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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Welcome to Templeton! Birthplace of Delusional Math!

Welcome to Templeton! 
Birthplace of Delusional Math.

 So according to the Gardner News(11/29/2016), "Town officials had stated that the $200,000 shortfall was created in part due to voters' recent rejection of using $87,500 of the town's stabilization fund to pay for the debt for the property at 252 Baldwinville Road."

 Nope. Wrong.

The $200,000 shortfall was created by really bad budgeting figures for FY 17. Those bad figures ( i.e. lies) were presented to the annual town meeting by the board of selectmen. No discussion was allowed line item by line item in May. The chairman of the board of selectmen responsible for the FY 17 unbalanced budget was John Columbus.

The $87,500 for the debt payment boo-boo for 252 Baldwinville Rd is one part of the shortfall because the selectmen and the former town administrator screwed up. 

The FY 17 budget presented by the selectmen and voted in May also screwed up:

$50,000 snow and ice
$27,500 health insurance
$15,000 unemployment costs
$13,000 audit-related expenses
$7,000 other expenses

Don't think that's the end of the screw ups/shortfalls.

To date over $300,000 has been spent to get the FY 13 books and other subsequent fiscal years in shape so they can be audited. 


A contract for auditing services was signed in October 2016

On the bright side, the contract has been signed to have the audits completed:

 Downside? You have to be able to pay for this service!

$28,000 per audit. 5 audits @ $28,000 = $140,000

The budgeted amount for audits FY 17 = $28,000.
So where is the money going to come from to pay for the FY 14, FY 15, FY 16, and FY 17 audits? 
These audits will cost at least $112,000 and are a necessary component of the MFOB process.
Who signs a contract that will cost at least $140,000 when only $28,000 has been budgeted?
Welcome to Templeton! 
Birthplace of Delusional Math.


  1. Mr. Columbus the most powerful politician in this town for the past twenty years was smart enough to rent and not own property as far as I know. With a fifty million dollar school that may not be necessary and many many expenses waiting in the wing it is nice to know when the rents increase one can simply move out of town or into government housing. It would seem that the Select board working with the Advisory Committee would be the best bet to get things straightened out but unless your on board the long term Columbus plan of taking care of family and friends this is not a likely scenario. Perhaps we need outside help and the man who is most likely the one to ask for it our Chairman of the Democratic Committee is most likely aware of this.

    1. Ask for outside help ?? J.C. will never do that. Why let others find what he has worked to hide for all this time. So do you think we can fix this mess ourselves ? Why give big raises to the Town Hall employees, then punish the Fire Department, Cemetery and Parks Dept. and whack the Highway Department ? Does anyone really think the Police Chief would do this extra work for 0 ?? Will has a way to get us through some of this mess, but it does seem our TA and selectmen do not want to hear it ?? How can Carter draw up a plan when he does not know these people and the far reaching problems his plan will create ?

  2. Just a thought, but maybe we ought to think about "regoinalizing" our town administration and leave town services alone

    Can someone tell me why we are looking into regionalizing everything except the "Elementary Schools debt"?

  3. No matter what we find for solutions,or how big the blender we use it will all be like throwing money in the wood chip boiler year after year. With the school system increases of 750,000.00 over three years how can we ever get out of the pickle we are in every year.
    As soon as a budget is said to work we will get another bill for the whole thing to go out of whack again.
    I have to wonder if we are being told the whole story or not.
    When we are not able to look at all the departments budgets and left to think they pay for their own insurances and other costs how would we be able to see the increases we are told are there.
    Good question Bob M/Phillipston was asked and said no to help with the new school,for now. They have a school in good shape now and just did a renovation to the boiler.
    I'm told we are in a spending freeze and simple needs are being overlooked.
    As anyone knows when putting off repairs till later they are harder to complete in a timely manner if at all.

  4. So this year we are going to charge the sewer enterprise 11,000.00 for audit costs.
    We are told the audits are 28,000.00 per year.
    What will the other enterprises pay?
    Why don't we get the cost for the past audits paid for also.
    Why haven't they paid all along?
    Cut from the highway and other departments and pay the cost of a enterprise.

    1. Santa Clause has come and gone ! Why is it every year the schools get the gold and the rest of us get coal ? Not even the kind you can burn ! After going to the Selectman's Meeting Monday night, I am more and ore convinced that their is a huge disconnect between some of our departments and reality. We are in an incredible hole, and the SS wants a debt exclusion ! Taxes in this town will be so high, there will be no elderly left to go to the center when all is said and done. If you think I am kidding, think again. The majority of the elderly live from week to week. No one knows what will happen to social security in the future. Where is all of this money coming from ?

    2. If the elderly have it hard now, just waite, things may get much worse. We do not have to help things along. There is no law against asking for a debt exclusion, but you might look for another way. Go to some of the big box stores, and ask for help ! You never know.

  5. All good points Bev. I was never in favor of the senior center as it's just not something I believe is a town function.
    Why can't the people who use the Senior Center pay for the senior center? Why is there no "fee" however minor. Does the Food Pantry or the Vets pay anything or are we the townspeople providing the space free of any charge even though both entities could raise private funds or grant money to cover the roof overhead. Are there rules against this?

    On an overall point. No construction, demolition , project should begin without a firm commitment to pricing, parts,performance. The taxpayers should not be on the hook for poorly managed contracts by people who have an agenda, good or bad.
    All contracts should be written requiring they first and foremost cover the asses of the taxpayer from liability beyond agreed to terms.
    Whether we require bonds or whatever to cover lapses in performance.

    I was reading back in the achieves here the other day and came across an writing by Jeff I believe.
    It was something to the order of " The woodchip boiler would be completed by February 2016" Hows that going? How close to on time and on budget is that project?

    I think we need to rethink alot of our "methods" of doing business in this town. Facts not fears need to be the basis of budgets

  6. Veterans do pay for what they receive after service, it is in a contract Veterans sign stating what they can get after they fulfill their part of the contract; giving up much personal freedom, going to some really nice places like Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan and other interesting places. The law states what those things Veterans can receive as a result of those contracts. Paying an additional fee is just another tax, more fees are just taxes in a different coat. I paid my tax and I have several contracts telling me what I can or may be able to receive in return. I will fight like hell against more fees to receive things I have already 'paid" for! Perhaps Templeton should go the private provider way for ambulance service, it is available. Perhaps Templeton should do away with providing "company" cars, such as the police chief and fire chief, those vehicles stay at the "house", police station and fire station. there is no good reason a police chief needs a vehicle to travel to and from home or to say, the otter river sportsman club or any other such place. Do not sign contracts giving taxpayer money away in the form of free coats, boots and other things, especially when it appears you cannot afford to do it. We could shut off all street lights, have one fire station instead of two. we could also go though the town expenses line by line, but the people said they did not want to do that. There is already some money sitting there that could be used for the senior center finish work. Which would be cheaper in the long run, pay $300 thousand in salaries for dispatch along with health insurance and retirement costs or say, sending Gardner a check for the same $300 thousand or $250 thousand and not have the health insurance, retirement, union contract, vacation, sick days and all the rest of the cost of employees? Reduce future increase in cost for retirement and health insurance. Ask yourself this, why does the largest retailer in the country, Walmart, not have a fleet of snow pluck trucks and lawnmowers? Because it is cheaper to hire someone than to have all that equipment to maintain and employees to pay.

    1. Line by line through our budget sounds good to me. Why is our health insurance so much better than Gardner's? People are getting paid pretty darn good now. You can't have your cake no eat it to. Some of the things Jeff has talked about are things to think about. Since 1999 we have been broke, in the cut back on hours, keeps things even for only a few years then we are broke again ! This has happened three times ! What does this tell me ? The same thing it schould tell you ! Jeff. Ritter said we had a structural deficit in our budget. I appreciate what Carter is trying to do, but we need a plan not thrown together in a couple of hours. We need to get this right, this time for once and for all. It is our town, we need to stick together. Everyone will not get what we want. Think about this. Bev. Always a Templeton girl.

    2. Awesome idea Jeff. Close Templeton center fire station and tear it down make it a parking lot for the new school ! Brilliant

    3. Mike, something will have to go, but Templeton is the biggest and newest. A central fire station would have been best but that ship has sailed. We have to live with in our means, like it or not. We have way to much debt. I think where our tax dollars go. Remember some of the debt we signed up for was for 40 years. Too long and way to much interest. If we do not make some changes we will be in this spot again and again. Do you want that ? I don't Bev.

    4. what will you save by shutting down a fire station will have to keep some heat in it so you wont save anything there . its not like you have a full time dept you close a station and lay off the guys to save money guys only get paid if there is a fire !! i no one thing everyone fire ins will be going up because of lack of a fire station and lack of full time dept to cover the missing station

      everyone hold on going to be a bumpy ride

  7. Jeff,

    I'm not saying veterans dont deserve what its the contract. I am however saying that a Veterans services location paid for by town taxpayers is not one of them. Is it required by law, no. Is there a vets services in every town,city, no. Was any veteran employed by Templeton, no, they were federal employees. Should we supply free space for the SSA for an office? How about the Patrolman benevolent society?

    We pay as we go........nobody is "owed" anything....... Don't confuse the Federal Government Agency (Veterans Services) with the people they serve.
    Veterans Services may owe you, but I dont owe them!

    1. There is nothing we can change, so why go there ? We can only change what we can control.

    2. Huh, Why can't we charge Veterans services or the Food bank for the space?

    3. Good question ! One that schould be asked. It is like the people from Phillipston going to our senior center. Ok I'd they pay cards, but it is different if they are requiring real services. Bart says if you pay your own way, you will be welcome anywhere. Why did Caplus get so bent out of shape because I asked about out of towers using our SC ? I do not think there schould be any secrets kept from the people who pay the bills.

  8. Actually Bob M, you do, per Massachusetts general law chapter 115, section 5, "each year, cities and towns shall raise by 1%, any benefits owed them." There is a one year residency requirement and a loss of any benefits with a dishonorable discharge. Your state taxes also went towards a come home bonus for all Massachusetts national Guard units and a small reimbursement of life insurance costs to the individual guardsman. Cops get to go home at night, get to go have a drink etc. Veterans do not always have that luxury. You can always move to Canada. Point is, there are laws about veterans service benefits and I did not write any of them. Massachusetts happens to be one of the best veterans benefits states there are. Don't like it, work to change the law. Want to regionalize some things, how about regional lockup and dispatch. How about Phillipston paying for half of the true costs of dispatch service. Moral of the story is, the law says you do owe us. Not every city or town has a veteran office, but check to see if the ones who do not belong to a regional service, as Templeton did in the past. So keep opining and that is about all I will say about this discussion. we disagree on Veteran service. When I go to school, thank you for helping out with my bills through your taxes, I appreciate it. Thank you for helping out with my medical insurance through the VA, it helps me comply with the Obama care law. Of course I had to give up many years of my life and freedom to earn that, but thank you. I will leave you with this, I am taking a chance assuming you may have something to do with law enforcement due to your reference of the police benevolent society and the pay as you go comment. So here is the question; do taxpayers owe police officers a pension and why? Good day

    1. Hey Jeff, Nothing in Chapter 115 , section 5 says anything about taxpayers covering the rent of the veterans services location, nor does it say anything about veterans who use the service not being charged a fee.
      Like I said before, Templeton Taxpayers are not, I repeat not required to have a veterans services office paid for by the town.

      I do agree with many of your proposals as they make sense as a budgetary item.

      I was all for regionalizing the lock up, policing services, but then Templetons administrators thought it was wise to spend the "gift" for a cell, then raise $1.2 million for an expanded police station. Thats issue is now mute.
      Phillipston should be required to pay its fair share.

      Oh, I have nothing to do with the police. I used the Benevolent issue because like many vets police tend to think the people owe them for life.
      Somehow or another people forget that the military, the police are all jobs with stated benefits (many of which are abusive to the taxpayer) but always come across as entitled.
      Like I said, Veterans services may owe you, but I dont owe them!

      Should I take it you feel ok about charging the food pantry for space.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Gee Why can everything under the sun be cut, Except what pertains to you Jeff.

  10. "War is a Racket" Major General Smedley Butler WarisaRacket Things that put us further in debt to the money interests don't appear to be a good thing.

  11. Guys my age came back for Vietnam to name calling and no help. They were sent to hell and were not prepared for any of the things they were to encounter. No help for PTSD when they got home, and shit for services. I do not think anyone can really understand until they have been there. Afghanistan had been as bad, but at least there is help for these guys when they get home. Jeff has been right about a lot of what we see as a service, when if fact we can not support what t costs in the long run. Please agree to disagree. Pauly started this blog so we could share ideas. Lets keep it that way.

  12. Just read we are potentially going to limit hours at the town hall, awesome.

    So based on poor management Templeton taxpayers are now looking at minimized access to town services, a doubling of ambulance services, placing Law enforcement in charge of Fire with no Fire knowledge/training all with a budget completely out of whack.

    How many times have we had to limit Town Office times????? It sure appears to me that we keep doing the same stupid stuff over and over again. We need a Proactive government not this reactive mess we've been in for years.

  13. Sell the light dept to national grid

  14. Just so DO and Bob M know, it ain't about Jeff, it is about the law. The federal law and state law, you get the bill and you owe it.
    Section 10. The mayors of cities and the selectmen of towns, other than cities and towns which become part of a district as authorized by the second paragraph of this section, shall cause to be established and maintained in their respective cities and towns a department for the purpose of furnishing such information, advice and assistance to veterans and their dependents as may be necessary to enable them to procure the benefits to which they are or may be entitled relative to employment, vocational or other educational opportunities, hospitalization, medical care, pensions, and other veterans' benefits. Each department so established and maintained shall be known as the department of veterans' services, and the officer in charge thereof shall be known as the director of veterans' services. Such director and any assistant or deputy director appointed under this section or section eleven shall be a veteran and shall be appointed in a city by the mayor, with the approval of the city council, and in a town by the selectmen. Feel free to look it up. Good day and that is Massachusetts general law chapter 115 and you can contact the state board of veterans affairs and or the secretary of the commonwealth to check it out.

    1. It's a choice Jeff.............Second paragraph of MGL 115 section 10 states......:

      . Any constituent city or town by vote may withdraw from the district at the end of any fiscal year of such city or town if such withdrawal is voted in the manner aforesaid not less than sixty days prior to the end of such fiscal year and notice of such vote is filed with the other municipalities comprising the district.

      Again nothing in their say the Veterans service shall not pay rent back to the town............NOthing.

      It's not that important, it was just an example of costs we are covering that are not "expensed".........