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LIVE BLOG: 2013 Framingham Town Meeting Day 6

Town Meeting will continue its debate and vote on the FY14 budget and Framingham Patch will be live blogging

Framingham Town Meeting will resume tonight at 7:30 or when a quorum is reached in Nevins Hall in the Memorial Building.

Framingham Patch will be live blogging.

To see what you have missed, check out our live blogs from Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5.

Town Meeting will continue its debate and vote on the FY14 budget.

Last Thursday, Town Meeting approved the Framingham Police Department budget, including hiring 7 new police officers. Read all the discussion with our live blog on Day 5.

***

7:34 p.m. There is a quorum.

Test question -- do you prefer right justification on the electronic voting results?

Tomorrow night - will be committee organization says moderator

33-29-33 VOTE on the test question

***

Article 21 - Town Meeting members will continue with discussiona nd voting of the general operating budget for FY14

Moderator explaining the procedure ...

All items require a majority vote except for stabilization vote which needs 2/3rd vote says moderator

This is a business meeting and we are going to keep it business like - moderator.

**

CFO speaking ...

Unclassified - CFO reading - pass on workers compensation

Town Meeting member Precinct 14 -- Jeffrey Cox (TMM14) speaking

Question -- explanation on the worker's compensation .. what we are doing to try to reduce workcomp, including health programs and keep work force safe & secure

Town Manager Bob Halpin -- case management contract -- when we have worker's comp claims - they are actively managed to bring employees back to work as quick as possible.

active case management to bring people back andd risk management programs - Halpin

CFO speaking -- if looked at workcomp compared to other municipalities - very low compared to others ...

moderator calls for a hand count - work comp passes - PASSED

Unclassified bottom line -- PASSED - hand vote - $38.7 million

***

Retirement division -- $13.6 million - CFO reading line items

OPEB -- TMM Dick Weader passed on this line item.

TMM4 Weader says he has a comment and 2 questions

only one government -- USPS -- can't collect enough fast enough to keep up ..

2 questions on our situation -- if suddenly required to fully fund? what is plan?

CFO speaking -- current liability -- $184 million down from $214 million

we are moving in the right direction .. no where near what it would be fully fund the annual. no municipality is required to fund this.

7:50 p.m. OPEB funded via hand vote - approved

Retirement funded via hand vote - approved

DEBT Services - $10.89 million - no passes

VOTE -- hand vote -- approved unanimously

FIRE DEPARTMENT BUDGET - $13.5 million

No passes -- hand vote -- approved with 2 in opposition

7:52 p.m.

DPW Budget - $9.2 million - approved with no opposition

Point of order: Richard Baritz TMM17 - question about percentage of budget going up or down

Planning Board budget -- $210,624 -- no passes

hand vote - passed - one in opposition - approved

Town Clerk stipend- $90,540 - no passes - hand vote - approved

7:55 p.m.

Town Clerk elections -- approved via hand vote

General government -- $3.019 million

Pass on Selectmen/Town Manager - $609,123

7:57 p.m.

Adam Steiner - TMM4 -- speaking -- resolution -- make investment in human capital in this town.

sufficient funds to allow any Framingham resident to allow any framingham resident to participate in town ESL program and eliminate the waiting list of 400 students - cost $100,000

Moderator -- resolution -- not binding

Steiner -- Framingham is a very diverse town -- that is an asset and not a determent. We do have diversity that runs the gamet in this town. We have people who are first generation immigrants ....

Time for us to recognize there is a reality to the immigration situation in this town ... we have residents of all time who want to learn English. We have illegal aliens in this town .. and we are going to open our eyes and close our eyes and hope they go away. there is no such thing as an illegal person .. just illegal acts.. some brought here as 3 or 4 years old .. they don't have a home country to go back to ...

US senate creating a measure right now that would pave a pathway for citizenship. Do we bury our head in the stand and pretend they don't exist .. do we except the reality and the responsibility .. to provid ethem with a valuable skill that will serve them or the town as a whole.

8:03 p.m. Ned Price -- TMM17 speaking -- I propose to amend the resolution to give an opportunity for those of you in the audience, which includes me, which agree with the spirit of the resolution, .. I want to say to one town meeting member -- I am not channeling ...

moderator interrupts him ...

I am speaking for myself and I am not channel the spirit  of any former town meeting members ... propose to add the words ... add after Framingham Resident, whose presence in the United States is in compliance with applicable federal law ... took from the state of Washington's website...

Price still speaking .. address an issue of children .. any child gets to go to Framingham public school system .. as a child can attend the Framingham School system case ... supreme court case .. allowing children to attend school system even if not legal ...

What we are talking about here is adults -- these adults .. knew what they were doing when they did one of two things -- overstay their visa or sneak into the country ... illegal entry or illegal presence...

I think there are people of good will on both sides of these issue ... urge you to vote for my amendment ...

Point of order: Jake Bajakian TMM11 -- couldn't hear what the modification was.. asked for it to be read again...

Moderator reading the modification .. and then read the entire resolution ...

Bill McCarthy - TMM10 -- speaking about the resolution - $100,000 -- Town Meeting members can not up in front of this microphone and propose a $100,000 to spend -- this will double our deficit -- can't spend money without the ramifications of it ... if it is in the budget - its should be in the budget .

We can't spend anymore -- someone to come up here and say selectmen to spend $100,000 - when they find the money tree - then let's appropriate it.

8:10 p.m.

Sean Donovan - TMM2: I rise in opposition of this resolution

resolution result of our recent debate on the block grant ... order is part of any working administration .. we need order to avoid chaos.

My wife is a foreign national -- Mother in law is currently studying for her citizenship .. majority of immigrants with status -- are unhappy when others cut the line ...

I did some research -- dept. of justice -- document titled -- summary of immigrant eligibility restriction -- HHS - I know of no such law of eligibility in Massachusetts .. we owe a civic duty to do the best we can with the tools available ... I reject the tone .. we are all neighbors in Framingham and must project a positive order... I will vote no on this resolution.

William LaBarge - TMM16 - speaking - 8:14 p.m. -- This issue of illegal immigration and will continue to come forth like a bad penny .. unfortunately...

there is this 800 pound gorilla in this room and all offer the country... new resolution .. will of Town Meeting -- outright repeal of immigration law...

Moderator -- deny resolution -- too wide range in scope...

Melanie Goddard - TMM2 - speaking - rise in opposition ... would like to touch on two items ... one, as I examine this it is a worthy cause, - seniors needing tax deferral is a worthy cause and high school students at risk is a worthy cause, homework center in one precinct and why not in all of the low income precincts???

Parents pay taxes and then pay again to put on a school bus and then pay again to play sports ...

the bigger point is -- collaboration and effort town made to get the supt and Town Manager and CFO and all of their staff to make the hard decisions ...

paying for a causes in a fair and equitable way -- and not $100,000 taken away from one worthy cause to pay for this cause. I wrk in Fuller middle school where the ESL program is based -- well-run operation -- their funding is not funding from DESE and grants -- they also fund raise -- next Thursday May 23 --MetroWest ESL - Latin Ball - sounds like a lot of fun more fun than Town Meeting that night ... can't make it you can still donate ...

Jose Goncalves - TMM16 -- kind of nervous - first time here -- here to support this resolution -- I did the 2002-04 after waiting for 2 years on the waiting list. Best moment in my life.

Everything started for me from the ESL -- it gave me the opportunity

to be honest I love Framingham - I work in Framingham - Framingham is my life.

***

Motion to move the question -- 6-8 people still wish to speak --

hand vote called by moderator - she is in doubt of vote

Moderator asks for re-vote by hand -- now requests take an electronic vote.

Point of order : Herb Chasan -- please explain what we are voting on.

Moderator  explaining process now

MOVE question -- electronic vote --

Point of order: Amy Weader -- key pad still not showing my vote ...

More than two dozen hands in audience agree with Amy.

8:27 p.m.

Moderator trying yet again for an electronic vote -- still did not work

Winett reminds moderator 2/3rd majority need to move question.

hand vote again - DID NOT PASS

8:30 p.m.

Norma Shulman - TMM5 - rise to support the concept.

This is a resolution -- not required to appropriate money

all of us would benefit - if more people in framingham being able to speak English

I did not feel that Framingham officials or people running an ESL program should become federal law enforcement officials.

I do support the concept .. keep in mind it is only a resolution.

Kathy Vassar - TMM1 - speaking -- I have an amendment to the resolution - long waiting list for ESL ... Framingham is unable to provide all services .. issue needs to be addressed at  a higher level -- work with school department and state legislators -- to identify state and federal funding programs should ...

Richard Baritz  - TMM17 - I rise against this resolution .. there are many worthy causes to help law-abiding citizens and residents of Framingham.

they should be first - law-abiding residents of Framingham should be helped first .. illegal is not law-abiding. I have nothing against immigrants -- my grandparents -- all 4 of them --by grandparents came legally to the US - our money very stressed at this time .. to support those who can afford it ...

Brian LeFort - TMM3 - speaking -- like to know from board of selectmen where money would come from if it passed??

Halpin speaking -- this is not an appropriation of $100,000 -- it is a resolution for us to explore where we would find $100,000

TMM Bob Sneider  speaking we are deciding here what charity is best ...

a budget is a choice of values...

talking about the TM vote on the police budget and not going off topic to discuss he would like to spend more money on the school music program...

we never will have extra money ...

Susan Massad - TMM5 -- comments -- wrangling the last half hour for $100,000 for an ESL program - my father and grandparents came here legally. Times were much different then. Times have changed. waited years to become citizens .. they are hard working people just like we are .. we just voted to spend million to run this town ... when you think of allegedly illegal immigrants and no employer will sponsor them ... doing grunt work ... already given so little respect ... I hope people will keep this in mind..

MOTION To move the question -- 2/3rd vote -- hand vote  - PASSED

Moderator -- first vote on amount of selectmen budget - $609,123 - hand vote passed

moderator - now vote on the resolution including 2 amendments ...

Point of order -- William leBarge -- TMM16 --before we vote on the resolution do we get to vote on the bottom line of general government ...

moderator -- do after the resolution ...

First vote -- Ned Price amendment -- hand vote - majority

change -- electronic vote ... did not work...

Point of order -- Jeannie Bullock -- TMM5 -- mine is not working and I heard a lot of people saying there machine was not working

Trying again ...

Electronic vote -- FAILED - Ned price amendment

Editor's Note: Sorry I took a break ..

8:57 p.m. Electronic vote on original amendment by TMM Steiner

TMM - saying the devices have not reset ...

VOTE -- 63-72-7 - FAILED

***

Vote on bottom line budget for general government - $3.109 - hand vote passed.

It is 9 p.m. - moderator agrees to a 10-minute break

***

9:12 p.m. Town Meeting back

9:13 p.m. Parks & Recreation budget  - Approved via hand vote with no discussion and no passes

Finance budget - Approved via hand vote with no discussion and no passes

Board of Health, Building Inspectional budget -
Approved via hand vote with no discussion and no passes

Editor's Note: Town Meeting members just passed more than $7 million for a handful of departments with no discussion at all in less than 5 minutes.

***

9:15 p.m. Economic Development budget - Ned Price passed on

Ned Price  - TMM17 -- motion to delete $110,000 from the professional tech services for a consultant for the EIC ...

Presentation by Economic Development

FINCOM chair speaking Dan Lampl -- first step in the right direction -- unanimously approved -- budget 6-0-0

Jake Bajakian - TMM1 -- speaking ...  why do we have the 3d or 4th highest commercial tax rate in the state???

Town Manager Halpin speaking  we didn not get to that status overnight and we will not back away from that status overnight .. part of the reason that shift happened is because we were at themax when the commercial and industrial values fell.

We should grab the value of new growth to get off that maximum ...Halpin

Lampl speaking -- I read the vote incorrectly 5-1-0 not 6-0-0

George Lewis - TMM18 - speaking -- why are we hiring a consultant? discussing Choose Framingham campaign .. why do we need a consultant to do marketing ???

what achievements have already been made, if anything???

Michale Gaitlin - chair of EDIC -- probably noticed that there has been a recession ... it has been difficult to recruit business ...

Mike McCarthy - TMM10 - speaking --

Herb Chasan - TMM4 - speaking - I rise in favor of the $100,000 -- same reason we voted for village hall, investment in our town ..  take a little bit f time to talk about commercial tax rate in town .. we get the money the commercial people pay .. they take the rate and they multiply by the assessment ...

Michael Cannon -- TMM - rise in opposition - very business tell him things are going great ... why can't we employee graduate students instead of hiring a consultant???

Gatlin speaking -- first of all we ave not been funding .. not coming from tax revenue -- it is coming from hotel tax .. worked hard to bring two interns into FSU -- I don't want an undergraduate or graduate making policy and overseen by the EIC.. ability to perform at a level that the town

Trying to improve thebusiness environment ...

Mark McClennan  - TMM12 - speaking -- senior vice president with largest PR in NE -- I know power of third party marketing and professionals -- two questions... what type of ROI seen in 12 months -- told not to see anything ...

two concerns ... ways and means - why money under the EIC and not under the town manager -- in favor of doing this if we do this intelligently .. what would be standard to evaluate the consultant ...

EIC chair -- benchmarks will be in the contract ... not having a result within a year -- when a business wants to locate in Framingham there is a permitting process .. fails to take into account .. a one-year review of this does not take into all the variables...

McClennan asking followup -- why EIC and not Town manager?

Don't expect results -- we should expect some info within a year ... quantifiable impact -- Measurable result needs to be included....

Halpin speaking -- EIC appointed by the board of selectmen .. safe to say in their budget f EIC under the jurisdiction of Town Manager taking policy direction from Selectmen

Kevin Gaitlin -- yes, he is my brother -- despite that here -- I am here to support it. Framingham like very other community is looking for a commercial tax base .. that's the competition we are up against .. Fraingham put out the same kind of programming and marketing .. it is not going to happen with $10,000. urge all of you to vote in favor of the $110,000

Audrey Hall - TMM3 - speaking -- clarify $110,000 is not all going to be spend on a person, $60,000 on a contract marketing person who will report to the director of ECD and the EIC ...

9:45 a.m.

Gateways into Framingham .. some of the money spent on the gateways ....

maybe their should not be such a big difference .. or maybe a smoother transition .. some of the funds improve the gateways .. some used for marketing materials ... Hall

Motion -- move the question -- 2/3rd vote needed - PASSED

Vote on motion to reduce budget by $110,000 - Moderator

Electronic vote -- opted for a hand vote instead

Hand vote - FAILED

Total budget -- approved with some negative votes -- (hand vote)

9:48 p.m. Technology services department budget discussion - CFO speaking

approved budget via hand vote

Human Resources -- CFO reading line items

Kevin Crotty passed on Veterans Services budget -- $420,481

Crotty speaking - TMM7 -- ask question of veterans service agent - ho wmany veterans are down an out or homeless and how are we supporting them???

CFO -- speaking -- I don't have the numbers - $320,000 spend on veterans benefits -- on a regular basis 35-40 veterans are receiving some type of benefits.

VOTE on Veterans Budget -- hand vote -- $420,000+ - approved - hand vote

Vote on Human Resources - hand vote -- approved

9:52 p.m. Education budgets

$102 million -- Framingham Public Schools - 3 people yelled passed.

Jeannie Bullock - TMM5 -- speaking -- what is being done to increase proficiency rate of third graders in reading -- and not changed since I was a town meeting members -- what is being done to raise the proficiency rate of third graders in reading???

Point of information - will there be a presentation?

TMM Robert Bolles said he wants to speak on why he passed on the budget

Superintendent fo Schools Stacy Scott speaking -- I could speak for an hour on that topic alone .. using research for better teaching - instruction across theboard  increasing reading using materials by scholastic -- increased literacy coaching ...lab classes .. set that as a very high priority .. do expect to see gains in relatively short orders.

Point of information - Ted Anthony - TMM1  I am not prepared to vote on a $100 million item without some sort of presentation

MOTION -- Jeff Cox - TMM14 -- Because this presentation will take an hour -- recommedn start presentation at 7:30 p.m.Wednesday  and adjourn for the night.

Town Meeting agrees.

ADJOURN - 9:58 p.m.

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