Saturday, March 31, 2018

Once again, Templeton board of selectmen / chairman John Caplis puts out an erroneous statement and the Gardner News reporter Chance Vies fails to check it. Page one story, continued to page 4 from Saturday, March 31, 2018, Caplis states "while other communities such as Winchendon pay upwards of $20.00" The tax recap sheet for Winchendon, dated 12/11/2017 for fiscal year 2018 and signed by director of accounts Mary Jane Handy, shows a tax rate of $17.35 per thousand. Selectmen need to stop blowing smoke up peoples backside and check the facts before making those kind of statements. I would expect a competent reporter to do the same. 

There is the possibility Caplis was misquoted, but this would be an ongoing issue, because this is not the first time a similar statement or quote concerning the wrong tax rate (s) have been printed in the Gardner News. 
Friday, March 30, 2018 - Athol Daily News:

PHILLIPSTON — The results of a townwide survey show the majority of residents would not use a van or other vehicle of transportation provided by the Council on Aging for doctor, dentist, eye care appointments or other necessities.
Carla Charter presented the results to the Selectboard this week; 45 residents answered “Yes,” and 241 said “No,” although, she said, a number of people who said they would not personally use the service said “they felt that we need it.”
Charter urged the selectmen to put a question on the warrant to switch the current service with FRTA (Franklin Regional Transit Authority) to MART (Montachusett Regional Transit Authority). She talked about regionalization with Templeton, which uses MART.
“If we hook up with MART we can join Templeton,” Charter said.
MART uses a dispatch center to send out its vans, which could be used for transport to grocery stores and appointments, social visits and activities including those hosted by the Templeton Council on Aging.
“Boston and Worcester transportation is also available,” Charter said. She noted, “Our town relies on volunteers. I feel without transportation we have a whole group of people who might otherwise be able to volunteers and benefit the town in some way.”
Currently, FRTA provides pickup at one bus stop — King Phillip Restaurant.
Chairman Thomas Brouillet was in favor of putting it on the town meeting warrant.
“Let the people vote on it,” he said.
According to the most recent census, there are 1,162 people under and 614 over the age of 55.
Finance Committee member Thomas Specht said the matter came before the committee the year before, and they would not support it without a cost.
“That’s the big issue — how much is it going to cost?” Specht said.
Charter said the cost is based per ride.
“Based on a population of 1,700 people and the number who will use it, there’s gotta be someone who can figure the cost,” Charter said.
Finance Committee member Kim Pratt suggested putting a question on the warrant to ask voters if they want to transfer from FRTA to MART, and then, take it from there. Charter said, “If we get an earmark, it will give us one year to figure out what it will cost.”
People who use the service give a donation. Selectmen were in favor of putting the question to voters, but, said Brouillet, “We need a little more research.”

Advisory Committee member (Jeff Bennett) suggested a compromise by both sides, school committee and Templeton selectmen. With NRHS school committee originally looking for an additional $485,000.00 in assessment money from Templeton. With Templeton selectmen stating, by way of the Town Administrator, that increase would be too much for the Town to absorb. With an amount of $150,000.00 already set aside and an estimated of $45,000.00 that could be moved from the overlay fund, selectmen were looking for a reduction of about $290,000.00. Attending a meeting of the district budget sub committee and listening to the discussion, I thought it was too much to ask and feeling it could backfire with the school committee certifying the entire increase of $485,000.00, I raised my hand and suggested a compromise, where the school committee would give a little and the Town would give a little. While it was not a sure thing, it seemed a possibility at the end of the budget sub committee meeting. I am gad I took time to attend that meeting. In the end, the school committee graciously took the idea of a compromise of sorts and voted to certify the compromise dollar figure. Both the school district and the Town are in the same boat, with a good part of the blame laying at the feet of the state; the legislature failing to appropriate the required monies needed for regional school district busing needs (transportation costs) and that puts the burden on Towns which takes away from the town and real education needs. If you wish to complain, begin with your local state representatives, they have failed to deliver on the promise the state would pay 100 percent of the regional schools transportation costs; 72% is not enough, appropriate what you owe, or you need to go.