ThomaS D. Mercer (incumbent)
Candidate Website/Social Media Address
As discussed in the May budget hearings, the Council and School Committee will have a discussion about School Finance at its October 6th meeting. Ultimately, a deeper and more widespread public discussion needs to occur on school finance and school buildings. Ultimately, it is up to the residents in town to determine how they want to address the financial situation of the schools. This is not a top down conversation, rather it's the complete inverse. CPA was a grassroots movement that led to great success so far. School finance needs to be the same.
Small business support mainly comes from town staff and stakeholders working closely with the business owner to make their reality come true. I wish there was one thing that could make a huge splash, but if that were the case, we'd already be doing it. In my experience, it's about customer service and having the staff work closely with businesses to assist them through the process. I do believe the small business sector in Franklin is currently quite strong given the moment we are in. The Council gave all restaurants a 25% discount on their license renewal price this year to help ease the financial pain. The Council has also changed town bylaws on a few occasions this year based on small business feedback. Every small biz is different and with each one comes unique situations that we have to react to.
What accomplishments are you most proud of during your most recent tenure? Or, if you are a new candidate, what achievements make you most qualified for the position?
Community Preservation Act ! Maple Hill Open Space Purchase. Water Treatment Plant opening. Weathering the pandemic as well as we did in Town was no small feat and thank the staff for their heroic work all year.
Police Station Building Committee; Davis Thayer Resume Committee, Implementation of zoning recommendations from the downtown study, maintain our 10% affordable 40B percentage, School and DPW financial issues for those departments, a new open space plan will be needed to be done in 2023, Rehabbing the Red Brick Schoolhouse and Museum Cupola. Those are just a few of the things that are already in the works, and will be a major part of next year.
The Council will be taking up the Housing Production Plan in October. The staff did a great job with the plan which lays the blueprint for the next ten years of housing goals. The Town has not had a Housing Production Plan approved by the state in almost a decade. Now is the time to get that done, along with the Zoning Diagnostic study for downtown, and hopefully next year will be spent implementing those recommendations.
Regarding Franklin's contribution, I encourage all to attend October 6th to learn more about what this means. It's clear the trend has to change. How is a community conversation?
The Town Administrator and the staff have been working on a Franklin Greenway project which is now boiling into the Complete Streets policy, which was just approved by the Council in April. I see these issues as being a big focus of the community for the next 10-20 years. That said, the town has done a great job making us a very pedestrian friendly community with great sidewalk and trail networks.