Paul working for you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

More Backdoor Dealing...Show Me the Money!

More Backdoor Dealing...
Show Me the Money!

All of the "restructuring" isn't going as smoothly as planned. Funny thing is, the town has elected sewer commissioners, cemetery commissioners, conservation commissioners, a planning board, a board of health. We didn't elect the board of selectmen to act as sewer commissioners, cemetery commissioners, conservation commissioners, a planning board, a board of health.

Maybe the selectmen should demonstrate to the voters that they know what THEY are doing (as in present a balanced budget for the town) BEFORE they go and take over the rest of town government. 

Maybe before making these big restructuring changes in town, the selectmen should have a full board vote on these "restructuring" changes to town government.

Maybe the selectmen should have their "resolutions" checked by town counsel BEFORE the resolutions are adopted.

The SEWER Budget-
MGL Chapter 44, Section 53 F1/2. 
Email from Sewer Superintendent to Advisory committee chairman:

Morning Will:

Carter has stated in his letter to me (attached) and also in his weekly report,  that he is trying to get control over the Sewer Department budget.  I have copied my response here.  I noticed in the mass email that he sends out which contains his weekly report, that the Advisory Committee was not copied.  As the preeminent financial advisory of Town finances, I thought you and your committee members should be aware of what he is up to.

"Hello Everyone:

As most of you know I usually choose to stay out of the fray, but Carter keeps repeatedly forcing my hand.  He continually misrepresents the intent of Mass General Law(MGL) and Town Bylaws using selective quotations to suit his purpose/agenda (see attached).  For the record, my opinion is, and I have operated the Sewer Department under the following understanding which I believe follows ALL State and local laws and regulations:

The Sewer Department is NOT separate from the Town.

The Sewer Department IS different from other "general fund" departments in 2 key ways:

The first way is that Town meeting voted to accept  MGL Chapter 44, Section 53 F1/2, forming an enterprise fund which specifies a different method of accounting.  This is done so sewer users, voters and anyone else can see easily what it costs to operate the sewer system.

The second way is that voters also chose to elect Sewer Commissioners and the State Law voted says;

MGL 41:65.

"If sewer commissioners be chosen, they shall, as to sewers and drains, exclusively have the powers, perform the duties and be subject to the liabilities and penalties of selectmen and road commissioners".

Please note the word "exclusively" in the law above.  I have told Carter about this State law many times and he won't hear it or acknowledge it.

So my interpretation of the above statute is that the Selectmen develop and control the budget of the departments under their control, and the Sewer Commission develops and controls the budget of the Sewer Department.

All budgets then go before the ultimate approving authority, the voters at Town meeting.

Carter wants to have control over the development of the sewer budget.  That is my job as directed by the Board of Sewer Commission.  Carter or the Selectmen or anyone else is welcomed and encouraged to attend any of the upcoming monthly Sewer Commission meetings where we will be discussing the budget.  Those meetings and Town meeting are proper venues for public input.  Also, anyone who has questions or concerns can call me directly at 978-939-2743.  Remember that I work under the direction of the Board of Sewer Commission, but ultimately I work for YOU, if you are a registered voter in Templeton.  The voters (whether your home has sewer or not) chose the sewer enterprise and chose to have an elected Board of Sewer Commissioners.  It is your sewer system and we all work for you!

Carter wants more control over the Sewer Department budget and it causes me great concern when I wonder why?


Letter from Mr. Terenzini:


TO:                        K. Songer, Sewer Department
FROM:            Carter Terenzini, Town Administrator
RE:                        FY 2018 Budget and Legislative Package
DATE:            December 7, 2016
CC:                        BoS

You will find attached the budget guidance for FY ‘18.  I encourage you to attend the training session next week.   I know it has been tradition in the past that the BoS not review and or deliberate upon your budget given your status as an Enterprise Fund.  However, that will need to change to be compliant with statute and best practice.

M.G.L. c.44, Section 53F½, states that “… a city or town which accepts the provisions of this section may establish a separate account classified as an “Enterprise Fund”, for a utility… Such account shall be maintained by the treasurer, and all receipts, revenues and funds from any source derived from all activities of the enterprise shall be deposited in such separate account…”.  It goes on to provide that “No later than one hundred and twenty days prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, an estimate of the income for the ensuing fiscal year and a proposed line item budget of the enterprise shall be submitted to the… board of selectmen or other executive authority of the city or town by the appropriate local entity responsible for operations of the enterprise.  Said… executive authority shall submit its recommendation to the town meeting… which shall act upon the budget in the same manner as all other budgets.”

Further, after a review of the By-Laws it has been determined that your Department needs to follow the same practices as the other general fund departments in order for me to fulfill my responsibilities (GBL III Section 4 provides that “It shall be the duty of the Town Administrator… to develop a budget for the ensuing fiscal year of the several boards, officers, and committees of the Town in such form and detail as shall be prescribed by the Town Administrator.”).  Your department is amongst those covered by this requirement.

As I review all of these matters as they come to my attention during the course of our financial and management audit it is also important to remember that the establishment of the Sewer Department Enterprise Fund does not provide the Sewer Department with any exemption from otherwise applicable requirements of the Town’s general fund operations.  For instance, after an initial conversation with our Auditors there are several other accounting practices that we will need to review in order to bring us into compliance with Best Management Practice.  Once those have all been identified I’ll arrange a meeting between him and your Board to review them.  

I do understand this is a change and want you to know we are here to assist you in any way that we can.  I’m also available to talk with your Board at any time though truthfully that would best be done once we are deeper into the audits.


  1. It appears that the Selectmen's Pirate ship is afloat and in need of gold and silver. Giving out raises when an apparent deficit is in place makes one wonder who is navigating the ship. Checks and balances are a great idea in government but without a charter most power falls back on the Board of Selectmen, one of the reasons we are in this financial mess in the first place. It is hoped that the Sewer Commissioner will not be bullied into raising rates to pay charges that would otherwise belong to other departments. Eternal vigilance.

  2. I'm with Kent on this one. MGL Chapter 44 section 53f1/2 does state that the sewer commission must within 120 of the new fiscal year report the budget of the Sewer commission.
    I see nothing that states the Town administrator/BOS has any say in producing that budget or managing said budget.
    The purpose of the 120 days appears to be for the Town Administrator/BOS to present to the Town Meeting or to present capital expenses of the Sewer Commission that cannot be covered by the commissions budget.

    The MGL does not appear to support Carters point of view. Niether does GBL III section 4 which states "Boards, officers, and committees" Nothing, I state NOTHING says CARTER has anything to do with "Commissions"

    I believe Carter is wrong! The commission gives him what they have 120 days before fiscal year end. If capital expenses exceed revenue it would be Carters job to prepare the warrant article for the Town meeting to get that expenditure approved..........

    Deny Carter the access...........

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  4. Who knows whats up or down. Fact is nobody can know if the audits don't start or finish.
    We were told they would start last year about this time and here we are being told the same things,right!
    Different boss same story!
    I will believe it when i see it and read it.
    Time will tell and if we don't need a bond rate for the new school as in the MFOB attempt at money for loans in January. So if we don't need the bond rate for that or the water tank or the sewer upgrade why the rush for the audits.
    Get the bad news on the audits to soon and we may have to sell the electric plant to pay off our debts we are defaulting on at the time.
    We could go and see what the advise from winchendon could do to help us but it cost them 300k just to let the manager go.So when we hire our 3 year new T.A. and sign off a good chunk of money that we don't have we should see how the audits show we have done without looking for so long.
    So if we hire and do like our neighbors to the north did and let him/her go early and pay due to the mess we will still be in we start all over.
    Until the audits are finished and we figure what accounts we raided to pay the bills for any deficits we are all just blowing air in a balloon that will someday pop.
    Just the cost side of the increases this town faces are a daunting task to complete.
    With the lack of comprehension for the big picture and data to back it all up we are guaranteed a failure year after year. The balloon has taken about all the air it can and if the audits don't start and get delivered as we were told this time there will be no faith in government we now have.
    We were told the word receivership was not on the radar and things were getting better as we grasp our problems over budget miscalculations were in better hands with this finance team. Are we?
    What else can we be told.
    We can't even get our sick time on our pay stubs.
    It was a year ago we were told the pay stubs would accurately reflect sick time use and we would at least have a record of when we used sick time.
    A clear violation of the collective agreement.
    I would think competent people in place now we are told would find a way in one year to do it.It was part of the negotiations after all.
    But still no place on pay stubs for sick time. WHY?
    I guess like the audits it may take some time still.

    1. The old saying is, "when you find yourself in a hole stop digging!" Why doesn't Carter know this, or our BOS ? Where is the money coming from for all of this information from the Collins Institute ?? Oh yes, out of the Highway Budget ! So, what happens when the highway runs out of cash ? Who's budget do we hit next ? Around and around we go, deeper and deeper the hole does grow. Now why did Carter get a new budget form, and what did this cost us ?? The problem is we have a very good one, complete with the account numbers so anyone can follow what was appropriated, spent, this year, and the new numbers for the next fiscal year. Mr. Spring developed this one and it has worked very well. Maybe it is because Will did it ! Is that a problem ?? I shouldn't be, but lets hope our friend Carter didn't spend a dime on the new one because if he did, I will not be a happy girl.

    2. The audits did start this week, I know because I met one of the people when I left the BOS meeting Monday night. The big rush to get the changes done to eliminate Bud or Alan is a bad move. Until the audits are finished, we will have no idea how deep the hole is that we have. So, why not wait and do things once and do them right ? Does anyone understand how upset the public will be if the "superior board has to come back to them with more cuts and more proof that they cannot get things right ?? It is not my ass on the line, so why do I care ? I guess this is my home, and I do care for the people who live here and struggle to make ends meet. There are other ways to get through the rest of the year, but if the BOS would rather cut off their nose to spite their face, than work with TAB, it is everyone's loss. The BOS does not have to love us and we do not have to love them, but to put our differences aside, to benefit the people in our community, it is the right thing to do. Bev.

  5. Question for anyone who knows......

    Does anyone know what the "Templeton Master Plan" costs the taxpayers. I'm just wondering because I started reading it today. It seems like everything we've done this year is in direct opposition to the "Plan".

    Does maintain Templeton "town" feel include a 93,000 sq ft monster in colonial downtown. Does ensuring housing affordable include massive tax increases of 30%?
    The "plan" shows about 9% of Templeton residences unoccupied.

    As you can probably guess I stopped reading about 1/2 way through as I'm not a fan of fairytales or Bullsquat....I'll get back to it when I have the patience.

  6. I believe I can get that info and I wouldn't want to quote any numbers I am not sure of. I haven't read that yet. I will though and give you my thoughts.