Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

Town of Framingham

Financial Task Force

Final Report

November 16, 1998

Michael Bary
Irwin Blumer
John DelPrete
James Dwyer
Clare Friel
George King
Evan Lebson
Brian Pollock
Charles Sisitsky
John Stasik
Tim Sullivan
Richard Weader

Mark H. Rees, CFO

November 16, 1998

Executive Summary

Municipal spending requirements to maintain existing levels of town services are growing at a faster rate than local revenues. The initial ramifications of this revenue gap were seen this year, FY99, when stabilization funds were used for the first time to fund operating budgets. Future projections indicate this revenue gap is accelerating and will become a significant factor. The tax cap imposed by proposition 2 1/2 prevents town revenues from increasing enough to maintain existing town services at projected costs.

There are many variables that must be considered to accurately predict the future financial landscape and there is room for disagreement on the specific questions of size and scope. However it is apparent that between fiscal 2000 and the fiscal year 2003, the Town of Framingham faces significant services reductions or the need of a successful override to the restrictions imposed by Proposition 2 1/2. This scenario appears to be the only way to bridge the fiscal gap until the state is willing to make significant changes in the way it financially supports the services the cities and towns are expected to provide for their taxpayers.

Rating System for Evaluating Brainstorming Ideas
Economic Value to the Community
A High Return/Benefit to the Community ( >= $100,000 )
B Moderate Return/Benefit to the Community ( $20,000 - $100,000 )
C Low to Negligible Return/Benefit to the Community ( <= $100,000 )
Relative Difficulty of Implementation
1 Easy to accomplish requiring one to three months to accmplish
2 Moderate difficulty or effort to accomplish requiring four months to a year to accomplish)
3 Very difficult to almost impossible to accomplish within a year or may require more than a year of continued effort to realize any return benefit.
4 Not feasible or practical to implement in the forseeable future.

Prioritization of Brainstorming Ideas
Description Who's
1 A More aggressive property tax ollection (delinguent tax payments, collection of fees Revenues
1 A Change free cash policy Revenues
1 A Review sanding and salting to bare pavement (black pavement policy) DPW Highways
1 A Increase political pressure to redefine special education to meet federal School
1 A Regionalize among communities to lobby for our political concerns with School
1 A Implement a selective hiring freeze General Comments
1 B Monitor-reinsurer to insure maximum return Health Insurance
1 B School crossing guards - use past employees to save on insurance Health Insurance
1 C Continue natural gas cars Police
1 C make sure Housing Authority reimburses town 100% for police services Police
1 C Review overhead/management staffing Fire
1 C Conduct vehicle inventory to ascertain optimum usage DPW Highway
1 C Evaluate material use DPW Highway
1 C Higher charges for waste at incinerator (now routine) DPW Sanitation
1 C Become a school choice community School
2 A Charge fee appropriate to cost of service (all departments) Revenue
2 A Evaluate hidden cost of accepting state and federal grants Police
2 A Analyze facility and equipment use (combine) Fire
2 A Use reserves (stabilization) to balance the budget School
2 A Explore privatization of transportation School
2 A Charge for after school activities School
2 A Increase class sizes School
2 A Continue to negotiate change to heath insurance coverage Health Insurance
2 A Review future and current capital budget and it's impact on debt service. Debt Service
2 A Reduce account because reserve may be high compared to history Overlay
2 A Establish collective bargaining policy - analysis of total compensation, issues General Comments
2 B Side walks - asphalt vs concrete DPW Highway
2 B Perform services for other towns DPW Garage
2 B Review cost of street lighting Engineering
2 B Utility billing process - contract out DPW Admin
2 B Closing out old projects Debt Service
2 B Look for other sources to fund capital projects Debt Service
2 B Reduce claims working with Personnel department Unempl/Workers's Comp
2 B Establish procedure to increase the number of third party claims Unempl/Workers's Comp
2 B Accident Prevention Board Unempl/Workers's Comp
2 B Review of Divisional organizational chart General Comments
2 C DPW implement an "adopt the road" program Revenues
2 C Advertise at Bowditch Field Revenues
2 C Review response procedures to structure fire vs rescue/ambulance calls Fire
2 C Develop and implement street maintenance plan DPW Highway
2 C Regional bidding materials and equipment DPW Highway
2 C Keefe Tech assistance for signage DPW Highway
2 C Use prisoners for street cleanup DPW Highway
2 C Advertise on DPW trucks DPW Sanitation
2 C Leasing trucks DPW Sanitation
2 C Sell serivces and look at fees Engineering
2 C Charge a fee to bus within 1.0 mile limit School
3 A Charge for trash pickup Revenue
3 A Lobby legislators for more state aid Revenues
3 A have state pay 100% of PILOT Revenues
3 A Evaluate current shift scheduling practices (differential staffing) Fire
3 A Privatization/competitive bid DPW Sanitation
3 A Eliminate service - have private service provide DPW Sanitation
3 A Special education - get better reimbursement School
3 A Increase reimbursements for school transportation, roofs, etc from state School
3 A Hire two part time groups of bus drivers School
3 A Greater percentage paid by employees (compare to surrounding communities) Health Insurance
3 A Eliminate Master Medical and only provide lower cost plans Health Insurance
3 A Change carrier Health Insurance
3 A Sell property assets to pay down debt Debt Service
3 A Debt exclusion - override possibilities Debt Service
3 A Get actuarial analysis done every two years Retirement Costs
3 A Analyze - bond unfunded liability Retirement costs
3 A Persaude State to exempt overlay from levy Overlay
3 A Adopt benchmarking as a management practice General Comments
3 B Lease out space for cellular towers Revenues
3 B Combine dispatching with fire Police
3 B All office and clerical work done b civilians Police
3 B Limit police overtime Police
3 B Compensation time and vacation time carry over Fire
3 B Further privatization - trees, line painting, catch basin, sweeping, snow plowing DPW Highway
3 B light duty - return to work program Unempl/Workers Comp
3 B Policies on approval and use of overtime General Comments
3 B consolidate similar departments General Comments
3 C If house is sold, require sprinklers Revenues
3 C Merge vehicle maintenance with Public Works Police
3 C Review mutual aid agreements Fire
3 C Utilize fire personnel during downtime for other activities Fire
3 C Use of park maintenance staff during winter downtime DPW Highway
3 C Centralize maintenance of all town vehicles DPW Garage
3 C Cost of ambulance contract to town
3 C Privatization of services Engineering
3 C Consolidate all grounds maintenance for town and schools under one department Parks and Rec
3 C Reducing busing to limits mandated by state law(s). School
3 C Recoup full value of full taxation on new construction - earlier Overlay
3 C Future contracts with employees have outside labor attorney do the General Comments
3 C Hire salaried attorney in house General Comments
3 C Negotiate with unions to remove unfunded liability for comp time and sick time General Comments
4 A Have state reimburse town for full cost of services provides to state institutions Revenues
4 A Regionalize with surrounding communities Fire
4 A Privatize Fire Department Fire
4 A Train town employees, i.e. DPW to assist in fire Fire
4 A Consider privatization of schools (one or all) School
4 A Eliminate school choice program (state wide) School
4 A Revoke coalition bargaining Health Insurance
4 A Rescind COLA Retirement Cost
4 B Civilian flag men/women Police
4 B Change Chapter 111 F law (injured on duty), explore light duty options Police
4 B Eliminate bilingual programs School
4 B Merge regional high school with Framingham schools and charge tuition for School
4 C Place crossing guards budget under schools (transfer) Police
4 C Do away with Dog Officer by removing leash law Police
4 C Hire civilians for inspections, checking smoke detectors, diging out fire hydrants Fire
4 C Change Chapter 111F Law (injured on duty) - explore light duty option Fire
4 C Regionalization of purchasing various - larger pool, lower cost Health Insurance
4 C Complete self insurance Health Insurance
4 C Refinance debt Debt Service

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