Monthly Archives: August 2010

Large transformer for Norwood’s electrical company to move down length of Rt 109 tonight after midnight from drop off point at Millis RR

Blue Moon has live al fresco jazz on Friday evenings, which I discovered while grocery shopping last Friday – looked great

Weekly Political Report from John Nunnari

Week Ending August 27, 2010

Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray and House Speaker DeLeo met last week to discuss how to allocate into the state budget the $450 million in Medicare reimbursement authorized for Massachusetts by the U.S. Congress earlier in the month. However, they did not make any announcement of a path forward.

Speculation has been rampant about whether the Legislature would convene in a special formal session this year or not to allocate the funding.  If they did reconvene, the Legislature could potentially take action on other legislation such as the expanded gaming bill.  In response to this debate, Speaker DeLeo said this week that a special formal session to take up the gaming bill is “not an option” mainly because Senate President Murray does not have enough votes to call a special session. Further, DeLeo said the $450 million in Medicaid funds could be appropriated in an informal session and does not necessarily require a formal session.

Complicating budget matters further, the office of Administration and Finance announced on Thursday that Massachusetts is already $300 million short in its Medicaid account and the deficit could be as much as $500 million below appropriations for the state’s Medicaid program. Whether or not part of the $450 million in federal funding will be used to help close that deficit remains under consideration by the Administration and the Legislature.

As part of the US House’s vote in mid-August, Massachusetts will also receive $204 million in education grant money. According to the Patrick Administration, the earmarks are as follows: $10.2 million for Boston, $5.2 million for Springfield, $3.1 million to Lawrence and $1.9 million to Worcester. Smaller amounts will be designated for local and regional school districts based on the state’s funding formula. Massachusetts was also selected this week as a winner of a share of $4.35 billion in education funds as part of the federal “Race to the Top” competition. As part of this program, the state’s school districts will be awarded $125 million for teacher training and evaluation, which they could receive as early as October.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment figures were released on Tuesday and provide an addendum to last week’s news that Massachusetts employers added more jobs in July than in any month over the past two decades. According to the new numbers, the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 8.8% to 9.1% in July. The new statistics show that in the state’s 22 labor market areas, the jobless rate was up in 18 of these areas. Worcester, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Barnstable and Springfield all lost jobs compared to last year. Springfield was especially hard hit, with 8,900 fewer jobs in July compared to one year earlier. Boston, Cambridge and Quincy added a total of 10,400 jobs in the past year.

The Warren Group and the Massachusetts Association of Realtors both released reports this week which showed a dramatic decrease in single family home and condo sales in July. July had the lowest home sales volume of any month in the last 20 years and also saw the first drop for home sales in the last twelve months. Tim Warren, CEO of the Warren Group attributes the large drop in sales to the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit and said it could be a temporary dip or a potential sign of a declining market. Last month the median sale price for a single family home was still significantly higher than one year prior: $333,000, up from $310,000 in July, 2009.

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
BSA/AIA MA Public Policy Director
jnunnari@architects.org
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

Lyme disease – good presentation on WBUR Tuesday – Medfield in high occurrence area – listen at http://ping.fm/NgOyP

DCAM 8/25 quarterly report: DCAM to make developer take Odyssey House down, clean up is going on, safe site promised http://wp.me/pwOp1-3T

8/25 DCAM Quarterly Environmental Report on MSH

Last night at the Medfield High School auditorium, DCAM reported on the current status of its clean up of the environmental contamination of the Medfield State Hospital site.

1.  Salvage yard at rear of site is in midst of being removed.

2.  Foundations from sledding hill and area around Odyssey House have been removed to area at salvage yard.

3.  Two underground storage tanks have been removed from the R Building at the rear of the site.

4.  Most importantly for the Town of Medfield, DCAM committed to making the developer pay to tear down Odyssey House, thus saving the town the cost of doing so.  All Medfield town committees which oversee historic issues endorsed tearing down Odyssey House this summer.  Commissioner Perini noted that in an era of tight budgets that DCAM preferred to not spend the monies to tear it down on its own, and saw making the ultimate developer do so as a good solution, albeit one which will cost the state monies in the end as the developer will probably just deduct that cost from the purchase price it will bid.

5.  DCAM will give town Historic Society the main sign to the Medfield State Hospital and a framed print of plans as thanks for Tony Calo’s generous donation of time to their remediation efforts (Tony was the superintendent at MSH for years).  Tony reportedly drove around with them for hours sharing his recollections of what was done).

See the DCAM PowerPoint with photos of the work, which will be posted soon at the Town of Medfield website’s Medfield State Hospital section http://www.town.medfield.net/index.cfm?pid=17707.  There now is the 552 page Scope of Work document DCAM provide on 8/4/10, detailing the history and current status to that date.  The event was recorded, so look for it on MedfieldTV.

Next DCAM meeting will occur 11/30 and its next quarterly meeting will be Dec/Jan.

This observer’s take away – DCAM is truly serious about remediating the Medfield State Hospital site to make it a safe place.

Legislature’s Formal Session Ended 7/31/10, But Laws Can Still Get Passed

Legislature’s Formal Session Ended 7/31/10, But Laws Can Still Get Passed

The difference between the formal session and the current informal session of the Massachusetts Legislature is that during the informal sessions any actions can be barred by the objection of any one legislator.  Just try getting anything passed with that barrier.  The Medfield State Hospital reuse legislation was held up for a year by Rep. Angelo Sciaccio of Roslindale without any stated reason – he chairs the Rules Committee and as the chair he just refused to let it come up for a vote.

Items that currently need attention include the $655 m. of the Federal monies recently allocated to Massachusetts for Medicaid and educational costs.  The legislature had passed two separate budgets, one with and one without those monies included, however, Gov. Patrick vetoed the budget with the monies on the stated basis that the monies were not there at the time.  Now the monies are there, but they are not budgeted, and the legislature must budget for them.

Some legislators do not want to return to a formal session, as they oppose s0me of the  items that might get passed, such as the unresolved and inchoate gambling bill.