Monthly Archives: May 2013

SHUC met Wed

The State Hospital Use Committee (SHUC) on Wednesday evening created three subcommittees to address issues that it needs to explore to respond to the DCAMM offer to sell the Medfield State Hospital site to the town –

  1.               Legislative Relations
  2.               Building Assessment
  3.               Visioning Process

Additionally, the Board of Selectmen appointed a five member committee to meet with DCAMM to work through the potential purchase terms, such as the price and other details, for the town to buy the Medfield State Hospital site.  DCAMM has stated that (1) it seeks a partnership with Town of Medfield over the Medfield State Hospital site’s redevelopment, and (2) that it will seek to recoup some of the monies it has as sunk costs into the site in determining the sale price to the town.  Those appointed were:

  1. Steve Nolan
  2. Bill Massaro
  3. John Harney
  4. Ken Richard
  5. Osler Peterson

Meeting dates are being explored in mid-June to start the discussions with DCAMM.

Long day for this attendee, as that day started with a 7-9AM Building Committee meeting at the town house and ended with the 7-9PM SHUC meeting.

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Half a loaf from Gov to towns

This alert this afternoon from the Massachusetts Municipal Association, as the Governor releases only half the monies the legislature has designated for road repairs this year to cities and towns  –

May 31, 2013

 

GOVERNOR RELEASES $150 MILLION FOR CHAPTER 90, WITHHOLDING HALF OF THE PROGRAM FROM CITIES AND TOWNS
GOVERNOR OFFERS NO COMMITMENT OR FIRM PLAN TO RELEASE ALL $300 MILLION AFTER THE TRANSPORTATION FINANCE BILL REACHES HIS DESK

Earlier today, the Patrick Administration issued updated Chapter 90 notices to cities and towns, stating that once the Legislature passes the “terms bill” the Administration will release only $150 million in funding for local roads in fiscal 2014, in spite of the fact that the Governor signed the Legislature’s $300 million Chapter 90 bond bill one week ago.  Remarkably, the Administration is reducing the Chapter 90 authorization by $50 million, even though the Legislature voted unanimously to increase the program by $100 million.

In making the announcement, the Administration stated that the release of the $150 million will become official after the “terms bill” is passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.  The House and Senate are finalizing the details of a major tax hike to fund Chapter 90 and an expansion of the state’s transportation funding plans, but the Administration is making no commitment to release the full $300 million after the tax package becomes law.  Instead, MassDOT Secretary Davey stated that “Depending on the final disposition of the transportation finance plan, it may be possible to release additional Chapter 90 funding later in fiscal year 2014 for either the fall or early spring construction seasons.”

The MMA has issued a strong statement calling on the Governor to pledge to release the full $300 million authorization, saying that “[t]he bottom line is clear: cities and towns disagree with the Administration’s decision to cut back on Chapter 90 funding instead of committing now to the full $300 million that the Legislature and local officials know is necessary.  We ask the Governor to release all of the Chapter 90 funds because the program is a necessary, affordable and money-saving way to improve the quality and safety of our roads, build our economy, create jobs, protect local taxpayers, ensure equity across the state, and return new tax dollars to every single community.”

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE MMA’S STATEMENT CALLING FOR THE RELEASE OF THE FULL $300 MILLION FOR CHAPTER 90

PLEASE CONTACT THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE (617-725-4000) AND YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND ASK THE GOVERNOR TO COMMIT TO RELEASE THE FULL $300 MILLION AUTHORIZATION.  SHORTCHANGING CHAPTER 90 WILL DELAY IMPORTANT LOCAL PROJECTS, SHORTEN THE CONSTRUCTION SEASON, AND INCREASE COSTS FOR CITIES AND TOWNS.

WHEN YOU SPEAK WITH THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE AND YOUR LEGISLATORS, PLEASE MAKE THE FOLLOWING POINTS:

• Cities and towns are responsible for maintaining, repairing and rebuilding nearly 90 percent of the roadways in Massachusetts – adequate funding for Chapter 90 is necessary to ensure that these local transportation needs are met.

• Cities and towns use their Chapter 90 funds to provide safe roads that are essential for economic growth, commerce and everyday living – unfortunately, the Administration’s announcement would actually reduce Chapter 90 distributions by $50 million below the current level, a 25 percent cut, instead of funding the $100 million increase that the Legislature and local officials know is necessary.

• Chapter 90 improves the quality and safety of our roads – full funding is needed to bring local roads up to a state of good repair, the standard for ensuring well-maintained roads in good condition.

• Chapter 90 sends new tax dollars back home where they belong – citizens and businesses will be paying higher taxes to fund transportation improvements, and Chapter 90 is the one program that will provide taxpayers in every single community with a share of their investment.

• Chapter 90 is affordable – the Legislature is on the verge of enacting a comprehensive transportation revenue package, there is enough revenue in the House and Senate transportation finance bills, and it is the Legislature’s clear intent is to use the new revenue to fund Chapter 90 at $300 million.

• Chapter 90 ensures regional equity – the Chapter 90 program is the most effective and efficient way to ensure regional equity and access to increased transportation tax revenues because cities and towns receive their funds through a tried-and-true formula that shares revenues in a fair way in every corner of the Commonwealth.

• Chapter 90 protects communities and local taxpayers –under Proposition 2½, cities and towns can’t increase local funding to repair roads unless they cut other important services such as public safety and local schools, or pass a tax override, which increases local reliance on the already overburdened property tax.

• Chapter 90 strengthens the Massachusetts economy – all experts and stakeholders agree that investing in transportation is essential for our state’s economic growth and competitiveness, and Chapter 90 builds economic progress in every community, which is good for every resident, taxpayer, and business owner in the state.

• Chapter 90 creates construction jobs now – cities and towns face such a backlog of need that every new dollar for Chapter 90 will immediately result in visible and necessary repair projects on local roads all across Massachusetts, creating high-quality construction jobs for the middle class.

• Chapter 90 saves taxpayers money ­– investing more in Chapter 90 funding to improve the quality of local roads will actually save taxpayers millions of dollars a year because, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, once a local road is in a state of good repair, every dollar invested for maintenance will save 6 to 10 dollars in avoided repair costs that become necessary to rebuild the road when it fails due to a lack of maintenance.

• PLEASE ASK THE GOVERNOR to commit to releasing all $300 million for Chapter 90 as soon as the tax package reaches his desk.  Chapter 90 is a necessary, affordable and money-saving program to improve the quality and safety of our roads, build our economy, create jobs, protect local taxpayers, ensure equity across the state, and return new tax dollars to every single community.

PLEASE CONTACT GOV. PATRICK’S OFFICE TODAY AND ASK HIM TO COMMIT TO ALL $300 MILLION FOR CHAPTER 90

AND

PLEASE ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS TO CONTACT THE GOVERNOR AND CALL FOR THE RELEASE OF $300 MILLION FOR CHAPTER 90

Thank You Very Much.

Disc Golf Tournament 6/8

A Day at the Beach:
Disc Golf Tournament
Saturday – June 8th, 2013
1 PM to 5 PM
Hospital Hill Fields
44 Hospital Road | Medfield, MA

On June 8th, kids and adults of all ages will gather to play Frisbee Disc Golf and
enjoy the outdoors. Fun, games and frisbeethrowing clinics will also be part of this charitable event. Proceeds go to Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP) to support educational initiatives for substance abuse and prevention in the
community.

Special prizes will be awarded for best Hawaiian shirt. Bring your tropical vibes
and beach attire. Kan Jam, Cornhole, beach volleyball, and other summertime sand classics will be enjoyed by all. Come to enjoy music, food, and fun!
Don’t forget to bring your Agame for the tournament; top finishers will
receive prizes from Noon Hill Grill, Blue Moon, Donut Express, Zebra’s, and
other sponsors. There will be tournament Tshirts for sale at the event.

What is Disc Golf?
Played much like traditional golf, Disc Golf involves throwing a Frisbee disc instead of a ball and clubs.  The goal is to complete each hole in the fewest number of throws. Players start from a tee area and throw their Frisbee disc to a “hole” (an elevated metal basket). Players try to navigate the 9 hole course in the fewest amount of throws as possible while enjoying the challenge of negotiating the environment they are surrounded by.

Players will register in teams of up to 4 members. Tee times on the course will be assigned and the schedule emailed to participants, with time preference priority given to preregistrants.

Parking is easy and free.

Register online at http://lesteronline.net/discgolf/
Registration price is:
● $10 for students & kids
● $20 for adults
Your donation for the Albert B. Lester Memorial Disc Golf Tournament goes to support initiatives for
substance abuse prevention in the community.
For more information call Ben Lester @ 5082458088,
ablester@colby.edu
Registration Form Albert
B. Lester Memorial Disc Golf Tournament (“A Day at the Beach”)
NOTE: Registration is online at http://lesteronline.net/discgolf/. Please only use this form if
you are having trouble with the online form!
Team Name: _______________________________________
Preferred Tee Time (between 1:00 and 4:00): ___________
Payment Method (circle): Dropoff
Mail Day of Tournament
Team Captain: _____________________________________ Student/child Adult
Team Member #2: ___________________________________ Student/child Adult
Team Member #3: ___________________________________ Student/child Adult
Team Member #4: ___________________________________ Student/child Adult
Contact’s Email: ___________________________________________________
Contact’s Phone: ___________________________________________________
Please include $10 for each kid/student and $20 for each adult in cash or check.
Total Enclosed Contribution: $___________
Make check payable to: Medfield Foundation MCAP.
Your donation goes to support initiatives for substance abuse prevention in the community.
Thank you!
Mail to: Ben Lester, 28 Hartford St, Medfield MA 02052
Additional players may be matched if team contains less than a foursome.
This form available online at http://lesteronline.net/discgolf/

DC trip on Twitter

Just discovered that the 8th grade trip to DC can be followed on Twitter via either @Nat_Vaughn or #blakeinDC

Senate adopts its budget

A Massachusetts Municipal Association alert this morning (copy below) indicates that the Senate passed its version of the state budget last night, and since the Senate voted more monies that the House, it goes to a conference committee now –

Friday, May 24, 2013

SENATE FINISHES DEBATE ON FY 2014 BUDGET

Senators Add Funding to Several Key Accounts

Senate Would Tie UGGA Increase to FY 2013 Surplus

State Budget Now Goes to Conference

Late last night, on Thursday, May 23, the Massachusetts Senate concluded debate on its $34 billion version of the fiscal 2014 state budget.

The full Senate embraced the Senate Ways and Means Committee recommendation to increase the appropriation for Chapter 70 school aid by $130 million over the fiscal 2013 level of funding, $15 million more than voted by the House last month, and included language in section 3 that would begin a limited four-year phase-in to include the health care cost of retired teachers as “net school spending” under Chapter 70.  This is an important change that would more accurately count school spending and bring greater integrity to the state’s system of school finance.

Senators also appropriated $253 million to fund the estimated full state share of the special education “circuit breaker” program, an increase of $10 million over the final fiscal 2013 level of funding, now that the Governor has reversed the earlier 9C reduction.   The Senate budget also includes a $3 million appropriation to reimburse cities and towns for the cost of transporting students to out-of-district vocational education programs.

Senate members considered 725 amendments, including many that the MMA promoted to add funding to key municipal and education accounts, and others that would impact the administration of local government.

The next step in the process will be for the House and Senate to appoint members of a special conference committee to iron out the differences and present a consensus budget to legislators prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1.

Here is a summary of Senate action on the key amendments and issues highlighted in the MMA’s budget Action Alert sent on Tuesday, May 21:

SENATE ADOPTS AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE A $21 MILLION INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED GENERAL GOVERNMENT AID, CONTINGENT ON USING SURPLUS REVENUES FROM FISCAL 2013

The budget proposed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee did not include the $21 million increase for unrestricted municipal aid (the UGGA account) that the House embraced in its version of the fiscal 2014 budget.

The Senate Ways and Means budget would have level-funded UGGA at $899 million, in contrast with the House budget, which would increase the UGGA distribution by $21 million, bringing municipal aid up to $920 million for fiscal 2014.  The House budget reflects expected growth in Lottery revenues next year, which is now the main revenue source for UGGA distributions, and provides communities with a 2.3 percent increase, which is very modest when compared to the 4.4 percent growth in state spending that is contemplated in the Legislature’s fiscal 2014 budget framework.

The Senate adopted an amendment to use $21 million from a possible fiscal 2013 year-end surplus to bring UGGA distributions to cities and towns up to $920 million in fiscal 2014.  This approach is similar to the $65 million UGGA allocation that cities and towns received in November of 2011 during fiscal 2012, funded with surplus revenues from fiscal 2011.  The benefit is that cities and towns would likely receive the $21 million increase during fiscal 2014, but the disadvantage is that these funds are not guaranteed, and cannot really be budgeted for ongoing operations.  The MMA will be calling on the Conference Committee to adopt the House approach, which would guarantee the $21 million increase in your local aid base.

THE SENATE DID NOT INCREASE REIMBURSEMENTS FOR SCHOOL AID DEDUCTIONS FOR CHARTER SCHOOL TUITION

DESE estimates that it would require $103 million to fully fund the state’s obligation to reimburse cities and towns for a portion of the Chapter 70 aid lost to charter schools, as required in the 2010 education reform statute.  H. 1 included an appropriation of $80.3 million, but the Senate budget would fund the account at only $76.4 million.

The Senate rejected an amendment to fully fund the state’s share next year at $103 million. This remains a very important priority for those communities that host charter schools – without full funding, programs for students in the traditional public school system will be harmed.

THE SENATE ADOPTED AN AMENDMENT MAKING THE PUBLIC SAFETY RESIDENCY LIMIT A SUBJECT OF LOCAL COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Police officers and firefighters are required by law to live within 10 miles of the community in which they work.  Many cities and towns have included more restrictive residency provisions in their collective bargaining contracts, and the Senate adopted an amendment to allow collective bargaining to decide whether to exceed the 10-mile limit.  The MMA is gravely concerned that this amendment would make a critical management right, the determination of whether to exceed the 10-mile limit, subject to bargaining and arbitration.  The MMA will be working to strike this amendment from the final version of the budget.

THE SENATE ADDED $1.25 MILLION TO THE McKINNEY-VENTO MANDATE REIMBURSEMENT, BRINGING THE ACCOUNT UP TO $7.35 MILLION

Senators voted to add $1.25 million to the original appropriation to pay for the unfunded state mandate to provide transportation services to homeless students to schools outside the local school district. The Senate now stands at $7.35 million, compared to the House appropriation of $6.1 million.  The fiscal 2013 appropriation is $11.3 million, now that the Governor has rescinded his earlier 9C reduction.

SHANNON ANTI-GANG GRANT PROGRAM

Senators adopted an amendment to fund the Shannon Anti-Gang Grant Program at $7 million, which is $2.5 million more than the House budget, and $750,000 more than this year’s funding level.  This program is crucial to assist those communities dealing with very challenging public safety and gang-related issues, which is why the Senate funding level deserves to prevail.

SENATE ADDS $2 MILLION MORE TO REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION REIMBURSEMENTS, BRINGING THE ACCOUNT UP TO $51.5 MILLION

The Senate approved an amendment to add $2 million more to reimbursements to school districts to help pay for a portion of the costs of transporting students, increasing the Senate funding for the account to $51.5 million.  The House voted to fund the account at $46 million, and the current funding level is $45.5 million.  DESE estimates that it would require $78 million to cover the state’s full share of this program, which demonstrates how far the Commonwealth is from meeting its commitment.  The MMA will be advocating for the Senate number.

$1 MILLION ADDED TO THE PAYMENT-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES FOR STATE-OWNED LAND ACCOUNT, BRINGING THE SENATE UP TO $27.3 MILLION

The Senate voted to increase the PILOT program from its current funding level of $26.3 million up to $27.3 million.  The Governor and House budgets would level fund the account.  PILOT payments are vitally important for those cities and towns that host state facilities, and the program has been underfunded for many years.

SENATE BUDGET INCLUDES PROBLEMATIC PROVISION ON EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES PAYMENTS

Section 92 of the Senate budget would make a detrimental change to how cities and towns set fees for emergency medical services.  Cities and towns set fees and charges for a wide variety of municipal services strictly limited by state law to the cost of providing the service.  This is the same rule that applies to local rate setting for emergency ambulance services and ensures that rates are reasonable and prevents insurance companies from shifting costs to local property taxpayers through below-cost reimbursements.  The Senate approved legislation last session that clarified this authority, but that important measure was vetoed by the Governor.  While Section 92 would block the increasingly problematic “pay the patient” tactic used by insurance companies, it would take a step back by allowing the commissioner of insurance to set local rates through regulation, and would undermine a local process that is currently fair and working well across the Commonwealth.  The MMA will be working to improve or strike the provision from the final fiscal 2014 budget.

PLEASE CHECK THE MMA WEBSITE (WWW.MMA.ORG) FOR FURTHER UPDATES AS ANALYSIS OF THE SENATE BUDGET CONTINUES.

Senate passes $300m for roads

Per the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s alert today, the Senate has passed the $300m. for road repairs, which is up 50% over last year –

May 23, 2013

SENATE ENACTS $300M FOR CHAPTER 90
BILL NOW GOES TO GOVERNOR FOR HIS SIGNATURE

 

 

 

Earlier this morning, the Massachusetts Senate enacted H. 3379, the $300 million Chapter 90 bond bill for fiscal 2014, by a unanimous vote.  This vital measure now goes to Governor Deval Patrick for his signature.  The $300 million Chapter 90 bill is a top priority for every city and town, and is urgently needed to fund essential road construction projects in every community.

As you know, in order for the $300 million to be available for use, four more steps must occur: 1) the Governor must sign H. 3379 into law; 2) immediately after signing the bill, the Governor needs to file a “terms bill” with the Legislature that is necessary to empower the state treasurer to issue the bonds to support the $300 million program; 3) the Legislature must pass the terms bill and the Governor must sign it into law; and 4) the Administration can then officially notify cities and towns of their fiscal 2014 Chapter 90 authorization amount.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE MMA’S LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR.

Please contact the Governor’s office as soon as possible to urge him to sign the Chapter 90 bond bill into law and immediately file the terms bill with the Legislature.  The construction season is getting shorter with every passing day, and it is imperative that the Governor release the full $300 million authorization as soon as the terms bill passes the Legislature and reaches his desk.  Any slowdown in this process will delay important local projects, shorten the construction season, and increase costs for cities and towns.

When you contact the Governor, please thank him for his leadership on this issue, and urge him to support and release the full $300 million as soon as possible.  The Governor’s office can be reached at 617-725-4000, and letters can be sent to His Excellency Deval L. Patrick, State House, Room 360, Boston, MA 02133.

PLEASE CONTACT GOV. PATRICK’S OFFICE TODAY AND ASK FOR SWIFT ACTION TO SECURE $300 MILLION FOR CHAPTER 90

Thank You Very Much.

MMA on the state budget

This alert came today from the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and shows the issues in the state budget debate that the MMA feels are important to towns –

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

SENATE BEGINS DEBATE ON FY 2014 BUDGET ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 22

PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW TO SUPPORT KEY AMENDMENTS

Please Ask Your Senators to Vote for Additional Funding for Municipal and School Priorities

 

On Wednesday, May 22, the Massachusetts Senate will begin debate on S. 3, the fiscal 2014 state budget offered by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  This is a $33.9 billion proposal that is $900 lower than the budget filed by the Governor in January.  Debate is only expected to last for a few days, so there is no time to lose!

The MMA supports the Senate Ways and Means Committee recommendation to increase the appropriation for Chapter 70 school aid by $130 million over the fiscal 2013 level of funding, $15 million more than voted by the House last month.  We support the language in section 3 that would begin a limited four-year phase in of including the health care cost of retired teachers as “net school spending” under Chapter 70.  This is an important change that would more accurately count school spending and bring greater integrity to the state’s system of school finance.

We also applaud the recommendation to cover the estimated full state share of the special education “circuit breaker” program at $253 million, an increase of $10 million over the current fiscal 2013 level of funding.   We support the $3 million appropriation to reimburse cities and towns for the cost of transporting students to out-of-district vocational education programs.  These core Senate Ways and Means Committee budget initiatives are deeply appreciated and are very important at the local level for the support of public schools.

Senate members have filed 725 amendments, and the MMA has analyzed all of them, and is working with legislators to advance key items that would benefit cities and towns.  These amendments would add funding to important municipal and school accounts.  The MMA is also opposing one amendment (Amendment 58), which would extend the residency limit for police and fire personnel to 35 miles away, instead of the current 10-mile limit.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE MMA’S LETTER TO SENATORS ON THE FISCAL 2014 STATE BUDGET

PLEASE DISCUSS THE FOLLOWING AMENDMENTS WITH YOUR SENATORS:

SUPPORT THE $21 MILLION INCREASE FOR UNRESTRICTED GENERAL GOVERNMENT AID (UGGA)

The budget proposed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee does NOT include the $21 million increase for unrestricted municipal aid (the UGGA account) that the House embraces in their version of the fiscal 2014 budget.

Adequate funding for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) is a top priority for cities and towns in every corner of Massachusetts.  Cities and towns rely on this essential local aid account to fund vital municipal and education programs, including police, fire and emergency response, public works, libraries, youth and senior programs, local schools, and much more.  As you know, this account has been cut by $416 million since fiscal 2008, leaving local government with fewer resources to provide the basic services that taxpayers and businesses depend on every day.  As a result of this reduction, reliance on the property tax to fund municipal budgets is at its highest point

in 30 years.  The Senate Ways and Means budget would level-fund UGGA at $899 million, in contrast with the House budget, which would increase the UGGA distribution by $21 million, bringing municipal aid up to $920 million for fiscal 2014.  The House budget reflects expected growth in Lottery revenues next year, which is now the main revenue source for UGGA distributions, and provides communities with a 2.3 percent increase, which is very modest when compared to the 4.4 percent growth in state spending that is contemplated in the Legislature’s fiscal 2014 budget framework.

Please ask your Senator to support Amendment 49 filed by Senator Donoghue and others that would use $21 million from the fiscal 2013 year-end surplus to bring UGGA distributions to cities and towns up to $920 million in fiscal 2014.  This is an essential amendment to provide much-needed assistance to every city and town.

REIMBURSEMENTS FOR SCHOOL AID DEDUCTIONS FOR CHARTER SCHOOL TUITION

DESE estimates that it would require $103 million to fully fund the state’s obligation to reimburse cities and towns for a portion of the Chapter 70 aid lost to charter schools, as required in the 2010 education reform statute.  H. 1 included an appropriation of $80.3 million, but S. 3 would fund the account at only $76.4 million.

Please ask you Senators to support Amendment 384 filed by Senator Chang-Diaz and others to fully fund the state’s share next year at $103 million. This is a very important priority for those communities that host charter schools – without full funding, programs for students in the traditional public school system will be harmed.

OPPOSE AMENDMENT 58, WHICH WOULD UNDERMINE THE PUBLIC SAFETY RESIDENCY LAW

The MMA is strongly opposing Amendment 58, which would effectively eliminate the statutory 10-mile residency requirement in state law for police officers and firefighters by unilaterally increasing the limit to 35 miles.  Police officers and firefighters are required by law to live within 10 miles of the community in which they work.  Many cities and towns have included residency provisions in their collective bargaining contracts, and this amendment would interfere with those agreements, disrupting the management of their public safety departments.  A majority of communities have not included any residency provisions in their contracts, as the 10-mile range works well for them, and these localities would suddenly face serious management and logistical issues.  Please ask your Senators to oppose Amendment 58 – this would be a major policy change that would impact police and fire departments across the Commonwealth, and should not be considered in the state budget.

Also ask your Senators to instead support Amendment 445 filed by Senator Brownsberger that would strike Section 37 in the budget bill and leave the residency law unchanged.  As written, Section 37 would be a major policy change that would impact police and fire departments across the Commonwealth by presenting a local avenue for public safety unions to go to Town Meeting or Councils to change the residency limit to 35 miles. We believe that the state law works as it is written.  No bills have been filed regarding the public safety residency issue, and thus we ask you to keep the law in place, rather than acting on an issue that hasn’t even been the subject of legislation or public hearings.

FULLY FUND THE MCKINNEY-VENTO MANDATE REIMBURSEMENT

Please ask your Senators to support Amendment 361 filed by Senator Lovely and Amendment 390 filed by Senator Creem that would increase from $6.1 million to $11.3 million the appropriation to pay for the unfunded state mandate to provide transportation services to homeless students to schools outside the local school district. This would level fund the program at the fiscal 2013 amount, following the recent reversal of the 9C cut imposed by the Governor in December.

SHANNON ANTI-GANG GRANT PROGRAM

Please ask your Senators to support Amendment 436 filed by Senator Donoghue and others that would increase funding for the Shannon Anti-Gang Grant Program from $6.3 million to $7.8 million. This program is crucial to assist those communities dealing with very challenging public safety and gang-related issues.

STUDENT TRANSPORTATION REIMBURSEMENTS

Please ask your Senators to support Amendment 322 filed by Senator Moore that would add $2 million to reimbursements to school districts to help pay for a portion of the costs of transporting students (increasing the account to $51.5 million).  DESE estimates that it would require $78 million to cover the state’s full share of this program, which demonstrates how far the Commonwealth is from meeting its commitment.  The additional funding would certainly help all communities in regional school districts.  It is important to note that this amendment would build on the impressive and very much appreciated increase proposed in the Senate Ways and Means Committee budget.

PAYMENT-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES FOR STATE-OWNED LAND

Please ask your Senators to support Amendment 55 filed by Senator Rodrigues that would increase from $26.3 million to $27.3 million the reimbursements paid under the law to cities and towns that host and provide municipal services to state facilities. PILOT payments are vitally important for those cities and towns that host state facilities, and the program has been underfunded for many years.

PAYING FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES

Please ask your Senators to support Amendment 110 filed by Senator Donnelly that would strike Section 92 of S. 3, as that section would make a detrimental change to how cities and towns set fees for emergency medical services.  Cities and towns set fees and charges for a wide variety of municipal services strictly limited by state law to the cost of providing the service.  This is the same rule that applies to local rate setting for emergency ambulance services and ensures that rates are reasonable and prevents insurance companies from shifting costs to local property taxpayers through below-cost reimbursements.  The Senate approved legislation last session that clarified this authority, but that important measure was vetoed by the Governor.  While Section 92 would address the increasingly problematic “pay the patient” tactic used by insurance companies, it would take a step back by allowing the commissioner of insurance to set local rates through regulation, and would undermine a local process that is currently fair and working well across the Commonwealth.

PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC FROM WEST NILE VIRUS

Please ask your Senators to support Amendment 63 filed by Senator Ross to allow municipal health departments, public works staff, and mosquito control agencies to use their own trained workers and seasonal employees to control West Nile carrying larvae that are developing in catch basins, instead of being required to use highly specialized professional pesticide applicators.

 

SENATE BUDGET DEBATE WILL START ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 22

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATORS TODAY

PLEASE ASK YOUR SENATORS TO OPPOSE AMENDMENT 58 AND SUPPORT THE OTHER AMENDMENTS LISTED ABOVE

PLEASE CHECK THE MMA WEBSITE (WWW.MMA.ORG) FOR FURTHER UPDATES DURING THE WEEK.