LIVE BLOG: Framingham Town Meeting 2012 - Day 13

Town Meeting voted down a ban on commercial, gas-powered leaf blowers overwhelmingly and finished the Annual Town Meeting warrant articles just before 11:30 p.m.

9:11 p.m.

Audrey Hall and Melanie Goddard thanking Dr. Steven Hiersche for his efforts as superintendent of schools

Hiersche -- like to thank everyone including all the department heads

Kids in Framingham much better served today than they were 3 years ago - Hiersche.


Article 41 - Herb Chasan made the motion

Bill Osborn speaking - I'm against this. This is off base.

Recently both Wellesley and Concord shot down this proposal

9:14 p.m

Petitioner is speaking in favor of this

Editor's Note: apologies my computer's wi-fi has crashed twice. I am restarting again.

9:20 p.m. Motion by John Dywer move back to sponsor

Patrick Dunne - precinct 9 speaking - I support the last motion to return to sponsor - I hate the news - I think it is a noise pollution issue. There is a noise by law in town. It is a dust issue. Some of the people are responsible and gather the leaves up ... We need a real study of this - and get informed people involved

about 8-10 hands raised to speak

9:22 Kathy McCarthy - TMM10 - speaking - believe in common sense - vote this down - defeat it and send it away ... I do have asthma and I go for allergy shots once a week -- but I also understand trying to make a rule do as I say don't do as I do .. it is okay for the homewoner but not for the kids down the street I want to hire. ...the fact is we need more young people employed ... if my husband was going to use his snowblower and help the next door neighbor and it does have the chemicals too .. if he is going to help them it is the same thing.

Mark McCleannan - speaking -- let's stop talking about north side and south side ...we say choose Framingham.

On leafblowers --- Strongly opposed to this - let's not send back to committee - if not support - kill it. if support, it will pass. Let's deal with it instead of kicking it down the road..

basically we can't protect everybody from harmful things ...

let's defeat this leafblower ban for commercial purposes

Frank N. Demarco - TMM16 -- speaking - have a problem - big cloud come across my house one day -- these people don't understand - don't care about the little guy blowing the leaves - the commercial people are polluting the air ...

9:30 p.m. Gloria Geller - TMM2 speaking - I support refer back ... sometimes commercial people coming in 7:15 a.m. ...leafblowing situation with commercial - maybe have the community look at and come to a decision that will be beneficial to the town

George Dixon - move the question

2/3 vote needed

question moved


9:32 p.m. first vote to refer back to sponsor

majority vote needed

yes - 59

no - 73

abstain - 3


9:36 p.m. vote to ban commercial gas-powered leafblowers

electronic vote - majority needed

yes - 15

no - 107

abstain - 12



9:37 p.m. - Article 37 -- town meeting vote to reduce defer rate from 8% to 4%, for seniors beginning or or after July 1, 2012.

Motion by Kevin Crotty -

Presentation - CFO -- this is a selectmen sponsored article. It changes the interest rate on deferred real estate taxes for seniors from 8% to 4%

Committe reports

Ways & means Hall speaking - chair - Discussion on April 12 and 23.

18 total active deferment cases - representing - $628,000 and $700,000 deferred

4% interest will only be on new amounts beginning July 1

8% is not a standard for other government agencies ...

7-0-2 in favor vote

9:44 p.m. town meeting member discussion

Ed Kross - TMM12 speaking -- eligibility issue ... question

CFO speaking - you have to apply every year ...

question moved

9:48 p.m. Electronic voting

majority vote needed

yes - 117

no 4

abstain -3


9:51 p.m. Article 38 -Robert Bolles speaking, one of the sponsors

Take the most important budget items first, make spending more transparent, have to pay more attention to our financing.

I don't know who came up with the idea of unfunded pensions - it is a big ponzi scheme and we don't have the money - Framingham is a working class town.

If Town Meeting doesn't take control of our tax dollars - Framingham will be taxed out of its homes

Point of Order - Amy Weader -- please ask him to make the motion

This kind of spening has to stop - I refuse to sit quietly and be taxed out of my home.

Move this article to government study committee -- bylaw change

9:54 p.m.

Committee reports

Audrey Hall - ways & means chair -- committee discussed the motion on the screen ... in regards to refer to government study committee

committee did not support the motion on the screen

voted 6-3-0 not to support this

Mel Warshaw speaking - TMM7 - former member of government study committee - ask Town counsel what statute allows the town bylaw to deal with presentation of a budget -- best of my knowledge there is not any

Petrini speaking - there are general bylaws of how the town conducts its business plus Mass General Laws -- the motion presented this evening is not a bylaw change - it would be advisory in nature.

this is a balanced budget amendment ... budget is not final until entire budget is passed.

9:58 p.m. motion made to move the question

2/3rd vote needed


10:00 p.m. motion by Bolles to refer to Government study committee

majority vote needed

yes - 46

no - 73

abstain - 3


Motion made to adjourn

Motion failed

There are 4 articles left....

Article 39 -- Joel Winett - citizens petition - speaking

allow Selectmen to use a factor of up to 2.0 to increase the shift in the tax levy commercial properties from residential properties.

split tax rate -- residential and commercial

currently have a maximum of 1.75 to shift ...

MGL law limit is 1.75 shift factor important when total assessments by type go up or down

Chapter 3 of act 2004 -- allowed a shift of 2.0 it was allowed only for 7 years

It was needed last year because of the unexpected change in the assessments.

ask for a special act of the legislature

Committee reports - none

Town Meeting members to discuss

10;12 p.m. George Lewis - TMM18 - speaking - maybe back in 2004 the economy was much better ...the economy today is very scary ... I do not agree with this article ... will send a very scary message for businesses ...

all for helping the single family homeowners, but if we give the wrong message to businesses couldbe headed down a downward spiral out of control ...


need to accurate complete honest assessment provided by businesses

need stronger enforcement

Herb Chasan - TMM4 speaking -- rise to urge a no vote on this motion - Town Meeting did a wonderful thing to support the TJX - this motion sends an anti business message.

Maureen Dunne - TMM9 -- vice chair of eeic -- I think the intent sounds good - we have to realize there is a price to be paid if we increasingly shift the tax burden to commercial

$38.05 - Framingham

natick - $13.91

if you have the choicem this becomes a serious consideration

The other communities near us that have split rates are all under $30.

Makes us more vulnerable to swings in the economy

ask you to oppose this motion

CFO -- it would push us towards the highest in the state (we are alreaady the third highest in the state ...actually widens the swing ...the wider the number goes .. it would have swung more on the residential side ...

10:18 p.m. Move the question

2/3rd vote needed

hand vote - PASSED

10:19 p.m. electronic vote on Article 39 -majority vote needed

yes - 19

no - 93

abstain - 3


10:20 p.m. Article 40 - citizen petition - Joel Winett - direct the dept of revenue to determine suistainable and equiable methods for addressing the current and future residential and commervial and industrial property values

use sale price to value larger commercial properties

Limit tax increase - Winett speaking

Assessment practices - apartments are assessed at the income method and the owners deduct expenses from their rentals to determine income. Apartments are taxed at the residential rate rather than the commercial rate. - Winett

Short sales - residential assessments do not consider short sales. But theya re sales between a willing buyer and a willing seller.

commercial and industrial properties are assed using the income method.

assessors issue abatements when the assessment is not comparable with similar properties.

Motion would allow short sales, sales price on commercial/industrial when significnatly exceeds assessment, allow local assessor sto provide a tax surcharge of 10% when form not turned in, allow assessors for abatement if taxes up more than 110% - Motion - Winett

10:31 p.m. committee reports -- none

Town Meeting member discussion

Steve Orr - TMM1 -- very surprised how some issues are being handled at town meeting this year ... lots of discussion on articles that don't cost us a nickle.

this is an article -- that doesn't do anything - allows us the option of taking action in the future after a fairly substainial hurdle may be met ..

10:33 p.m. can we get the state to act?? good idea or not? can't think of asking for this flexibility is a good idea -- first need permission. not asking to do anything - just asking for future flexibility - ask for TMM to vote yes

Lloyd Kaye - TMM10 - speaking -- strongly against this entire article

about the renters -- whose rent will go straight up - they can't ask for an abatement - those 65 and older - unfair

be careful for what you are asking for -- short sales ...

not a willing seller and a willing buyer with a short sale -- abolutely against short sales

consider sales prices when it considerable over the assessed value - have no idea of how to deal with that

tax surcharge -- I think that is totally punitive at best

10:37 p.m. Peter Pleshaw -- TMM - speaking -

Motion to move the question - PASSED

majority vote needed to pass Winett motion

electronic voting

yes - 53

no - 41

abstain - 10


10:42 p.m. Article 42 - refer to government study committee - define who is a town official.

Goerge Dixon -- speaking

Gellar - move the question - PASSED

electronic voting

yes - 94

no - 1

abstain - 6


Article 43 -- Joel Winett petition -- amend bylaws

Editor's Note: battery at 2% ... I'll update via iphone, if I can. Wi-fi has been spotty tonight.


Vote 75-22 - sent back to sponsor

Article 44 - citizne petition by Matt Calder - TMM2
Motion not in books
Received tax bill surprised earlier - Up 15&
Wasn't satisfied with explanation of selectmen, CFO and assessor
Educated myself - Learned a bit about process

Point of order made - to make the motion and not a presentation

Motion to have assessors Calculations available 30 days after certified
Three components
Cost valuation report
Land valuation report
Income valuation report

Calder - there is nothing confidential or propriatry in reports

Process should be open so it can be trusted ...

Have calculations open and on web site

TMM2 - Nicola Cataldo - I rise to support this

Dennis Paulsen - Motion made to move the question
5 TMM raise hands indicating they would still like to speak
Moverator determines via hand vote the question is Moved
Seveal TMM Doubt the vote

Moderator calls for electronic vote

Now issues with the electronic voting

Several Town Meeting members leaving

Editor's Note: 85 needed for a quorum

at 11:03 p.m. moderator calls for hand vote with counters as electronic voting still not working

67-25 vote - 2/3rd needed to move the question

Moderator - "Moderator decision upheld"

Article 44 - vote now on the motion by Calder

Majority vote needed

PASSED 85- 9-1

11:10 p.m. Selectmen Chair speaking
publicly thank Valerie Mulvey as doing an outstaning job as interim town manager

TMM give her a Standing O

Charlie still speaking -- This was her Second round as acting
Inherited a few issues
New initiatives
Kept the town afloat
Always willing to step up to the plate

11:12 pm
Moderator doing his thank yous

11:16 p.m. Motion to end Annual Town Meeting - PASSED
































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