Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Today, Templeton Town website shows no job openings at present time. Perhaps someone from Town Hall reads these postings. Point is, when someone is hired for a position offered on the Town web site, why is the website not updated? What other things happen in Town Hall that are not updated regularly so you can depend on some information anyways?

What is needed is a policy to guide Town Hall on how to do these things and then, all would be well.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Dear Board of Selectmen:

I write to offer some words of caution.

We have a conference call scheduled for Tuesday at 1:30 to begin the work of closing out the BAN on the Pleasant St. pump station project.  I received an email from Town Counsel that he has been notified that his necessary participation in this process must be scheduled through the town administrator's office.  As you know the TA is part time and this week he won't be in the office until Thursday.  I have copied Holly on this email, but I will tell you here that the closing will require a lot of work on an almost constant basis, and it is my opinion that the process will be hindered and delayed by requiring town counsel to receive approval from the part time town administrator.

I have directed everyone to copy the TA with all correspondence.

If there are complications and/or delays in closing the BAN and securing the grant and permanent financing from USDA because of this, the responsibility will be with the Board of Selectmen and the town administrator.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Perhaps the Templeton selectmen require a policy to look at the Templeton Town website weekly so they can ensure the information is correct and up to date.
Right now, that website shows Templeton is looking for a management fellow, an assistant Town accountant, assistant treasurer and a DPW  Superintendent, along with a highway driver/laborer.

Another issue, after receiving the latest Town expenditure report, I notice that one Eric Pollitt is on the mailing list. He left Templeton employment back in July 2018 and here it is October 2018.  How can anyone be expected to trust any information on the Town website?

Once again, at a Town meeting, Templeton resident Steve Drury brought up information that the Town may be owed around $300,000.00 from person or persons violating Town by-laws. So far, Templeton selectmen seem uninterested in acting.  Instead, those same selectmen are interested in increasing Taxpayer legal costs by ignoring Town Meeting vote; failing to ensure or in this case, instruct employees to process non-union raises for sewer department employees.

One other issue is the failure of Town employee, Treasurer/Collector failing to follow Town by-laws in providing information requested by the Templeton Advisory Committee.

For a group that talks alot about policies and procedures, these selectmen seem to have a hard time following long established policies and mandates put in place by the very people who put the selectmen in place; the voters/residents of the Town.

That is my opinion on some Templeton matters / issues. It is also my opinion that Templeton chairman of the board of selectmen is long on talk and short on walk. John Caplis shows often he was in the military and anyone who has been in knows that when orders come down, you follow them, whether you agree or not. Well, Town Meeting gave selectmen some orders, when will they be obeyed? Perhaps selectmen feel no one cares when only 50 or so people show up for Town Meeting, which means we the people, hold some responsibility for this lax effort on the part of selectmen. Time for residents to stand up for themselves.

Friday, October 19, 2018

We will have a presentation on the study of our roadways and the establishment of a Pavement Management System on the BoS Agenda for 10/24.  I think most folks will find it shock (how poor the roadways are when viewed through the eyes of a professional) and awe (when what we need to be spending is viewed through the eyes of a taxpayer. 

Templeton residents: When given the information on just how bad the roads are in Templeton, this will equate to shock and awe! Actually, I see how bad the goat path I live on is as I drive on it every day.

So, what will it take to get all roads in Templeton to be smooth and even? Money and lots of it, also it will require time. Where will the money come from? Look in your wallet or your bank statement or for some, check your phone. If we began to plan right now, it would be about two years before any comprehensive work could begin and it would probably be 10 years for the work and money spent to show value. Yes, there is chapter 90 funds (gas tax) and complete streets as well as CDBG funds, and maybe even green community grants;  well maintained, even roads require less time to plow and equate to less fuel spent on time to make roads safe for travel. Even some tree management might be required to open the roadways and allow the sun to warm the roads. Perhaps the selectmen have a policy to cover these subjects?

If you live on a private way, you shot yourself in the foot last night by voting down the private road (s) articles.
Bottom line is the roads will not fix themselves and it costs money and that money will come from you. One cannot eat your cake and have too! 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

John Caplis is fond of proclaiming that he is not a liar. He never lies.  Then why, when asked on more than one occasion, why the sewer department raises were not processed as voted at town meeting.  His answer was: "they were afraid that if sewer got their raises on July 1st before the other non union got theirs that others would complain"  Now he tells Sewer dept. that there would be no raises until the MCAD complaint was settled. Yet the MCAD complaint was made in part because of the raise issue.  So much for "honest John". I also do not remember Town Meeting vote being contingent on any other conditions such as performance reviews by our esteemed TA, which apparently WILL NOT happen, since the sewer employees do not report to Carter, they report to the independent elected Sewer Commissioners. You can go back and check Town Meeting votes beginning in 1994 and see identical votes creating a Sewer department enterprise fund and Water enterprise fund. Information is Light & Water non union employees got their raises on time. 

Process the sewer department raises and there would be no MCAD complaints, that would be following and honoring Town Meeting vote, that would be doing the right thing. 

Now, how about that tax increase override coming to fund the school district. Again, Templeton selectmen cried poor yet there were two tax increases in May and one proposed for this evening. A police cruiser and highway 1 ton being paid for by meals tax, tax increase for 4 EMS employees and proposed tax increase for dog licenses tonight.  There is always that "debt smoothing" item the selectmen talked about before and the new school is only costing you $1.74 per thousand. There is that $417,000.00 you are already paying and have been for over 20 years for the high school, so just keep that going and there is an extra 400K for the district, remember, it is all about the kids!

Next time you see your selectmen, ask them about that town meeting vote and sewer department raises being ignored. YOUR vote being ignored, again!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Selectman Diane Brooks states she wants to know how school choice money is spent. She wants an accounting of it. Well, I think if she wants to know about school spending, she should run for school committee. I think Templeton residents should have an accounting of how much each town employee earns but I do not see that in the annual report. Residents cannot see exactly how there money is being spent with an omnibus budget. How about selectmen give residents a clear, detailed report on those dollars first?

Begin by following the law, ask Town Meeting what kind of budget format do the people want and have a vote on it.

Give us a report on all Town employee earnings, including light & water and Sewer dept. Then explain why non union sewer dept. employees have not had their Town Meeting appropriated raises processed yet?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

TO: Board of Selectmen
FROM: Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE: Administrator’s Weekly Report
DATE: October 11, 2018
CC: All Departments

Fall Town Meeting – October 18th – 7:00 p.m. 
Business Meeting or Workshop: This is to expand upon items where the attached memos may need some expansion or where a full memo was not required. 

Weekly Report: John Driscoll and I met with our MIIA representative to review our Medex rates for January. It will be flat at 0% over the 6% estimate we had used in the budget. Some of this comes from a savings change in the RX formulary. We worked with Town Counsel and others to finalize the motions and summaries for the Voter Information guide. Evans Circle has been cleared for winter plowing as has Laurel View. Adam led the team to get our MS-4 Notice of Intent. The final application is due 06/30/19 and sections of it may be beyond our in-house capabilities.

Town Accountant: Nothing reported. 

Treasurer/Collector: We have been working with Bill Trust on the new template to bill Q3 and Q4 real estate in one billing (two coupons) and come to learn that there is another area vendor that may save us those template costs and be a lower billing rate. We will be meeting with them next week on their services and may find it best to switch vendors completely.

Administration & Finance 

Assessor: Short but very busy week in the office. I worked with the Collector/Treasurer on Land of Low Value Takings and imputing information into Gateway. Also, a letter will be going out within the next couple weeks to sewer users from the Collector/Treasurer in regards to a lien that was placed on their properties back in 2006 for betterments apportioned on their tax bills for WWTF Upgrade. The sewer department was made aware of this letter as there may be questions from sewer users in regards to it. Reached out to our Light, Water & Sewer departments for any liens they will need to have placed on the upcoming actual real estate billing in January. I attended the department head meeting on Thursday morning. Posted the agenda and preparing for the upcoming board meeting on Tuesday the 16th. Exemption applications are still coming in and residents are reminder to get the application and paperwork in ASAP so that they can be applied to the 3rd & 4th quarter tax bills.

Town Clerk: Nothing reported.

Public Works 

Highway Department: The new 2018 Mack truck is on the road and is a welcome addition to the fleet. There are 4 vehicles still red lined, H3, H35, M11 & H10. H11 is being transformed into a plow/sander. The cemetery truck # CD5 had work done to the brakes, including the emergency brake. The Council on aging vehicle 3005 came in because it was pulling to the right. The caliper had to be repaired and preventive maintenance done while it was in the shop. The paperwork to request funding to repair Pail Factory road through Chapter 90 has been prepared for signatures. We are hoping for emergency approval on this so the road can be repaired in early November. A culvert on Brooksvillage road had a 10 wheeler load of beaver debris cleared from it allowing the water to flow. The sidewalk near Lee’s hot dog stand was repaired where a tractor trailer had damaged it. Cold patching was done on Main St, Winchendon Rd, Gray Rd and South Street. The bush and trees around Laurel View were trimmed. A catch basin at the entrance of Laurel View was rebuilt as well. Some roadside repair was done on Cook Rd and Haskell. Trees were cut on Conti Ave and Harley Hill. The Notice of Intent (NOI) was completed /and filed with the state. This is part of the storm water management plan.

Buildings & Grounds: A burial in Pine Grove cemetery occurred Saturday and there are planned burials on Saturday for the entire month of October and into November. Bush trimming was done in Green Lawn cemetery. The picnic tables and trash barrels that were brought to the middle school were picked up and put away. Clean up of leaves and other debris has begun as the autumn season is upon us.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Advisory Committee Recommendations for Special Town Meeting
Thursday, October 18, 2018 – 7:00 P.M.

Article 1.    Payment of late or unpaid bills from prior fiscal year:
                   Sewer Dept. -      $1,795.97
                   Cable Dept. -           110.40
                   Highway Dept.        220.80

Advisory Committee: This article funds outstanding obligations from prior fiscal years that the Town must pay. These bills will be funded from the current fiscal year budget.

Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 2.     Amend Town by-laws with adoption of “stretch energy code”

Advisory Committee: This article will increase the cost of building in Templeton, however, it is a step toward Templeton becoming a “Green Community” and should benefit the Town by way of grant eligibility in future efforts to save on energy costs Town wide.

Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.
Article 3.     Amend Town By-Laws for repair of private Ways / Roads.
Advisory Committee: This article will allow all taxpayers to receive services paid for by tax dollars. Furthermore, this article along with other actions being pursued will allow these private roads to eventually become approved Town roads ending any stigma or division among Town residents concerning private roads versus Town accepted roads.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 4.     Filing of special legislation to establish an infrastructure betterment fund.
Advisory Committee: This act would simply create an account /place for any funds collected from residents on private roads for permanent repairs or improvements completed on said roads/ways.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 5.     Adopt Massachusetts General Law chapter 80, section 13b: defer repayment of certain betterment liens.
Advisory Committee: This article would help some residents over age 65 in the way in which betterment repayment is dealt with regarding the Town.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 6.     Amend Town By-Laws by having employment contracts for all department heads.
Advisory Committee: This article would allow the Town to utilize this option as a marketing tool in attempting to attract new Town employees. Town Meeting must realize that some elected boards, such as Board of Health have say in employment contracts under the law.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 7.     Amend Town By-law regarding animal control.
Advisory Committee: Action on this articles consists of repealing the current existing Town by-law in its entirety and replacing it with article 7 verbiage to bring the by-law in step with current state law. This article also allows for increases in dog license fees as well as significant increase in non-criminal disposition fines.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 8.     MART dial a ride promotion.
Advisory Committee: This article deals with the Town’s share of ride share fees with regards to services such as Uber and Lift.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 9.     Stone or Stoney Bridge road study.
Advisory Committee: This article deals with one step in the process that could allow the Town to pursue grants or other funding sources to be used in efforts to repair, maintain or replace of structure known as Stone (Stoney) Bridge.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 10.     Fiscal 2019 Cable department budget supplement.

Advisory Committee: This article allows for more of the funds collected by way of contract agreement with Comcast Cable to be utilized to support the operation of the Town’s cable channel and broadcast of meetings of many Town boards, committees and events held in Templeton.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 11.     Capital budget supplements.
Advisory Committee: While the committee has reservations of going back to taxpayers multiple times for more funding on the same project (s), it also acknowledges that town assets must be protected and invested in for long term tax dollar savings.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 12.     Capital budget supplements
Advisory Committee: This article deals with two subjects, one being money for the Assessor’s office to replace a funding source that was presented to Town Meeting by board of selectmen that “fell through” and the other item involves tree work on Templeton common, which falls in line with maintaining , protecting and investing in Town assets.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 13.     Fiscal Year 2019 general fund operating budget supplement.
Advisory Committee: Again, the committee cautions against the continued practice of using one time funds to support re-occurring expenses of the Town’s general fund expenses. The Town does have a reserve fund to deal with unanticipated emergencies. The committee also questions the need to supplement a legal budget of $60,000.00 as well as the need for additional IT funding this early in the fiscal year. Provided there is sufficient explanation of additional funding requests for legal and IT;
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 14.     Payment of Town share of Narragansett Regional School District debt.
Advisory Committee: This article will fulfill Templeton’s obligation to pay debt service that was dealt with at the May 2018 Annual Town Meeting.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

Article 15.     Fiscal Year 2019 operating budget transfer.
Advisory Committee: This article requests Town Meeting to approve a transfer of monies from one Town fund to another but it lacks specificity as to where the funds will be used; under Fire & EMS on the Town’s monthly expenditure report, there are funds for personnel, employee support, purchase of services, supplies and “other”. The committee feels that Town Meeting deserves to know what this proposed transfer will be used for, salary increases, maintenance, etc. Due to insufficient information on this proposed reallocation of funds:
Advisory Committee recommends against this article.

Article 16.     Deposits to the Town’s stabilizations funds and OPEB reserve fund.
Advisory Committee: The committee favors regular deposits into these funds, as it shows the Town is committed to building savings and/or reserve funds as well as providing a means to handle long term Town financial commitments and capital investment.
Advisory Committee recommends favorable action on this article.

In conclusion, Advisory recommends that residents of the Town be involved in the process of Town government by attending Town Meeting, voting and becoming involved through elected or appointed positions and committees that work to make the Town of Templeton a better place to work and live in.

Respectfully submitted by the Templeton Advisory Committee:

Jeffrey Bennett – Chairman          Michael Currie – Vice-Chair
Lee Guthrie – Clerk                       Tony DeJoy
Amy Guthrie                                  Debra Wilder
Wil Spring

Saturday, October 6, 2018

FY 2019 budget - $60,000.00 for legal services under purchase of services. Included under that fund is Legal services, employee physicals, Town P.O. box, town forester plan. As of September 13, 2018, there has only been $1,412.97 spent.

So, at this early date, asking for $5,000.00 for unanticipated legal costs = ??????

One scenario is the MCAD (Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination) regarding refusal to process raises for non-union employees of Sewer Department (in part, due to push back of elected sewer commissioners to bring collections to town hall and commissioners pushing back against the Town Administrator doing employee evaluations of Sewer employees.) Town Meeting vote beginning in 1996 gave that oversight to Sewer Commissioners.

The holding back of non-union employee raises, probably by town accountant not processing them, violates mandate by Town Meeting vote and I am insulted as a resident of Templeton.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Selectmen ignoring or overriding Town Meeting vote??

Why after three months have the Sewer department non union employees have not had their pay raises processed by way of Town Hall? At the Annual Town Meeting back in May of 2018, money was approved for non-union personnel of the sewer dept. pay increases. This money is budgeted for and by sewer dept., rate payers provide this: warrant article 19:

On a motion duly made and seconded the Town voted to appropriate the sum of One Million Seventy Seven Thousand Three Hundred Fifty Five Dollars and No Cents ($1,077,355.00) to operate the Sewer Department for Fiscal Year 2019 and to meet said appropriation by a transfer of Thirty Six Thousand Six Hundred Fifty Six Dollars and No Cents ($36,656.00) from the certified retained earnings of the Sewer Fund and the balance from the receipts and revenues to be collected on behalf of the Sewer Department for said fiscal year.
Passed Unanimously/May 19th @ 12:16 pm

Please contact the selectmen, town administrator and ask them what is the problem and then tell them to do what you voted for them to do!

Look at the warrant for the upcoming Special Town Meeting on October 18, 2018, article #13 - selectmen unanticipated legal costs - MCAD complaints? Again, why are the selectmen ignoring Town Meeting vote? Several Town Meeting votes in fact.

Maybe it is not low wages but bad management that keeps people and Towns from wanting to deal with Templeton?