Friday, August 31, 2018

Is there real transparency in Templeton Town Hall or is there something else going on?

Why is it that things that are voted on at annual town meeting are ignored and things that are not actually voted on at town meeting get put in place?

A new budget format was used and presented without an article or motion put before Town Meeting, yet, money appropriated and voted on at Town meeting for non union raises for the sewer department are ignored by the selectmen. Just what is going on and who is in charge? Are the selectmen aware of what is going on? They are and they have so far not acted.

ABUSE OF POWER Re: Missing nonunion raises (No subject)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Documentation shows back in October of 2017, selectmen received from the Collins institute a document with it's opinion concerning Templeton by-laws specifically on the Advisory Committee.
It was on the subject line of Roles and responsibilities of Advisory Committee.

Selectmen went on to propose multiple changes to Town by-laws regarding the Advisory Committee, without having any discussion with the committee, including withholding this document from the Collins institute.

One interesting item included was the institute stating they were aware of only one other town where Advisory Committee can appoint it's own members if a vacancy occurs during the year. A search with a timeline of about 5 minutes showed this to be not true and there are probably other towns where this is done as well. Great to see transparency and this so called working together thing often coming from the selectmen.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

So, the audits are coming, the audits are coming;

The audits are complete and now we have good numbers?

Now we have a good financial team in place?

Town Hall employees state that time could be better spent than answering resident questions on town finance and it is discouraging to have so many questions on town spending and on town financial records.

Town Administrator states a known incorrect number was written in on a document being used to obtain funding for a new sewer department pump station.

Questions being raised again on whether a town employee broke a contract or request for services into several parts, thus avoiding or breaking a Massachusetts General Law (c 30B) for which the town has already been shown to have done and had training from the MA inspector general's office.

As all of this is considered, the question (in my opinion) becomes has Templeton really made any progress or has it been one grand illusion?

On another front, a report out from MIT that devices, particularly cel phones and all those "apps" really do appear to be tracking and recording what we do on those phones.

Things like putting photos on the so called cloud, even if the photos are deleted from the phone and whether you are asked permission or not; those same apps even record key strokes and send this data out to whom ever is / will pay for it. Seems like the so called big brother is really watching and keeping track of all that we do. Does not seem like the people who report such things are really wacked out after all; they just may be ahead of the curve.

Friday, August 24, 2018

TO: Board of Selectmen
FROM: Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE: Administrator’s Weekly Report
DATE: August 23, 2018
CC: All Departments

Important Notice to All Departments
Job Openings: Director of Public Works
                               DPW – Truck Driver (CDL)
                              Seasonal Laborer (10 week)
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.
Weekly Report: We finalized the 08/29 interview teams and scheduling with four prospective Management Fellows. One did drop out a bit earlier today, but I am still very pleased with the pool. We have received one inquiry on the Roofing specifications, so we will get the addenda posted by Monday with bids remaining on target. This will provide an opportunity to seek supplemental funding for this and the Senior Center siding – if needed – at the Fall TM. I have advised the Capital Committee we may need to submit projects for review, so we can try to have any such needed report by the time we ask you to vote on the final warrant. I have begun drafting a repair of private ways bylaw, special legislation and adoption of the statute allowing for deferral of payments by certain elderly. As you may know we need to get pricing on the engineering study needed for Stoney Bridge Road. I’ve spoken with John Henshaw who informs me the CPC may be able to provide some funding for someone to write the RFP using the state model. I’ve reached out to two engineering firms to see if they can do this for us on a very quick turnaround. Much of our time (4+ staff hours) was spent on addressing questions raised about our several financial reports which I have also provided to you. I do have to say that at some point we will no longer be able to continue to provide these kinds of detailed responses unless coming by means of a formal committee vote or a public records request. We are seeking proposals on survey and title work for Baldwinville Elementary School and agreed with Mr. Henshaw these are 100% eligible under our CPC appropriation. We had the kick-off of our CDBG planning. Mike P. should have a follow-up memo out to all within two weeks. Our several interns. work study students ended their service with us. While the program is in some jeopardy due to scheduling changes at the High School we have reached out to the Superintendent to see what can be done to preserve it

Administration & Finance
Town Accountant: This week has been very discouraging as I have worked with Carter on a number of email concerns about the financial reporting. We have addressed every concern with explanation, but none the less very time consuming and as I said before discouraging. I completed the final quarterly report and presented it to selectman on Wednesday. Today we interviewed for finance clerk in the Treasurer/Collector office and found a great candidate for the job

This report can be seen in its entirety on the town website under departments / town administrator.

When a resident has a problem involving a Town owned drain pipe, they contact the highway department. When the highway department people show up, see a hole in the hot top drive way (driveway apron?) and they also see an old drain pipe that is obviously old and rusted/rotted, because there is a hole in it as well; their solution is to put some road grindings in it and call it a day.

The next thing that person does is attend a selectmen meeting and inform them of the issue and the so called fix from the Templeton highway department. The other issue here is that the people from the highway department left without any verbal follow up, such as the pipe needs to be replaced and we have to order one, or we will be back on such a day/date and time to take care of this.

Selectmen take some information from the resident and inform the resident that someone will be contacting you from the highway department / DPW. Now, if you are a selectmen, someone from the highway department will come right over and help you tear up your driveway apron, (apparently) according to multiple town residents.

Perhaps residents of Laurel View Road are better off having a contractor do repairs on that road.

On another front, town finance, an issue with the balance of the Templeton general stabilization fund was brought up and question by a town resident; Town administrator sent out an email showing that the balance of that account was known to be in error last August, 2017. Almost a year later, that wrong amount is written in on a document used to borrow money for the town. How does that work, using a dollar figure, that you have known for about a year, to be in error, but you still put that incorrect dollar figure on the paper work??

Do not worry, the audits are complete, we have good numbers, a great financial team in place and some very good things are happening in Templeton.

And remember, the town administrator did not say anything about a tax override concerning stoney bridge work. Lastly, is it a good thing for a town employee to complain about having to spend too much time on answering questions and providing information to a town resident; I thought these selectmen were all about transparency, so which is it?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

So, last nights selectmen meeting;

Town Administrator states he did not say anything about a possible tax override to cover costs concerning stoney bridge, perhaps he should pursue a retraction from the paper, as that was contained in the article published.

The codification process apparently will not be presented until next spring, according to the town administrator (that is recorded).

Selectmen Brooks made a motion to try to compel an employee (sewer department superintendent Kent Songer) to attend a selectmen meeting, which would be after work hours. She also made a point of the sewer commissioners meetings be held at town hall so they can be recorded. Now that would be nice, so I would like to know when selectmen Brooks will make a motion to compel the general manager of the light & water department to attend a selectmen meeting, as well as have light & water meetings at town hall so they can be recorded/broadcasted as well?

On Laurel View Road, another reason I can bring up for the Town to continue to plow it is public safety, as in the fire department being able to have access to those homes. PUBLIC SAFETY, as in the Town Ambulance being able to travel on that road, which so far, has been plowed by the town, as well as minor repairs done to the road. Public safety, as in the police being able to travel that road.

Lastly, the town administrator stated that time spent answering citizens request for information could be better spent on other things. Is that great or what, a public employee complaining on having to answer questions from citizens, the ones who provide the money to pay their salary and then ask questions concerning the spending of that money, feels it is a problem having to take time to answer questions from those same citizens. Where does selectmen Brooks stand on that issue?

Oh yeah, where are the town employee salaries in the annual town report?

Monday, August 20, 2018

So, Selectmen consider tax override to pay for Stoney bridge repairs?
With an estimated $800,000.00 in leftover tax dollars from last year, there does not seem to be a need for another tax increase in Templeton at this time. Will have to see how much of that estimated money comes to fruition and how much of it has to be used to fund the fiscal year 2019 spending plan, as in using one time funds to prop up a spending plan, which is against the town's financial policy. Little has changed regarding Templeton finance.

There is also a lack of clarity regarding Templeton debt, which is another question needing to be answered. In two years time, how much of an increase in Templeton taxes will be needed to pay for all of the Templeton debt?

from January 2018

Hubbardston will receive $425,000 to preserve bridges on Williamsville Road and Ragged Hill Roads over Natty Pond Brook and Templeton Brook.

Orange will receive $420,000 to replace a bridge on East Road over West Brook.

According to MassDOT and the Governor:
The Municipal Small Bridge program is a need and merit based program that seeks to fund those applications that demonstrate a critical need or substantially extend the life of an existing small bridge that is between ten and twenty feet in length.  Projects are evaluated according to a strict set of eligibility criteria that consider the condition, benefits, and repair status of each bridge.

Templeton taxpayers should demand that all other avenues of funding be looked at before any tax increase is asked for. Lack of accountability concerning Templeton debt is one important reason to avoid any new tax overrides at present time.

Monday, July 16, 2018
 ORANGE — Preliminary estimates show that the town will need more than the $420,000 Massachusetts Department of Transportation grant to replace the closed bridge off Route 2A, and Orange is going to the state to ask for more.
Many have expressed that they would like to see the bridge, which has been closed for three years, reopen. Residents, school bus drives and town officials have all expressed eagerness,
because the closure has severed a route from North Orange to Route 2A and the rest of the town.
The Select board has approved a letter to MassDOT District 2 Highway Director Peter Cavicchi asking for an additional $80,000, bringing the total to $500,000 — the maximum amount the town may get from the Baker-Polito administration’s Small Bridge Program.
“We were thrilled, to put it mildly, and very grateful to the state for this program,” Select board Chairman Ryan Mailloux said, reading his letter aloud. “It enables the town to fix a road and bridge issue that is a main route for our school buses and residents, that has been closed while we sought a solution.”
The town has a contract with Tighe & Bond for engineering and design work on the bridge, which crosses West Brook on the three-mile road. Town Administrator Gabriele Voelker has anticipated the project being done by “fall or winter.”
In preliminary designing, Tighe & Bond found that $420,000 was very unlikely to be enough to cover the cost of replacing the bridge.
Mailloux said the town is “exploring all areas” of possible funding in the letter, which is also being forwarded to state Rep. Susannah Whipps.
“We’ll be taking some of our Chapter 90 funds to help cover the gap. However, this directly impacts other necessary road projects,” Mailloux said.
The grant money is a portion of $5.2 million awarded in January to 12 communities to repair or replace small (10 to 20 feet long) bridges.
While the bridge is small, its location in a residential neighborhood has caused some problems. Selectboard member and school bus driver Tom Smith has said the bridge’s closure has added time and inconvenience to bus routes.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Laurel View Road and the Town of Templeton:

So far, the explanation is it will cost the Town (taxpayers) a lot of money to accept Laurel View Road. Why is that? After all, drive down Partridgeville Road and then drive Laurel View and tell me why the town plows one but does not wish to plow the other? The majority of the roads in Templeton are crappy, just like most towns and cities, so what is the big deal with one more of them. It seems like all these people ask for is equal protection under the law. They pay taxes and would like to receive at least a few service items for that money.

There is quite a bit of Town property on Laurel View Road, as in the light poles and wire, contact the Templeton Municipal Light department and ask what is the approximate cost of that wire per foot. Then ask what is the Town's responsibility with that wire and those poles; where does it end?

Truth is, there is always a way for things to get done and I do not think all of the options have been exhausted yet, how about special legislation so the town can take possession of the road without it meeting current standards so those taxpayers can get the road plowed in winter time and so the Town ambulance or fire trucks can get down there. They are after all paying more in taxes for that ambulance, but now the selectmen are telling them we cannot really help you much and we spent your money on lawyers to find ways to avoid helping you.

Again, I believe special legislation to accept this one road as is, get it surveyed by the company doing that work in town now and add it to the list of the many roads that need work. It should not be too hard or expensive to fix the few small issues listed as reasons why the town cannot plow the road. How much money was spent on scout hall and what are the plans for that? Looking at some paperwork from Town Hall and the selectmen / town administrator show estimates of $800,000.00 in "free cash" from FY 2018. Was there really a need for a tax increase to pay for ambulance service with that kind of money left over, either not spent or unexpectedly taken in. Remember the $190,000.00 left over from the last certified free cash explanation, so we are close to one million dollars of taxpayer money available for things. Now we just need the attitude from the selectmen of what can we do for you, the people we are suppose to look out for.

Rather than look for ways to not do it, find a way to do it; accept Laurel View Road and move on.
TO:        Board of Selectmen
FROM: Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE:        Administrator’s Weekly Report
DATE:   August 16, 2018
CC:        All Departments

Important Notice to All Departments
Job Openings:    Director of Public Works
                                  DPW – Truck Driver (CDL)
                                  Seasonal Laborer (10 week)
Weekly Report: I conducted the Laurel View meeting with much time required for preparation and follow-up. I carried out eight interviews with prospective Management Fellows. Final interviews are tentatively set for 08/30 and we have asked if someone from the BoS would like to sit in on that process. We have what looks to be solid pool of candidates for DPW Director and will begin to assemble the interview team on that for the next week or two. We have received some sample RFPs on the Field Data Collection and Replacement Option study from DER and will attempt to finalize and get that out ASAP as we will need to fund it at the Fall Town Meeting.
Administration & Finance
Town Accountant: As Cheryl was out of the office Tue – Thus I had to get the warrant and payroll all completed on Monday. Tuesday was spent trying to get everything put away and organized in my new office location. Wednesday was a catch up day for all the work from July that had been put on hold so that I could get the Town ready for the auditors. Thursday I spent most of the day with the workers comp auditor. During this audit we discovered a few errors that will need to be taken care of over the next few weeks. I got the final numbers from sewer today, so on Monday will finalize everything thing for year end and complete the final quarter/year-end report for the selectman for Wednesday.
Treasurer/Collector: Treasurer/Collector Out of the Office. Sue O’Coin from the Assessor’s Office covered the office.
Assessor: Returned to office after being out last week. Worked on Sales Analysis and submitted it to DOR DLS for approval. This is the first steps in the tax rate setting process. Computer and Vision upgrade is proceeding in the office smoothly and everything should be completed by the end of the month. New growth for this fiscal year has been updated to property record cards. Prepared for, attended and continue to finish up work from the Board of Assessors monthly meeting held Tuesday. Notices were mailed out to Veterans so many are coming in with their paperwork and to sign their applications for FY19 exemptions. A reminder to residents to come in with the necessary paperwork and apply for your FY19 exemptions. Sue worked on Chapter land paperwork and letters will be going out next week to the owners to file with the office by October 1st. Sue stepped up this week to help out the Collector/Treasurer office and as always kept our office running great while I was out.

Town Clerk: Still busy with marriage certificates. We had a lot of vital records request this week. Updated all the new registered voter from the RMV. Held the last day of registration session for the Sept 4th primary. Did some research for different departments.

Public Works
Highway Department: The roof on the Baldwinville Fire Station porch and the roof on the Highway barn office will be started this week. Both projects were approved in the previous budget and were encumbered to be completed in FY2019. The MS-4 (Storm Water Report) has been completed and submitted for FY2018. He highway department assisted the Buildings and Grounds department in adding rip rap to a retention pond @ the senior center to alleviate the wash out of loam from the heavy rain. Catch basins in the area of Pine Drive, Pheasant Lane &Baldwin Drive were rebuilt because they were failing. A beaver dam was removed on Henshaw Rd and also on Musket Dr. The one that was removed on Musket was rebuilt by the beavers overnight and a trapper was notified of the situation. The heavy rain caused the drain on Drury lane to not be able to keep up with the flow. That is an old stone culvert that will be cleared of debris and inspected for improved flow. Pot holes were patched on Partridgeville Road and Royalston Road. We are working on the several managerial projects:
•Update on Stone Bridge progress for grants.
•Senior Center siding bids have gone out and are due by 8/29/18 no later than 2:PM
•The Roof for the Templeton center fire FD have gone out as well and are due by 8/29/18 no later than 2:PM
•Laurelview was swept, as a courtesy, prior to an informal meeting to be held at 12:30 PM on 8/14/18 with Jim Vacarelo and Jim Fay to assist in identify troublesome areas.
•An evaluation of the streets on the common will be performed by David Hawkins of Arboriculture Services prior to the Sept 5th Select Board meeting, and he and will report to the Select Board his recommendation(s).
•Snow & Ice operations plan is ongoing, Mark is working with Mike Smith, consultant.
•STATUS on Street sweeping: All side roads are complete and Main Roads remain to be completed. •Stantec, a Road Surface Management System company (RSMS) is currently evaluating the roads program and has completed 45.73% of the roads in Templeton. Mark will be meeting with him next week.
•Leo Provencher will be assisting in the Department next week. Thus far he has work 10 hours for the cemetery department; we have in for another 39 hours.
•The chipper is down. •Work on the roof at the Garage should be starting soon. •There has been a process created to streamline and increase successful communications. All DPW issues need to come to Pam Rogers, Admin Assistant, at or (978) 939-8666. This will be imputed into a database and to track each issue through resolution.
•Work towards addressing several IT issues are being identified and resolved if practical.
Templeton Fire/EMS: 08/01 - 08/15 we responded on 49 calls of service. 32 EMS calls, 10 Fire service calls, 6 motor vehicle accidents, and 1 kitchen fire. our primary ambulance is out of service, it is back at the manufacturer getting warranty paint repairs completed before the warranty expires. Our secondary ambulance was out of service for a few days with a unexpected breakdown, this is now fixed and in service. As of today, one of our two new firefighters/ paramedics has started with us, and our other is awaiting his physical. We expect him to begin with us in the beginning of September