Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Templeton selectmen recently commented that the investment banking system is a good system and works well when managed properly, or words to that effect.

So, how much of Templeton's "working Capital was "invested" and how much was put aside, as in saved or "invested" in Templeton's long range financial planning, strategy and health? I did not see a single dime earmarked for investment into Templeton's savings or stabilization funds. I believe the assets of Tempeton are not only buildings and equipment but also how much reserve cash is on hand, which can be used for leverage in loans, emergencies and to demonstrate financial health when attempting to negotiate borrowed funds with regards to loan rates. You know, that pesky bond rating that has been avoiding Templeton for so long, despite what has been stated by Templeton selectmen, Administrators and reported in the newspaper.

Seems to this simple guy from Templeton that a fortune 500 company employee (even perhaps the mail room clerk) would understand the importance of savings and cash on hand. Perhaps I am assuming to much. I do know that the Templeton board of selectmen have been real boisterous on creating and having all kinds of policies on hand, but they seem to have a problem following them, never mind the Town's by-laws. It will be interesting to see how these selectmen pick apart the recently submitted budget request of the Templeton Advisory Committee. I guess we will see if the selectmen just talk the talk or if they can walk the walk as well.

From the January 4, 2018 Town Administrator's report.

TO:         Board of Selectmen

FROM:   Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator

RE:          Administrator's Weekly Report

DATE:     January 4, 2018

CC:          All Departments

Weekly Report:

Chief Dickey and I reviewed the ambulance revenues since going to ALS. While we are hitting our target goal for FY '18, we do not see it growing to our hoped goals in the coming year. As you will learn, this is because we are getting fewer billable runs than we projected and the mix of runs is tipping more toward the lower paying Medicare rates.

Gee, so glad the selectmen adopted higher rates for ambulance service, now we have enough money to pay for the required full time employees to run the ambulance. Remember the $100,000.00 shortfall in the fire/EMS department budget? That was the required amount of money to cover two full time EMS (ambulance workers) and two more are required this year, where will the money come from if the ambulance receipts will not cover those expenses? Remember, as the fortune 500 company employee and selectmen stated, in theory, the system works well.

Perhaps this is the time another thought should be considered; put ambulance service out to bid and see what the results are; this could lead to positive cash flow into Templeton, rather than growing the size and cost of Templeton Town government. Just a thought. Another thought is, since there is money from taxpayers, through already collected state taxes, available in the form of grants, (which generally do not have to be paid back) Templeton should revisit regionalization of of dispatch as well as lock up facilities. Remember, if you have a jail, you have to have people to watch it and if needed, transport any "prisoners" to medical facilities, which means if you only have two police officers on duty at night and one has to transport a prisoner to the ER, the Town now only has one police officer available to patrol the town. What if there is a bar fight? Oh my!

Since there are financial imitations with regards to prop 2 1/2 and considering the financial burden on taxpayers with every employee added to the taxpayer funded payroll, I believe everything should be "on the table".  Consider this; the Town of Phillipston has a police department but they have no dispatch employees, no building with associated maintenance costs, no employees for dispatch, no benefits package, no labor contracts, none of the associated costs that Templeton taxpayers have to pay for, but Phiipston receives the exact same dispatch service that Templeton gets with less than a third of the costs; with no future financial obligation for retirement or medical (OPEB) costs.

Why is that good for Phiipston and not good for Templeton? Perhaps selectmen Diane Haley Brooks can refresh everyone on the "it only costs Templeton taxpayers $37,000.00 per year for dispatch" That is what the then Templeton police chief told the board of selectmen (and everyone else) I stil have the paper work from that police chief showing that. I also have the paper work showing the real costs of dispatch service for Templeton.

Perhaps the proposed meal tax will save us, except that dollar figure is based on the same principle as the ambulance receipts, a theory and speculation.

For the record, when i was a selectmen, I tried and was in favor of Templeton regionalizing dispatch service with Gardner and for contracting out ambulance service to private contractor as a way to reduce the increased costs to taxpayers with regards to these services. The increase in costs for the essential services are already placing a burden on Templeton taxpayers as well as becoming a financial balancing act due in part to prop 2 1/2, labor contracts, public pensions and health care, prevailing wages, etc. The current board of selectmen now wish to tax you more, by way of a meals tax. When you are limited in property tax increases, you simply come up with other taxes. Since the town already contracts for legal services, perhaps contracting accounting service should be next; this again would save tax payer dollars from being spent on among things such as retirement and health insurance. These should a be looked at via a business decision - providing service while trying save taxpayer dollars.