Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Good, Bad and Ugly in the budget

Last week or so I attended a SC meeting where an articulate and stunning mother of two stood up and explained why she moved here with her family... it was the schools. The father of two at the budget summit meeting, said it was schools and location that caused his family to move here. And one mother announced that she moved here because it was affordable. The top three reasons why anyone would live here.. which is all good. No one said they moved here because we had highly educated police officers standing over holes in the ground, nor did anyone say they felt safer in their homes knowing the fire department has x amount of fireman on duty.

The CFO and party loyalist all clearly blamed the legislature for the un-funded mandates, not allowing the Town to negotiate health care costs, cut backs in chapter 70 funding, SPED under funding, etc, etc, etc... no one was surprised. And when the representative-elect stood before the crowd and said he had a meeting with the other rep for Framingham and made it clear, the legislature is working on this... I had to chuckle. No one in the room believes a word of that nonsense and clearly, Sanacandro and Spilka who were not there are ducking for cover... That's bad

The ugly came when three circus members addressed the crowd with useless and pointless psychobabble. And the loudest of them, former Town employee, who seems to feel it's important for us to know his heritage, claims an over-ride is the only answer. Only a few of the un-informed in the crowd applauded such action.

For those who listened intently to the proceedings and heard the excuse why we should continue to use 6 million in capital spending, because it will costs us more if we idle some equipment, is totally nonsense.

So I have revised my suggestion to save 7 million in the budget. Don't spend 2 million from capital, cut 2 million in overtime from police and fire, require the school to give up school choice, even if it saves only 1/2 million dollars and lastly, force the PEC to except 75/25 in health care costs.

The biggest savings will come from health care costs and to allow the self-entitled to continue to bankcrupt the Town with their greed will only hurt our schools.

Yesterday, Deval announced the State is looking at 1 to 1.5 billion in revenue short fall. And of coarse, the programs that will be effected are the ones that pull at our heart strings. Mostly in services for the sick, handicapped, feeding programs, etc, etc etc. NOT a hint of reducing the costs of governing.

Our schools and parents have suffered enough. The downward pressure on parents to fund music, athletics, books, teacher supplies, etc, etc, etc, has got to stop without an over-ride. The self-entitled party loyalists who run this Town have to make the decision to fund our schools, and make the legislature more accountable for funding programs they have mandated.

Schools, location and affordability are what we should market to the world. We have the later two already, we just need to stop the demise of our schools.


At December 16, 2010 at 11:02 AM , Blogger SoxFan said...

Schools are not sacred cows. They are going to have to shoulder some of the burden of the cuts just as they do in other communities. A prop 2 ½ over ride is not a fair option. Too many in this town will not be able to afford the tax increase the selectmen already voted in. Increasing property taxes even more is going to mean they lose their homes, and then the tax base in town decreases and we lose instead of gaining. What is the sense in that?

At December 16, 2010 at 11:10 AM , Blogger Old Blogger said...

That idiot who went on and on about Sir Francis Drake must have some kind of mental disability. What the hell purpose did that serve, and who the hell cares? Unfortunately, that is exactly what you can expect to happen at Town Meeting, all the idiots get up for their 10 minutes of rhetoric, and then nothing gets accomplished. Time to get rid of this form of government if we can only get the idiots like him to be TM memebers.

At December 16, 2010 at 11:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they really try to get us to agree to an override, how do we stop that? Do we get to vote on it?

At December 16, 2010 at 11:55 AM , Blogger Joker said...

I have a question that I think needs a serious answer, and one that I would like to ask you to raise Jim. I heard the people you mention say that they moved to Framingham, some very recently, because of the reputation of the school system. I heard Dr. Hersey say that our school system is antiquated, and that our newest technology equipment (computers) are 6 years old, which is ancient technologically. So I want to ask, how can those two “facts” be in such obvious opposition, and both be true? Is the reputation Framingham has for having great schools a false reputation, or is Dr. Hersey painting an untrue picture of how bad our schools are? Where are these home buyers getting the information that Framingham has great schools? Lets make sure whatever that source for the information is they keep saying that because if you are looking to buy a home and you have young children and you listen to the school departments comments on our schools here in town, you are certainly not going to buy here. Things like this are what give Framingham the reputation we have of being dishonest and currupt. Those 2 views can not both be true, someone is lying. How can we make informed, wise decisions on the budgets when we can not get honest and valuable information?

At December 16, 2010 at 3:20 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Good point Joker... the information out there may not truly represent the reality of our schools.

Anoun... an over ride must first be approved by the Selectman... and as I see it, with the election of two of them up for grabs... with no real opposition yet... they may try to get one going. It's a wait and see for now.

SoxFan.. you know that the property taxes will go up every year by 2.5 percent.... but we are losing value each year. With 130 foreclosed homes now and more on the way, we all will suffer.

Laying off 100 or more teachers is just unacceptable right now. We must figure a way out of this and not rely on the legislature or an override.

At December 16, 2010 at 3:32 PM , Blogger Adam said...

This is so depressing, discouraging, and disheartening to listen to day in and day out. We are in a depression whether we want to call it that or not. And these guys would have you believe we can get out of it with one prop 2 1/2 override. Everyone’s pockets are just about empty. There is no more water in the well. Time to start rationing the water instead of drinking the well dry. Hope you all have a happy holiday season. I am going to take the next few weeks off from all this depressing news, stop watching the news stations and enjoy my family and what little we have for the holidays.

At December 16, 2010 at 4:06 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

Today, our own Town counsel was in court trying to convince a judge that the Town's PEC should except a 75/25 health care plan.

The legislature will do nothing to help our Town in this regard. My thinking now is to start picketing, (writing letters, or calling them at home) the homes of the PEC until they give up their strangle hold on this Town.

If the judge rules against us, we will be stuck with outrageous health care costs and the only Town or city in the entire State to have to pay such high rates.

At December 16, 2010 at 5:14 PM , Blogger Old soldier said...

What court was he in Jim, and how can the court possibly find against us? What happens if we, as residents, refuse to pass an override, and don't cut anything except union employees covered by this ridiculous health care coverage. Lay off the more than 200 people I have heard we would need to lay off, and then let those people layed off look at their fellow union members who let them lose thier jobs instead of making a reasonable concesion in their benefits. I think you would have chaos in the streets and in the union rank and file but maybe that is what this town needs in order to grow some balls.

At December 16, 2010 at 5:42 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


here's whats reported:
Middlesex Superior Court

Lawyers representing the town and its employees argued before a judge about whether an arbitrator's August ruling on health benefits should stand. That ruling said the town cannot force a 25/75 percent employee/employer cost share for new hires, when the split for current workers is 13/87.

In making the town's case, Town Counsel Chris Petrini said arbitrator James Litton "made a mistake." The state law that Framingham follows was meant to help communities contain costs, but the opposite has happened, Petrini said.

At December 16, 2010 at 6:36 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

excellent question Soldier.... I'd not thought of that scenario... things would get ugly for those who were not laid off for sure. And perhaps that's was has to happen.

I do think, a reasonable man would side with the Town. The question is, will that judge be a reasonable man or cave to the unions?

I just keep asking myself... what the hell are they thinking? do they not see or hear what each and everyone of us know to be true... everyone except bankers and lawyers have taken pay cuts, no over time, increase in health care contributions, no raises of any kind and even laid off.

They.. those party loyalists who are our neighbors and work for the Town, are the very same who are in Town Meeting calling the shots.

At December 23, 2010 at 11:53 AM , Blogger Framingham resident said...

Merry Christmas Jim. Hope the holiday are happy and healthy and that Santa is good to you.


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