friday, June 8, 2018

MEMORANDUM – OFFICE OF THE TOWN ADMINISTRATOR

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


Important Notice to All Departments 

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

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

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

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


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

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

Saturday, June 2, 2018

from the Association of Town Finance Committee handbook.


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

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

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

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


No payroll checks?  Vacation?  What about the assistants?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




Friday, June 1, 2018

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

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

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

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

purchase of services - $9,000.00

supplies -                    $6,000.00

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

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

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

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

Tin foil is in aisle 6