Message from the Town Manager
December 30, 2016
Dear Framingham Taxpayers:
This quarter's tax bill reflects the official tax rate for Fiscal Year 2017 as approved by the MA Dept. of Revenue this past November. Fiscal Year 2017 itself represents the third and final year of a three-year budget plan with a goal of using a portion of projected group health insurance savings to reduce the property tax burden in Framingham.
Many of you are probably aware that state law allows the total property tax levy to increase by not more than 2.5% from year to year. This is the customary increase in total taxes that sustains our ability to provide municipal services to Framingham residents and businesses. In establishing the goal of sharing a substantial portion of our expected health insurance savings with taxpayers, I am pleased to report that this kept those annual increases in the total tax levy well below that annual 2.5% maximum. Specifically, in FY 2015, the levy increased by only 1.05%; followed by 0.65% in FY 2016, and finally 1.75% in this current year. In other words, the total levy increase of the three years was limited to 3.45% rather than the 7.5% increase customarily allowed. This results in a total three-year savings to the average residential taxpayer in Framingham of more than $800.
We were also able to moderate the extent to which we shift the property tax burden from residential taxpayers onto commercial taxpayers. This lowers the high tax burden on businesses in Framingham and has created a useful tool in the future to avoid or limit the impacts of sudden declines in commercial values that suddenly shift the tax burden back onto residential taxpayers. Lastly, we have created a $4,000,000 Capital Projects Stabilization Fund that will help fund a portion of a new middle school likely to be constructed as soon as 2019.
Charter Commission Report and Proposed CharterDowntown Framingham is in the final stages of its $40 million, multi-year Infrastructure Renewal Project. New sidewalks, upgraded crosswalks, handicapped accessible ramps, roadways, sequenced traffic signals, street lights and utilities have been completed and now the landscaping and amenities are being installed. Downtown is in the midst of an amazing renaissance that is full of excitement and possibilities.
At the annual Town Election in spring of 2016, the Town’s voters approved the creation of a Charter Commission to review the structure of the Town’s government. The nine (9) members elected to the commission have met weekly ever since, and by the time this letter arrives, or shortly thereafter, will have finalized its report and recommendations. You can expect the following over the next three months:
- The Commission will be making a detailed presentation to the Board of Selectmen during its meeting on January 24, 2017. That meeting and presentation will broadcast on the Government Channel on cable television (RCN Channel 13/HD Channel 813; Verizon Channel 42; and Comcast Channel 99).
- A full copy of the proposed charter will be mailed to all households in Framingham that have one or more voters by late February.
- The Charter Commission plans to schedule eleven (11) educational forums, at least one in each of the proposed voting districts, prior to the Town Election on April 4th.
- Visit the Commission’s website to review the recommended Charter and keep informed on this important question: www.framinghamma.gov
2017 Odd/Even Parking RestrictionThe Town of Framingham enforces a year-round odd / even side parking restriction program. Since 2017 is an odd-numbered year, please note that parking is allowed on the odd-numbered side from January 1st through December 31st. Signs are located throughout town to remind parkers of this system. Yearly changes are broadcast through the media and through the town’s rapid telephone notification system.
Parks & Recreation Update on Mary Dennison Park
The Town is currently working to complete Phase II to address the environmental concerns at Mary Dennison Park. As part of the process, we have completed soil sampling and are compiling the findings to begin the risk assessment phase of the project. Risk Assessment will begin to determine the potential risk for future users of the park. Once remediation options have been determined, the Town will then move into park conceptual designs.
As the busy 2016 Framingham Public Works construction season comes to a close, Framingham Public Works would like to thank the residents and businesses in Framingham for their patience, understanding and appreciation of the work we do each day to ensure the reliability of our public infrastructure.
Updates from Framingham Public Works
Framingham Public Works values your input in the construction process, so please continue to help us keep our communication channels open by attending our Neighborhood Meetings, visiting our BuildingFramingham website (www.BuildingFramingham.com) or our Facebook page, signing up for alerts on the Town of Framingham website, or simply talking to us directly either in person or by phone. Your valuable input ensures we have the necessary information to keep construction disruptions to a minimum and service delivery to our maximum.
Framingham Housing Rehabilitation Assistance
Funding in the form of zero interest deferred loans to assist in the repair of eligible owner occupied houses in Framingham is available through the Town's Community Development Department. Residential properties must be occupied by low to moderate income households, and eligible repairs are limited to removal of code and potential violations, energy conservation measures, and accessible adaptations. For more information, call
(508) 532-5457 or follow this link.
Framingham Public Library
The Framingham Public Library is very proud to announce that the Christa McAuliffe Branch Library building graced the cover of this year’s architecture and design issue of Library Journal, the preeminent trade publication for the library profession. The Library was chosen from all other national submissions based on its unique and innovative design by Finegold Alexander Architects as well as its homage to Christa McAuliffe, a champion of education and an inspiration to so many. The new branch library has been a tremendous success and is now open Sundays from 12 pm - 4 pm in addition to weekday hours.
Robert J. Halpin