Sunday, January 14, 2018

Speaking of that "monster" new school, did that project go before Templeton capital planning committee for review? If it did not, does that mean it violated Templeton Town by-laws? If it did not, does that mean in needs to be re-voted at Town Meeting?

As far as maintenance, I believe one must look at the regional school district agreement, that like the one involving Monty Tech, has not been looked at or revised in quite a while. I do recall there is an item in that agreement that the district is responsible for the maintenance and care of the facility, as long as the repair is $5,000.00 or less. If it is more than $5,000.00, the expense falls on Templeton taxpayers. Again, perhaps begin planning for those costs now, perhaps with the creation of another stabilization fund, that is provided money by way of a stand alone warrant article. Questions of this type should probably be directed towards the selectmen who are on said committee, oh wait, selectmen Haley Brooks has been conspicuously absent not only from selectmen meetings but school building committee meetings as well. Can you say recall of a selectmen for failing to do your duty and show up for meetings? One selectmen was let off the hook for disappearing, I do not believe we should allow any other selectmen that luxury. Show up and serve as elected, or if there are circumstances of hardship, illness, etc., resign so Templeton taxpayers may have proper representation. It takes hours, time and commitment to serve as a selectmen. If it becomes a problem for any reason to show up and serve, resign. Yes there will be talk and criticism, but it passes and it works out for all, especially the Town.
(That is a lesson learned from personal experience and you can come back and serve the Town if one wishes. Again, not easy, and accompanied by talk and criticism, but it can be done, and it is better the second time around.)
Capital Planning and snow and ice.

Reading comments on and hearing thoughts on capital planning in Templeton (or lack there of), a few things come to mind. First, there seems to be a lack of interest on the part of citizens to take part in the process. The process of democracy, self governance and watching out for their own money.

Example: there are currently two citizen at large positions open on the capital planning committee.

Secondly, did the capital planning committee submit any warrant articles for the upcoming annual town meeting with regards to setting aside money for a capital program. Is this committee trying to get the town administrator and selectmen to set aside, by way of a stand alone article, a sum of money to fund capital planning? Is there a plan with the political will to do this? There is a stand alone article for a scholarship fund so why is there no stand alone article to fund capital items (assets) for the town. In my opinion, it should not be, if we have some free cash available, it should be, along with any free cash, the capital planning committee wish to have x number of dollars budgeted for capital funding. If the selectmen approve and place this item on the warrant, that would be having the will to fund for investment, that would be having the will to put money aside for savings.

Now, with the purchase or planned purchase of a new truck for highway, is there a plan to trade that new truck in for a new one in two years, three years, etc., so the town could benefit from that truck still having some value.  Since the attention seems to be focused on the police department, fire department and highway, how about a detailed inventory of those three departments first. I mean with talk concerning a meas tax being used to fund new cruisers and one ton trucks, lets begin there with inventory. That would be action rather than talk and complaints about no town wide inventory. Capital planning needs to write a book. First the title, then a table of contents, then do a chapter or two in order. I believe a step approach is more doable and makes more sense because of lack of interest on part of towns people, the already existence of what I have heard described as a mess of a long range capital plan.

I think the town would be better served, the committee could better inform and communicate to the town what the plan is. I believe the capital planning should look into lease versus buying and report the true costs, the benefits or pros and cons to the selectmen, advisory committee and town meeting with a report to the town, per town by-laws and requirements.

Watching a segment of "talk of the town", I noted the town administrator stating that the Templeton DPW director has pointed out that the place where the town gets sand for the winter time is nearing the end of the line. It was also pointed out that mixing sand and salt is labor intensive which equals spending money. It was also stated that using sand wears on equipment because of the hauling, mixing, sweeping and drain basin cleaning all takes a toll on the trucks and tractors. It also takes time, which is time away from maintenance, on the equipment and the roads, sidewalks, etc. If the town area is "mined out" and highway continues to keep using sand, the costs will only double or triple. Taxpayers will not only buy sat, they will buy sand, as well as pay to clean it up.

That is another thing capital planning should be looking at. Ways to fund a storage facility for salt and the true costs for using it. There is in place an old, incomplete, cumbersome capital plan, stop complaining about it and start from scratch or create an addendum with current known information; contact the chief of police, how many police vehicles does the town currently have, age of vehicles, cost of new cruiser and time frame to get one in town. Average miles per year and what would be a time frame to trade in so there is value that could benefit the town. Stop complaining about lack of a plan or no complete inventory, rather work two fronts if need be, but the town needs action, planned action. I believe this information is easily obtained and could be reported to town meeting.