Wednesday, February 28, 2018

finished watching the meeting of February 27, 2018 - elementary school building committee.

Invoices were approved in about 5 minutes.

One from Strategic Building Services for the month of January, 2018 - $    45,324.00

One from SMMA for the month of February, 2018 -
Contract Administration                                                                             $  49,508.69

One for payment application Fontaine Brothers - construction                  $824,628.50

It was sstated that Holly, administrative assistant in the board of selectmen office is stil handling the invoices rather than the Town Treasurer/Collector.

The foundation is still there because of unexpected finding of more asbestos and price discussion for removal.
To all who are concerned. What do you suggest is done if the Taxpayers vote NO to the override?
How about if the voters don't approve the meals tax? If neither of those pass we are talking $375K plus $42K or $416K

First off, in the book you received Monday evening Bob, there is a description of free cash on page 8.

It shows $199,692.00 to be rolled to fiscal year 2018 free cash, which if all goes right, would be available at a fall special Town Meeting where it could be allocated to pay for a new police cruiser and truck for highway department. It would be similar to what happened this past fall.

As for the $375 thousand, which is to pay for full time ambulance workers and is being used to make the point about having full time fire department as well.  If Templeton does not man the ambulance service 24/7, it has been stated the Town would lose it's ambulance service license. In which case, the Town could either regionalize ambulance service or contract it out, either way, residents would still have access to ambulance service. As for fire coverage, it could remain on call, I mean I thought Templeton had or has a good dedicated group of volunteers who step up for the good of the Town, right? I believe the only way cuts would come into play is if the selectmen insisted on keeping or going for a full time ambulance service, which has already been stated that the Towns people were sold a bad deal, again.

Those two issues will be decided by Town Meeting with statements/ questions etc., the same as you posted. 
Oh, property tax abatement is  there, along with other things, but they too have to be paid for. There is an item in the budget/spending plan book that shows that dollar figure to cover those costs. When there are discounts, does that equal less property tax collections and therefore even less money available for spending?

So, let us say we close the senior center, sell it and then what? What will we cut next year to come up with 200, 300 or 400 thousand dollars? When we get down to a treasurer/collector, assessor, town clerk, police, fire and DPW, what do we cut then?  

Looking at the end of the year revenue and expenditure report from the Town Accountant for fiscal year 2017, the as time it was in detail line item format.

Under revenue, it shows the council on aging / MART revolving fund as having taken in $85,408.63 and another $2,160.60 in COA donations.

When looking at the expenses of running the senior center / council on aging, one might wish to investigate the reimbursements from MART as well as the Massachusetts council on Aging (MCOA) and one would be well informed if you visited that website and see what they deal with and help with.

I also think if one checks, when it was discussed about inviting Phillipston residents to use the Templeton Senior center, it was put out there would be a Phillipston Town Meeting warrant article concerning that matter. To the best of my knowledge, that warrant article never happened.

I am still wondering what happened with that bond rating by June 2016, which many of the now serving selectmen stood behind.

On the bright side, fiscal 2019 which begins July 1, 2018 is the last year of the over 400 hundred thousand dollar Templeton town payment for the high school. I think it is around .52 cents per thousand. Oh wait, that is gonna stay on for another 28 years to pay for the new school. Them selectmen are cagey. I think they are craptastic!

Do not lose faith - remember there was talk from the selectmen about debt smoothing.

This is not about the school per say but it is about the handling and spending of your tax dollars. I believe there was enough financial evidence to show the mistakes over the years, of which I was part of making some of them. However, I was not part of telling taxpayers that all is well, the fiscal year 2017 budget is all balanced, we have a good financial team in place. Then an auditor tells the Town, after looking at records, that there are like 17 shortcoming involving the Town Treasurer/Collector.

The Town voted at Town Meeting to combine the positions of Treasurer and Collector and to hire experienced and certified Treasurer/Collector. That has not been done.

On a document dated October 30, 2015 and made available to all who attended the special town meeting of November 9, 2015, page 9 at the top left, is a illustration that shows Costs to Templeton and it has the cost per year at 3.5% equaling a yearly payment of $1,406.800.00.

It goes on to show Less NRSD debt end of $438,073.
so, Net new debt will only be $968,792.00 for a net new tax increase of $1.74.

My thought is if you are going to use the debt payment amount in effect right now as a means of paying for the new school, it is not really going to go away. I believe you could ask Diane Haley Brooks about this, since she was one person who tried hard to stop any discussion on this matter after that special Town Meeting. It was a sales pitch, in my opinion, to get something passed. See, you are already paying that .52 so you are not going to notice it on your tax bill as an increase, which you have been paying for over 20 years, so another 28 should not matter.

It will be, using the presented information, $1.74 pus the .52 which according to my 4th grade math, is a cost of $2.26 per thousand. No one really knows what it will be until it goes on the books. I believe the plan is to schedule the opening of the school in the fall of 2019, so we will find out soon, I hope. My contention is, the information should have been $2.26 per thousand based on what is available now, at the time, 2015.

If people wanted a school and I mean really supported it (I voted for it) then the $2.26 would not have mattered. In my opinion, it is called truth in lending, the selectmen asked for your money, $47 million dollars, so a school could be built. You should have been given the larger number and let you decide.

On the 47 million, you were asked for that amount because no one can say exactly how much MSBA will pay for. If you read what was presented to you to vote on,  The Town acknowledges that MSBA's grant program is a non-entitlement, discretionary program based on need, as determined by the MSBA, and any project costs the Town incurs in excess of any grant approved by and received from the MSBA, through the Narragansett Regional School District, shall be the sole responsibility of the Town. It was voted on but I still feel it was not presented in a good way.

These are the same selectmen who now wish to try and limit what Advisory Committee can report to Town Meeting. If you publicly disagree or criticize this board of selectmen, they seem to try anything to shut you up and shut you down. That is my opinion.

It was put out at Monday's selectmen meeting that the proposed meals tax dollar number is an estimate from the Department of Revenue (state DOR) A tid bit of info on the state level, MA DOT is not currently paying it's snow & ice contractors because of budget problems. Back to Templeton, the $42,000.00 estimate that has not even been approved yet, is the basis for a spending plan to pay for a $42,225.00 3 year lease on a new police cruiser and a $85,000.00 3 year lease on a new 1 ton dump truck with a plow and wing. What happens if the meals tax does not pass? Is there a plan B for these items above? According to the spending plan book, there is $199,000.00 of left over taxpayer money that will be allowed to roll over into end of the fiscal year so called "free cash" - which is not really free as it all originates out of your pocket books. On top of that, this spending pan is built around asking you taxpayers for a tax override, which is a permanent increase in your taxes, whatever the amount, it is there forever, unless you all put forth and pass an underride. If an override passes, it must go to pay for a specific item for the first year, after that, it is just absorbed into the tax collections and can be used for anything. That is why selectmen meetings should be packed on days when this spending plan will be discussed.

Budget/spending plan discussion dates as of now are:
Monday, March 5, 2018 at Town Hall. Proposed is an override for a full time fire/EMS department - (ALS service that was over sold to you)
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at Town Hall
Monday, March 19, 2018 at Town HAll
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at Town Hall
Monday, March 26, 2018 at Town HAll

It is your money - pack the house and let them know you care and are watching.
Sitting at the district reorganization meeting on Monday, selectmen from both towns and a Town Administrator were finally at the meeting. This was the third meeting of this group. Strange thing was, the selectmen from Templeton was Master Fortes rather than the voted/appointed selectmen Richards. I found out at the selectmen meeting later that evening that at the beginning of the meeting, selectmen announced Master Fortes would be the BOS representative going forward.

Next meeting for the district reorganization group is Monday, March 12, 2018, at 5:00 PM at the central office.