The Franklin Town Board of Aldermen met last night for their February 2014 meeting. Video of the meeting as well as the press kit and a copy of a public comment delivered by Brittany Burns are included in this post.
A lot of people spoke out against the initial proposed design for the redesign of the Town Gazebo, which, according to Town Manager Warren Cabe, was the result of input from stakeholders who use the current facility. A number also spoke out in favor of a regular informal town hall event that would allow some interaction between members of the community and the Aldermen beyond that which is practical at a formal town board meeting. The board voted 4-2 last month to reject the Mayor's proposal to hold such meetings.
Also, here is the text of the comments delivered by Brittany Burns during the public comment session:
I wanted to speak with you regarding last month's decision to not appoint a liaison to East Franklin school. First, I do not see what it would hurt. Ideally, I would think the board would want to foster cooperation and that you all would want to be involved in the lives of your citizens, so to find out that you are against a simple liaison, even though you had someone willing to do it, is baffling.
In today's time, the state continues to push down obligations to local government. Priorities and responsibilities that used to be status quo on the state level, are now being kicked down the road for local governments to figure out. These burdens are becoming increasingly heavy for our county government. With things such as public education, road maintenance, mental health issues, and other factors playing musical chairs between who should take care of these responsibility, the state or the county, the focus should be that at the end of the day the citizens are the ones who are adversely affected by these decisions. These are your citizens, and while there is no state law requiring you to step up and go above and beyond your outlined obligations, I would hope that as elected officials you would want to.
I live within the town of Franklin. I have an 8 month old son, who will more than likely end up attending East Franklin Elementary school. There is nothing in this world that I worry more about than his safety. Every day I do everything in my power to ensure that he is taken care of and that he is as safe as possible. I beg of you to consider sharing the county's obligation to keep our children safe and to look for an avenue to provide a school resource officer at East Franklin School.
Franklin Police Department and Chief Adams do a remarkable job at having officers patrol East Franklin, and whenever possible, provide an officer during pick up and drops offs. I am beyond grateful for that. I just don't think it is enough, and I cannot begin to think of why with everything that has happened in our country in recent years that you would think that is enough too. Why, something that seems so easy and achievable, why you refuse to even entertain the idea by looking at costs and whether or not your departments could do it. Why it has been an automatic no.
School resource officers may not be something you are in the business of. But why not? Is the school not in your district? Are the children not within the town? Do their parents not pay town taxes? If there is something that you could do to ensure our children, the future of our town, are as safe as possible, why would you want to turn a blind eye? Are you waiting for something to happen to then react instead of being proactive now? If that is the case, then I am terrified as to what it might take in order to get you to care about the safety of our future.
The town of Highlands not only substantially helps Highlands school with countless activities and operations, they also provide an SRO to that school. They provide the funding through their department. Do they care more about their children than you all do?
The state has even began to question the role in town government, and whether it is truly necessary or if it could be just as functional if combined with county government. Knowing these discussions are taking place, how could you not want to step up and be a leader to show that town government is crucial in the safety, in the progress, in the sustainability and growth of small towns? You all have that opportunity, what is it going to take to get you to seize it?