Monday, June 21, 2010

FM #70 - Week Ending 6/20/10

This is #70 in the series on what matters in Franklin, MA. As the week closes, Father's Day, June 20th, let's take about ten minutes to review the week behind and look ahead.

Time: 8 minutes, 50 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:

This internet radio show or podcast, number 70 in the series for Franklin Matters.

Let's take about ten minutes to review what matters this week as it comes to a close with Father's Day here in Franklin, MA on June 20th.

Last week instead of doing a new session, I re-published the analysis I had done on the split versus single tax rate in December 2009. The topic had come up again during the override discussion. With so many new readers/listening I thought it would be appropriate to bring that piece forward.

The Town Council held their two budget hearings (Jun 9 and 10) after the override results were finalized. The budget with all the cuts as discussed was accepted.

Weds 6/9
Thur 6/10

The Town Council met on the 16th and approved a transfer of $100,000 from free cash was approved to cover for the additional unemployment expenses the town will encounter due to the layoffs of 15 teachers and 3 police dispatchers. The other personnel cuts were from positions that opened due to retirements or folks leaving and while the positions went unfilled, they have now been removed from the roster.

Of interest was the analysis on the Open Meeting law changes that are scheduled to take effect July 1. Some of the details remain to be determined so it will be interesting to see which way the state proceeds. The intent is to make the town business meetings more accessible and open.

The document Mark Cerel shared with the Town Council can be found here:

A great deal of misinformation is still prevalent in the conversations particularly in the comment stream for the Franklin articles in the Milford Daily News.

The task remains to continue to share accurate information and encourage its spread. The PEW Internet and American Life Project published a study that showed:

In a poll conducted at the end of last year, we asked about online connections to communities and neighbors and found that in the twelve months preceding our survey:
  • 22% of all adults (representing 28% of internet users) signed up to receive alerts about local issues (such as traffic, school events, weather warnings or crime alerts) via email or text messaging.
  • 20% of all adults (27% of internet users) used digital tools to talk to their neighbors and keep informed about community issues.
What becomes relevant for our actions here is their finding that the largest single source of local information was obtained by talking face-to-face.

Overall, physical personal encounters remain the primary way people stay informed about community issues. In the twelve months preceding our survey:
  • 46% of Americans talked face-to-face with neighbors about community issues
  • 21% discussed community issues over the telephone
  • 11% read a blog dealing with community issues
  • 9% exchanged emails with neighbors about community issues and 5% say they belong to a community email listserv
  • 4% communicated with neighbors by text messaging on cell phones
  • 4% joined a social network site group connected to community issues
  • 2% followed neighbors using Twitter

The full study document can be found here:

Given the majority of information is shared in personal conversations, the opportunity is to continue to share accurate information on what matters in Franklin and encourage you to talk with your neighbors.

The battle of accurate information versus misinformation will be won, one conversation at a time.

What does the week look like?

The distribution of the new trash and recycle bins is scheduled to complete this week. As I ran down Chestnut st Sunday morning, I saw a few houses where they had been delivered but not yet pulled into the yard from street side.

The Planning Board meets on Monday, June 21. Of interest is the continuation of the hearing on the special permit for the Price Chopper proposal as well as opening a new hearing for the same property. I anticipate that what is happening is the original plans are being changed so they will close that hearing (and proposal) and open a new one. We'll find out if this analysis is correct.

The School Committee meets on Tuesday. They will formally accept their budget which will require the reduction in 15 teachers and then approve the increase in sports and activity fees as presented during the override discussion.

The EPA will hold a brief information session on Tuesday at Tri-County regarding the storm water treatment regulation changes they are proposing and then immediately following open a public hearing to take comments on the proposed changes.

The Financial Planning Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday. No agenda is available for this meeting at this time.

A friendly reminder also that there is a poll question open until June 25th. It arose from the discussions amongst the comments on the Milford Daily News. The question can be found on the front page of FM. The story behind the question can be found here

As I close the session this week, let me remind you that

  • If you like what I am doing here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don’t like something, please tell me

Thank you for listening!

For additional information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark and Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters Weekly to listen to the audio podcast.