Monday, March 19, 2012

Week ending - Mar 18, 2012

The weather is almost summer like, never mind that this should be "spring". Let's at least enjoy it while it lasts. There is one more week before Franklin goes to the field house at the high school to cast their ballot on the debt exclusion question. Should we build a new high school paying only 47 cents on the dollar (given the state reimbursement of almost 60%)? That is the one question before us. Renovation is not an option. The ballot question is not worded like that. The state mandated language is as follows:

Resolution 12 - 07
Shall the Town of Franklin be allowed to exempt from the provisions of Proposition two-and-one-half, so called, the amounts required to pay for the bonds issued in order to construct a new high school, to be located at 218 Oak Street, and for the payment of all other costs incidental and related thereto?

This does read like giving Franklin a 'blank check'. However, it does not. There is a binding resolution already in place with greater details on what the Town Council can do with the taxes and how much Franklin taxpayers will pay.

Resolution 12-05
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDERED that the Town Council of the Town of Franklin: appropriates the sum of one hundred four million, six hundred forty-nine thousand, eight hundred seventy-six dollars ($104,649,876) for the construction of a new Franklin High School to be located at 218 Oak Street, and for the payment of all other costs incidental and related thereto which school facility shall have an anticipated useful life as an educational facility for the instruction of school children for at least 50 years, said sum to be expended under the direction of the School Building Committee, and to meet said appropriation the Town Treasurer with the approval of the Town Administrator is authorized to borrow said sum under M.G.L. Chapter 44, or any other enabling authority; that the Town of Franklin acknowledges that the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (“MSBA”) grant program is a non-entitlement, discretionary program based on need, as determined by the MSBA, and any project costs the Town of Franklin incurs in excess of any grant approved by and received from the MSBA shall be the sole responsibility of the Town of Franklin; provided further that any grant that the Town of Franklin may receive from the MSBA for the Project shall not exceed the lesser of (1) fifty-nine point fifty-two hundredths percent ( 59.52%) of eligible, approved project costs, as determined by the MSBA, or (2) the total maximum grant amount determined by the MSBA; provided that any appropriation hereunder shall be subject to and contingent upon an affirmative vote of the Town to exempt the amounts required for the payment of interest and principal on said borrowing from the limitations on taxes imposed by M.G.L. 59, Section 21C (Proposition 2½); and that the amount of borrowing authorized pursuant to this vote shall be reduced by any grant amount set forth in the Project Funding Agreement that may be executed between the Town of Franklin and the MSBA.

This is much more explicit and would have been good to put on the ballot but such as it is.

As you prepare for the decision on how you will cast your ballot, feel free to ask a question. Many should already have been answered. If your question has not been answered, or answered to your satisfaction, then ask it! The discussion on the Facebook page for Franklin Matters has been extensive and respectful. Let's continue to keep it that way. After all, when the vote is done, no matter the result, we are all neighbors and will need to live with the result and each other.

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Ensuring Food Stamp Integrity

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