Category Archives: Legislature

MMA on Senate’s budget

This was from the Massachusetts Municipal Association on the Senate’s version of the state budget –

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SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE OFFERS $40.3B FY 2018 STATE BUDGET THAT MAKES KEY INVESTMENTS IN MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL AID
 • INCLUDES THE FULL $40M INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID (UGGA)

• INCREASES CHAPTER 70 TO $4.63B TO FUND MINIMUM AID AT $30 PER STUDENT

• CH. 70 INCLUDES $10M MORE THAN HOUSE FOR FOUNDATION BUDGET FUNDING

• ADDS $16.5M TO FULLY FUND SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER

• LEVEL-FUNDS MOST OTHER MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTS

 

Earlier today, the Senate Ways & Means Committee reported out a lean $40.3 billion fiscal 2018 state budget plan to increase overall state expenditures by 3.3 percent.  The budget proposal makes key investments in municipal and education aid priorities.

S. 3, the Senate Ways and Means budget, includes the full $40 million increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid that the House and Governor have proposed.  Communities are counting on the full $40 million UGGA increase to balance their budgets and maintain essential services.

The Senate budget plan also increases Chapter 70 aid by $37.4 million above the Governor’s recommendation by increasing minimum aid from $20 per student to $30 per student, going farther in implementing the Foundation Budget Review Commission recommendations, and adding $12 million to hold districts harmless in the new calculation of the number of low-income students.  The House-passed budget also set minimum aid at $30 per student and includes the $12 million for low-income students.  After accounting for those changes, the Senate Ways & Means Committee’s budget provides $10 million more for Chapter 70 than the House, primarily by joining the House in increasing the calculation of employee health insurance costs, and then expanding on that by increasing the calculation of special-education-related costs.

In a major step forward for cities and towns, the Senate W&M Committee would add $16.5 million to fully fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker, an important priority for communities.

The full Senate will begin debating the fiscal 2018 state budget on Tuesday, May 23.

Please Click this Link Now to See the Chapter 70 and Unrestricted Municipal Aid Numbers for Your Community

Click this Link to See Your Community’s Local Aid and Preliminary Cherry Sheet Numbers in the Senate Ways & Means Budget, as Posted by the Division of Local Services

$40 MILLION INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID
In a major victory for cities and towns, the SW&M fiscal 2018 budget plan (S. 3) would provide $1.061 billion for UGGA, a $40 million increase over current funding – the same increase proposed by Governor Baker and voted by the House. Almost all of UGGA funding comes from $985M in expected Lottery proceeds and $65M from the Plainridge gaming facility. The full $40 million UGGA increase is a top priority for cities and towns, because municipalities are counting on these funds to balance their budgets and maintain essential services for their residents.

CHAPTER 70 MINIMUM AID WOULD INCREASE TO $30 PER STUDENT
The Senate budget committee is proposing a $128.8 million increase in Chapter 70 education aid (this is $37.4 million higher than the $91.4 million increase in House One), joining the House in supporting a minimum aid increase of at least $30 per student (compared to the $20-per-student amount in the Governor’s budget). The Senate budget would continue to implement the target share provisions enacted in 2007. Further, the Senate Ways & Means Committee proposal would build on the proposals by the House and Governor to start addressing shortfalls in the foundation budget framework. In addition to increasing the cost factors for employee health insurance, the Senate budget committee would increase the cost factors for special education, which accounts for why the Senate W&M Chapter 70 proposal is $10M higher than the House.

Both the Senate and House budgets would provide $12M to hold school districts harmless from changes in the method of counting low-income students. This is similar to the Legislature’s handling of the problem in the current fiscal 2017 budget.

In the context of a very tight budget year, the Senate budget committee’s increase in Chapter 70 funding is certainly welcome progress. The MMA continues to give top priority to full funding for the Foundation Budget Review Commission’s recommendations, and over the long-term will work to build on this increase.

$16.5 MILLION INCREASE INTENDED TO FULLY FUND SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
In another important budget priority for cities and towns, Senate leaders have announced that they support full funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker program. The Senate budget plan would provide $293.7 million, a $16.5 million increase above fiscal 2017 budget and the Governor’s recommendation for fiscal 2018 (he proposed level-funding). The House added $4 million during its deliberations, and the SW&M proposal goes all the way to full funding. Every city, town and school district relies on the circuit-breaker program to fund state-mandated special education services.

FUNDING FOR CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS REMAINS FLAT
The SW&M budget would level-fund charter school reimbursements at $80.5 million, far below the amount necessary to fully fund the statutory formula that was originally established to offset a portion of the funding that communities are required to transfer to charter schools. The fiscal 2017 funding level is $54.6 million below what is necessary to fund the reimbursement formula that is written into state law. If this program is level funded, the shortfall will grow to an estimated $76.4 million in fiscal 2018. This would lead to the continued and growing diversion of Chapter 70 funds away from municipally operated school districts, and place greater strain on the districts that serve 96% of public school children. Solving the charter school funding problem must be a major priority during the budget debate.

REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION, PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILOT), LIBRARY AID ACCOUNTS, METCO, McKINNEY-VENTO, AND SHANNON ANTI-GANG GRANTS
Compared to current fiscal 2017 appropriations, the Senate budget committee’s proposal would level-fund Regional School Transportation Reimbursements at $60.1M, level-fund PILOT payments at $26.77 million, add $1.25M to library grant programs, add $357K to METCO, and level-fund McKinney-Vento reimbursements at $8.35 million. However, the SW&M budget would reduce Shannon Anti-Gang Grants to $5 million, a $1 million reduction.

SENATE BUDGET PLAN INCLUDES IMPORTANT IMPROVEMENTS TO THE LOCAL AND STATE LODGING EXCISE TAX
The SW&M budget would make several long-sought improvements to close loopholes in the collection of the local and state lodging excise tax. First, the Senate budget proposes language to end the “internet reseller” loophole that allows Expedia and other internet resellers to avoid payment of the full hotel-motel tax. Second, the Senate budget closes the loophole for transient accommodations, including short-term seasonal rentals. Third, the Senate plan would begin to close the Airbnb loophole. These are important steps to bring parity and a level-playing field to the collection of lodging excise payments.

Please Call Your Senators Today to Thank Them for the Local Aid Investments in the Senate Ways and Means Committee Budget – Including the $40 Million Increase in Unrestricted Local Aid, Providing Chapter 70 Minimum Aid at $30 Per Student, and Fully Funding to the Special Education Circuit Breaker

Please Explain How the Senate Ways and Means Budget Impacts Your Community, and Ask Your Senators to Build on this Progress During Budget Debate in the Senate

Thank You!

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State aid for FY18, so far

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State budget – step 2 (i.e. the House version)

This notice this afternoon from the Massachusetts Municipal Association about the House version of the proposed state budget. The state budget goes through the following steps each year:

  • The Governor starts the budget process with his budget proposal at the end of January,
  • the House then does its version,
  • the Senate then does its own version,
  • then the House and Senate work out the final version via a reconciliation committee,
  • the Governor can veto items, and
  • the legislature can pass what it wants over those vetos, if it has enough votes.

Our local aid monies seem to have been mainly protected in the House version of the state budget.

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April 10, 2017
HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE OFFERS $40.3B FY 2018 STATE BUDGET THAT MAKES KEY INVESTMENTS IN MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL AID

• INCLUDES THE FULL $40M INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID (UGGA)

• INCREASES CHAPTER 70 BY $106M TO FUND MINIMUM AID AT $30 PER STUDENT

• ADDS $4M TO THE SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER

• ADDS $1M MORE FOR REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION

• LEVEL-FUNDS MOST OTHER MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTS

Earlier this afternoon, the House Ways & Means Committee reported out a lean $40.3 billion fiscal 2018 state budget plan to increase overall state expenditures by 3.8 percent. The House Ways and Means budget is $180 million smaller than the budget filed by the Governor in January, yet it also increases Chapter 70 aid by $15 million above the Governor’s recommendation by increasing minimum aid from $20 per student to $30 per student. The full House will debate the fiscal 2018 state budget during the week of April 24.

H. 3600, the House Ways and Means budget, provides strong progress on many important local aid priorities, including the full $40 million increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid that the Governor proposed and communities are counting on. The House W&M Committee would increase funding for other major aid programs, by adding $4 million to the Special Education Circuit Breaker, adding $1 million to Regional School Transportation, and increasing Chapter 70 minimum aid to $30 per student.

Please Click this Link Now to See the Chapter 70 and Unrestricted Municipal Aid Numbers for Your Community

Later Today or Early Tomorrow – Click on this Link to See Your Community’s Local Aid and Preliminary Cherry Sheet Numbers in the House Ways & Means Budget, as Posted by the Division of Local Services

$40 MILLION INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID
In a major victory for cities and towns, the HW&M fiscal 2018 budget plan (H. 3600) would provide $1.061 billion for UGGA, a $40 million increase over current funding – the same increase proposed by Governor Baker. The $40 million would increase UGGA funding by 3.9 percent, which matches the projected growth in state tax collections next year. This would be the second-largest increase in discretionary municipal aid in nearly a decade. Every city and town would see their UGGA funding increase by 3.9 percent.

CHAPTER 70 MINIMUM AID WOULD INCREASE TO $30 PER STUDENT
The House budget committee is proposing a $106.4 million increase in Chapter 70 education aid (this is $15 million higher than the $91.4 million increase in House One), with a provision that every city, town and school district receive an increase of at least $30 per student (compared to the $20-per-student amount in the Governor’s budget). The House budget would continue to implement the target share provisions enacted in 2007. Further, the House Ways & Means Committee proposal would build on the Governor’s initial proposal to start addressing shortfalls in the foundation budget framework, by increasing the cost factors for employee health insurance.

In the context of a very tight budget year, the House budget committee’s increase in Chapter 70 funding is certainly welcome progress over the House One proposal that was filed in January. The MMA continues to give top priority to full funding for the Foundation Budget Review Commission’s recommendations, and over the long-term will work to build on this increase.

$4 MILLION INCREASE INTENDED TO FULLY FUND SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
In another budget advancement for cities and towns, House leaders have announced that they support increased funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker program. The House budget plan would provide $281 million, a $4 million increase above fiscal 2017, although this is still short of full funding for a vital program that every city, town and school district relies on to fund state-mandated services. The MMA will work to continue building on this welcome increase.

ADDS $1 MILLION TO REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION
House Ways and Means Committee budget would add $1 million to bring regional transportation reimbursements up to $62 million. The MMA will work to continue building on this welcome increase.

FUNDING FOR CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS REMAINS FLAT
Both budgets filed by the Governor and the House Ways & Means Committee would level-fund charter school reimbursements at $80.5­ million, far below the amount necessary to fully fund the statutory formula that was originally established to offset a portion of the funding that communities are required to transfer to charter schools. The fiscal 2017 funding level is $54 million below what is necessary to fund the reimbursement formula that is written into state law. If this program is level funded, the shortfall will grow to an estimated $67.1 million in fiscal 2018. This would lead to the continued and growing diversion of Chapter 70 funds away from municipally operated school districts, and place greater strain on the districts that serve 96% of public school children. Solving the charter school funding problem must be a major priority during the budget debate.

PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILOT), LIBRARY AID ACCOUNTS, METCO, McKINNEY-VENTO, AND SHANNON ANTI-GANG GRANTS
The House budget committee’s proposal would level-fund PILOT payments at $26.77 million, add $600K to library grant programs, add $500K to METCO, and level-fund McKinney-Vento reimbursements at $8.35 million. However, the HW&M budget would reduce Shannon Anti-Gang Grants to $5 million, a $1 million reduction.

Please Call Your Representatives Today to Thank Them for the Local Aid Investments in the House Ways and Means Committee Budget – Including the $40 Million Increase in Unrestricted Local Aid, Providing Chapter 70 Minimum Aid at $30 Per Student, and Adding Funding to the Special Education Circuit Breaker and Regional School Transportation

Please Explain How the House Ways and Means Budget Impacts Your Community, and Ask Your Representatives to Build on this Progress During Budget Debate in the House

Thank You!

 

MMA’s agenda

MMA

This from the Massachusetts Municipal Association this week with its agenda items:

January 30, 2017
MMA FILES LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

PLEASE ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS TO BE CO-SPONSORS

The Deadline for Signing is Friday, February 3, at 5 p.m.

The MMA has filed 19 local government bills approved by the Board of Directors for consideration by the Legislature in the new 2017-2018 legislative session.

The bills have been filed by lead sponsors in the House and Senate and now are available to be signed by legislators wishing to be co-sponsors. Co-sponsors are important. Please ask your legislators to sign on to these municipal bills. House and Senate members can sign on and co- sponsor bills that have been filed in either branch. The deadline is Friday, February 3, at 5 p.m. If your legislators are lead sponsors, please tell them thank you.

Many of the MMA’s proposals are continued priorities from previous sessions, and eight are new measures, including legislation to provide cities and towns with new local-option tax options, and a bill to increase municipal authority over utility companies’ use of city and town roadways. Among the refiled petitions are bills that would reform parts of Civil Service, allow cities and towns to set the number of local liquor licenses in their communities, and provide marketing assistance for local economic development campaigns.

Below is a list of the MMA legislative package with brief description of each, and the House and Senate docket numbers along with the names of the lead sponsors. A more detailed description of each bill is on the MMA website at the following link: http://www.mma.org/advocacy/mma-legislative-package. These measures are stand-alone proposals; the MMA’s entire legislative agenda is much broader, and includes dozens of priorities in the annual state budget bill, and work with the Legislature to support or oppose hundreds of other bills during the session.

Please note that each bill listed below has a temporary docket number that will be changed to a more formal bill number when referred to a legislative committee over the next few weeks.

Local-option excise on alcohol for substance abuse prevention and public health programs
Senate docket 484, Senator Cynthia Creem
This bill would allow cities and towns, upon local vote, to adopt a tax of up to 2 percent on the retail sale of alcoholic beverages, including sales in bars, restaurants, package stores and other non-pouring establishments. The revenue would be dedicated to help pay for local substance abuse and other public health programs.

Payments in lieu of taxation
House docket 1362, Rep. Stephen Kulik
This bill would allow cities and towns, upon local vote, to require certain tax-exempt charitable organizations to make payments in lieu of taxation to host cities and towns equal to 25 percent of what they would pay if the property were not exempt. The bill would require cities and towns to adopt bylaws or ordinances to provide for agreements between the municipality and organizations that may provide for exemptions from payment, consideration of community benefits as payment, and administration of payments.

Local-option fuel excise for transportation and stormwater infrastructure programs
House docket 1109, Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli
This bill would allow cities and towns to adopt a local-option tax on the sale of gasoline and diesel fuel of up to 5 cents per gallon that would be collected in the same manner as the state excise. The revenue would be dedicated to help pay for local transportation programs (infrastructure and services) and stormwater programs.

Local-option meals tax
Senate docket 586, Senator Jason Lewis
The MMA bill would increase the maximum local-option sales tax on meals from 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent.

Identifying financial impacts of proposed environmental regulations
House docket 1384, Rep. Jeffrey Roy
Senate docket 49, Senator Michael Moore
This bill would establish a mechanism for identifying and describing the costs, benefits and financial impacts of proposed environmental rules and regulations before they take effect.

Sustainable water resource funds
House docket 2403, Rep. Carolyn Dykema
Senate docket 393, Senator Jamie Eldridge
This bill would clarify and strengthen the authority of cities and towns to establish water, stormwater, and wastewater utility fees in order to protect municipal public health and meet federal Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act requirements and other state and federal environmental requirements.

Minimum reliability contributions from net metering recipients
Senate docket 1334, Senator Anne Gobi
This bill would exempt municipalities that receive renewable energy net metering credits, low- income and community solar ratepayers from any monthly minimum reliability contribution.

Municipal control of liquor licenses
House docket 561, Rep. Denise Provost
Senate docket 354, Senator Jamie Eldridge
This bill would give the municipal legislative body the authority to set the number of liquor licenses available in the municipality.

Commission to study the administration of veterans’ benefits
House docket 1635, Rep. Stephen Kulik
This bill would create a special commission to study the administration of benefits offered to veterans under Chapter 115 of the General Laws, including which benefits are offered, how they are administered, and the role of local veterans’ service officers.

Marketing prioritized development sites
Senate docket 193, Senator Lewis
This bill would require the Massachusetts Office of Business Development to create and maintain, either independently or through a partnership with an external entity, a statewide searchable database of developable land and vacant sites, with listings submitted at no cost by local officials.

Promoting local economic development
Senate docket 191, Senator Jason Lewis
This bill would create a program to provide funding or other opportunities, such as technical assistance, to municipalities or regions that maximize opportunities for economic development planning and growth by meeting a series of criteria.

Local impacts of enacted legislation
House docket 154, Rep. James Cantwell
Senate docket 336, Senator Anne Gobi
This bill would require the Executive Office, upon signing legislation, to attach a fiscal note specifying the local impacts of the legislation.

Retiree Benefits Trust Fund
House docket 2249, Rep. Alice Peisch
This bill would add two seats to the State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund Board, one municipal seat and one “schools” seat. This proposal would ensure the municipal and regional school district perspectives are recognized on the SRBTF Board.

Civil service reform
House docket 1364, Rep. Stephen Kulik
This bill would allow cities and towns to exit Civil Service at local option without approval by the Legislature. The bill would require the city or town to provide documentation that outlines the local policy or policies that would replace the Civil Service statute.

Municipal unemployment insurance reforms
Senate docket 271, Senator Cynthia Creem
This bill would extend “reasonable assurance” to employees who work on behalf of the school system but are paid through the municipal budget. This would ensure that employees couldn’t collect unemployment insurance benefits when school is not in session. This bill would also address the issue of retirees collecting both unemployment benefits and a pension from the same public or private employer, by reducing unemployment benefits by an amount equal to 65 percent of the employee’s weekly pension.

Structure of the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board
House docket 336, Rep. Aaron Vega
This bill would modify the membership of the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board to require that the three members include a management representative, a labor representative, and a neutral party.

Municipal authority in public rights of way
House docket 2265, Rep. Stephen Kulik
This bill would give municipalities increased authority over utilities that operate in the public right of way. The bill would specify that, if utilities delay in relocating poles and wires, municipalities have the authority to move poles and wires, and may charge utilities for non-performance. It would give municipalities the authority to adopt bylaws and ordinances related to imposing fees and fines, assessing taxes, and licensing and permitting of utility companies that operate in the public right of way.

Municipal purchase of utility poles
House docket 2279, Rep. Stephen Kulik
This bill would give municipalities and public utilities the right to purchase utility poles from investor-owned utilities at a price that takes into account depreciation in value of the utility poles.

Seat belts on school buses
House docket 1973, Rep. Joseph McGonagle
This bill would require that all school buses in the Commonwealth be equipped with seat belts within five years.

PLEASE ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS TO BE CO-SPONSORS

Thank You!

MSH road $ veto was overridden, after all

Charles River Gateway

Bill Massaro post #2 of the day – this email below from Bill just now – Bill was one of the individuals who requested that the $150,000 earmark be inserted into the state budget to fund the work on the new state road to the Charles River Gateway overlook.  Once the Town of Medfield gives the state the required notice under the Land Disposition Agreement for the former Medfield State Hospital site, the state will then be required to construct a new access road to its Charles River Gateway overlook park on its own state land, so that the town land will no longer be required to provide that access to the public.  Although the town may ultimately want to provide some such access, we will not be required to do so.  We negotiated that term to require the new road to add more value to the town land.

BTW, Representative Dooley can be seen in one of my photos yesterday from the Ken and Bob retirement party, traveling incognito in shorts, a tee shirt, and a beard.

BTW #2, today is Ken Feeney Day in Medfield!


FYI-

Thanks to Sen. Timilty and Rep. Dooley,  to paraphrase Mark Twain I am happy to say:

“The reports of our earmark’s death have been greatly exaggerated!”

In conversation with Shawn Dooley yesterday, I asked if the House had also failed to get the Access earmark into the override budget.  He seemed surprised and said that it was definitely in the House bundle;  and unless something happened in the Senate at the last minute, it should have been included in the combined package sent back to the Governor.  He did say it was a single item in the middle of a large bundle…. He  promised to check it out  and let me know what happened…

I got  an  e-mail from Rep. Dooley and an apologetic call from  Molly in  Sen. Timilty’s office this a.m. confirming that the combined  budget with the Access earmark for $150K sponsored by Sen. Timilty did go back to the Governor.  (She did caution that there is always the potential of  subsequent budget cuts by the Governor  in the fall and spring, but for now it’s in!)

As I had stated when we thought the override had failed,  Town and DCAMM obligations under the LDA  do not change…  Having the earmark, however, should help at least to expedite  completion of a  favorable  engineering design …

Getting the  Town’s “build it on State land” letter out  sooner, rather than waiting for the  LDA’s Dec 1  deadline and risking  new budget cuts,  would seem to be the prudent next step.  This would also give us the opportunity to work  with current DCAMM engineering who are familiar with the Mediated cleanup/restoration and the unique features of the property.

Bill

Medfield’s one earmark vetoed by Governor

State-House-smaller_1 (1)

Medfield was scheduled to get only one earmark in the FY17 state budget, $150,000 for the state to build a new road to the Charles River Overlook on state land, so that the easement over the town’s former MSH property could be eliminated.  Per John Nunnari’s email this morning, Governor Baker vetoed that money.  Many such vetoes are overridden by the legislature.

John closely follows the legislature for the architects, and always knows what is happening.


All,

Just fyi, but as part of the Governor’s veto message, the following has been eliminated:

 2810-0100 For the operation of the division of state parks and recreation;…. provided further, that not less than $150,000 shall be expended for the creation of a roadway at the former Medfield State Hospital property in the town of Medfield

 I’m hearing that the House/Senate intend to take up the Governors vetoes during Formal Sessions on Thursday  – with the potential for it to extend into a rare Friday Formal Session.

House and Senate leadership are upset with the Gov’s $256M in reductions over 303 line items (which included approx.. $60M in earmarks – which the Medfield State Hospital roadway project would be considered).

More to come.

john

Medfield $ in state budget

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John Nunnari provided the final Medfield money in the state budget, which includes money for the state to build its own road to the Charles River Overlook, so Medfield does not have to encumber our MSH land with that access, if we decide it is not in our best interest.


 

Municipality/Regional District 7061-0008 Chapter 70 Unrestricted General Government Aid Annual Formula Local Aide
FY ’15 Actual Appropriation $5,862,409.00 $1,289,875.00 $0.00
FY ’16 Actual Appropriation $5,925,859.00 $1,336,310.00
Governors FY ’17 Proposal $5,975,759.00 $1,393,771.00 $0.00
Medfield (House FY ’17 Proposed Numbers) $6,063,084.00 $1,393,771.00 $0.00
Medfield (Senate FY 17 Proposed Numbers) $6,063,084.00 $1,393,771.00 $0.00
FY ’17 Conference Committee Report           July +/- $6,063,084.00 $1,393,771.00 $0.00

 

 

2810-0100 For the operation of the division of state parks and recreation;…. provided further, that not less than $150,000 shall be expended for the creation of a roadway at the former Medfield State Hospital property in the town of Medfield

 

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA