Paul working for you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In case you lost count;

At a special Town meeting back on March 29, 2014, article 5, Town meeting voted to take on debt of $3,500,000.00 for the wood chip boiler project. You may wish to check, but I believe the Town was told the project would pay for itself. Article 6, special Town meeting vote on March 29, 2014; $500,000.00 additional debt for the design part of the new school, so that would make the total appropriated so far for that project at 1 million 50 thousand dollars ($1,000,050.00) and I would like to know if anyone can provide us an accurate accounting of all of those funds. Last time I asked for an accounting of the original $550,000.00, I was told it would take a while and cost me $650.00 to get it. It was stated at the selectmen meeting on Monday, June 29, 2015 that $341,000.00 would be needed to get through the schematic design phase. Perhaps sometime in the near future and before asking for 50 million dollars, someone (preferably the selectmen) can show us an accurate accounting of the above mentioned funds, $100,050.00.

Jeff Bennett
Uniform Massachusetts Accounting System – July, 2014
Scope and Purpose
This Manual comprises the Uniform Massachusetts Accounting System (UMAS). The scope of the Manual is the operation of an accounting system for a local governmental entity in Massachusetts. Its purpose is to provide a reference for the City Auditor, Town Accountant or official with similar responsibilities in accounting for financial transactions and reporting results of municipal financial operations. The Manual is based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), but is written to meet the particular needs of Massachusetts local accounting officials.

Massachusetts General Laws (G.L.) c. 44, § 38 requires the Director of Accounts in the Department of Revenue to prescribe uniform accounting systems f for local governmental entities. Accounting for municipally owned electric light plants is prescribed in G.L. c. 164 and is regulated by the Department of Public Utilities; accounting for retirement systems is prescribed in G.L. c. 32 and is regulated by the Public Employment Retirement Administration Commission.
This Manual deals solely with accounting policies. Municipal financial issues such as budgeting or audit procurement are not included. Other publications of the Division of Local Services (DLS) address such subjects.
UMAS Accounting and Reporting
Much of the information is presented in general journal form to acquaint Massachusetts local governmental accounting officials with the basic entries to be made. If the guidance in the Manual is followed, accounting officials will be able to prepare a UMAS Balance Sheet and a UMAS based Schedule A.
Massachusetts local governmental accounting officials are encouraged to account

for transactions in a uniform manner consistent with this Manual. Accounting officials are not required to change their fund structure to be consistent with Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) pronouncements for UMAS Balance Sheet and Schedule A completion purposes.
Effective Date
Accounting standards contained in this Manual are effective for fiscal years beginning on and after July 1, 2011. This Manual supercedes all earlier publications, including exposure drafts. CHAPTER 2 – UNIFORM ACCOUNTING CODES
In order to classify each financial transaction, an account classification and coding scheme must be developed. All cities, towns, regional school districts, educational collaboratives and special purpose districts using UMAS are required to use a standard system for classifying and coding accounting transactions.
Account Classification
Account classification is the arrangement of accounts by a definite scheme. It serves as the basis for budgeting, accounting, reporting and administrative control. UMAS classifies financial data in a three-level, hierarchical fashion as follows:
 First Level - Fund Account;
 Second Level - Type of Account and Reporting Category;
 Third Level - Subcategories.
For more on these levels, see Account Coding Structure below.
Uniform Chart of Accounts

Classification information must be recorded on the source document. This is done by developing an account coding scheme. The UMAS account coding scheme is called the Uniform Chart of Accounts.

The Uniform Chart of Accounts has been designed to improve the financial reporting, budgeting, accounting and management reporting of local governments in Massachusetts. The Chart provides a comprehensive, flexible and systematic arrangement of accounts for use in classifying and reporting financial transactions.

Account Coding Structure

The Fund account code has three digits; the first digit identifies the fund type and the remaining digits identify specific funds within the fund type. Below, there is a listing of fund codes and a short description of each fund and group of accounts.
The Type of Fund and Reporting Category account code has four digits; the first digit identifies one of the five major types of accounts: "1" Assets, "2" Liabilities, "3" Fund Equity, "4" Revenues, "5" Expenditures. The remaining digits identify the nature of the item (in the case of Assets, Liabilities and Fund Equity), the source (in the case of Revenues), the function and organization (in the case of Expenditures). Chapters 3 through 7 of this Manual detail these account codes. The Subcategory account code may have three or four digits that identify additional detail where the local government desires such detail. For Assets, Liabilities, Fund Equity and Revenue accounts, these codes may be omitted. For Expenditure accounts, this code is used to identify the expenditure object. Expenditure objects are found in Chapter 7 of this Manual.

As we use to say in the Dive Locker, "now that is clear as mud"

Jeff Bennett

Division of Local Services
Municipal Databank/Local Aid Section
Proposition 2½ allows a community to reduce its levy limit by passing an underride.  When an underride is passed, the levy limit for the year is calculated by subtracting the amount of the underride.  The underride results in a permanent decrease in the levy limit of a community because it reduces the base upon which levy limits are calculated for future years.
A majority vote of a community's selectmen, or town or city council (with the mayor's approval if required by law) allows an underride question to be placed on the ballot.  An underride question may also be placed on the ballot by the residents using a local initiative procedure, if one is provided by law.  Underride questions must state a dollar amount and requires a majority vote by the electorate.
For more information on levy limits, override, underride, capital and debt exclusions.  Please view the links under key terms.
Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Key Terms
Capital Exclusion
Debt Exclusion
Proposition 2 1/2 
Proposition 2 1/2 Ballot Questions, Requirements & Procedures
Levy Limits: A Primer on Proposition 2 1/2
Data Source(s)
Levy Limit Sheet
  • By Jonathan Phelps
    Daily News Staff

    Posted Apr. 9, 2014 at 6:00 AM

    HOPKINTON – It’s a rare move: A town or city voting to reduce the amount of money that can be raised by property taxes, according to state data.
    This is known as an underride of Proposition 2-1/2, which permanently reduces a community’s tax levy limit. Many cities and towns pitch overrides, which raise the tax threshold for operating and capital expenses.
    Hopkinton could be the next to join 13 towns – of the 351 communities in the state – to pass an underride since 1988, according to the state Division of Local Services.
    Selectmen voted 4-1 last week to bring a $1.25 million underride before voters at the annual town election on May 19. It will require a majority vote to pass.
    However, property owners should not expect to see lower tax bills if the underride passes. Those bills might not rise as much if the underride vote is successful. 
    The maximum amount of taxes Hopkinton is allowed to raise under Proposition 2 1/2 – the levy limit – is about $55.6 million for next fiscal year. The town is using only $53.9 million of that amount, meaning the town has an excess levy amount of $1.7 million.
    The board has proposed to draw the underride from that excess levy amount, not the town’s operating budget.
    Proposition 2 1/2 was enacted in 1980. The town's most recent override was in 2006 for $1.9 million, according to the data.
    The largest underride amount in the state was in Plymouth in 1995 for $2 million, and the smallest amount of $10,833 in Gill in 2004.
    The most recent underride vote was in West Newbury in 2012 reducing real estate and personal property taxes by $180,000. The town also approved another underride for $170,000 in 2011, according to the data.
    Williamsburg has also passed two underrides, the first in 1997 ($51,580) and again in 2001 ($35,407).
    Other towns that have adoped underrides: Ayer, Dennis, Groveland, Holland, Lancaster, Orleans, Sandwich, Shelbourne and Upton.
    Hopkinton’s proposed $1.25 million amount would be the second highest if approved by voters next month, according to the data. The next highest was just over $1 million in Lancaster in 2003.
    Hopkinton Selectman Chairman John Mosher voted against the $1.25 million figure, but supports the concept. He recommended an underride of $800,000.
    "Over the past four years, we’ve taken a methodical approach to ensure responsible long-term planning while making sure immediate needs are met," he said. "I would have liked to see an $800,000 underride because it reduced our excess levy capacity in half and then spend the next year looking at a policy regarding our excess levy capacity."
    The Appropriation Committee recommended the underride be between $800,000 to $1 million, said Mike Manning, chairman of Appropriation Committee. There were concerns about the possible need for an override in fiscal 2016 if the amount were too high, he said.
    "We weighed the different options," he said. "It is what we were comfortable with. It gave us a cushion."Manning cautioned that the underride does not mean there will be lower taxes for homeowners, but rather reduces the amount in which taxes can be raised in the future.
    Details on the underride will be presented at Town Meeting as a non-binding measure.

    Selectman Brian Herr said the $1.25 million figure is a significant reduction of the excess levy, but gives the town some flexibility.

    "From my seat on the board we didn’t save the money to spend it at a future date," he said. "We saved the money to keep it in the pockets of the taxpayers."

    He said he believes the Appropriation Committee is being conservative based on assumptions of budget projections.

    Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 508-626-4338 or Follow him on Twitter @JPhelps_MW.

  • posted for informational purposes only
  • Jeff Bennett


  • District will not charge Town for meeting

    To little Bacon, to late, at last nights selectmen meeting, June 29, 2015 @ 6:30 P.M., it was stated that there will be no charge for the scheduled special Town meeting to be held at 7:00 P.M. on July 14, 2015 for which there will be one article, transfer of funds. A special Town meeting was originally voted to take place on July 27, 2015 to transfer funds, again, had to be moved up to July 14 to comply with the law and the wishes of the DOR. State law says transfers the BOS need to make happen have to take place in the last 60 days of the current fiscal year and in the first 2 weeks of the new fiscal year, so the originally planned special Town meeting of July 27 apparently did not meet that legal requirement. The special Town meeting on July 27 will still be scheduled in case anyone wishes to bring forward any citizens petitions. If there are none brought forward, there will be no meeting.

    The board also was asked by the Town accountant to make an amended vote on the transfers the select board can make because of "new" numbers now available. Apparently at the last meeting, the numbers presented were a little off. What was stated by the Town accountant is there were some accounts that were now under the 5 thousand dollar limit for selectmen to be able to transfer. You can be the judge if that passes the "smell test".

    The $85,000.00 playground fund issue will be carried forward while the board waits on the final state budget. The OPM along with some members of the elementary school building committee made a presentation and informed the selectmen that after a meeting with MSBA in November, that is expected to happen November 18, 2015, the board will have 120 days from that point to get a positive Town vote for funding the new school. According to the OPM, if that vote fails, the project will be removed from MSBA agenda and the Town would have to start over. One would think that even if the Town had to start over, the work and material already completed could still be used, but we are talking about Massachusetts state government, so I would not bet on that.

    Jeff Bennett

    Monday, June 29, 2015

    Southbridge landfill operator offered the town royalties for land

    Southbridge landfill operator offered the town royalties for land

    By Brian Lee
    Telegram & Gazette Staff

    Posted Jun. 28, 2015 at 7:22 PM
    Updated Jun 28, 2015 at 11:38 PM

    SOUTHBRIDGE - Councilors last week rejected a major proposed deal with Casella Waste Systems, which is seeking to expand the landfill beyond its expected capacity in early 2017.

    The council's 7-2 vote turned down a proposal to sell to Casella a 2-acre parcel of land, for landfill development that's within the existing landfill footprint, in exchange for $2 million in royalty fees through 2022, and $3.6 million from Casella for construction of a sewer pipe and leachate treatment plant and pump station.

    "I am always open to a good deal for Southbridge, something we have never gotten from Casella," said Councilman Albert D. Vecchia Jr., one of the dissenters when reached after the meeting last week.

    "I feel they have made millions of dollars on us and only paid us a pittance of what they’ve made," he said.

    After the meeting, acting Town Manager Kevin E. Paicos asserted that he was concerned for the town.

    It was an enormous loss of revenue, he said, and certain parts of what Casella asked for will go forward anyway, such as its build-out of what he called three slivers of land to deposit waste, with the town to derive little or no benefits from it.

    In addition, Mr. Paicos said, there was no attempt made to amend the proposal to make it palatable in a way that it would have received a majority vote.

    One of the more objectionable parts of the proposed deal, according to residents and the majority of the council, was that it called for pretreating landfill leachate before it was to be put into the town's sewage system, and for the town to be able to bring in additional leachate from other communities for treatment.

    Casella presently pays to have leachate trucked from the Southbridge landfill on Barefoot Road.
    The proposal called for the town to receive an estimated $35,000 a year for an indefinite number of years from effluent collection fees for Casella sewage after pre-treatment at the leachate plant.
    Also the town was to receive additional revenue from the excess capacity of the leachate pretreatment plant brought in from neighboring towns or commercial users, plus sewer fees.

    Regarding pushback from residents and the council's majority on the leachate provisions, Mr. Paicos said it's extremely expensive to get rid of leachate, and so having the ability to treat it can generate a lot of money for a town.

    Open Letter re: False Statements at Town Meeting

    Open Letter re: False Statements at Town Meeting

    Tucker Building

    Framing is finished!

    Meetings Tonight June 29, 2015

    State rethinking model school designs

    State rethinking model school designs
    Bruce T. Martin

    Whitman-Hanson Regional High School cost $41 million, opened in 2005, and served as the model for a total of nine schools.

    After aggressively promoting model schools as a cost-saving approach to building new facilities, the state agency overseeing the construction process is reevaluating that approach — and has not approved a new model school project since 2012.

    The Massachusetts School Building Authority had approved 18 school projects in the three previous years using the model school approach, in which districts chose from a list of designs of previously constructed schools.

    The approved projects included the Duxbury Middle/High School, East Bridgewater High School, Franklin High School, Hingham Middle School, Marshfield High School, Natick High School, Newburyport’s Bresnahan Elementary School, Norwood High School, Plymouth North High School, Quincy Central Middle School, and Tewksbury Memorial High School.

    Communities participating in the program received extra “points” and, therefore, a larger reimbursement from the state of the final construction cost.

    The idea was that districts would save time and money by shortening the design process. But in practice, the approach had some flaws, according to Jack McCarthy, who took over as head of the school building authority in January 2012.

    Saturday, June 27, 2015

    Food Fight!

    About This Film

    Throughout the summer of 2014, a corporate food fight played out in dozens of communities impacting tens of thousands of workers and the economies of three states. When the faction of the Market Basket board headed by Arthur S. Demoulas fired his cousin and arch-rival Arthur T. Demoulas as long-time CEO of the successful supermarket chain, it set off a firestorm that sparked one of most unique corporate dramas in American history. It’s what the New York Times called “the last stand for the middle class.”

    Within days of hearing the news that their beloved “Artie T” had been axed, several high-ranking managers resigned, others were fired. Truckers stopped trucking. Warehouses stopped supplying. Vendors stopped shipping. Customers stopped shopping. Employees picketed in parking lots. Practically overnight, the $4 billion dollar business, with 71 stores scattered across three states, ground to halt. Governors from two states were called in to negotiate a settlement.

    Throughout the entire summer, workers, managers and customers were galvanized. They didn’t want more money, better benefits or work conditions. They only wanted back Arthur T, a quiet leader who operated on simple, long-held family values he learned from his grandfather who started the business nearly 100 years ago – treat your workers well, give customers “more for their dollar”, and you’ll build the American dream.

    Spotted Wing Drosophilia: Small Fly - Big Problem

    (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beers, Washington State University)(Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beers, Washington State University)
    Spotted Wing Drosophilia: Small Fly - Big Problem
    By David Eddy May 29, 2015

    It’s just a fruit fly, for crying out loud. As kids we’d see their like hovering over the family fruit bowl and shoo them away without a thought. But spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii, is so much more than that.

    Though small like their nonthreatening drosophila relatives — adults are only about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long — it’s the black spot towards the tip of each male’s wing, which earns them the spotted wing moniker.

    The other names they are called by fed-up growers — the names that can’t be printed in a respectable magazine — come from an attribute of the females. It is a very prominent, saw-like ovipositor for laying eggs in fruit.

    It’s that devastating characteristic that has garnered the SWD a reputation in virtually all of the country’s fruit production areas in just six seasons. It was first found in 2008 damaging fruit in California, and has since spread throughout the U.S.

    SWD was originally best known for infesting ripening cherries — though fruit doesn’t have to be over-ripe, green under-ripe fruit don’t do anything for it — but has since become most notorious for attacking berries, especially raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and strawberry crops.

    While diverse geographically, SWD was found to have some common characteristics by American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower™ magazines in a survey of university entomologists from around the country. Here’s a quick rundown.

    Be Prepared
    Almost all of the entomologists said growers of at-risk fruit can expect to see SWD about a month after temperatures start rising in late spring.

    “Keep an eye on it. The best way to know if it’s active in your area is to have traps out in your orchard,” says Elizabeth Beers, Washington State University Professor of Entomology. “WSU has no official recommendation as to how many, but if I had a 10-acre block I wouldn’t want less than 4.”

    Keep On Top
    When asked what one piece of advice they would give to growers, virtually every pest expert said to be ready, and don’t wait to act.

    “Don’t let it get out of control, when the numbers are low you can handle it,” says Mark Bolda, University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor, Strawberries & Caneberries. “But when the numbers are big, you’ve got trouble. And populations can build really fast.”

    In virtually all parts of the country, conventional growers are rotating sprays of organophosphates such as malathion, pyrethroids, and spinosad. For organic growers, they just have the one spinosad, Entrust from Dow AgroSciences.

    Community Solar Project Eyed For Auto Salvage Land

    Community Solar Project Eyed For Auto Salvage Land
    Eryn Dion
    News Staff Writer

    PHILLIPSTON  Residents will soon have a chance to buy in on solar power and potentially reduce their electric bills, as the Colorado-based Clean Energy Collective is looking to develop a ground-mounted solar array on Baldwinville Road.

    Greg Carey, community solar manager for the company’s Worcester office, explained that his company differs from other solar developers in that it sells its energy directly to residents, rather than to municipalities or businesses, giving customers a chance to “go green,” even if they can’t afford panels or their home is not configured for solar power through its Solar Perks program.

    “This gives the residential customers an opportunity to sign up and purchase power with no money down, and they will get a monthly discount on their electric bill,” Mr. Carey said.

    The company has completed projects in Rehoboth, Adams and Uxbridge, and Mr. Carey said the Solar Perks program has been “extremely well received.”

    “We’re very confident that if we’re allowed to build this facility that not only residential customers in Phillipston, but also those in surrounding areas, will subscribe,” he said.

    Representatives with Clean Energy, along with engineers from Whitman & Bingham Associates, went before the Conservation Committee on Tuesday night to file their notice of intent and give a detailed overview of the project, which will be built on 8 acres at 190 Baldwinville Road. The property is currently owned by Bert Leandres for his business, Ollie’s I-190 Used Auto Parts, and Clean Energy will enter into a lease with Mr. Leandres for the land.

    Royalston Road Engineering Gains Approval

    Royalston Road Engineering Gains Approval
    Officials OK $130K from Chapter 90
    Eryn Dion
    News Staff Writer

    TEMPLETON  The Board of Selectmen voted this week to commit $130,000 out of the town’s Chapter 90 account for the first phase of the major reconstruction project planned for Royalston Road.

    Eric Bernadin, vice president at engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill, gave the board a brief overview of the expansive project, which will cover approximately 2 1/2 miles of road and cost between $4.5 million and $6 million to complete. As the amount is well beyond the town’s budgetary capacity and Chapter 90 allowance, the project will need to be submitted to the state’s Tran­sportation Improve­ment Prog­ram list to wait for funding.

    “Because this is a multi-year process, we’ve broken it into a couple of different phases,” Mr. Bernadin said.

    Friday, June 26, 2015

    High Tea, High Drama

    High Tea, High Drama
    Narragansett Historical Society hosting 'Downton Abbey'-themed party Saturday

    Courtesy photo illustration Members of the Narragansett Historical Society will dress as characters from “Downton Abbey” for a tea party modeled after the famous show.

    Eryn Dion
    News Staff Writer

    TEMPLETON  The Narragansett Historical Society will host a summertime “extravaganza” Saturday that will see the society’s grounds and garden transformed for a tea party modeled after the hit PBS series “Downton Abbey.”

    “It’s a whole, full-blown high English tea,” said Kerry Bettez, one of the organizing members.

    Whether you’re a fan of the famed period drama or just want to watch a tea party, Ms. Bettez said there will be a wide range of activities planned for the afternoon. Guests can relax in the garden, take a free tour of the society’s museum, listen to jazz music, and even take in a game or two of croquet.

    “We do regular teas through the summer, but we’ve never done one on this scale,” Ms. Bettez commented.

    Royalston To Dedicate Liberty Tree Memorial

    Royalston To Dedicate Liberty Tree Memorial

    ROYALSTON — A very special American Liberty Elm will put down roots on the Royalston Town Common on Thursday, June 25, at 9 a.m.

    It was received as a grant from the Elm Research Institute of Keene, N.H., and will be a living, growing tribute to America’s freedom and founding. It is being planted this year, as Royalston celebrates its 250th anniversary.

    The Elm Research Institute was established in 1967 with the purpose of saving the American elm from extinction. ERI sponsored genetic research that resulted in the American Liberty Elm, a purebred descendant of disease-resistant American elms. It is the only elm with a lifetime warranty against Dutch elm disease. Over 300,000 have been planted since 1984.

    As early as 1646, colonists on these shores celebrated the planting of shade trees. Their favorite was the American elm, native to their new country. Boston’s famous Liberty Tree was planted in 1646, about 25 years after the landing at Plymouth Rock. By the time of the Revolution, it was over 100 feet tall and had become popular as the rallying point for protests against George III and a meeting place for the “Sons of Liberty.”

    In an act of revenge, British troops cut down the “Liberty Tree” in August 1775. Reflecting on that moment, the Marquis de Lafayette said, “The world should never forget the spot where once stood the Liberty Tree, so famous in your annals.” Thomas Paine memorialized the event in his poem “Liberty Tree,” which will be read at the Royalston dedication.

    Fluoridation: The Fraud of the Century

    Fluoridation: The Fraud of the Century
     by Anita Shattuck
    from Weston A. Price Foundation

    Fluoridation is not about “children’s teeth,” it is about industry getting rid of its hazardous waste at a profit, instead of having to pay a fortune to dispose of it.

    Only calcium fluoride occurs naturally in water; however, that type of fluoride has never been used for fluoridation. Instead what is used over 90 percent of the time are silicofluorides, which are 85 times more toxic than calcium fluoride.

    They are non-biodegradable, hazardous waste products that come straight from the pollution scrubbers of big industries. If not dumped in the public water supplies, these silicofluorides would have to be neutralized at the highest rated hazardous waste facility at a cost of $1.40 per gallon (or more depending on how much cadmium, lead, uranium and arsenic are also present). Cities buy these unrefined pollutants and dump them–lead, arsenic and all–into our water systems. Silicofluorides are almost as toxic as arsenic, and more toxic than lead.1, 2

    The EPA has recently said it is vitally important that we lower the level of both lead and arsenic in our water supplies, and their official goal is zero parts per million. This being the case, why would anyone recommend adding silicofluorides, which contain both of these heavy metals?3

    On July 2, 1997, EPA scientist, J. William Hirzy, PhD, stated, “Our members’ review of the body of evidence over the last eleven years, including animal and human epidemiology studies, indicate a causal link between fluoride/fluoridation and cancer, genetic damage, neurological impairment and bone pathology. Of particular concern are recent epidemiology studies linking fluoride exposure to lowered IQ in children.”4

    Thursday, June 25, 2015

    Help Wanted ~ Work Ethic Needed

    Help Wanted ~ Work Ethic Needed


    Mike Rowe

    Date: June 7, 2015 Category: Foundation,Mike's Blogs,Work is Not the Enemy

    Mike - Help Wanted

    Hey Mike

    Your constant harping on “work ethic” is growing tiresome. Just because someone’s poor doesn’t mean they’re lazy. The unemployed want to work! And many of those who can’t find work today, didn’t have the benefit of growing up with parents like yours. How can you expect someone with no role model to qualify for one of your scholarships or sign your silly “Sweat Pledge?” Rather than accusing people of not having a work-ethic, why not drop the right-wing propaganda and help them develop one?
    Craig P.


    Hi Craig, and Happy Sunday!

    I’m afraid you’ve overestimated the reach of my foundation, as well as my ability to motivate people I’ve never met. For the record, I don’t believe all poor people are lazy, any more than I believe all rich people are greedy. But I can understand why so many do.

    Everyday on the news, liberal pundits and politicians portray the wealthy as greedy, while conservative pundits and politicians portray the poor as lazy. Democrats have become so good at denouncing greed, Republicans now defend it. And Republicans are so good at condemning laziness, Democrats are now denying it even exists. It’s a never ending dance that gets more contorted by the day.

    A few weeks ago in Georgetown, President Obama accused Fox News of “perpetuating a false narrative” by consistently calling poor people “lazy.” Fox News denied the President’s accusation, claiming to have only criticized policies, not people. Unfortunately for Fox, The Daily Show has apparently gained access to the Internet, and after a ten-second Google-search and a few minutes in the edit bay, John Stewart was on the air with a devastating montage of Fox personnel referring to the unemployed as “sponges,” “leeches,” “freeloaders,” and “mooches.”

    Over the next few days, the echo chamber got very noisy. The Left howled about the bias at Fox and condemned the one-percent, while the Right shrieked about the bias at MSNBC and bemoaned the growing entitlement state. But through all the howling and shrieking, no one said a word about the millions of jobs that American companies are struggling to fill right now. No one talked the fact that most of those jobs don’t require an expensive four-year degree. And no one mentioned the 1.2 trillion dollars of outstanding student loans, or the madness of lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back, educating them for jobs that no longer exist.

    A new tool to help small business grow

    A new tool to help small business grow
    North Central Mass. Development Corp. approved as SBA Microlender

    Sentinel & Enterprise
    UPDATED:   06/20/2015 10:50:56 AM

    U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas joins officials at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Friday as they hail the North Central Massachusetts

    By Jon Bishop

    FITCHBURG -- The North Central Massachusetts Development Corp. is now an SBA Microlender, a designation that will help the agency provide a new level of support for growing small businesses.

    Officials celebrated the development at a press conference Friday at the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration, as part of the approval, gave the NCMDC a loan of $500,000. Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted more than $4 million in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in 26 communities in North Central Massachusetts.

    Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong speaks to guests at the North Central Chamber of Commerce on Friday during the SBA Microlender announcement.SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE

    Roy Nascimento, president of the North Central Massachusetts Development Corp., said "these funds will go a long way" toward helping small businesses.

    Speakers praised the partnership between federal, state and local groups that led to this loan -- especially because it will go toward small businesses.

    "Helping our small businesses succeed is the key ingredient to vibrant local economies," said U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, adding that, thanks to this program, the chamber will be able to open the door to new opportunities that will "change lives and transform communities."

    U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas praised the dozens of people who came to the conference, because she said it demonstrates excitement.
    The program, she said, "really reflects (that) these monies work best" in the hands of local people and businesses.

    Seth Goodall, the New England regional administrator for the Small Business Administration, said this is a first step in helping small businesses.

    "You just never know where these dollars will go," he said, noting that the money could help a start-up get out of the garage and onto the street.

    "At the SBA, we really like to dream big," he said. "That's what's so great about this program."

    Excavator Plans Hit Roadblock

    Excavator Plans Hit Roadblock
    New machine may be off table as officials eye cheaper, used option

    News staff photo by ERYN DION The Templeton Highway Department’s excavator is used to help construct the new vault for the town clerk.

    TEMPLETON  With the summer construction season just around the corner, the town will likely not be purchasing a brand new excavator for the Highway Department with Chapter 90 road funds, as the Board of Selectmen voted Monday night to have Highway Superintendent Bud Chase stick with his old machine while exploring the possibility of buying a used vehicle at a lower cost.

    “Whatever the board wants, I’ll do,” Mr. Chase said before the vote.

    Residents defeated a Proposi­tion 2 1/2 debt exclusion at the polls in May, and since that vote Mr. Chase has turned to selectmen for direction. The problem, he explained, has not gone away and the 26-year-old machine has started to show its age.

    “It’s been a great machine for the town and it’s saved the town a lot of money,” he said. More than $24,000 has been spent on the current excavator in repairs, Mr. Chase said, with most of that being spent in the last several years as parts have become obsolete and hard to find. The machine rolls out of the highway barn almost every day in the spring, summer and fall, and has been used for almost every town road project since its purchase, with the exception of the recent Route 101 milling and paving.

    Wednesday, June 24, 2015

    School Funding Document Compiled by Bernard Heaney

    This document was available at the Annual Town Meeting-
    Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

    Free Cash Expected Early 2016

    Free Cash Expected Early 2016
    Eryn Dion
    News Staff Writer

    TEMPLETON  The town’s long-delayed free cash allotment could be certified early next year, according to interim Town Administrator Bob Markel who, along with Town Accountant Kelli Pontbr­iand, gave the Board of Select­men an update on the town’s financial outlook Monday night.

    “It’s going to take a little longer than I thought,” said Ms. Pontbriand. “I hoped for the end of the summer.”

    Earlier this year, the state Department of Revenue told town officials that it would withhold the entire free cash amount — estimated at $750,000 — until the town could provide audits from fiscal 2013 and 2014.

    At about the same time, officials were also told by the auditing firm that audits of those two years could not be completed because the records were in such disarray and the books would need to be completely reconstructed before work could proceed.

    The DOR has since dropped its audit request and is instead asking only for balance sheets from the two years in question as a requirement to certify free cash. However, the producing of the balance sheets will still take much of the year.

    “Fiscal 2013, I’m hoping to have done by the first part of October,” Ms. Pontbriand told selectmen. “I’ve discovered way more issues than I originally anticipated.”

    Narragansett Historical Society Schedule

    The Kitchen Garden Now Sells Ice Cream!

    The Kitchen Garden Now Sells Ice Cream!

    It's official!! We opened the doors to our brand new ice cream shop at noon today( 6/23/15)!

    Take a walk along the sidewalk on Baldwinville Rd, and stop in for an ice cream!

    Army Corps warns of bacteria at Tully Lake

    Army Corps warns of bacteria at Tully Lake

    By George Barnes
    Telegram & Gazette Staff

    Posted Jun. 22, 2015 at 4:35 PM
    Updated Jun 22, 2015 at 4:50 PM

    ROYALSTON - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning visitors to Tully Lake to avoid contact with the water because of a bloom of cyanobacteria.

    The bacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae , gets its energy from photosynthesis and has been know to create several different types of toxins.

    Jeffrey Mangum from the Army Corps said visitors should especially take precautions to prevent their pets from coming in contact with the water. There have been reports of animal deaths because of toxins in blue-green algae contaminated water. Humans can suffer rashes from contact, or worse, if they drink the water. The toxins are not removed from the water by boiling it or through handheld filtration devices often used by hikers and campers.

    Blue-green algae can occur in any body of water in New England. It is harmless when nutrient levels are low. When the levels are high, they multiply into blooms which can be seen on the water's surface and sometimes washes on shore. Certain factors affect the likelihood of blooms, including the amount of sunlight, nutrient availability, water temperature, pH levels, wind conditions and water flow. The higher the levels the more health risks increase.

    Mr. Mangum said the Army Corps will continue to monitor the situation and conduct tests as needed. Updates will be posted to the Army Corps website at

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    Tornado watch until 11 p.m.

    Tornado watch until 11 p.m.
    By Lisa Eckelbecker
    Telegram & Gazette Staff

    Posted Jun. 23, 2015 at 11:04 AM
    Updated at 5:28 PM

    The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch until 11 p.m. for much of southern New England, and a tornado warning for southeastern Massachusetts until 6 p.m. 

    At 5:15 p.m., Doppler radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado over Millville, moving east at 35 mph, the weather service said.

    The Weather Service office in Taunton tracked severe thunderstorms moving east through Massachusetts earlier today.

    "You're going to have a break, and then we anticipate more activity forming up this afternoon in the evening, early evening," said Alan E. Dunham, a meteorolgist in the Taunton office.

    The Weather Service statement said the severity of this evening's weather will depend on how much the sun shines this afternoon: If enough sunshine occurs ahead of the coming cold front, it could spawn severe thunderstorms capable of producing wind gusts of up to 70 mph and hail as large golf balls, as well as isolated tornadoes.

     The risk of severe storms is highest between 2 and 8 p.m. along a line from northwest of Boston to Providence.

    The weather service said the winds could be capable of knocking down trees and power lines, which could lead to power outages. Minor flooding was also possible in urban areas and places where drainage is poor, forecasters said.

    A continuing story........

    At last nights selectmen meeting, it was revealed that a contractor did the road grinding and repaving on route 101 this year. A contractor is donating concrete and another contractor is donating block for the Templeton Town clerk vault project.

    Senator Gobi's aide was present and mentioned the senator has a budget item of $85,000.00 for the playground costs, so we wait to see.

    A special town meeting will be needed for some more financial transfer due to a pesky Massachusetts General Law about the dollar figure allowed for selectmen with advisory board concurrence to make at the end of the year and since there are figures greater than allowed under the law, there will be a need for a special town meeting. Selectmen Brooks appeared to be miffed or a little upset that the Town is charged to use the school for meetings, since the Town pays for the school in the first place. I was waiting for former longtime school committee member and now selectmen John Columbus to explain this one.

    It appears Templeton may end up with a per diem health agent after all because it seems Phil Ledger may be leaving for other parts, perhaps where the pastures appear to be greener

    It was stated there has been a financial issue found going back to 2001 and that some issues found would be front page news, one can only wish, or not!

    The interesting thing was the excavator discussion and vote, with the board wanting to take more time to look for a machine and to allow Bud Chase to use good judgment in how much is further spent on the existing machine. Since it was noted it was leaking hydraulic fluid while parked on the grass, that would probably be something to address first.

    Now looking at the warrant for recent annual town meeting held May 16, 2015, I saw this;

    On a motion duly made and seconded the Town voted that the sum of Three Hundred
    Thirty Eight Thousand, Three Hundred Fifty One Dollars ($338,351) be appropriated
    under the provisions of Chapter 90 of the General Laws for the Highway Superintendent,
    with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, to spend to obtain any materiel, equipment,
    and/or services incidental to the repair and maintenance of public ways; and that the
    Treasurer of the Town, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, be authorized to
    borrow in anticipation of receipt of such funds from the Commonwealth in furtherance
    of such project(s), and that the Board of Selectmen be authorized to apply for, accept, and
    expend any federal, state, and/or private grants without further appropriation; and to meet
    this appropriation by transferring an equal sum from Chapter 90 available funds.
    Passed/ unanimously on May 16 @ 9:29 a.m.

    It would seem selectmen have town meeting vote to spend chapter 90 funds on a new excavator but those are also the funds used to repair roads and it was already stated that so far this year, road work was done by contractor. There is also the route 68 project, with engineering cost for first phase coming out of those funds. Perhaps the selectmen made the right call last night, but selectmen Julie Richards did not seem to be happy with it, as she voted no on the wait a while vote by the board.

    Jeff Bennett

    Weather Alert!

    Keep an Eye on the Sky!

    Meetings the Week of June 22, 2015

    Meetings the Week of June 22, 2015

    Tuesday 6/23/15
    Planning                      E. Temp.                     6:30 pm
    MRPC                         Fitchburg                    7:00 pm

    Wednesday 6/24/15
    Assessors                     E. Temp.                     2:00 pm           

    Thursday 6/25/15
    Sr. Center                    Bridge St                     6:30 pm

    Monday, June 22, 2015

    Potential Bad Weather Tomorrow

    The National Weather Service-

     has indicated that there is a possibility of severe weather tomorrow. There could be damaging winds (70 mph) and severe thunderstorms with the possibility of hail and a tornado.

    Please pay close attention to the weather forecasters tonight and tomorrow morning.



    A free program featuring speaker John Root will be offered on Tuesday June 23rd at 6:30 pm at the Boynton Library.

    Learn how to recognize songbirds by their songs and calls and discover intriguing information about these birds behavior.
    To piggyback on a previous post, must selectmen listen to Town meeting vote?
    There is also a post back in 2013, which is from an article in The Gardner News, with a quote from a current member of the select board, which said in part, that trust and transparency is needed to get Templeton back on tract. So what better way to do that than for the select board to follow Town meeting vote. If a by law was voted on at Town meeting, then I think the select board and or Town Administrator should forward all department head budget requests, proposals etc., to the Advisory Board if requested, because that seems to be the wish of the Town meeting vote.

    article 20, from annual Town meeting 2014:

    To see if the Town will vote to change Article IV “Advisory Committee,” Section 4 of the Town By-Laws to read: 

    “It shall be duty of the Town Administrator in conjunction with the BOS to consider expenditures and develop a budget for the ensuing fiscal year of the several boards, officers and committees of the town, as prepared by them in such form and detail as prescribed by the Town Administrator.”; or take any other action relative thereto.

    Submitted by the Board of Selectmen

    On a substitute motion duly made and seconded the Town voted that Article III “Town Officers“ of the Town By-laws be herby amended:

    4. “It shall be duty of the Town Administrator in conjunction with the BOS to consider expenditures and develop a budget for the ensuing fiscal year of the several boards, officers and committees of the town, as prepared by them in such form and detail as prescribed by the Town Administrator.”

    Passed Unanimously/May 19th @ 8:38pm

    Article IV – Advisory Committee
    Section 1. There shall be an Advisory Committee consisting of seven legal voters of the town
    who shall be appointed by the Moderator as hereinafter provided. No elective or
    appointive town officer or town employee shall be eligible to serve on said
    committee, except that a representative from the Advisory Committee shall be
    entitled to serve as a member of the Capital Planning Committee and the Insurance
    Amended 5-13-03 & 5-11-11
    Section 2. The Moderator of the town meeting when this By-Law is adopted shall, within thirty
    days after such by-law becomes effective, appoint 2 members of said committee for
    terms of one year, 2 members for terms of two years, and 3 members for terms of
    three years. At each Annual Town Meeting thereafter the Moderator thereof shall
    appoint 3 members of said committee for terms of three years. The terms of office of
    said members shall commence immediately upon qualification and shall expire at the
    close of final adjournment of the Annual Town Meeting at which their successors are
    appointed. Said committee shall choose its own officers and shall serve without pay,
    except the chairman who shall receive such amount as voted upon at the Annual
    Town Meeting, and it shall cause to be kept a true record of its proceedings.
    Amended 5-11-11
    Section 3. The said committee shall fill any vacancy which may occur in its membership, by
    vote, attested copy of which shall be sent by the secretary to the Town Clerk. If any
    member is absent from five consecutive meetings of said committee, except in case of
    illness, his position shall be deemed to be vacant and shall be filled as herein
    provided. The term of office of any person so chosen to fill a vacancy shall expire at
    the final adjournment of the next succeeding Annual Town Meeting, and the
    Moderator thereof shall appoint his successor to complete the unexpired term of the
    member in whose office such vacancy originally occurred.

    Section 4. It shall be the duty of the Advisory Committee annually to consider the expenditures
    in previous years and the estimated requirements for the ensuing year of the several
    boards, officers and committees of the town, as prepared by them in such form and
    detail as may be prescribed by said committee. The said committee shall add to such
    statement of expenditures and estimates another column, giving the amounts which in
    its opinion should be appropriated for the ensuing year, and shall further add thereto
    such explanations and suggestions relating to the proposed appropriations as it may
    deem expedient, and report thereon as provided in section five of Article II.

    Section 4a. All articles, other than those deemed by the Board of Selectmen to constitute an
    emergency, sought to be inserted in the Town Warrant for the Annual Town Meeting
    shall be filed with the Board of Selectmen, and referred by them to the Advisory
    Committee on or before April 10
    th and all articles sought to be inserted in the Warrant
    for a Special Town Meeting shall be referred by the Board of Selectmen to the
    Advisory Committee at least 14 days before the date set for such meeting.
    Amended 5-16-13

    Section 5. In the discharge of its duty, said committee shall have free access to all books of
    record and accounts, bills and vouchers on which money has been or may be paid
    from the town treasury. Officers, boards, and committees of the town shall, upon
    request, furnish said committee with facts, figures, and any other information
    pertaining to their several activities.
    Section 6. It shall be the duty of the Advisory Committee to make an annual report of its doings,
    with recommendations relative to financial matters and the conduct of town business,
    to be contained in the annual town report.
    Sections 1-4, 5, 6 Passed 3-5-51,
    Section 4a Passed 3-9-57, Amended 3-10-73, Approved by A/G 7-27-73
    Sections 1 & 2 Amended 5-11-11, Approved by A/G 5-17-11

    Since this Town Meeting vote did not change Article IV of the Town by-laws, those would seem still be in effect in my opinion.

    Jeff Bennett